Wooden bicycles are nothing new in the world of NAHBS, but the show’s location in Louisville this year made it perfect for a collaboration. Yes, we’re talking about that famous lumber that ends up as one of the thousands of baseball bats to come out of the Louisville Slugger factory. After receiving the American White Ash billets straight from Louisville Slugger, Chris Connor set out to turn the wood into one of his namesake bicycles. The completed frame was then shipped back to Louisville Slugger so they could brand the frame and finish it with the same varnish used on actual bats.
A fully functional bike, the one off show piece will soon be installed in the Louisville Slugger museum as an interactive display…
Remember the days of clipping a baseball card to your bike so it would rattle off the spokes? That baseball-centric nostalgia is what the Slugger museum is shooting for with the new Connor Cycles exhibit. Due to the fact that museum goers are expected to spin the cranks and cause the rear wheel to move, the bike was fitted with a Gates Belt Drive and coaster brake hub and custom wooden chain guards as a safety precaution.
The baseball theme extends throughout the bike with an ash handlebar, Lizard Skins DSP bat tape for grips, and a custom saddle made by Carson Leh from the actual leather used in Slugger’s baseball gloves. Carson’s work was on a number of show bikes and is simply fantastic.
Connor had one other bike on display that was a cross/gravel build made from reclaimed urban lumber with black walnut and reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber. The frame is certainly beautiful, but it was the drivetrain that caught our attention. Chris told us that he had planned to have to hack some kind of monster cross drivetrain together, but after ordering a set of SRAM Force 11 speed shifters, an 11 speed SRAM wide range cassette, and a 10 speed SRAM X0 Type 2 rear derailleur, everything worked together right out of the box. We didn’t get to ride it to verify the function, but it is very interesting if true.