Behold, a timeless diamond in the crust. The “cantibolt” is the “sign a waiver” lightest tubed-cantilever-1” threaded offering from Crust Bikes; the first name in Boastfully Poor Business Decisions Index Weekly. A riff on the Jan Mule that so famously/infamously dons just about every other page of Bicycle Quarterly; the Crust version has coincidentally received praise from its muse… the sultan of supple; the prince of planing himself… Jan Heine uuuuuuvvv Bicycle Quarterly.
You can learn more about the geometry and tubing spec on the Crust site or in that Bicycle Quarterly review, so I thought I would just focus on the build and overall aesthetic here.
Without sounding too much like a beardo weirdo (……wait), I want to start by saying nothing truly timeless has been made since the advent of Shimano Octalink. That was 1996/97. Campy held on for a few years longer (a move that will forever endear me to Campagnolo0; but the dreaded “mid-school” era followed. Ergo bend bars :/ . 31.8 handlebar clamps. Aluminum bikes with carbon rear ends that cleared 700×20 max… need I say more?
I ammmm gonna say more. It got worse… look where we are today! SHIMANO GRX…. Sorry if you were eating. The mood board for the GRX group must have been a photo of a Bluetooth earpiece circa 2012 worn by a timeshare salesperson. Campagnolo took a dive and now securely holds the ugliest crankset in the biz award… looks like a faux spinner hubcap designed by Ed Hardy. I’m not gonna get into SRAM here. SRAM is for civilians; those who are emotionally fulfilled with stock OEM. I’m not talking trash; I envy their complacency!
So that brings us to this build choice and why a modern analog, no-nonsense bike like this is so cool and fun to piece together for the home mechanic.
Almost every non fresh-outa-the-Paul oven component was procured by digging through the murky depths of parts bins around the country; most notably BICAS in Tucson. For the price of one Shimano GRX shift lever sewage spill, you can spec an entire bike with eternal lifespan cold forged Japanese/Italian/French mechanical jewelry! The joy and art of friction shifting is the key to this world… works with everything. Surrender yer indexing, its a captor of yer shifts…acknowledge that disc brakes ruin the elegant lines of a well-designed frame… and that they are boring. Yes, BORING. They don’t work thaaaatttt much better… plus you have to build a wicked stiff n’ heavy fork around em. Infuriating! Save the rim brake! Throw a tomato at me!
On that note, I challenge anyone who has ridden a set of properly tuned Paul rim brakes to say that discs work better. Such supreme levels of modulation have all but been forgotten in the industry push to disc the world. It’s a deep state conspiracy born of the dark web ensuring modulation cannot co-exist with modern times. Soul numbing, really.
Now take yer jaw off the keyboard and relax into this drivetrain collection of Campy Record 10 and Suntour Power Control (set on friction), powered by T.A. Pro 5 cranks with Velo Orange 50.4 bcd 28-44 chainrings. Handlebars are custom bent 50 Simworks So-bars flared to 61. Paul Neo Retro cantilevers, QR and tall n’ handsome seatpost cut SHORT. Wheelset is a Velocity Quill x SP dynamo up front, and Pacenti P23 x Campy chorus 10. Headset is a garage soup du jour of Campy Record and FSA Duron. Levers are Diacomp “compact” for small hands. Saddle is a well broken in Brooks B17s imperial with the nose tilted up WHERE IT SHOULD BE for level handlebars. Tires are Ultradynamico Cava 650bx47.99 Cava Race; the dynamic choice. Tubeless 25 psi rear, 20 front.
Nam is currently QUAMing the deserted back roads of the lower Connecticut River valley on this bike in between checking her newsfeed and panicking. Ohhh those meditatively tactile friction shifts…