First things first, yes this is a fairly massive frame, but then again it has been custom built for Curtis team rider Joe Anchor, and at around 6’5″ tall he is equally massive. That’s half the beauty of a Curtis frame though, each one is handmade right here in the UK, and if need be you can have yours custom made to your individual requirements. Despite being custom builders, Curtis are very proud of the fact that they make ‘real’ bikes, i.e. ones for riding hard, in the mud. They’ll let other custom frame builders do all the fancy frilly stuff (and charge you for it), whilst they’ll just stick some quality tubing together (and when I say ‘stick’ I mean get the legend that is Brian Curtis to braze it), in the shape that you want.
Of course every frame that Curtis make, whether it be a custom one or not, is designed around a base model, and this AM7 is the latest addition to the range. It’s built for 27.5″ wheels (the ’7′ part of the name) and is classified as an ‘all mountain’ (the ‘AM’ bit) hardtail. Think a bit of everything and you’re in the right ball park.
Tubing wise it doesn’t get much better than what this frame is made out of. Curtis have gone for a double butted Reynolds 853 front end, and then rather than take the easy approach and spec the same at the rear, they’ve instead opted for a Columbus rear end. Sometimes a bit of mixing and matching is the best approach.
The frame gets a 44mm headtube up front so it’s compatible with tapered steerer forks, and as standard it’s designed to be run with a 120mm travel fork, but if requested it can be made to run anything up to 150mm. This particular frame was built for the latter and sits with a 66° head angle. Further back you’ll find a 30.9mm dropper compatible seat tube (along with all the necessary guides), and your seatpost is held in place with an integrated seat clamp.
A Curtis frame may be almost utilitarian in some ways, but there are some nice little details to be found, such as this seat stay brace. Personally though I think Brian’s incredible brazing is the most beautiful thing about any Curtis, it’s a work of art. If you want to be able to admire his handiwork in its full glory then you can have your frame finished with a clear powder-coat finish (this particular one is actually completely raw because there was no time to paint it before a show).
In keeping with current tastes Curtis have gone for a 142x12mm rear end, and considering the kind of abuse that this frame is capable of taking a bolt-thru axle is a wise move. The chainstays are nice and short at 16.75″, and this one of the few things that can’t be altered if you go down the full custom route. We don’t think that’s much of an issue though, Gary Woodhouse knows his numbers, and despite being on the short side there’s still loads of tyre clearance.
The new dropouts are actually still a bit of a work in progress, the mech hanger in particular could perhaps do with neatening up, but hey function always gets priority at Curtis.
One thing that definitely didn’t need any tidying up was this stunning Race Lite cruiser that we spotted in the back of Gary’s car. It turns out that he’d custom made this one for himself, with the aim being to make it as light as possible (Gary only weighs 10 stone). With super skinny tubing and minimalist dropouts this frame only weighs 3.2 lbs. You’ll struggle to find a lighter cruiser than that, even if it’s an aluminium one.
Fresh as you like, and as beautiful as you like too. If you fancy a frame as stunning as either of these, then no matter what wheel size I am sure Gary and Brian will be able to sort you out.
Pricing wise you can either go ‘Factory’ or ‘Custom’. The former means you get a choice of 17, 19 or 21″ size, with Curtis’s own tried and tested geometry, and as you’ve probably guessed the latter means you get your say on the geometry and fittings. Even with the Factory build though you still get some personalised details like the serial number, because there’s no such thing as an off-the-shelf Curtis, every single one is made to order.
Price: £945.00 Factory, From £1095.00 Custom
Curtis Bikes 07976 652 469