Benedict’s 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

It’s the debate for the new millennia: carbon or steel for a mountain bike. But what about both? Sure, others have ventured into putting rigid carbon forks on a steel hardtail before, but you don’t catch sight of the reverse too often. Since signing with Specialized to produce his latest hair metal band’s new album on minidisc, Poppi acquired an S-Works Fuse 6Fattie to take on the Baja Divide route. While this was by far the lightest bike he’s ever owned, Bene decided early on that the Öhlins fork wouldn’t cut it for the desert rampage that awaited. As hard as it was to part ways with such a sweet bit of suspension technology, Poppi knew it’d be an issue hauling the amount of water needed for the Divide on a squishy fork with no braze-ons.

Benedict's 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

Not knowing what to do, he sent psychedelic waves through the internet, where they were received at Sklar Bikes‘ HQ in Montana. From there, Adam and Bene began chatting about a rigid steel fork for what would ultimately become one Romantical Baja Buggie.

Benedict's 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

With braze-ons for days, US currency as the fork ends and a thrü axle, Popi would be able to haul his extra stuff and still have the compliance offered by steel on washboard roads. The King Cage Many Things Cage and Andrew the Maker bags provided the extra cargo capacity needed. Even though many on the Divide ran into problems with their racks and cargo cages breaking, Bene found the extra time to reinforce his the best he could on the trail with pipe clamps and zip ties. Whatever works for his S-Works! These bags, in combination with his downtube storage solution, Swift Industries Fabio’s Chest front and rear bags on Crust Bikes Leather 66.6cm drop bars, Benedict was able to stuff as many bags of Baja cookies and chips into his bikes’ every crevice.

Benedict's 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

Now for the biggest bit of technological advancement: His friction shifting SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. By grinding down the lip on his barcon, he was able to flawlessly shift through all screamin’ twelve gears, making this one of the most unique rigid mountain bike tourers I’ve ever photographed.

Benedict's 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

So what’s next for Poppi? Well, Nam and he are about to embark on a journey through the Los Padres mountains up to San Francisco for some Rice A Roni before heading back down south to begin his secret training for the Dirty Kanza. If you’re on the road and you see Poppi and Nam pedaling their rigs, be sure to offer up some chocolate – the darker the better – and a high five.

  • Doug Goodenough

    Anyone know who makes those rubber straps?

  • Agleck7

    Glad aluminum mtbs aren’t cool anymore

    • Who said that? Wait til you see what’s coming up next.

      • Agleck7

        referencing the debate for new millennia, tongue in cheek

        • Oh, I got you. I was just waiting for someone to point it out. :-)

  • Patrick Murphy

    “SKLARALIZED” – excellent touch.

  • breed007

    Poppi’s riding Dirty Kanza?

    • oh, he’s RACING IT!

      • breed007

        Roger that. Checked the 16-29 age group registration and didn’t see his name. Got confused.

        • He’s in his 30’s. ;-)

          • breed007

            WHAT!?!

          • rocketman

            late 30’s is the rumor… about to become “middle aged”

          • I’ve heard he was born in the late 1700’s and has been roaming this planet (and others) ever since.

          • Sean Talkington

            I hear he drinks calf blood to keep that youthful shine…or maybe it was calve blood?

          • Juan Cool Romance

            Never shower, and your youth will not wash away

          • I’m not usually a betting man, but my money’s on that Poppi Juan Cool Midnight Freight Train No. 666…

          • That may well be true according to new science.

          • Jordan Muller

            I hear he can ride for days at a time, only surviving off the bugs he catches in his bear.

          • dude, he has a bear?!

          • Jordan Muller

            Totally. I hear that he has a bearded bear that lives in his beard that hums Sade songs to him while he pedals.

          • Rider_X

            There can only be one..

          • spencer harding

            FOREVER 21

        • Juan Cool Romance

          I should be in the 21 only category for the 20 miler

  • Dane Falberg

    Eagle friction shift…You were so preoccupied with if you could, you forgot to consider if you should…

    • I’m just not sure why a shimano (9 speed?!) lever was used instead of just modifying a SRAM 11 spd TT barcon…

      • Rider_X

        ’cause ya need a friction shift mode in order to run friction shifting…

        • Ah, missed that part of the article. Thanks for that!

  • kamaz

    Why use King’s USB if there are braze-ons on fork? Or King’s Many Things cages failed and they were ‘fixed’ with pipe clamps? But then, those in photo, are just regular pipe clamps and there is no sign of King’s USBs.

    • Sorry that was an error. No USBs were used. The Many Things cages were. All “cargo cages” were breaking and many people used pipe clamps or zip ties to beefen them up.

    • Juan Cool Romance

      The fork’s braze ons are cantered and higher, both very functional features. When the manythings sacks came in the mail, I knew they had to be low and flush to look the way I wanted. Now it takes about 5 minutes to remove the front wheel, but it looks great!

  • Oh my! Such patina… Someone get that fork some EVOO stat.

    • Ed Simpson

      I’m a little disappointed that the patina on poppi’s shorts wasn’t featured

  • Chris Valente

    Would love to join the safety meeting where you come up with the names for these bikes. This one is probably my fave!

  • Harry

    Carbonium has no escape from wood and iron

  • spencer harding

    He shoulda left the stem flipped backward

  • Thomas Wilson

    Rad. Whats that handlebar bag?

  • Is Poppi bringing back the cardigan as cycle couture?? There are no ends to this man’s talents! It’s a pretty ace rig. New meets old. Nice and kudos to Team The Radavist for making it possible to see this sort of thing on the internets. Thanks folks.

  • There are so many little details of this bike that I both completely appreciate and simultaneously don’t understand.

    • noob_sauce

      I didn’t understand how I felt until I read this comment.

  • I love you Poppi <3

  • Julius

    Good bike. But why no hub shiners?

  • Andrey Serdyuk
    • Oh my god! Hahaha

    • Daniel Pack

      A man so Ultra even his shadow has a face!

  • Pablo Climent

    Friction power!

  • Tony Clifton

    Does the contract require that all saddles be submitted to Mike Sinyard for post-ride sniffing?

  • tb

    So what’s in Poppi’s SWAT hole?

    • Balsamic Vinagrette

      • James Liepolt

        An oak barrel to age all of the above in.

    • Rare fungal spores

    • Ritter Rost

      A living cane toad.

  • Noel Smith

    Poppi 2020

  • This bike has seen some shit.

  • Devin Kyle Mattson

    Loooooove this bike!!! Do you know the AC measurement on the Sklar fork?

  • Noel Smith

    am I the only one who loves the fact he taped over the S on the headtube?

    • Peter Raible

      Yes you are.

      • Noel Smith

        4 upvotes bro. so apparently not.

  • Grant Martin

    I just made an account for this. Is that his penis?

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  • Matt

    Why no generator hub yet for the 27.5+?