When fitting a customer for a bike, how do you usually work? How often is it in person?
Ideally, I would like to set-up a time to talk face to face and go over all the aspects of a build and take some basic measurements of the person and their current bike. This can not always happen, so I have an order form that they can fill out and send in with their deposit. As the build gets closer, I like to talk to the customer and so that I am able to get any last minute ideas for what they are looking for. Once I have the drawing done I like to discuss what I have come up with the customer one more time before I get to building the bike.
Who does your paint?
Wet paint is done by Air Art in Chico, Ca. and powder coated bikes are done by Spectrum out in Colorado Springs, CO.
Let’s talk about geometry: Would you say your all your bikes have a consistent ride that is your signature, or do you vary your geometry based on the customer’s preferences and needs?
I vary the geometry on all l the custom frames I make.
When designing a frame for a customer, once you know the ride characteristics the rider is looking for, do you conceive of the geometry as a whole or is there a particular dimension you look to as a starting point?
There are some basic geometry that I start with and tweak that geometry to work best with each individual customer.
Bottom line: What are your bikes supposed to ride like?
There are two sides of that coin. On the custom side of things, I really want to get a feel for what the customer is looking for in the handling of their new bike and I strive to make that a reality. As for my semi-custom options, I would say for the road bikes, stable, not slow, but not an all out criterium bike either. I shoot for a bike you can eat a banana during a ride without ending up in the ditch.
How long is the wait for new customers?
Wait time is usually between 3-4 months from time of deposit.
What’s your pricing like?
Fair. Frame pricing starts at $1500 for a semi-custom TIG welded frame with a single color of the customer's choosing and goes up to $2000 for custom fillet brazed. There are options like custom paint, forks and stems that can drive the price up a bit. I like to have a good spread for pricing so that all types of people can afford to get one of the bikes.
What keeps the work fresh for you, gets you up in the morning (or out in the evening) and excited to build?
Paying the bills is a big one. After that I enjoy working with my hands and trying to make the best bike I can for the customer.
What’s your life away from building like? What sort of outside interests do you have?
I do a lot of bike riding with friends. That is not exactly an outside interest, but it is a large part of my life away from the shop. I also enjoy going on vacation with my wife and tinkering around on one of my vintage cars or scooters.
Curtis Inglis, Retrotec & Inglis Cycles
P.O. Box 3714
Napa, CA 94558