Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inglis Single Speed

I like bicycles, I always have. I was the only kid on the block with Phil Wood hubs on his BMX bike. I get so excited when I get a Colorado Cyclist bicycle parts catalog in the mail that I have to tell my wife I get it for the articles. I carefully look at each page: Campagnolo Heritage Thermo jacket, Titus ML-1 frame, Shimano 9-speed cassette. I would never actually spend $280 on a rear cassette, that would be irresponsible.

A couple years ago I was in San Diego for business and, as is my normal process, I went to a bike shop as soon as I landed to find a bike to rent for the week. That week I rented a bike shop mechanic’s single speed. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. As soon as I got back to Michigan I built a single speed with left over parts in my garage and a $19 conversion kit. I started using the single speed as much as my cross country bike. This winter I decided to get a new single speed frame instead of using my cheap cobbled up geared frame. This was while Congress was raking the domestic auto industry over the coals about building irrelevant cars. I realized that all the frames I was looking at were made in China; don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for China manufacturing but if I am that concerned about the domestic industry and didn’t even consider an American built frame, I am just hypocritical.

I have always been a fan of Curt Inglis. He is a frame builder in Northern California. His frames are pieces of art with tig welds so beautiful they will bring a tear to your eye. The problem is, the frames start out at about $1200. To put that in perspective, that is about six times what my complete single speed was worth.

My decision to buy an Inglis was an emotional decision, not an analytical one. I am so damn happy.

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