Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Ryan’s Rootbeer Rivendell Rosco Bubbe

Ryan might not be known too well in the cycling scene. Unless of course, you’re at Golden Saddle where he’s a regular to the shop, tweaking things on his bike, or figuring out where to bicycle camp, and just ride. He’s an accomplished skateboarding photographer though, which is the realm where he’s best known. Ryan traded his previous bike for this Rootbeer colored Rivendell Rosco Bubbe, which he swapped out a few parts on to make it his own. The details on this thing are exceptional, as are all Rivendell frames, but it’s the build kit that really stands out.

From the Sugino triple, to the JJJ Bars, to the Red Monkey Grips, Pass & Stow rack, a Bell Tower to raise his Spurcycle bell up, PAUL brakes, and Swift Sugarloaf bag, this bike is highly functional but looks damn good at the same time. Remarkably, Ryan was able to cram in those 50mm Cazadero tires into the frame, making it a perfect off-road machine for LA’s fire roads.

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Apr 27, 2018 46 comments
Inside / Out at Retrotec Cycles in Napa, California

I’ve never owned a bike that receives as much attention from non-cyclists as a Retrotec. With comments ranging from “can I fit big tires like that on my cruiser?” to “how’d you put disc brakes on that cruiser?” Once I follow up with an explanation, they quickly lose interest, yet are still entranced with the bike itself. That connection is not too far from the reality of the Retrotec brand, however. Back in 1992, a builder named Bob Seals wanted to race his old cantilever cruiser frame. This frame, the Retrotec number one, still hangs in Curtis’ shop to this day.

Bob’s intent was to make modern-day cruisers, designed to be ridden and raced. The look of Bob’s builds really resonated with Curtis and in 1993, he moved to Chico, CA to work for Retrotec. In 1995, Bob had exhausted his framebuilding efforts, prompting Curtis to take over, relocating the business to San Francisco. This presented a problem for Curtis, who quickly realized that cruiser bikes weren’t really a thing – yet – and work was slow. Curtis chugged along in San Francisco, building frames part-time and experimenting with new Retrotec designs, while sharing a shop with the Sycip brothers.

In 1998 Retrotec moved to Napa, California and everything changed. (more…)

Apr 25, 2018 25 comments
Curtis Inglis’ 2010 Oregon Manifest Retrotec City Bike

Way back in 2010, an event called the Oregon Manifest pinged a selection of frame builders to solve common usage problems with bikes. This included cargo carrying specifications ranging from the large and out of the ordinary, to the simple task of carrying a change of clothes. It just so happened that in 2010, the Oregon Manifest’s task was to carry just that. For Retrotec and Inglis Cycles‘ Curtis Inglis, he approached this challenge by first looking for inspiration within his own shop.

Curtis had this Salsa quill stem, back when they were made in California in the shop of Ross Shafer, whos shop, and employees, like Sean Walling influenced Curtis’ own frame building operations. We’ll look at that more in-depth tomorrow. For now, let’s focus on this bike. So there he was, with this stem that needed a home. He had an idea of what the frame was supposed to look like and pinged his buddy Jeff Hantman to make some half wheel fenders with the Retrotec “guy,” smiling on the back and a halftone fade.

As for the frame, well, that’s the easy part for Curtis. He got to work, knowing the design challenges of the frame including the need to carry a spare change of clothes for the party after the show, perhaps harkening to the need for commuters to have nice “work” clothing once they’ve rolled into their office job. Curtis brought white loafers, a pair of plaid pants that he converted into nickers. He then had Travis at Freight Baggage to include the scraps of plaid into the rack bag still being used on the bike today. Curtis even painted the Pass and Stow rack to match! Chuey even made a cycling cap of this material. Bottom line: Curtis thought out all the details for this bike, including many of his friend’s work in his final product.

This bike has a new use now; Curtis carries their dog Coco around town with his wife on their city cruises. I wish I could have gotten a photo of that during my stay, but Curtis had his hands full with unexpected life events.

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Apr 24, 2018 23 comments
Nick from Harvest Moon and His Sycip 27.5+ ‘Land Cruiser’

Nick has a few loves in his life. Sure, family comes first. Then probably his very successful business, Harvest Moon Cafe, a farm-to-table restaurant in Sonoma, with a specialty in meat. The two things that Nick relies on for entertainment, certainly piqued my interest when I first met him in Japan during the Chris King Gourmet Century. He’s been a mountain biker since the 90’s, taking on the trails surrounding Santa Fe, and racing bikes. Since moving to Sonoma, he’s been friends with neighboring builders Curtis Inglis and Jeremy Sycip. (more…)

Apr 23, 2018 14 comments
Speedvagen Announces the 650B Rugged Road Bike

It was only a matter of time! Speedvagen recently updated their catalog to include this 650b Rugged Road model, equipped to handle on and off-road riding with a plush, 650b tire. While this bike is on display at the Sram Road booth at Sea Otter, their product photos came out beautiful for those of us not attending the event this year. This 650b Rugged Road model is only available as a custom complete and features new Speedvagen custom chainstays, flat mount thru axles, 160mm rotors, and is coated in 2018 paint schemes.

$1000 deposits locks in your spot and Speedvagen are only making 111 full custom bikes this year across all custom models. See more information at their 650b Rugged Road site and a few more photos below! (more…)

Apr 20, 2018 8 comments
Sycip Designs, Shimano and ENVE Created Trans Cascadia Trail Work Rigs

Trail work is tough and that is a massive understatement. For the crew that runs Trans Cascadia each year, it means loading up chainsaws, fuel, and other tools, usually on their back, as they pedal into the great unknown that is the wild Oregon backcountry. Usually, the singletrack is overgrown, with felled trees, and other obstacles the crew needs to clear. In years past, the team has utilized motos when possible, but they can be large and cumbersome, so this year, the team at Trans Cascadia worked with Jeremy at Sycip Designs to make something extra special, just in time for Sea Otter… (more…)

Apr 19, 2018 32 comments
Curtis’ Rigid Retrotec 29+ Trail Cruiser

Before we jump into the world of Retrotec Bikes and Curtis Inglis, let’s look at one of Curtis’ personal rigs; this 29+ rigid mountain bike, what I like to call the “Trail Cruiser.” Now, calling this a cruiser has nothing to do with the speed at which Curtis rides trails while on this rig and has everything to do with the history of Retrotec; a company that began modifying actual cruisers into off-road machines. (more…)

Apr 17, 2018 12 comments
My-ma-ma Manzanita Sklar MX All Road with Industry Nine i9.35 Disc Wheels

While we tend to see a lot of experimentation with MTB geometry, specifically hardtails here on the Radavist, I feel like the good ol’ all-road and ‘cross bike geometries, for the most part, stay mostly the same. Sure, head tubes might steepen or slacken a half or so degree, and bottom bracket height can vary, along with seat tube angle, but for the most part, these bikes all look similar in profile. Is it a by-product of design perfection or longevity? Who knows but the bottom line is; I rarely see a road bike geometry that piques my interest and begs the question; I wonder how THAT rides.

Then Adam Sklar sent me an email, asking if I had any desire to review one of his “team” MX all road bikes. I glanced at the geometry, saw the top tube length and thought it was going to be too long for me, especially for how I’d use it. Adam informed me of this bike’s design philosophy, which is part ‘cross geo and part modern MTB. Paradoxically, in short, Adam lengthened the bike’s top tube, slackened the head tube and lowered the bottom bracket. The bike is designed to run a shorter stem, a 70mm, versus a 110mm and with a longer head tube, puts the riding position a bit more upright. (more…)

Apr 16, 2018 79 comments