Rawland Nordavinden Update: 44-Mile Shakedown Ride

A few weeks ago, fellow #BikeDC’er Hyunoo came over to test ride my new Rawland Nordavinden. Since bikes like Rawlands are hard to come by for test rides I was happy to help him out in deciding 1. if the Nordavinden was “the right bike” and 2. what size frame set to purchase.

Rawland Nordavinden

Seeing Hyunoo take the bike for a quick spin and really enjoy it (he ended up purchasing a frame of his own, which he is now building up) made me want to take the Rawland for a real shakedown ride. A few days later, Felkerino and I took our singles on a rolling 44-mile ramble from D.C. out to Maryland to accomplish just that.

Riding home on the Rawland Nordavinden

The Rawland’s feel and fit did not disappoint on our outing. The ride is smooth, and it feels fast. This sense of speed could be because I’m not hauling all my commute stuff around or because riding a single bike uphill is a huge contrast to grinding away on a tandem, but in general I think it really is the feel of the bike.

For carrying tools and other essentials, I’m using a small Carradice rear seat pack on the back, and a Ruthworks brevet bag on the front. This is far less carrying capacity than I normally tolerate on a bike, but since I wanted the Rawland to serve as a sportier all-around ride, this seems like a good setup for now.

Rawland Nordavinden

Rawland sells the Nordavinden frame set for $725 (which I think is a mighty fine deal), and leaves it to the purchaser to make it into a complete bike.

As I mentioned in my initial post about this bike, buying a frame set as compared to a complete bike is okay with me because we have a lot of good parts in the Dining Room Bike Shop crying out for installation on the right bike.

I did have wheels built for the bike, and those are Velocity A23 wheels with 32 spokes… I believe. You can let me know if I’m off, as readers well know I’m not an artsy partsy person.

Me and Rawland Nordavinden

I currently have 32 mm Panaracer Pasela tires on the Rawland and I have not put on any fenders. For me to ride it in all kinds of weather, I would want fenders, but for now we’ll see.

It’s probably no surprise that I’m using a Brooks B-17 ‘S’ model on the Nordavinden, given that is my saddle of choice for all my bikes.

I set the handlebars level with the saddle to create a comfortable touring position. I will likely have the steerer tube cut down further so that I don’t have a spacer-fest going on at the top like I do now.

Rawland Nordavinden

I’m using bar end shifters, a Sugino triple in the front, and a nice little Campy derailleur that Felkerino dug up for me. Felkerino also installed a Deore LX derailleur on the rear.

Chris King water bottle cages adorn the Nordavinden, and they are like jewelry for your bicycle. Such pretty lines of steel, so elegant.

The most sentimental of parts has to be the Chris King headset, which originates from our Co-Motion Speedster tandem. The Speedster developed a crack in the seat tube so all that remains of it now are the parts.

I love having a piece of our old tandem on my Nordavinden, as Felkerino and I shared many great adventures on the Speedster.

Rawland Nordavinden

The 32 mm Paselas I’m using may be changed out for other tires (I’m giving the Grand Bois Cypress a serious look, based on readers’ comments), but overall, the Nordavinden is zippy and comfy.

It rides up hills well, and rolls along nicely on the flats. The handling is nimble, and I never feel like I’m fighting the bike. We fit well together.

I’m looking forward to many a good ride together.


  1. Thinking of the Grand Bois as well, that or keeping with the Michelins I have now. Will need to get a new pair this Decemberish. Can I get a test ride if you get the Cypress? 😉

    Very nice build.


  2. I had the chance to ride a Nordivinden 45 miles this spring and I came away feeling the same about the bike. The one I rode had 42mm Hetres, which were surprisingly nimble. It’s a great bike and I can imagine buyin one in my size one day.


    • Yes, I remember reading your post about it! I’m glad to hear you liked your experience on the Rawland, too. I think Sean V. is doing interesting things w/ bikes. By the way, didn’t you purchase a Stag? I am curious about that bike!


      • Thanks for reading that post. No new bikes yet – we are still trying to figure out life with a kindergartener and a preschooler. I thought it would be easier, and less expensive, than it is so far.

        If I buy a new stock frame it would be the Nordavinden, if only because:

        1) I had a chance to try it.

        2) I really prefer the Paul Racer brakes on LB’s bike that I tried and haven’t met cantilever or v-brakes that I love.

        But Sean is doing great things. We need more non traditional frames at affordable prices. I have a Surly CC. I wouldn’t have the Surly if the Nordavinden was available when I had this bike built and I knew about it.


  3. Lovely bike! I wish you many happy miles. Are those brakes Tektros? You may find that if you decide to mount fenders, you’ll need a change of brakes as well. I mention brakes because on my wife’s ’83 Trek, I updated her to Tektro dual pivots; she loves them and they work great. But like on your frame, they hang quite low below the fork crown, so it “steals” a lot of clearance from you (I really noticed it in your second pic above). I just snagged a pair of Gran Compe centerpulls to swap in, since my wife wanted fenders for the winter. Just came to mind since I had the same issue. Regardless, what a nice bike, and what a great color. Enjoy it!


    • Yes, they are Tektros, and you make a good point about the fenders. I suppose I could also run 28s and put some narrower SKS fenders on as well.


  4. MG I have the GB Cypress on my HILLBORNE. I love them. Fast, light, and buttery-smooth! I ride all over the city and even gravel; no problems and not a flat since putting them on in March.


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