06 April 2015

Renovo Bikes -- Beautiful hardwood performance frames made in PDX. Exhibition in Tokyo, April 22 to 24

Renovo's John Day -- Longer wheel base and more relaxed geometry.
Appropriate for gravel, chip seal and long rides.  Really long rides.
Renovo Bikes, leading maker of hardwood frame bicycles, will be participating in the "Pop-up Portland in Tokyo 2015" exhibition later this month.  Viewing for the general public is April 22 to 24, 11AM to 7PM (6PM on Friday).  Information including details and location (in Japanese) can be found here:


The exhibition is at the "Maach eCute Kanda Manseibashi" building, just a few minutes SW from Akihabara Station.  English description of this oddly named but historically interesting event space is here:  http://www.maach-ecute.jp.e.of.hp.transer.com/  (see the "about" tab for a brief history of the site).

(Pop up PDX includes, among others, a cycling accessory vendor -- Portland Design Works.  And Portland-based Keen footwear, whose line of course includes cycling sandals and shoes -- compatible with SPD cleats.)

When I hear about a bicycle made of wood, my first reaction is "novelty bike"!  Something like this:

Renovo bikes are real performance machines, with traditional bike geometries and generally standard components.  A Renovo time trial machine has been ridden at the last few Ironman triathlon world championships.

Wood just happens to be an ideal material for a bike frame.  As the Renovo website notes:
  • Wood is not susceptible to crack propagation from dents like the metals, nor is it notch-sensitive or damage-concealing like carbon.
  • The Renovo wood frame has much greater tolerance than other frame materials.
  • Although tough, if damaged, Renovo frames are usually easily and inexpensively repaired
  • Wood is as stiff pound for pound as the metals, even as it excels at absorbing vibration.
  • The fatigue life of wood exceeds steel or aluminum, and approaches carbon.
  • Wood is sustainable, while the metals and carbon are not. Worse, the production processes of the metals (especially titanium) and carbon are heavily polluting. 
Renovo has a serious factory/showroom which you can see on this video: https://vimeo.com/50382904 .  See more on the Renovo site:  renovobikes.com .

(Renovo's factory is located less than a mile from my mom's house in Southeast Portland ... almost as close as that other world-famous workshop -- Vanilla Cycles/Speedwagen)  Chris King/Cielo remain a bit further away (only a short bicycle ride) in Northwest Portland.)

And wood, of course, can be beautiful, and can last for hundreds of years.

Some photos of the bikes:

Renovo Pursuit - the main road bike model.  And Rolf Prima wheels -- another Oregon product.

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