Benedict’s Silver and Gold Crust Bikes Romanceur Touring Bike

“The ROMANCEÜR is a swashbuckling tender heart of a fantasy warrior, who not only seduces its rider, but acts as a psychedelic aphrodisiac on the psyche. Together you become thee Romanceür, a sacred, lustful partnership rendering all riding surfaces swooned out and speechless, pining for an intimate evening including a tray of rosé Jell-O shots.” – Ultra Romance from his Crust Bikes Diary

Recently, Los Angeles was invaded by some of cycling’s biggest celebrities and no, not Wiggo, Sagan, Vos, or Bryceland. The cyclists that found themselves hanging out at Golden Saddle Cyclery are from a different walk, er, roll of life all-together. These nomadic raconteurs favor dirt to pavement and fully-loaded bikes to ultralight carbon. Not to mention, they’re always on the hunt for the latest cycling expedition, which brings me to Los Angeles…

Benedict, his lovely partner Nam and many others rolled into town to hang out, ride bikes and soak in the big city living before heading out for their forty days journey along the Baja Divide. We’ve seen a little bit on that route so far, and since so many of our friends are on the ride with cameras in tow, I’m sure there will be more on that at a later point in time.

Benedict's Crust Bikes Romanceur Touring Bike

So, back to Poppi, or Benedict, or Ultra Romance and this bike. Bene met Matt from Crust Bikes on the road at some point. They began talking bikes, how this idiosyncratic world we all love and live in doesn’t address the many nuances desired by the two of them. Conversations turned to drawings, which then turned to numbers and finally a sample of the Romanceür was born. A touring bike with disc brakes, low trail, ample tire clearance and the ability to ride a 26″ – 29″ wheel, depending on tire size.

Poppi rode this sample like the noble steed it was throughout the United States before giving it his seal of approval: a thumbprint, smeared with freshly cooked garlic. Months later and the framesets were available for pre-order on Crust Bikes. Poppi smiled. Matt smiled. Customers smiled. All was well, yet Poppi felt the Romanceür needed something extra special. Something sinister. Something…. 66.6cm wide. Along came the Leather bars:

“In my 21 years of life I lived through the MTB craze of the 90s. Stems were 140mm long, and handlebars were 50cm wide. It was weird, but we were all too busy sketchy skidding our 26×1.9 smoke/dart combos down hiking trails to really complain. Flash ahead to the normalized MTB world of 50mm stems and 800mm handlebars that we live in today. Why do they get to be so verily comfortable while our slumped, pigeon chested bodies are negated to 38-46cm “wide” bars??? WHYYYY????”

You can check out the above link to read Poppi’s list of benefits from riding such a wide bar and while it might seem like propaganda, you should know that pro-cycling extraordinaire Taylor Phinny has endorsed this setup. Not officially, because, ya know… but he smiled and said the bike was “fun!”

Benedict's Crust Bikes Romanceur 26" Touring Bike

With a bar that wide, you’re opening up cargo capacity even more, which is where the Swift Industries “Fabio’s Chest” (previously called the Wizard Sleeve, but changed for obvios reasons) bag came along. So here we are, looking at this bike, with those tiny wheels, big tires, wide bars, big, cavernous bag, gold anodized Paul Klampers, a 1970’s Brooks saddle, Herse cranks and fuckin’ Campagnolo 11 speed, asking ourselves, “my god man, what have you done!?!”

Benedict's Crust Bikes Romanceur 26" Touring Bike

Well, I don’t have an answer to that, but what a way to ring in the New Year here on the Radavist… And uhh, sorry for the lack of risqué photoshoots this round, but ya know, Poppi has settled down a bit.


Follow Benedict on Instagram, Nam on Instagram, Crust Bikes on Instagram and follow the whole #BajaDivide group by using the hashtag!


  • Jäybe Jäybe


  • FireUrEngine

    Romancing the bike

  • Daniel M

    Campagnolo 10 speed? that is 11s… not nearly as romanitic.
    Aside, I don’t feel the love on this one… though I’m sure the functionality is A+ but it looks ungainly

  • Natalie Pitts

    Nice cameo in that shot of the rear hub! I’m so impressed by this bike, from the frame construction to the parts selection. So good.

  • nothingfuture

    I do like me some 853. And 853 with lugs is even better, methinks.
    Not sure about the wide drop bars- though for the sort of dirt blasting he’s doing, maybe they work great!
    But much like handlebar bags, they’re not really my jam.
    Campy + Discs is always a lovely combo.
    Pump peg behind the seat tube!

