Sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn. I was not expecting to get another bicycle this week. But as mentioned before, went to the Renovo Hardwood Bicycles exhibition at Maach eCute in Kanda/Manseibashi this week with Hiroshi. Renovo was part of an exhibition of Portland, Oregon-based firms marketing their wares in Japan. A few days later, and I have a beautiful limited edition version of their "Firewood" road disk model, and will be helping Hiroshi as C Speed plans to distribute the Renovo bikes in Japan.
The woods? Curly maple. Peruvian walnut. Birch. Purple heart.
Even though the bike has some nice classic touches, this is NOT a classic bike. It is not a throwback to the early days of cycling in the 19th century when frames were made of wood. Back then there were no CNC cutting machines. This frame uses 4 different epoxies, and it has a hard polyurethane coating similar to that on high end automobiles. Road disk. DI2 electronic shifting. A very high tech design and manufacturing process. And it is built by someone whose background is no, not wood carving and wood working, but designing and building airplanes.
One normally waits a LONG time for any custom bike, so the instant gratification is ... unfair, almost feels like cheating. That said, Renovo is now transitioning from custom to "ready to ride", so others will be able to get the same joy in about the same time it takes to order any bike that is not sitting in the shop but must come from abroad.
The cost? Well, on the Renovo website the current MSRP for a Firewood frameset in the U.S. is $4150. Hiroshi says he is aiming for an MSRP in Japan that is roughly equivalent, at current exchange rates. Of course, the standard Firewood and Pursuit frames are a bit different than this custom version -- different woods and no decorative inlay ... but they also are things of beauty. And don't we all deserve some beauty in our lives?
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