Rivendell SAM HILLBORNE
FOR ALL ROADS— paved, dirt, or gravel; and the kinds of fire trails a Conestoga wagon could negotiate, but not the kind that would require a jackass. If you're skilled and have good judgement and fattish knobby tires, you can ride the SAM where you shouldn't. Stick with what it's designed for: all the above, and ROAD TOURING, ROAD SHOPPING, and ROAD COMMUTING.
The Sam is a versatile road and light trail bike.
ALL WEATHER: Easily fendered. Can the "gravel bike" you're considering fit fenders? How about racks?
Everything that makes it a great touring bike also makes it a great commuter, camper or all-rounder. The Sam is equally a great bike for a carrying food and camping gear and clothing around.
FRAME: Our-designed SILVER (brand) CrMo tubing in dimensions we see fit. Geometry is ours alone, also. It rides like all Rivendells. Good with drop bars or uprights. Fits tires up to 45 with fenders, 48 without.
BRAKES: V-brakes (standard or mini) or cantilevers. We can advise.
If you will use Cantis, be sure to buy front and rear cable hangers (not included).
BRAZE-ONS: A-plenty. Easy to mount racks, fenders. (Well, as easy as they ever are. They're usually a little fussy, but that's not the frame's fault.)
LOAD CAPACITY: It depends on your weight, the road surface, the tire volume, air pressure, and your riding style. Basically, a 185lb rider can probably tote 35 to 40lbs on road rides. It's not a full-on touring bikes, but it's not a wimp, either.
HANDLEBAR STYLE: Drops, Albastache, or any upright. Use a short stem with drops or Albastache--maybe 5 to 7cm. With Albatross, up to 10cm, and with Billie or Tosco, 11 or 12cm.