The Hollow Wood Frame Bicycle Moves up a Notch

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The "John Day" Renovo hollow wood frame bicycle

Portland, Oregon, based Renova has been making a hollow wood frame bicycle since 2008. With a client turned investor, their production has gone up a notch.

Beginning as a customer that simply wanted his bike to be delivered faster, Texan businessman Al Sprinks called Renovo Bikes Owner and President Ken Wheeler to learn how he could help speed the process up— to which Wheeler playfully replied, “bring money.” And the following week Sprinks flew to Renovo’s premises to see the full operation of making wood frame bicycles.

“As a longtime cyclist, I’d been following Renovo for several years and was blown away by the size of their operation, their technology, and of course, the performance of their bikes,” Spinks said. “I immediately made the decision to invest upon seeing their state-of-the-art machines, tools and configurations in-process and watching their new designs come to fruition. And with this production-bike capability boost, our partnership becomes even more exciting and rewarding.”

A centrepiece of this change is a state-of-the-art five-axis CNC router. The planning and installation of this complex machine took six months, but it has since dramatically increased production capabilities of these strikingly beautiful wood frame bicycle models. Renovo is now building-to-inventory instead of building-to-order, meaning the time from ordering and shipping is reduced to just a few weeks. The hand-crafted wood frame bicycle moves into production mode.

Hollow Wood Frame Bicycle – All Genres

Renovo introduced the first hollow wood frame bicycle to the world in 2008 and has since developed a full range of road, gravel, mountain and city bikes. The company is steadily stocking its inventory shelves with gravel, road, mountain and urban models, with sights keenly set on its ever-broadening horizons – and their bikes are in use on all continents in all the variety of climates that brings.

From the first prototypes to the latest state-of-the-art models, every Renovo model is fully engineered for its purpose, designed and virtually tested on computers, physically load tested, machined with industrial level computer-controlled routers, CNCs, and then beautifully hand finished by skilled craftspeople. This complex process along with years of producing wood frame bicycles guarantees consistent performance, quality, durability and justifies Renovo’s lifetime and five-year warranties on road and mountain bike frames, respectively.

You can see something of the professional approach that the company takes in finding a highly experienced cyclist with a journalism degree to head up their marketing efforts. Kelsey Anderson grew up in the Northern California mountain bike scene, racing enduros, downhill, dual slalom, cross-country, endurance and short track, culminating at the elite level on the U.S. National Downhill Team.

“Kelsey has the skills, experience, heart and competitive edge to successfully represent our unique bicycle brand,” said Founder and Owner of Renovo Bikes Ken Wheeler. “She rapidly climbed the professional ladder, managed and raced on sponsored teams, mentored aspiring riders and has always been an ambassador for women riders. We are delighted to welcome Kelsey aboard.”

Aside from mountain bike racing, Kelsey is an avid skier, dirt biker, fly fisher, camper and all-around outdoors person. Somehow she also finds time to work!

“I’ve always been partial to forging paths,” Anderson said. “While Renovo has proven the credibility of its custom-made frames with customers over the previous 10 years, changing to only production bikes at this time is both a departure and a new beginning for Renovo, and I’m eager to contribute to its growth.”

The founder of the company, Ken Wheeler, is a former aircraft designer and manufacturer and has put that knowledge and experience into the designs for his Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.  Renovo chose wood as it has the ideal cellular and structural properties for bike frames to dampen vibration while maximizing fatigue life, as well as ride comfort and control. The entire hollow-hardwood frame of a Renovo is designed to absorb shock, delivering the highest stiffness-to-smoothness ratio.

Renovo makes the gentle marketing claim that they “deliver bikes that ride like truly sophisticated machines, without skimping on aesthetics”. I know beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, but this beholder is well and truly smitten with the gorgeous aesthetics of these bikes.

If you share my taste in good looks, you will have noticed that we have given some attention to other wooden bikes before, starting with Peter Charnaud’s handmade model in April 2015; the striking Ecce Opus in August 2016; a wood and carbon model in May 2016; even a slightly uncomfortable looking wooden e-bike;  and most recently the Austrian, somewhat utilitarian looking wooden frame bike. Each has its attractions, but Renovo has to be my favourite for looks, especially the way they bring out the grain.

If you share my taste you will be pleased to know that Renovo has shipped bikes to a wide range of countries around the world, including here in Europe, and would love more international orders. And since this investment in the company, you’ll have less time to wait for your order.

 

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