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Darren’s Crust Bikes Dreamer 27.5″ Dirt Tourer Prototype

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Darren’s Crust Bikes Dreamer 27.5″ Dirt Tourer Prototype

These days, the options for a touring bike are plentiful, especially when tapping into the framebuilding community. Yet, many of these US-made frames will set you back thousands of dollars. For people who can’t quite drop over $2,000 on a frame, Crust Bikes offers up the Dreamer. With clearances for 2.2″ 27.5″ tires with fenders, tons of braze-ons for extra bottles, a steel fork and lightweight tubing, these Dreamer frames are made right here in Los Angeles and come in at $1,450, painted. This is not a heavy duty touring bike, it’s a lighter, zippier version of the Crust Evasion.

Having watched Darren, the builder of these frames, shred the shit out of this bike, I’m sold. Sign me up. If you’d like a Dreamer, head to Crust Bikes for more information. They’re expecting these framesets any day now.

Benedict’s Silver and Gold Crust Bikes Romanceur Touring Bike

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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…

Mark’s Crust Bikes DFL 26+ Dirt Tourer – Morgan Taylor

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Mark’s Crust Bikes DFL 26+ Dirt Tourer – Morgan Taylor

Photos and intro by Morgan Taylor, words by Mark Reimer.

Does bike travel in the backcountry have to look a particular way? No, of course not. As you can see by the range of bikes being ridden in Spencer’s gallery, the #DFLtheDivide crew was a group that largely did not fit the mold of bike touring or bikepacking. That ride was all about doing things differently, living on the fringe and pushing the ideas of what traveling by bike looks like.

The Crust Bikes DFL occupies that space: not quite a touring bike, not quite a mountain bike – simply a bike built for traveling over whatever terrain you want to cover. John looked at Matt’s early version of this bike – at the time called the Evasion – and over a year later the DFL remains an intriguing idea that gets people asking questions and thinking about how they might build their own adventure bike.

Mark’s DFL hosts a great mix of domestically produced hard and soft goods, with a parts bin build kit carefully collected and selected over the years. The 9-speed XTR derailleur is hooked up to an indexed 10-speed Dura-Ace bar end shifter, using a Wolf Tooth road link to help the derailleur wrap around the SunRace 11-42 cassette. The Schmidt dynamo and Nitto racks and Carradice bags, so many details to pore over…

I’ll leave the rest to Mark because he captured the essence of this bike so well…

Matt’s Crust Bikes Evasion 26+ Tourer

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Matt’s Crust Bikes Evasion 26+ Tourer

Austin has a certain gravity. It attracts cyclists of all wheel types and for Matt, he wasn’t drawn here for the road cycling, or mountain biking. Matt began his experience with the bicycle on a BMX. He’s from Australia and Austin has always been the mecca for BMXing in the US. His friends here range from pros to companies like T-1, where he stays while in town.

It wasn’t until a surf trip in Mexico a while back where he finally got a bicycle. If you’d call it that. A clapped-out rig took him for hundreds of miles to visit a friend before he finally realized what he wanted in a bike. Later, a custom Bilenky allowed him to tow his surfboard on trips and the touring hook was set.

Fast forward a few years and Matt wanted to do something on his own. Since he’s not a framebuilder, he met up with a friend who’s dad was. They began talking about cycling and what it meant to Matt before drafting up a CAD drawing and getting a few prototypes made overseas. Crust Bikes was born. Sort of. Still incubating, this company right now spreads the stoke over Instagram, where Matt shares his travels and sells small items like patches, bottles and trucker caps.

Matt hopes to be building frames here in the States, under the welder of an experienced builder up in the North East. His first model would be this Evasion touring bike. Built for 26+ (Knard 3″), 650b or 700c wheels, the Evasion has the clearance and the confidence for everything from a sub 24 hour camping trip to full on excursion style riding.

I caught up with Matt last week and shot some photos of this unique rig. Built with a Rohloff, it’s virtually maintenance free. The Swift Industries bags, Brooks Saddle and other companents tell a tale through their patina. One that you too can follow along at @AFewSketchyMoments and @Crustbikes on Instagram