Curtis Inglis started in the hand made bicycle world when he got a job in 1993 working for Robert Seals, the founder of Retrotec and the inventor of the original Cool Tool multi-tool. Three years later, after moving to San Francisco with Jeremy and Jay Sycip, Curtis launched Inglis cycles but continued to build Retrotecs on demand. These days, Curtis continues to build both lines of frames out of his Napa, CA home base with Retrotec continuing to offer modern takes on retro classic styling, and Inglis covering traditional straight tube frames.
Check out Curtis’ take on our pre-NAHBS interview next.
Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?
Curtis Inglis: I only build using steel. Most of my bikes are custom cruiser inspired frames and steel is really versatile.
Bikerumor: What have you been working in since NAHBS last year?
Curtis Inglis: At last year’s show I introduced a few new things for Retrotec. PF30, 44mm head tubes and 142 through axles. Theses were not totally new to the industry, but new for me. I have been incorporating these new standards into frames when customers want them. Other than that, I have been trying to keep my wait times in check and still get out and ride as much as I can.
Bikerumor: Any killer custom bike builds?
Curtis Inglis: I built a bike for a customer that was swinging through Napa on his honeymoon. He and his wife both ordered custom bikes on their honeymoon, one from me and the other from Sycip. The bike was a pretty standard build with a nicer paint job. It felt nice to be a part of their vacation in some way.
Bikerumor: Did you see anything at NAHBS last year that’s inspired you?
Curtis Inglis: Last year’s NAHBS was really busy. I had no time to get out and check other bikes out. My booth was across from Ira Ryan and I really enjoyed looking at his delivery bike and trailer.
Bikerumor: What are you bringing to the show this year that’ll have every other builder standing slack jawed in awe?
Curtis Inglis: I doubt I will have any other builders standing slack jawed. I try to always bring bikes I would like to build more of, standard bikes that customers order throughout the year. I am bringing three customer bikes this year, all pretty standard builds. The 29+ probably will stand out the most just because it is a new standard that not many people have gotten to see first hand. In the end, it is a pretty standard mountain bike built around a set of big rims and tires.
Bikerumor: Scenario: A customer commissions you and one other builder to create the ultimate bicycle using the same parameters, same base material and same budget in an Iron Chef style competition. Who would you want to build against that would push you and elevate your game?
Curtis Inglis: It would be fun to build against one of the guys that only build very traditional lugged bikes. I think it would be a nice contrast to see a very traditional lugged frame and a Retrotec side by side. With that said, not so sure I would want to compete against another builder. I think it would be more fun to just show them side by side.