One of the things Ken showed us was smashing a very heavy weight against one of the Renovo wooden frames and a steel frame. The steel frame was completely bent, but the only thing you could see on the wood frame was a dimple that he said (didn't see this part) could just be steamed out. I wouldn't even bother with something that small, myself.
Since he was an aircraft designer, I'd guess that he's thought of crash effects, and since they've done a lot of bikes, I'll bet there have been some crashes...would be interesting to do a comparison for sure, tho.
I was surprised as well. My spouse had been gung ho, but was very sceptical until I actually rode it. I can't remember the exact components, but it had a high end SRAM gruppo and nicer wheels than on my own bike.
Edited by: RESIPSA99 at: 12/2/2010 (18:37)
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Fitness Minutes: (439) Posts: 3,641 12/2/10 6:21 P
I've seen wooden cruisers but thats the first performance bike I've seen made from wood.
I've known people who used wooden rims. Wood was not such a wonderful material for rims because it can splinter in a crash and since it doesn't conduct heat well brakes work poorly. They did look cool though.
One of the questions I'd have would be how crashworthy the wooden bikes are. A damaged wood frame certainly could not be cold set and I wonder if a damaged part could be replaced.
Of course the idea that wooden bikes are impossible is silly. Even cars used to have wooden frames. It is an interesting engineering problem but nothing a knowledgeable engineer like the gentleman in the article couldn't solve.
I actually test rode a couple of the Renovo bikes and met Ken last year. The ride was unbelievable - better than my Ti bike. He took us through the manufacturing process and demonstrated the strength of the materials. It was truly amazing. He said that they have built bikes for a number of athletes with arthritis who have found with wooden bikes that they are able to do long distances again.
When I replace my carbon bike in a year or two, I've put one of these bikes on my short list. I love the idea that by using different combinations of wood they can set the stiffness, etc. to be exactly the way that you want it...assuming you know what you want!
"Ken Wheeler uses woods from all over the world to make bikes and as far as we know, his line of Renovo bikes is the only hollow frame wood bike company in the world. n his Southeast Portland workshop, Ken Wheeler makes serious road, touring and mountain bikes -- out of wood.
Skeptical engineers and cyclists scoff at the idea, but Wheeler and his company, Renovo Hardwood Bicycles, are slowly proving them wrong. For 3 1/2 years, he's been rolling out his tailor-made hollow-framed wooden bikes -- the only ones of their kind, he said -- converting cynics along the way."
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