  • Smithhammer

    Gorgeous and thoroughly thought-through. A Roman candle of romance, lit with a blow torch.

    Do enough touring off-road and you’ll never want to go back to a narrow drop bar. The 8º of upsweep has me very curious.

    Those gold Klampers tho……

    • Peter Chesworth

      I’m ok with a narrow drop bar – 38cm Nitto Jitensa. But mostly road and with a bag on front and low trail. Works well.

  • Fin Narthex

    In my 21 years I’ve lived through the MTB craze of the 90s ….

    • Smithhammer

      You’re assuming time is linear and that time travel is an impossibility. I was around for the “spoon brake™” fad of the 1890s, yet I’l less than 50 years old.

  • Scott Sattler

    For the mechanics on the blog – do the Herse and Velo Orange style cranks play well with 11 speed Shimano ? Great looking bike and a cute couple. Have fun in Mexico, Poppi

    • nothingfuture

      Right? I’d have thought the chainrings would be too wide for a 10/11 speed chain to even seat on properly.
      And I’d be amazed if there were “properly” compatible three-bolt chainrings (and they look vintage, so…
      I know weirdness is possible (I remember the days of re-spacing Campy cassettes for Shimano hubs or whatever), but this seems pretty strange.

      • Juan Cool Romance

        I was skeptical, but it’s the best shifting indexed bike I’ve had in years. No issue with the rings. Maybe the KMC chain is the golden secret ?

    • Igor Shteynbuk

      No problems here. I have been running 10sp on my VO 50.4 for years without issue. 11sp has been fine, too.

    • I ran a 10spd indexed shimano system, DA 7700 (9spd derailleur) DA 7900 indexed downtube lever (10spd) with a 105 5700 10spd cassette on both shimano and KMC chains with an original 70s era French, 50.4 BCD stronglight chainset. Worked beautifuly.

  • Scott Gater

    What’s the obvious reason for the Wizard sleeve name change?

    • Robert
      • Call me crazy, but I sort of thought that was part of the idea… Who would say, “oh yeah, the wizard sleeve, perfect,” if they didn’t know the slang definition for it?

        • Robert

          I didn’t know what it meant when I bought the bag. I thought the name some goofy D&D and doom metal thing, which is great. I felt pretty shitty about buying it after I learned that it was some misogynist slur. I’m glad they changed the name cause now I don’t have to cringe every time someone asks me what bag I’m running.

    • boomforeal

      better you find answer here

  • David

    I am interested to see if most touring types I’ve come across (geriatric, hiviz Caltrans vest, flat bar alloy trek with triple Sora, 700c, and flat pedals that casually ride from LA to Monterey like it aint no thang) would gravitate towards this kind of thing.

    • I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with (and being a) bike tourist(s)… emphatically yes.

      • David

        Ok that’s pretty interesting. Most touring types that I always see and talk to are penny pinching types that would never spring for builds like these and ride their aforementioned flat bar treks to the farmers market as much as on touring. This just seems really in a particular niche is all.

        • The traditional niche this build occupies is randonneuring, but the lack of a janky rear load doesn’t mean it isn’t also a touring bike. Don’t get hung up too hard on the words, though. If you tour on it, it’s a touring bike, hence why milk crates have traversed the globe for decades while some of us are afraid to leave our touring bikes locked up outside a grocery store…

        • That demographic definitely exists, but there are loads and loads of bike tourists who meticulously curate expensive and fantastic touring bikes. I tend to find that there are more people like that than otherwise. The farmer’s market tourists definitely seem to be having just as much fun, and that was (is) Poppi’s style for basically ever, too.

    • boomforeal

      depends on where you come across them. like yours, my experience suggests that most bike tourists you’d encounter “en tour” would be unlikely to notice or remark on such a bike. armchair tourists comparing “setups” at the local farmers market or whose principal enjoyment of touring is through instagram consumption would certainly gravitate towards this kind of things – it’s sick!

  • That fender fit is damn perfect. Love it.

    • AngryBikeWrench

      What I was gonna say – this is how god intended wheels, tires, and fenders fit.

  • Gregory Ralich

    Where are Crust bikes made? I’m so into what they are up to – it’s very creative and I really love that. Seems interesting though – this bike is lugged, the Scapegoat is TIG welded. Do they contract out the manufacturing once they have got a design finalized?

