Curtis Inglis and His Retrotec Twin Top Tube Funduro 140mm Hardtail 29er

While Curtis Inglis from Retrotec Cycles was in Santa Fe, John took along a camera for some of their rides and documented Curtis’ new twin top tube Funduro. This 140mm-travel hardtail 29er is one that Curtis built for himself to display at the 2023 MADE bike show and was the perfect choice for sampling Santa Fe’s side country riding.

Curtis and his bike undertook one of the more technical rides in the Southern Rockies, and John was there to document it all. Check out a stunning gallery of the bike and the singletrack that makes Santa Fe such a great MTB destination below!

Curtis at the 2023 MADE Bike Show and in Japan, 2016

Catchin’ Up With Curtis from Retrotec

Curtis Inglis and I have known each other through the framebuilder circuit for a number of years. In 2015, he built me a 27.5+/29er Funduro hardtail to review. I liked it so much that I bought it from him. It’s still in my possession today with a new Paragon Machine Works Rocker-equipped rear triangle, done in 2020 by Curtis himself.

In 2016, we did a bike tour around Mount Fuji in Japan with Circles and Sim Works. If I recall correctly, it was his first bicycle camping trip. Then, in 2018, I penned an Inside/Out Shop Visit with Retrotec and documented a number of Curtis’ personal Retrotec bikes.

I remember seeing Curtis again at Downieville and NAHBS, but then in 2020 the pandemic hit, and we didn’t get to connect again until just recently in Santa Fe. Curtis flew in to surprise our friend Jeff Hantman on his 50th birthday! Our plan was to ride as many of our “side country” trails as we could in a few day’s time, giving Curtis the proper lay of the land and perhaps setting the hook to have him return more frequently in the future.

We hit all the high country classics in the Santa Fe National Forest; R.E.M, Mineral, Game On, Jawbone, Winsor, Chamisa, Saddleback, Juan, Dale Ball, Atalaya, Arroyo Hondo, and more! Curtis and Jeff sampled all the delicious food in town, and on his last ride here, I linked up with him and Jeff as they pedaled out into Arroyo Hondo and documented this lustrous orange Funduro.

Retrotec Goes High Tech

When I received the press kit presentation for SRAM’s new T-Type Transmission earlier this year, the first thing that came to mind was, “Oooof… the framebuilder community is going to be scrambling trying to make a UDH for their frames!” Small builder operations already have it rough. The price of everything has skyrocketed, and with the bike industry’s ravenous pursuit of incremental gains and technological advancements, it’s hard enough to keep production cranking and customers happy!

Adding a whole new dropout design to their modus operandi would be one more hurdle to clear.

Thankfully, the team at Paragon Machine Works was on it! Within weeks, Mark and his team had a new UDH-compatible dropout design. Erik Mathy shot a wonderful Shop Visit at Paragon around the time these were rolling out that tracks how these new dropouts are made, from starting as solid blocks of titanium to the final polish.

American Makers Series Part One: Paragon Machine Works and Their SRAM UDH Dropouts

This is what truly makes the US framebuilder community so resilient. The role Paragon Machine Works has played in keeping framebuilders rolling is immeasurable. Thanks to everyone at PMW!

140mm Travel Funduro Hardtail

When it comes to hardtails, there are a few key phenotypes I like to note: XC racing, All-Mountain, and Rowdy. On the one end, XC racing encompasses your typical UCI feather-lite race bikes. These are usually 80-120mm in travel and streamlined with speed in mind.

A Rowdy Hardtail—slack, long, and optimized for going down—anchors the other end of the spectrum. Chromag has this category dialed in North America. All-Mountain is what I’d use to describe bikes like Curtis’ Funduro and are bikes that sit somewhere in between. They have Goldilocks geometries that fall within the “all-rounder” category: not too slack, not too long, just right.

The Funduro is a hardtail platform where Curtis allows the customer to select their own preferences for several variables. The top tube can be twin—or even triple—or just a plain ol’ frame with no swoops. The latter sometimes falls into Curtis’ other brand, Inglis Cycles. You can get just about anything you want from Retrotec or Inglis Cycles. I’m always drawn to what builders make for themselves, as I feel like it’s the most fitting proof of concept.

We took Curtis all over the Santa Fe National Forest and down some of its techiest trails. Locals or visitors in the know will surely have heard of Upper REM, Game On, Jawbone, Atalaya, and Saddleback. These are trails where I’ll opt for a full suspension if we go out for a long day in the mountains. I’ve ridden them all on a hardtail, and it’s possible, but living here in town, I can pull any of my bikes off the wall and go for a ride. Most often, I’ll grab my full suspension to keep from getting beaten up too much!

However, if I were traveling to Santa Fe, a 140mm hardtail like Curtis’ Funduro or my Moots Womble would be more than capable of taming this terrain.

What’s great about a custom bike is a talented builder like Curtis can design something to fit your home trails and beyond. The Funduro lineup has long been a favorite of mine, and I love seeing what Curtis builds himself. Through working with Paragon Machine Works, he’s able to keep his “retro” bikes rolling with modern tech!

Curtis’ Funduro Build Spec