This bicycle named Lil Romeo was chosen for my first attempt at the Tour Divide based on trust built over the years of adventuring together. A Reynolds 853 steel Crust Romanceür that I’ve ridden for 4 years in 4 different United Nations recognized countries. The custom frame bag that held food, 3 liters of water, and often a can of nitro coffee has the Tibetan national flag that is not recognized by the United Nations. I love this flag almost as much as I love this bike. Not for the sake of Nationalism, but for the sake of Beauty. Lots of parts on this bike were selected for beauty, practicality, and nostalgia.
Last summer I was lucky enough to make my pilgrimage to Nutmeg Country while on a work trip to NYC. While getting a tour of Benedict’s “childhood home”, he showed me the bike pile in his basement. He looked at me and said, “Spencer, you need something classy, pick whichever frame you want.” Of course I picked the rusted Romanceür prototype…
Double dipping on brands isn’t something I like to do very often. What I mean is yesterday’s gallery featured Crust Bikes and today’s – obviously – is too. What I can’t ignore are the impressive details that went into this build and how much of a joy it was to shoot this bike. So I’m riding this wave of emotions and posting this bike immediately.
Scott’s Romanceur might just be my favorite Crust Bikes I’ve seen to date. Sorry, Poppi! So what makes this build so special? Well, for one, its build kit is well thought out, but not by any means standard. The components used are a healthy mix of classic and current, with a heavy nod to French constructeur builds. Gilles Berthoud is the brand of choice for all the leather work, yet the mix of Japanese drivetain components, updated with modern Wolf Tooth accoutrement. For instance, the Roadlink allows the use of older XTR derailleurs with cassettes like the E Thirteen wide range TRS+, all operated by a friction shifter. The classic Dura Ace cranks run a modern Wolf Tooth ring. From there, the build just gets better, with purple and blue anodized bits, including Phil Wood’s rear road hub and various bottle cage bolts. The front SON completes the hub selection, which are laced to Stans rims and rolling on Compass tires. These wheels are covered by Sim Works fenders with Gilles fender flaps. A Sinewave lamp is held to the Nitto rack by a chain ring mount hack. The Velo Orange bars are held by a Nitto stem, with a Cane Creek headset, and Mafac levers are paired with Paul Klamper brakes. One of my favorite details is the ultralight Tune skewer on the rear!
I can’t even describe how good this bike looks in person and can’t wait to see how it looks after a few months of use. Scott, if you’re reading this, I hope you enjoy riding this bike as much as I did shooting it!
If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.
“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…
Earlier this week, we showcased Cheech from Crust Bikes’ personal 24″ Romanceur build (plus more!) and just now, Crust announced their shipment of 24″ wheeled Romanceurs have hit their webshop. There’s no telling if they’ll do another run of these frames, so cruise on over to their webshop to procure one… Available in turquoise (pictured) or raw clear for $1,275.
You may not know me but maybe you’ve heard of my company? Well, I’m using this article as the official announcement of my debutante summer, The Summer of Cheech. I’m Cheech, Co-Owner of Crust Bikes and Creator/ Designer of Casa Verde.
New color, cantilever posts, and QR.
The Romanceur might be one of Crust Bikes’ most popular models and this new update is a massive throwback. In an era of disc brakes, the new Romanceur goes with cantilever studs, where most bikes use thru-axles, it has gone QR. People loved the original Romanceur for its modern updates on a very classic silhouette and for those who want a modern frame with cantilever studs, QR axles, and a 1″ steerer… this new Romanceur is for you.
New color, disc brakes and thru-axles.
You can still order the original Romanceur with disc brakes or this new model with throwback specs. The pre-order is open at Crust Bikes right now!
Want some build inspiration? We listed it below in the Related columns…
Philly Bike Expo isn’t just about high-end custom, builds, it’s also home to some pretty fine production steel bikes as well, albeit this one is made by Crust bikes out of a Reynolds 831 Tubeset. It has some special parts, special paint, and some one-off parts that haven’t existed ’til this moment. Matt built this romantic Romanceür with a Campagnolo shifter setup friction 11speed that make it through the whole 11speed SRAM X-Dome cassette. The only René Herse cranks set-up with a Made in Maine narrow-wide ring by Derrick Girard and it even has an old Shimano Sharkfin, a new 0deg Nitto X Crust stem, and a set of carbon clinchers. This steel bike is real…light even loaded. If you’re in the market for a new Crust hit them up, you may even be able to beg for that ring, but probably not.
Live in the Northeastern Atlantic states long enough and you will come to learn of the macro-scale extratropical cyclone known as a Nor’easter. These storms bring rain, wind, can cause severe erosion on the beaches and in general aren’t that fun, unless you’re a surfer. Coincidentally, that’s where Matt from Crust Bikes came from. The surfing world. If you can call it a world at this point, it’s more like a galaxy. Matt spends a majority of time in New Jersey, at his super sweet shop, and he still surfs, so when a Nor’easter hits, Matt paddles out… These storms inspired the latest from Crust Bikes. While at the Eroica California weekend, I took his Nor’easter ‘light tourer’ out for a sunrise photo session. It still had spider webs covered in dew draped from the salmon pink tubing.
