Retrospeed bills itself as Wisconsin’s Premier Vintage Motorcycle Restoration and Repair shop – they specialize in bikes between the 50s and the 80s and even dabble in snowmobiles, jetskis, and ATVs. I first discovered the shop when I was at Bonneville for the AHRMA Vintage GP and I saw their distinctive van. Since then I’ve also featured a couple of their builds/restorations – a Honda S90 and this fantastic Norton Atlas cafe racer. Retrospeed’s work has been featured in Motorcycle Classics, and they’re big supporters of vintage racing. So I thought it’d be good for you to get to know the man behind Retrospeed – Brady Ingelse.
How did you get started with motorcycles – how did you learn, and what was your first bike?
A motorcycle enthusiast who worked for my father gave me my first motorcycle, a 1976 Honda CB750 in dire need of repair. I enjoyed working on the bike quite a bit. I took that bike with me to Daytona Beach Florida when I attended AMI (American Motorcycle Institute). One becomes close with the first motorcycle they ever own. I highly suggest never selling your first. I converted mine to an AHRMA race bike and it still brings me joy today. (Editor’s Note: that’s the bike pictured above, Brady’s in the white shirt. The bike won AHRMA’s Historic Production Heavy class in 2015).
What bikes do you currently own?
BMW R50/2, BMW R90S, Honda CB450, Honda RS125, Honda CB750 (AHRMA race bike), Ducati 900 GTS, Ducati Diana MKIII, Norton Atlas, Norton Commando SS (project).
What’s your favorite piece of gear?
Nojgear Quiet Rider Classic. Very few old motorcycles offer great wind protection, it really cuts down on wind noise. It’s a $30 option that goes on every one of my helmets.
Assume for a moment that money is no object, and importation laws aren’t a problem. What’s the next bike you’d buy, and what would you do with it?
Either a pre-war BMW or an MV Agusta America. I have always enjoyed all things BMW, but I recently serviced an MV America and fell in love with it. If I was lucky enough to obtain either one, I’d ride it! Both are shaft drive and meant to be ridden.
What’s the most memorable motorcycle trip you’ve ever taken?
Circling Lake Superior. Hwy 17 through Canada is wonderful. A small group of friends and I would take a trip on Labor Day weekend every year, all on vintage motorcycles. We would tent camp each night and plan nothing. It was before we all had families and responsibilities. I’ll never forget it.
Do you listen to music while riding? If not, why? If so, what are some of your favorite tunes to listen to while on the bike?
I do enjoy music while riding. I’m currently on a Lumineers kick, but this changes often.
What made you decide to start your own shop?
Fresh out of school, I went to work at a multi-line Japanese dealership. It was a great experience, however after 6 years, I noticed how many vintage motorcycles they were turning away. I wanted to work on the older motorcycles, even more than the new ones, it all took off from there.
With all of your experience doing something many people dream of being able to achieve, what would you do differently if you were going to do it over again?
Nothing. I started Retrospeed when I was 25 years old and have not looked back since. I truly love old motorcycles, I was able to turn my hobby into a business, its wonderful. Running a small business is very rewarding, I would recommend it to anyone. If you have a good idea, and that idea brings a great product to people at a great price, go for it.
What can we expect for the future of Retrospeed?
Restorations. The past 5 years, performing full Concours restorations have been growing rapidly. I really enjoy taking a motorcycle back to exactly like it came out of the factory, the customers enjoy it as well. We get to create absolute time capsules. Current restoration projects include a 1974 Ducati 750SS greenframe, 1958 Puch 125 and 1966 Triumph TR6SR.
Ducati 900SS – featured in Motorcycle Classics.
Honda S65 – featured in Motorcycle Classics.