When people see wooden bikes on the show floor at NAHBS, there’s still a number that ask, “why wood?” Builders like Connor Wood Bicycles and Renovo Hardwood bicycles will tell you that the material offers better vibration damping than carbon, while delivering a balanced ride in terms of stiffness and ride quality. But the material also lends itself to the aesthetic side of things with different woods, grain structures, and in the case of Connor Wood’s latest creation – artistic adornments. According to Chris Connor, most of his frames include multiple woods and additional finishing, so when he ended up with a plain vanilla frame, he let a local artist give it their personal touch…
Originally a prop for a Swedish film about a guy who makes wooden bikes, the film crew needed a raw ash frame to make it look like it was in process. After the filming was over, Chris had this frame that was much more plain than the rest of his bikes so he gave it to local Denver artist KiriLeigh Jones. The intricate design was burned into the wood then cleared to create the finish seen above. Topped off with custom leather work on the saddle and bar tape from Carson Lee, and the plain bike suddenly becomes the ornate.
Over at the Renovo booth, it was all about their new John Day gravel/all road bike. Built from four pieces of wood, Renovo claims that the hollow wooden frame absorbs vibration four times better than carbon, and thanks to tweaks like a new downtube orientation, the bike has improved stiffness and compliance over previous builds.
Equipped with a tapered headtube, 40mm tire clearance, thru axles front and rear, and internal cable routing for Di2 wiring or standard cables, framesets run $4,250 while complete builds start at $6150.
The gravel bike was the newest addition to the Renovo line, but this aero road bike and 27+ mountain bike caught my eye as well.