2018 NAHBS: Behold the Sklar Bikes x Ultra Romance Nutmegger

Where do I even begin here? A bunch of awesome brands working together on a unique concept, featuring unique products and a lot of uniqueness. Is that even a word? Sklar and Benedict, aka Ultra Romance teamed up to build the ultimate bicycle. It’s so ultimate that I don’t even know what to call it. Is it a road bike? A touring bike? A mtb? Who knows. Right now, the consensus seems to be just “Nutmegger,” so that’s what I’ll call it. Before I go any further here, I’ll just say this bike begs for more than the brevity associated with copywriting of my NAHBS galleries and maybe one day we’ll dive in deeper, until then, I’ll give you the gist.

This is a part fillet, part tig welded steel frame in a nickel finish, with a custom stem by Hubert from Madrian Fabrication. It’s got a long wheelbase, mid-trail and a truss fork design, along with a double top tube to support the massive head tube. When you ride this thing, you’re really IN it, not on it.

The 66.6cm wide Crust bars are mated with a custom Swift Industries bag and nestled in that top tube space is an Andrew the Maker Bag. Those perty Paul and White Industries bits are custom annodized brown. There’s even a Connecticut State Coin as the top cap! It was assembled in Benedict’s mom’s kitchen and is still kinda sorta being built up as I’m writing this. Yes, the derailleur cable is long, there are no brake cable crimps and I had to stop Poppi from shallacing the tape as I was photographing it.

So what is the Nutmegger? I honestly have no idea. It’s a bicycle that embodies Benedict and that’s all it needs to be. Will Adam from Sklar make you one? Helllll nahhhhhh.

  • Steeloats

    Slow clap

  • Whoa.

  • omg that 1st pic #shellaction

  • rusty

    so good! It seriously keeps getting better the more I look at it!

  • hannah

    What a beautiful machine. Any idea what those water bottle cages are?

  • dan scheie

    Can’t wait to smell those shorts tomorrow…

  • Rob X

    possibly the most bizarre bike ever and I frickin love it

    • Mark Bulgier

      If you think that’s the most bizarre bike ever, you need to get out more!

      Anyone know, does “Nutmegger” refer to being from Connecticut?

  • Nicholas Petersen

    This thing is delightfully insane. 8 speed?

  • terriblemcnaughton

    This shred sled and the Sklar Klunker (which I am politely demanding photos of) look like they might be the bell of the NAHBS ball.

    • marty larson

      I second and third that klunker. Messed my shorts when I first saw it.

  • Andrew Mc

    This thing is rad in execution and detail! The one thing I do scratch my head on though is the drivetrain choice…There are so many great options with new drivetrains and what they offer I don’t understand the use of a friction shifter and 7 speed. I can hear the chain bouncing on the chain-stay from here.

    Regardless of what I ponder, this thing is cool as shit and I am sure produces giggles while riding and gawks from passerby’s.

    • Mark Rothschild

      “Seven is Heaven” Guru Grant P

  • Roman Deshong

    I am very curious about the brake lever situation. How did you get those cables to run under the tape to those levers? Whats the deal?

    • John B.

      They are old school aero levers (suntour superbe?) without the hoods.

  • John Rosenwinkel

    The rear disc caliper mount situation is pretty awful… the hoopty housing reminds me of the housing loops common on the rear brakes of step-through frames. I wonder why Adam didn’t mount it to the chainstay, which would give much nicer routing. I don’t really understanding the fawning over this bike — it’s an expensive custom bike that has the air of a bike kitchen spare parts bike. Feels like wealth masquerading as crustiness.

    • Brian Richard Walbergh

      Yeah, The bike kitchens in Connecticut are nuts.

      • They make good pizza at the CT bike kitchens.

    • Matthew J

      Bikes should never be fun, godamnit anyway.

    • DaymanDaryl

      I dig it, but I see it’s faults. It’s like the Grey Gardens of bikes…

    • I do love the Klampers, but their size and the severe exit angle are not ideal for chainstay mounting or cable routing. That said, they work great like this and that is the most important.

  • Peter Hedman

    Well, hmm.

  • Gordon M

    just damn awesome! Nice to see a builder who can design and build a bike that breaks the boundaries of what one typically envisions.

  • Nicolas Ponroy

    The whole set-up looks so awesome. Those water bottle patina and the Suntour Superbre (pro?) rear derailleur are perfect details

  • rocketman

    the craftsmanship in the frame and bags is top notch. I love klunkers and rando bikes but the the overall design integration is kinda meh to me. Do love the Suntour parts and Simplex levers. Seems like someones been sniffin’ too much shellac.

