Written by #ShimanoGravel Alliance Ambassador Nick Uniatowski
Blending classic cruiser bike style with modern geometry and features, Retrotec Cycles is always a crowd pleaser at NAHBS and I was excited to check out what they’d bring to their booth this year. Curtis Inglis of Retrotec never disappoints and his booth was packed with beautiful steel frames. Curtis not only builds the unique frames, but he builds the bikes’ custom forks and stems as well providing a complete and visually consistent package.
I first heard of Retrotec Cycles in 2007 when my brother Chuck started researching custom builders for a dream bike, he wanted for shredding our local trails. Chuck and I had both moved to northwest Philadelphia several years earlier and rediscovered mountain biking thanks to the Wissahickon, a great trail system nearby. At the time, single speed mountain bikes were popular in our region and Chuck worked with Curtis to design a classic Retrotec 29er single speed perfect for those local trails.
At NAHBS this year, the bike that caught my eye was Curtis’ personal gravel bike that he built to replace his cyclocross bike. It features an assortment of gravel-specific details that enhance the bike’s performance without sacrificing the hallmark Retrotec style.
The tubing configuration is what Curtis calls a “Double” and includes a classic curved top tube with the addition of a straight tube just below. This creates a nice enclosed spot for securing a frame bag.
It also has a lower bottom bracket for stability over loose terrain as well as bigger tire clearance than what you’ll find on most cross bikes these days.
Rounding out his custom build is a dropper post for getting rowdy on the local trails.
Once again, Retrotec was one of the most exciting and interesting builders at NAHBS. The grey paint and pink anodized parts along with the curvy lines of this adventure gravel bike stopped people in their tracks and was one of my favorites of the show.
Photography by Kevin Fickling