I will never buy a bike from Rivendell Bicycle Works, but I like that they exist.
Have a look at their company history (which includes a hard-numbers explanation of their charming financial status) and click through some of the bike models. But don’t ask for a custom unless you really need one. They’re all sculptures anyway.
“The A. Homer Hilsen’s versatility isn’t a result of design genius or high tech breakthroughs. Its versatility comes the way versatility always comes: by means of properly dimensioned tubes and properly located bridges, which lead to the clearances that fenders with medium-volume tires require.
It feels odd to boast about that or even mention it at all, because it’s kind of a boring topic, and it seems as though making forks the right length and putting the seat stay- and chain stay-bridges in the right spot for good clearance should be a given.”
Walnut Creek, California. But they do mail order. If you are ordering by mail, they recommend describing your custom paint colour to them by referencing crayola crayons.
I say I will never buy a bike from Rivendell, and that is true. But there is one condition in which I might: when The Change comes (or finishes coming), and I am shopping for one bicycle that will function as a universal vehicle and survive decades of wear, and assuming that I am living near enough to California or in it, such that shipping will not be prohibitive, then Rivendell is exactly the sort of local bicycyle blackshop I would wish to shop at. And possibly buy (order and wait 3 months) this one, if they have by that time decided to redesign it for standardly available wheels.