Words and photos by Lucas Winzenburg (@bunyanvelo)
Hi, I’m Lucas, and after sharing more than 150 rigs from our readers over the past few years, I figured it was about time I shared one of my own. The bike I’ve chosen to highlight today is one of my least showy but most ridden: my 2019 La Ruta Rando from Creme Cycles, a manufacturer from Gdansk, Poland, known for their relatively inexpensive city bikes.
You can find various Creme models locked up and being ridden by casual cyclists everywhere around Berlin, and that’s where they first caught my eye. I was in the market for a cheap commuter that I could keep locked up at any time of day and in any weather conditions without worrying when I stumbled upon the La Ruta Rando on Creme’s website. It wasn’t what I was expecting to find—or even looking for—but its seemingly well-considered feature set and €1,799 price tag (at the time) had me intrigued.
With a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset, dynamo lights, matching full-coverage fenders, and house-made front/rear racks, I was convinced by the La Ruta Rando’s EU-made “budget rando” promise. So, I ordered one as my do-it-all city bike. It turned out to be so much more than that, with a few noteworthy caveats. The bike had a few obvious quirks I knew about going in, and other surprises only revealed themselves after I’d started riding it.
First, the good. When I’m on this bike, I regularly take the long way on my commutes just to sneak in a few extra kilometers. And I’ve shown up to countless group rides and weekend bikepacking trips on it, despite having more capable and higher-end bikes in my stable. I’ve never found a detailed geometry chart for it, and I have no idea what kind of tubes were used in its construction. It’s just a bike, and riding it often makes me want to continue pedaling well beyond my destination. What more can you ask for?
But, truth be told, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my La Ruta Rando from the moment I unboxed it. The folks at Creme made a few head-scratching decisions that make it fall short of its sleeper-pick potential. Readily apparent issues are speccing a 42cm wide bar and roadie 50/34 gearing with an 11-28 cassette on a bike that presents itself as being purpose-built for loaded travel. Luckily, you can get away with such gearing in pancake-flat Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, but it’s a clear mismatch and won’t serve many riders well.
- Frame/Fork Creme La Ruta Rando, XL (2019)
- Rims Creme double wall aluminum
- Hubs Shutter Precision PL-8 (front) / Shimano FH-7070 (rear)
- Tires WTB Horizon 47mm
- Handlebars ZIPP Service Course 70 XPLR
- Bar Tape Brooks Cambium
- Crankset Creme 50/34
- Pedals MKS x Crust Sylvan Gordito
- Cassette Shimano 11-28, 11-speed
- Derailleurs Shimano 105
- Brakes Shimano ST-MT400
- Shifter(s) Shimano 105
- Saddle Brooks Cambium C17
- Seatpost Reverse Components
- Stem Creme high-rise, 100mm
- Front bags Atwater Marauder, Hungry 139 Tote, or Wizard Works Mini Shazam
- Rear bags Copra Booty Bag (large) or Atwater Booty Bag (small)
- Front Rack Allygn Grill Rack
- Lighting Supernova Pure E3 / Spanninga Pixeo XS (rear)
- Other accessories Topeak frame pump, cheapo basket, Knog Oi bell, Salsa Nick Less Cages
A couple of significant but less obvious issues are the brand’s decision to pre-cut the steerer tube so short that you can only slam the stem. I was able to get my bars close to high enough by sneaking a couple of spacers under the high-rise stem, but this puts the top of the steerer tube below the stem’s minimum insertion line and induces a wee bit of anxiety (I’m absolutely not recommending doing this, by the way). A framebuilder friend has agreed to add some steerer tube but I haven’t found the time to bring it in just yet. The La Ruta Rando also has more front-end shimmy than I’d like, though a hand on the bars quiets it down entirely. I found the stock racks quite wonky and was quick to remove them, too. Together, these issues are reasonable grounds for second-guessing my decision, but this bike inexplicably keeps pulling me back.
Despite all the eccentricities outlined above, the La Ruta Rando manages to ride like a dream. Pedaling it around the city brings me a sense of joy that regularly reminds me why I love riding so much. Maybe it’s because I don’t expect much from it and I haven’t invested heaps of money into the latest and greatest tech from which I’m counting on as many marginal gains as possible. I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly what makes me feel so connected to my commuter, but I hope everyone has a bike like this. I don’t take it too seriously, which reminds me to have fun while riding it. And although it’s not the cheap commuter I was originally seeking, it’s not so precious that I have to worry about it earning scratches and dings along the way.
Lastly, a quick overview of what I’ve changed so far. I swapped out the 42cm bars to a wider 46cm option, installed a Grill Rack from Allygn (@allygn_components) here in Berlin, swapped out the stock saddle for a tried-and-true Brooks C17, and added a pair of big ol’ MKS x Crust Sylvan Gordito pedals (I’m actually not such a fan of these as they don’t provide quite enough grip for rainy Northern Europe and my feet occasionally slip around). I also sometimes run an €8 basket that I found at a supermarket and cut sections out of to allow the shifters to pass through. The Knog Oi bell is an essential commuter accessory and the Topeak Master Blaster pump suits the frame perfectly. As for bags, I typically run my all-time favorite waxed canvas 139 Tote from Hungry in Australia (@h_ngry) in the basket or the massive Marauder from Atwater Atelier (@atwateratelier) in Montreal for loaded trips.
That’s all for now, as I can sense this becoming one of the longest Reader’s Rig posts to date. Thanks for reading about my city bike, and don’t forget to send us your rigs! We love sharing them and watching this diverse archive grow.
You can keep up with Lucas on Instagram @bunyanvelo.
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.