Due to a last minute change in plans, the ever-charming Curtis Inglis of Retrotec is suddenly making an appearance at NAHBS this year. Having taken a few years off of showing fat bikes, we can look forward to Curtis making a triumphant return to the category with a Twin Fat featuring state-of-the-art specifications. Also, be sure to look out for a deeply custom Sierra Leone-themed 29+ non-suspension corrected build. Curtis and his legendary sense of humor after the jump.
BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?
Curtis: After 23 years of building all our bikes out of steel we have decided to switch gears and build all out bikes out of this new magical material called carbon fiber. I have been busy reinventing carbon mold and layup for the last couple weeks and I think I have it nailed. Frames have been coming out just under 1.5 lbs. and I am sure they will be hella strong. Our preliminary wind tunnel test data is coming in really unbelievable. 83% less drag than those junky steel bikes we used to make. The Retrotec time trial bike with the Sippycup™butt bottle gains you 45 seconds in a 5-mile TT. You basically can cut your training time in half and still totally win!
Or, we make bikes out of steel.
BIKERUMOR: What’s new with your company since NAHBS last year?
Curtis: Other than long-winded answers like I just gave, I am constantly trying to stay on top of new trends and how to implement the good ones while not chasing my tail on the bad ones. I have had the opportunity to build quite a few Funduro®™ frames (longer travel hard tail) this year and getting some great feedback from customers. Chasing all the new tire sizes feels a bit like chasing my tail, but since I actually enjoy riding large volume tires it is a welcome exercise in making it all work. I feel like I need to make another category on my website dedicated to goofy tire sizes.
BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds in that time?
Curtis: I would like to think that all the bikes get the same amount of attention to detail when I am building them. Some bikes do get some really nice powder work. I got to send a set of bikes to Europe that I thought turned out really nice. I had not done the inset headset on any bikes before these two. I really enjoy the traditional look of a proper headset showing on bikes but the customers really wanted the look of no headset so I went along with it. I was really pleased at how they turned out.
BIKERUMOR: What were some of your newer inspirations for recent bikes?
Curtis: I get a lot of my inspiration from my customers. The 29+ bike that I am showing at NAHBS has a unique powder job that means a lot to the customer. Here is what the design means to him: The blue, white and green are from the Sierra Leone flag, the red trim (headset / hubs) symbolizes the blood shed in the mid 1990’s civil war and from the ongoing Ebola epidemic that plagues Sierra Leone and West Africa.
BIKERUMOR: What are you building this year that’ll draw a crowd?
Curtis: I am taking three bikes to the show, I hope they all go over well:
1. Fillet brazed Retrotec Twin disc monster cross. Road bikes with large tires always set the imagination off to where you could go.
2. Fillet brazed Retrotec Triple 29+ with a non-suspension corrected fork. I got a chance to meet the customer last year during NAHBS and it just worked out that I am showing his bike this year. This is the bike with the special paintwork dedicated to Sierra Leone. He is picking it up at the show.
3. Tig welded Retrotec Twin Fat bike. I have not shown a fat bike since 2009, so I thought it would be fun to implement some of the new standards, if you can use the word “standards” when it comes to fat bikes.
BIKERUMOR: If you had to build a bike for a Kentucky Derby style race (think short, all out effort on deep, loose dirt), what would you build and why?
Curtis: I don’t think I build bikes that would win the Kentucky Derby, but I think a Monster Cross bike would be a perfect contender for a mid-pack finish.
BIKERUMOR: Bourbon or beer?
Curtis: BEER. I mean wine, I am from Napa after all.