    • Justin Hughes

      Yes, from my conversation with Matt. He traveled to Taiwan to visit the small family factory that does some of their frames and forks (the Romanceur included). Their next bike with have a US TIG’d frame and fork from the Taiwan factory.

      • Gregory Ralich


  • Well, shit! We’ve reached peak touring bike on January 3rd? What the hell does 2017 have left?! I can’t picture a better build!

  • Aaron

    I would love to hear Poppi’s (and anyone else’s) thoughts on why the 1 inch threaded steerer is part of the “perfect bike.” Is there some butteriness factor in this choice or is it purely aesthetic? Something else? I’m all for aesthetic choices on bikes, btw. Just curious.

    • Aaron

      Ok never mind. Just read the linked essay on the Crust Bikes page. It all makes sense.

  • Eliot Rose

    With 36mm of trail, isn’t the Romanceur more of a low-trail bike than a mid-trail one? I thought mid-trail was in the 45-60mm range.

  • recurrecur

    I gotta ask…
    I really like the position of the headlight, but does the tire and fender throw a weird shadow?

    • Yes, it was the best solution he could make at the moment. He’ll probably come up with something a little more elegant / practical soon.

  • noob_sauce

    Every Poppi photo set gets me all. “I need to get some Evolv Cruzers.”

    • Quinn Alonzo

      they will literally change your life. you could be at the bottom of the Mariana trench and those shoes still wont slip off.

      • noob_sauce

        The brand’s pretty hard to come by where I live a couple of climbing shoes here and there. I’d try Amazon but I’m wary about sizing and shipping halfway around the world, pretty close to the Mariana trench, in fact. :D

    • Jonathan E. Seely

      Best shoes I’ve ever ridden in.

  • Quinn Alonzo


  • Any fatter and those could be motorcycle tyres. How big are those?

    • Robert

      I think they’re the Rat Trap Pass by Compass, which are 2.3″.

  • starground

    “pigeon chested bodies are negated to 38-46mm “wide” bars”

    Yep, dat would be problematic, indeed… Aaargh, those darn metric measurements… ;-)

  • Peter Chesworth

    First week in, bike of the year. Beautifully weird. The Smoke/Dart is underrated. Best upgrade I made to my Giant Sedona, other than junking the Biopace and plonking for a 500EX. And the stem. And saddle. The handlebar might have got switched for a Scott 120g. Oh, and the rims for Mavic SUPs. The low profile cantis for wide Deores and thumbies with the phantom 8th gear. Other than that, completely unchanged.

  • Trent

    How is this rear fender mounted at the seat stay bridge?

    • Justin Hughes

      Like all proper bridges for fenders it has a 5M boss parallel with the seat stays.

  • Tony Clifton

    I’ll bet the discs on a lugged, 1″ headtube bike gave Grant Peterson seizures.

    • Smithhammer

      Haha….yeah, prolly.

  • Andrew Wade

    Curious if the tires/fenders changed before leaving for Baja? 418g EL RTP tires don’t sound like a good tire in desert conditions.

    • He’s not riding this bike in Baja. He’s got an SWorks hardtail with a steel fork for that.

      • Andrew Wade

        Thanks. That makes more sense.

      • Patrick Jonathan Neitzey

        A Sklarized fork…that dank dank

  • Benjamin Peacock

    Anyone know what pedals are on this? Looking for a grippy set of platforms and these look good and lo pro…… Used dmr v12’s in the past and they are great but these look skinnier.

    • Kyle Cox

      Specialized Boomslangs?

      • I use the Raceface Atlas on my tourers, townies and trail bikes. Love them!

    • Benjamin Peacock

      Roger that, cheers. They look good. Just been searching online, seems like the market is flooded in top notch platforms these days, – and $120 is the new standard for nearly every upgrade component that I need (want!)…
      Spank Oozy looks decent too.

  • Jason Marshall

    I really like the placement of the seat tube water bottle mount. It is a small detail but having it so low will allow for bigger bottles and half frame bags.

  • Thomas Wilson

    Damn! What sort of bag is that?

  • Michael Drelling

    What fenders is this running? Looks like a Hanjo sticker on the rear fender but I can’t really tell. I need fenders on my Hanford that I’m running 650bx47mm currently. These tires are way wider than mine and the fenders look great. aka I need them!