You’ll be hard pressed to be more at one with nature than you could be while mountain biking atop a Renovo Hardwood bicycle. Why? Because as its name suggests, the mountain bikes that come from Portland, Oregon-based Renovo are made out of wood. And if nothing else, they’re really quite beautiful.
While we’re more accustomed to aluminum or other metal frames on our two-wheeled transportation devices, Renovo notes that wood actually boasts some pretty impressive qualities that make it a prime candidate for bike engineering. As Outside Online notes, Renovo uses all kinds of wood (zebrawood, ironwood, and several types of oak, hickory, and maple, just to name a few) in its construction process, as the material is not only light and strong, but also features “vibration-damping abilities several times that of steel or carbon fiber.”
Indeed, the very first bicycles were made from wood, and while we’ve certainly engineered more durable materials since the late 1800’s, sometimes it pays to return to your roots, and that’s precisely what Renovo is doing. Founded a decade ago by Ken Wheeler, the company creates bikes almost completely from wood. The only aluminum to be found on these frames lies in the head tube, bottom bracket, seat tube, and custom rear dropouts.
Different woods are used for different parts according to the necessary stiffness, hardness, and dampening, and all wood is kiln-dried to ensure that there is no warping or cracking during the manufacturing process. The wood is then milled to the appropriate thickness and length, laminated, then sent to a CNC machine.
Once the various parts have been perfected, they are bonded together and any hollow tubes are sealed to ensure that no moisture affects the wood.
According to Outside Online, Renovo’s bikes ride well, and of course, are beautiful works of art. That said, this is a bike you’ll probably want to ride and park carefully — not because it’s not durable, but because you won’t want to destroy its aesthetics or have it stolen. The frame itself will set you back around $3,500, and a completed version can go over $7,000. But if you have the cash and are looking to add another bike to your collection, this is certainly a place to start.