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Portland builders snag three awards at Rocky Mountain show

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am

Aaron Hayes of Northeast Portland-based Courage Bicycle Mfg. drew a lot of attention for the imaginative details on this bike he made for his girlfriend. It features S & S couplers and a rare combination of a Schlump 2-speed crankset and two "Dos Enos" cassettes in the rear.
(Photo: Aaron Hayes)

Portland-based bike builders took home three awards at last weekend's Rocky Mountain Bicycle Show (RMBS) held in Denver, Colorado.

Renovo's bamboo "Panda" commuter bike.

Renovo Hardwood Bicycles took home two awards; one for "Rider's Choice Best Paint or Finish" and another for "Best in Show". Renovo debuted at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). Since then, company founder Ken Wheeler has been quietl perfecting his craft. In addition to his race-ready hardwood bikes, Wheeler and his crew have expanded into bamboo with their new "Panda" line of commuter bikes.

Aaron Hayes -- who won "Best New Builder" at NAHBS 2008 -- took home the "Builder's Choice" award. Hayes wowed the crowds with a town bike he made for his girlfriend. The bike had a distinctive mix of classic looks and innovative parts that included S & S Couplers (which allow the bike to be easily taken apart for shipping/travel), a Schlump 2-speed crankset (shifts by kicking it with your foot), and two Dos Enos cassettes in the rear (which allow you to change gears on a singlespeed just by loosening the axle and moving your chain -- instead of doing the flip-flop).

Portland builders also fared well at the RMBS last year when Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycles took home "Best in Show" honors.

Farver made another strong showing this year and he was joined by new Portland builder - Civilian Bicycle Company.

More on the 2009 RMBS (including a photo gallery) at BikeRadar.com.

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Comments
  • Phr3dly August 25, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I don't understand what is innovative about these bikes. Compared to an upright, a recumbent is innovative. Compared to a road bike, a mountain bike is innovative.

    But among the hand-built bike crowd, innovation seems to be reduced to picking a different tire or adding S&S couplers. These bikes look largely identical to any number of other bikes I see at REI.

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  • Mike M August 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    @#1 CNC machined laminated bamboo frames are something that I can get at REI? Cool!

    Seriously though, I find those renovo frames to be incredibly cool. I only wish I was actually bike shopping again.

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  • Case August 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    An internal shifting mechanism is a bit innovative, two gears/one chainring. How many 2-speed handmade steel bikes have you seen at REI. I understand what you mean though. I was talking with Aaron earlier today and we discussed the innovation situation. I don't know if innovation is necessary in the bike industry. Lots of things have been innovation for innovation's sake, ie. 11-speed shifting.

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  • sabes August 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I kinda have to agree with #1. For the most part these bikes look like, well, bikes. Yeah, they're nice looking bikes, and I'm sure all the components are pretty high quality, but innovative? Not so much. The unique tandem gearing is very cool, as are the wooden bikes, though I get the feeling that wooden bikes have a long history to them, but the craftsmanship on the ones in the show are very nice.

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  • mmann August 25, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    The bike as we know it is near-perfection. "Innovation," therefore, will consist of tweaks (like Aaron Hayes did) of the design we know and love. Radical change would more likely disappoint the rider.

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  • middle of the road guy August 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    "An internal shifting mechanism is a bit innovative"

    It sure was, back in the 50's.

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  • Case August 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    #6, I meant the internal shifting crankset. Sorry about the confusion.

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  • KruckyBoy August 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    The bike as we know it is near-perfection.

    They said the same thing about computers in the 1980s. The only thing that is perfect is the thing that people willingly decide to stop making better. It seems like most of the 'innovation' these days are retro ideas from years past (the Renovo excepted).

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  • Laura August 25, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Congratulations to Aaron and to Ken & Co. Did Renovo win for the Panda, the R2 or the "OMG that's so sexy" R4???

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  • joel August 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    #1 - recumbents are innovative as compared to uprights only in the sense that the basic concept is only ~110 years old rather than ~130. zing!

    #6 - effective internal gearing in the bottom bracket *is* innovative. sure, it was *done* in the 30s and earlier, but not well. the schlumpf drive crankset has been around for almost 2 decades, but still, in most peoples eyes, its quite new, especially in this country.

    for those of you who are moaning about the lack "innovation", pray tell, what is it you want? jonathan only uses the word once, and two of the three components he mentioned in association with it were considered innovative at their introduction - the s&s coupling, and the schlumpf. both are still fantastic components that have not been really further improved upon. fine, theres nothing innovative about the dos enos - but 2-speed freewheels have been a rarity for decades - its awesome that theyre producing these, even at their astronomical price.

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  • KruckyBoy August 25, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I would like a derailleur that doesn't need adjusting every two weeks, can be adjusted easily, and doesn't break indefinitely after 2 months of riding. That would be the holy grail of innovation for me, and I've yet to own a bike, expensive or cheap, where the derailleur isn't a constant source of frustration. Just my 2 cents.

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  • Blah Blah Blah August 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I'd say creative not innovative.

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  • bicycletothesun August 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Fixed gear man keep it puuuureee and simple on da real.

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  • EmGee August 26, 2009 at 7:28 am

    #11: Think about using a 7 to 9 speed hub instead of derailleurs. Comparable range of gear-inches (without the duplication, overlaps, and unusable crank-sprocket combos), with a much stronger rear wheel (no dishing) and an enclosed chain (a clean chain is a happier chain).

    WRT your current derailleur problems— sounds like you're doing it wrong. Maybe stomping too hard in the high gears, or using the radicals that were never designed for use, or throwing the bike down on the pavement on the derailleur side.

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  • Paul Manson August 26, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I'd love to play with one of those Schlumpf cranksets! Spendy but cool!

    http://www.schlumpf.ch/sd_engl.htm

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  • KruckyBoy August 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

    My solution has been to ride single speeds instead. I'm not sure if that's innovative, but it is definitely a lot less of a hassle :p

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  • middle of the road guy August 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Have never had a hassle with my Dura Ace.

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