A Different Kind of Woodie

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The Renovo bike builders in Oregon are brilliant. When a person thinks of wood, the word heavy comes to mind . . . at least I do, but not so with these bikes (8.3 kg). Yes, I know that it’s not an out-of-the-box 2.268 kg bike. The craftsmanship of these bikes are outstanding. I think a few frames should be hanging in a nice art gallery in New York or somewhere. The reviews have been all praise. Coming in around $5000 just for the frame is understandable, not too affordable, but understandable.

I have always been enamored with what another human being can create. I enjoy watching Antique Roadshow on TV, just to see the incredible things people could make with skills that were pasted down from generation to generation. Guess what? The majority of the items still work! The lines and flow of this bike is gorgeous, BUT it is also useful and designed for a purpose. When I first saw this bike, like I said, heavy came to mind. Besides the weight, I thought: I bet after many miles that bike would sound like an 18th Century pirate ship in rough seas. Upon reading reviews of the bike, I found that this just wasn’t true. Riders logged hundreds of miles on the bike and reported a quiet, smooth bike that can take whatever is dished out.

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Many of you, like me (I must admit), are still locked in on the weight of the bike. Now, the frame weight itself is only 4-5 pounds, so the the build (what you want on the bike) could reduce overall weight significantly. According to Renovo’s website, it is their belief that wood trumps all others:

  • Wood is far superior to carbon and the metals at shock and vibration absorption
  • Wood is not susceptible to crack propagation from dents like the metals, nor is it notch-sensitive or damage-concealing like carbon.
  • The Renovo wood frame has much greater damage tolerance than other frame materials.
  • Although tough, if damaged, Renovo frames are usually easily and inexpensively repaired
  • Wood is as stiff pound for pound as the metals, even as it excels at absorbing vibration.
  • The fatigue life of wood exceeds steel or aluminum, and approaches carbon.
  • Wood is sustainable, while the metals and carbon are not. Worse, the production processes of the metals (especially titanium) and carbon are heavily polluting.

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I’ve considered this as a bucket list item. The returns on orders aren’t quick and for a reason. Each bike is built by hand, for quality and craftsmanship. It would be so incredible to own one of these works of art, not only to pop out and ride every now and again, but also to pass down to your kids and their kids.

Bon Vélo!

*all pictures are from Renovo

 

 

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10 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Woodie

  1. While wood could definitely be argued “more sustainable” it is my experience that anyone who uses that word has no idea what they’re talking about, is trying to sell you something, or is only telling you half of the truth. That said, those wooden bikes are astoundingly beautiful.

    And 19 pounds with the most expensive components and wheels on it is VERY heavy. I’ll take my carbon fiber bike, more than two pounds lighter, with 105 components, and made with soy beans any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And my whole bike cost $5,000. 😉

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