New Jersey-based Crust Bikes started in 2014, and offers framesets built from steel. As you might have guessed, owner Matt Whitehead is a fan of pizza (and who isn’t?).
Just as the crust is the foundation for any good pizza, a good quality frameset is the foundation of any great bike, and this is what Whitehead focuses his energies on.
“The frames are pretty special, I think, as they are a mix of past and present ideas and materials from the bicycle world,” he says.
We’ve all heard bicycles being dismissed, tongue-in-cheek, as a “bunch of pipes.” Well, that’s not really a false statement at its core, and Whitehead’s former career as a plumber taught him the basics of welding pipes together. But for the knowledge and art of turning tubes (let’s call them that) into frames, Whitehead drew from his love for cycling.
Crust’s framesets are the base for bikes that can venture off the beaten path, or stay on the road as the need arises. As Whitehead alludes to, there are some anachronistic elements on Crust’s road frames like pump pegs and bosses for three water bottles – de rigeur for touring bikes of the 1980s but rarer now. And then there is the modern use of disc brakes and thru-axles, both of which make sense for a loaded touring or randonneur bike so that either 650b or 700c wheels can be used.
Case in point is the Romanceur, a go-anywhere frameset that in many ways looks like a Raleigh from the early 1970s. It has lugged joints, a cream-colored headtube with fancy headbadge,and a curved hook pump peg for the back of the seat tube, but without the patina and with disc brakes instead of Mafac centerpulls.
Crust’s website, which like the Romanceur itself really needs to be seen to be appreciated, describes the frame as “a swashbuckling tender heart of a fantasy warrior, who not only seduces its rider, but acts as a psychedelic aphrodisiac on the psyche.” Show me an old Raleigh catalog with that kind of prose!
On the trail side of things, there’s the Scapegoat, a loaded off-road touring (or bikepacking) frame with just about every conceivable braze-on the off-road adventurer needs added to it. As its name suggests, the Scapegoat is ready to handle all the abuse of the bikepacking lifestyle, but as with many of Crust’s offerings, traditional elements like a threaded bottom bracket shell and a fully-rigid frame coexist with the modern, like rocker dropouts, so you can run single speed if desired.
In the end, Crust Bikes’ approach to cycling is a little irreverent, a little traditional, and 100% committed to supporting the adventure cycling lifestyle. Some bikes need to be not only ridden, but lived with to be fully appreciated, and a true partner for the cycling life is what awaits a Crust owner.