connor wood bikes durt mountain bike races in 2013 Leadville 100

We found Connor Wood Bikes at NAHBS last year, where his kevlar-reinforced ash wood commuter bicycle caught our eye.

Now, he’s really got our attention with this Leadville 100 race finishing DURT mountain bike. The name is an acronym for Denver Urban Reclaimed Tree – the source of the wood being an ash tree damaged by a car accident and a walnut tree that died of disease. Robert Brudenell, owner of Denver-based tree care company A Natural Way, found the trees and brought them to builder Chris Connor. The result was a belt-driven, internally geared hub mountain bike for Brudenell to race in the legendary endurance challenge.

Check the build spec and more below…

connor wood bikes durt mountain bike races in 2013 Leadville 100

Complete bike weight is just under 30 pounds. No, wood’s not the lightest frame material, but neither is the 14-speed Rohloff rear hub. The frames are made of reclaimed or local wood in Denver, CO, and use layers of kevlar to reinforce the rear triangle and handlebar. Yes, handlebar. He raced on a Connor wooden handlebar, and wooden rims from Ghisallo.

connor wood bikes durt mountain bike races in 2013 Leadville 100

Build spec for the race bike included:

  • FSA K-Force Light cockpit (Stem, seatpost, cranks)
  • DT Swiss 110mm suspension fork
  • Magura MT8 Carbon Disc Brakes
  • 29er wheels with Ghisallo wood rims & Continental tires
  • Fourteen-speed Rholoff internal gearhub
  • Gates carbon belt drive

The idea was more than to just make a wood mountain bike. It was to help prove the materials’ resiliency for use as a bicycle frame material. Reportedly, the only damage through all 100 miles of the Leadville course was to someone’s pocket book. Approximate price of the bike is $13,000.

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  1. mike on

    yes topmounter it tells us he is building a hard tail xc bike most likely in planning for several months as well as using an oddball wooden rim that may not come in a 650B

  2. Steve M on

    I am going to go out on limb…..but it looks like wearing a salad bowl for a helmet deserves some rooting from the crowd.

  3. yetirich on

    Steve M,
    That is actually a wooden helmet from a place in OR Super cool but it does weigh around 350grams. It has a cork lining for padding. Robert is a tough man at this point. Raced SilverRush 50 then raced Breck 100 on back to back days. He has over 1200 singletrack miles since April 5th.

  4. Ed R on

    @ wood helmet, “Super cool” is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I’d give it a pretty cool for a bowl you wear but not use as a bowl.

  5. rico on

    Only a young dummy would tune in on this from his own perspective as a bike consumer. The cool part is the fact that he can use wood in such a way. Noone’s expecting these to be the next big thing.

  6. Chris on

    @ ummmm: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Plenty of 50+ year old wooden airplanes still flying the skis. Plenty of decades old Morgan automobiles still being driven. The world’s oldest actively serving warship is made of wood.

  7. filibuster cash on

    Not to mention wooden houses, wooden canoes, wooden skis, the list goes on. The oldest, largest in mass, and tallest living things on land are all trees–bristlecone pine, sequoia, and redwood respectively. I know that it doesn’t translate directly, but it should give some indication of wood’s possibilities.

  8. ummmm on

    Come on, get real. Most all the wooden air planes are in the scrap yards rotting, most wooden ships are at the bottom of the sea and I don’t recall a wooden auto lasting as a daily driver much after the 30’s. There is a reason all the things you mention are now made of carbon, fiber glass, steel, aluminum, plastic etc. Wood is becoming harder to come by, it cracks, warps, twists and is heavy. Not to mention how much trouble to maintain this very useless frame building material. All these are good for is art that needs to set under roof (wood good for roof, not good for bike frame) out of the elements. Just because you can build something out of wood doesn’t mean you should. Chris, have you ever ridden a wooden bike? I have and they suck. I would venture to say you probably never have so who is really talking out of their ass. Also who in the hell would buy a $13,000 wooden bike in the first place? Come on Chris, I know you want one. SHEESH! So stupid.

  9. chasejj on

    ummmmm is right on!
    ……….wait for PSIsquared to chime in how you just don’t get it. Oh and you’re just a hater.
    Dumb material for dummies looking to see who can be more (insert adjective, lame, enviro,counterculture,etc.)

    Wait 20 years for the idiots who think this is cool to look back at their horrible decisions, much like their tatoos and piercings and that decision to date that Vegan skank they met at the Occupy rally.

  10. Joshua Murdock on

    I don’t understand all the hate here… Nobody said this was some new design slated for production or that marketing guys are drooling at the doorstep of your local bike shop to indoctrinate unwitting consumers.

    Is BR no longer allowed to share really cool and innovative things in the cycling world? Is that not what the website is for in the first place?

    Maybe this is just somebody’s cool project. It might not be a carbon fiber dream-machine, but by building and riding this bike the way they have, Chris and Robert have done more than most of us every will in cycling.

  11. Wood Rider on

    The bike is functional art at its highest level. It was made as an example of what can be done with wood. The bike has several layers of protection, carbon fiber wrapping, 3M, various coatings. Chris has researched and used the best materials and coatings. The bike rides great, one of the best I have ridden and I have ridden most materials. People who ride it are amazed at how solid and nice it rides.

    The bike is NOT for everyone, nor intended to be the next best thing. It is a special bike that took hundreds of hours of true craftsmanship to build, which most people are not willing to pay for. Downhill pros in Europe are now training on wood rims lined with carbon, like the ones on the bike, because they deflect or dent rather than catastrophically fail like Al and Carbon. Think on that.

    Chris can do internal routing but we decided not to do it on this bike. Gates tested the frame and it was stiffer than allot of bikes from the big brands. This bike was designed to be seriously tough, and it is. Yes, I have crashed it several times, hard, with very minimal damage, its super tough.

    Ride quality was enhanced by the good folks at DT Swiss who donated the amazing fork for the project, super light and responsive. DT Swiss makes super high quality stuff and the fork is no exception, it smooths out the ride with compromising handling. Gates donated the belt drive and its super sweet!

    We had many other partners on this project, check out our website for all those that helped, thanks guys.

    The main point here: The main reason we did this was to raise attention first to the bike then to ALS, Lou Gerhig’s Disease. The woman we did this fundraiser for died last Friday of ALS, almost a week after the race, please help us and her two surviving kids pay for her funeral and other costs associated with her passing or to ALS. Please google “natural way wood bike project” and donate if you can, even $10 helps.

    Thank you in advance.

  12. Shannon B on

    This Wooden Bike is a labor of love. My boss, Robert Brudenell, rode this beautiful piece of art in the Leadville 100 to raise money for a wonderful woman who lost her battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) one week after the race. She has two beautiful children who are a part of our work family. Robert is a Board Certified Master Arborist and the owner of The Natural Way Inc. We all kind of have a thing for trees around here and this bike is a masterpiece! We realize it is not the first choice for racing, it’s 10lbs. heavier than the bike Robert usually rides, but isn’t she a beauty!!? The workmanship and quality of this bike is top-notch; it is something for both Chris and Robert to be proud of.


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