It all began with a bike magazine. Flicking through the magazine from a friend, Mick came across an advert for timber bike frames. Quite impressed with the look of the timber, he looked up the website, sent off an email and began the road to getting his timber bike – the only one in Australia.
After 14-16 months of phone calls and emails to select the timber and have the frame custom built and made to his specifications, Mick then ‘more or less had to send someone over to pick it up’. But it was so worth it.
Eventually Mick just got the frame from Renovo and built up the parts, even building the wheels himself. He wanted the bike to be electronic so he had the cables placed internally. The dropouts are bolted to the stays with polished aluminium – he paid a bit extra for the polishing!
How much does it weigh, being timber?
But it’s still pretty light – all up it weighs in at 7.8kgs, including pedals. How do they make a timber bike so light? They start with solid wood, hollow it out leaving the strength points and then they join it back together. It also helped that Mick chose the lightest parts to use, particularly the wheels and the group set.
The frame received 8 coats of lacquer to protect it from UV light and seal against termites and the entire frame has a 10 year guarantee.
Mick has got a lot/had a lot of bikes but passionately believes this timber bike is the ‘smoothest, most comfortable, faster’ bike he’s ever ridden. It takes the shock absorption out of the road and is so responsive – every time you put your foot down it just goes. ‘It’s a pleasure to ride.’
While a rarity in Australia, in Europe they use timber bikes to complete downhill races. They make mountain bikes and downhill race bikes. We have it on good authority from Mick that you can check this out for yourself on YouTube.
How much does it cost, being timber?
And the price tag? Mick’s frame cost $4.5K (plus $800 in freight) and as Mick says, ‘cheaper than a lot of carbon bikes that you see out there.’
With the Renovo timber bikes you get to select from 12 different types/colours of timber. Mick says it was a very hard decision but he eventually settled on pinstripe timber – oak, sapele and wenge – laminated together for strength. If the bike suffers any scratches a professional guitar or piano repairer should be able to set things right – not that he has any intention of dropping it!
Mick found Renovo slow but great to deal with – ‘you’ve got to be patient’. Until recently, Renovo only built custom timber bikes (yep – they want all of your measurements including your weight before you order) and often had a backlog of 100 bikes. They have recently moved into making a range of timber bikes to be bought ‘off the shelf’ and custom orders will resume shortly. You can find out more about Renovo at www.renovobikes.com )