  • DaymanDaryl

    Pumppeg-taillight…so radical.

  • Brent Kyono


  • Eltigre

    I think this is the most clothing I’ve ever seen Benedict wear.

  • Sarkis

    Intellectually i cannot judge the bike, but my gut likes what it sees.
    I would to test-ride it…not just look at it.
    We need radavist V2.0… A place where one can test ride exotic bikes via “mind-augmented-reality”…imagine the porn of that!

  • barry mcwilliams

    That is a truly lovely bike. It feels like a work of art. Functional, well-crafted and unique in vision. Love it.

  • You can’t overlook how awful that rear brake cable routing is. You just can’t. Very interesting bike though.

    • some people look at the leaf, others the tree. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • Some people look at both.
        (⚆ ͜ʖ⚆)
        (☉ ͜ʖ☉)
        (◉ ͜ʖ◉)

  • Adem Rudin

    So many cool details on this bike – the pump peg/taillight combo, that truss fork, the W I D E B A R S with the MTB grips on the drops, the top tube/framebag integration, the hella-moto steering geometry and long wheelbase… The execution is so good that the few bad details really stand out.

    Like, what’s with the seatstay caliper mount with the chainstay brake cable routing? The resulting cable routing is painfully bad, and I can’t see any rational reason that it had to be that way – given how tall Mr. Romance is, the seatstays allow for *plenty* of room on the chainstays for the caliper…

    The cassette has me scratching my head – that 13-40 IRD 8-speed unit (or is it the 12-40 9-speed? Hard to see if there’s another cog there…) is *not* cheap; the only reason to buy such a thing is if you’re tied to your existing indexed shifters but want a wider range (but can’t size down your chainrings). If you’re going friction anyway, why not grab a Deore XT 11-40 or 11-42 11-speed for about a third the price? Or pick a more readily-available 8- or 9-speed cassette and size the chainring down a little?

    And the bike-co-op-bargin-bin brake levers seem really out of place, given the level of bespoke-custom-ano-bling that’s covering the rest of the bike…

    (Finally, needs a custom ano #browncrank to go with the rest of the bits)

  • Shyone

    I cannot look away, but sorry to be a buzzkill and all, and I hate myself for asking, but what problem is this bike trying to solve, so to speak. Like, what does this bike do that other bikes don’t? You know, why?

  • Patrick Jonathan Neitzey

    What happened to the swoopy bars? I dig the 66.6cm bars, but I though there were going to be some custom swoopy joints on this.

  • Spence Peterson

    Lots of hype going into the show… don’t totally understand the clearcoat decision. Already a bit of rust under? Love the swoop and slack ha.

    • This frame is nickel plated

      • Spence Peterson

        Just like the first Breezers. Sweet!

      • California Travis

        Whoa I didn’t realize that! Sick!

  • Robert Zeidler

    As a tall rider, I’d like to have one.

  • joshhh

    ok the bike is cool and all, but what are the pants Poppi is wearing? they look like Carhartts but not quite.

    • Ben O’Brien

      they look like Topo Designs pants.

    • Ray Penrod

      IIRC, he did a blog post sometime back about how he customizes his Swrve shorts

    • Patrick Jonathan Neitzey


  • Ben O’Brien

    such a unique, beautiful bike. classic looking but totally out there at the same time. i overheard a few “are those 24″ wheels?” the proportions definitely throw you for a loop. so well done. congrats on the Columbus Award guys!

  • matt hew

    wowowow. i wanna be poppi, in that i want to figure out how to own so many delicious bikes and only “work” 5 hours a week! actually, i have plenty of bikes that are really fun…so really, i just wanna meet the fella so i can watch his eyes light up when he rolls around on this sklar masterpiece. bike is perfect, though my favorite detail is atm’s leather zipper cover. did i mention wowowow?

  • vopop

    Any idea what those water bottles are?

    • porter


  • slickfast

    John, did you get a chance to document any of Sklar’s other bikes? For example I was really blown away by that purple hard tail with the arched top tube!

    • I’ll shoot that one in Moab when we’re out there with Nich, the owner.

      • slickfast

        Sick! Thanks man, that sounds amazing.

  • AngryBikeWrench

    Beautiful bike, and I hesitate to ask because I don’t want this taken as criticism, but why locate the bridges on the fork and stays to necessitate the standoff for mounting the fenders? It seems to my untrained eye they could’ve been located closer to the tire so the fenders could mount directly to them (with the obligatory leather washer of course). Small detail and an honest question that shouldn’t detract from the rest of the bike.

    • We have it set up to run the spacers with 650 x 48 slicks and if he takes the spacers out it is ready to run 27.5 nobbies.