Crust Bikes And Casa Verde, A Coastal Collaboration
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
While wrapping up after Philly bike expo I casually said to Matt from Crust Bikes that I had hoped to make it out to Belmar to check it out, just like that there was an invite for a chill-out-grill-out and a Crust Bikes World HQ tour. I left Philly and headed east to the coast. I’ve never been to Belmar, and my myopic view of Jersey was distilled through the lens of Newark, which is over industrialized and by comparison to Belmar, anything but beautiful. Founded in 1889 Belmar, which translated from Italian means “beautiful sea” is a lush coastal community with close proximity to surf, shredding, and solace in the coastal hinterlands not far from where Crust is located. So central is Crust/Belmar that in just a short drive you’re in NYC or Philly, should you need your fix of city life.
Look, we all get a bad case of Rubber Side Up from time to time, but Matt from Crust Bikes got it bad. Real bad. An $11,069 surgery bill bad. Bad enough to potentially lead to the end of Crust Bikes as we know it if we can’t help him out. I’m not asking for a handout here, more like support and support can come in the form of buying products, or a frame, or hell, even donating a few bucks to his Go Fund Me, but as Benedict points out in this heart-felt Instagram post:
“Matt is an Australian citizen with no health insurance in this country. His “Transitioning Alien” status doesn’t allow re-entry back in if he were to leave, sinking crust, and separating him from his beloved wife, Cheech.
He needs 2 costly surgeries and just got a huge bill for all these new #romanceur frames”
Yes, two surgeries and that ain’t cheap. Let’s pull together and do what communities do in these moments. xoxo
Writing product description takes finesse, yet clearly, Matt from Crust Bikes really enjoyed writing about their newest frameset, the Lightning Bolt:
“The Lightning bolt is a dedicated low trail randonneur frame. Unlike the rest of our frames this one is designed with pavement in mind. Max tire clearance is 650b X 48c. Compatible with both 1X, 2X or even triple chainring set up. Main tubes are made from some pretty thin wall Renoylds 853, which I noticed a bunch of people wanted the Romanceur to be, so here it is. Will it plane I hear you ask? It flexes in such a harmonic resonance, you will think you are surfing Kelly slaters wave pool riding a Mick Mackie flex tail fish, doing the smoothest high lines this side of Derek Hynd at J.Bay, it just planes that good! What am I talking about I hear you ask? Contact Jan Heine to find out, be sure to mention Kelly Slaters wave pool, I mean come on people! How is no one else trying to make a bike ride like a surfboard on an artificial wave?”
See more at Crust Bikes!
Photo from @JDGESUS
I gotta say, the latest frames Crust Bikes have been putting out have been damn fine bicycles. The Romanceur, Dreamer and now the Nor’Easter, pictured above are all exceptional. Yet, there’s something about this build in particular that has me drooling. It’s like a Rivendell that has disc brakes! More info to come…
The Australian Crust Van Tour
Photo and words by Jorja Creighton
Touring plans can be dismantled on the fly and made better, sure there is glory in the hard yakka, but when you are out for two weeks, just looking for the good times … Chase the rainbow and good trails. Turn off that path if it looks rosier, you’re on holidays! That’s what the #crustvantour did, and boy did we find the rainbow.
We set out to ride half of the east coast of Australia. From Brisbane to Sydney over the month that Kurt and Raymond were in town from America. Half the crew riding on Crust Bikes, it was a Crust Tour after all; a step through extra small hot-pink Evasion, an eXtra cycle converted Evasion, a Crust Romanceür, and a fresh burgundy Scapegoat that Kurt was riding. The other half of the crew riding a Surly, a custom Moustache build, a pub bike and Jones bike. We can’t all be Crust lucky.
We shoot a lot of bikes here on the Radavist. A lot. From my estimates, including tradeshows, and events like the Chris King Open House, or the Moots’ Employee Bikes, and even the Speedvagen Build Off, we shot 220 or so bikes in 2018. That’s a lot of bikes. A lot of details. A lot of component selection, build styles, and uses. From road, to mountain, and everything in between, noting the permutations that exist in this ever-so-special era in the cycling industry, I really feel like we’ve shown you just about everything you could see this year.
Out of those 220 bikes, I looked at the data in the form of traffic metrics, social chatter, and comments to pick the Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018. While many bikes had a lot of comments, some had higher traffic or social media shares. Compiling all the numbers, a very compelling list was formed. Not included in this lot are bike reviews, of which Morgan’s review of the Midnight Special and Kyle’s review of his Chubby Cosmic Stallion took the highest metrics from all others on this list. I guess they’re in a league of their own!
At any rate, check out the complete Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018, in no particular order, below!
For many, a New Year means time for reflection, and time for prospectives. For cyclists, this often includes planning out a build for a planned ride or perhaps updating your favorite bike with new gear. Perhaps that’s the motivation for many of you to visit this site. For us at the Radavist, we look at all the data from the past year’s content and begin to understand more what you, the readers, love to see here on the site.
Every bicycle on this list should come as no surprise. It was one of the most difficult selections in the history of this site, as almost all of these Beautiful Bicycles delivered similar metrics. We pulled these from the archives based on traffic, social media chatter and commentary. They’re displayed in no particular order. Omitted are bicycle reviews and completely bone stock production models – like the Jim Merz Sequoia and All-City Cosmic Stallion.
Thrown in, making it a baker’s dozen, is our top 2017 NAHBS pick as well. Without further adieu, here’ the Lucky 13 Beautiful Bicycles of 2017!
On June 11th, 2021, I became the first Tibetan person to race the Tour Divide (if that kind of thing matters, really). Though I didn’t reach my goal of finishing this year, I did bite off a good 1,300-mile chunk of it, offering pieces of myself to the land along the way. Here’s what I experienced.