Special gravel coverage

Industry Ticker: Renovo launches ‘Ready-To-Ride’ line

Posted by on February 3rd, 2015 at 11:20 am

Stepped up production means you can get a Renovo in just a few weeks, instead of a few months.
(Photos: Renovo Bicycles)

Welcome to Industry Ticker, a new column where we’ll share news from the local bike industry.

Southeast Portland based hardwood bicycle makers Renovo are moving beyond custom frames with their new “Ready to Ride” line. Now you can get one of their bikes with just a few weeks wait.

Check out the press release and a few more pics below:

Renovo Offers Ready-To-Ride Bikes and Frames
Renovo adds off-the-shelf bikes and frames to their custom only business

PORTLAND, OREGON – February 3, 2015 – Renovo, designer and manufacturer of hollow hardwood bicycle frames, announces the introduction of Ready-to-Ride (RTR) bikes and frames, available in seven different models.

Renovo introduced the first modern fully engineered wood bike frame in 2008, not as a ‘let’s-see-if-we-can-do-this’ woodworking project, (no woodworkers were involved), but designed to improve bicycle ride quality with the unique properties of this natural material. Using CAD/CAM technology, Renovo succeeded in producing the first hollow, stiff, lightweight, and vibration damping frames competitive with other common frame materials and now ridden worldwide by some 600 customers.

From Renovo’s inception the business model was to make custom, hand-built frames sold in their showroom and online. On Renovo’s web site a customer could choose from a myriad of models, wood species and bike components, creating a truly, unique bike. However, the devil was in the details and the backlog soon pushed delivery times out to a year or more.

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“In 2011, Renovo was commissioned by the carmaker Audi to produce three models of bikes using only three wood and component selections’ said Ken Wheeler, President of Renovo Design. “This was of course much easier and more efficient than the all-custom frames we were building at the time, not to mention the record 128 emails we received from one customer changing and defining every possible detail. So we surveyed our customers on the trade-off between custom with long wait times versus non-custom frames with fast delivery and the majority said they’d be happy with non-custom as long as we didn’t sacrifice craftsmanship or ride quality. With that, we committed to producing Ready-To-Ride and they’re finally a reality.”

Ready-To Ride Bikes
RTR frames offer the same craftsmanship and performance as Renovo custom bikes; they’re simply limited to one popular wood combination and the most popular models and sizes, all of which enable us to produce them efficiently and build inventory ahead of orders. Our new website allows the customer to specify groupsets, wheelsets, etc. from dropdown menus of our most ordered component sets making the ordering process relatively painless. Now a Renovo can be shipped within weeks after ordering!

Renovo Custom Frames
Since Renovo built its reputation as a custom bike builder, people are naturally asking – will Renovo continue to make custom frames? The answer is yes, we love making them, but we still need to reduce the custom backlog before we resume accepting custom orders.

Why wood?
Renovo engineers chose wood for its outstanding shock and vibration damping which delivers superior ride quality/stiffness while having the light weight, stiffness, fatigue life and durability to compete with or surpass man-made frame materials. Note: Renovo frames are designed for recreational durability versus an ultra-light pro-tour frame, so the weight of a Renovo frame is about the same as a custom steel frame.

Renovo offers seven of its most popular models in the RTR program:

o Firewood – Road disc endurance bike
o Pursuit – Most popular of our custom performance road bikes
o Astoria – Classic road frame with disc or rim brakes

o Elwood – Our most popular commuter, upright or drop bar
o Pandurban – Upright style urban bike of laminated bamboo

o John Day – Gravel, backroads
o Further – Touring, camping

See our past coverage of Renovo here.


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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • shuppatsu February 3, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I love the touring bike. People say that you should buy a steel frame for touring, so that the local blacksmith can do frame repair if you get stranded in the Andes. Here, all you need is a hatchet and a whittling knife.

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  • Caesar February 3, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Beautiful to look at and I’m sure that the ride is sweet, but all but two of their bikes cost more than $6k and none can be had for less than $4k. I’ll pass.

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    • colton February 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Yeah, one of those would be a sweet ride from one safety deposit box to another.

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  • Paul February 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    They don’t appear to be entirely “Ready-To-Ride” since they don’t show pedals installed. They appear to me to be more a “work of art” than a practical conveyance. You definitely wouldn’t want to leave one out of your sight on the street.

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  • Spiffy February 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    seems like a pointless release with no MSRP…

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  • Granpa February 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I would think this blog would be delighted that wealthy people would spend their money on bicycles. I would think civic boosters would want wealthy people to buy locally build products. How about wood, naturally occurring and renewable product. How about industrial art….. these bikes are so cool that if Steve McQueen and James Bond had a love child it would be a Renovo. Hate the rich? I get it but don’t we want power brokers and the monied aristocracy to embrace bicycling. those are the people who can enact change to make cycling better.

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    • Mossby Pomegrante February 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      On the contrary. Expensive bikes and equipment get crucified by the BP crowd. Then again many of these same critics probably own Apple products.

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      • q`Tzal February 4, 2015 at 7:21 am

        Still… if JM is going to have posts that look like sponsored stories (I AM NOT implying this is) it is nice that it is quality, locally produced and employs Oregonian’s in sustainable jobs with good incomes.
        This basically rules out big box cheap manufactured schlock.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

          Hi q’Tzal,

          I should explain “Industry Ticker” a bit more.

          – I want to do everything I can to support Portland-based bicycle companies

          – They make a lot of news that we don’t have time/inclination to develop into full-on stories.

          – This “Ticker” is my way to share their good news.

          And, as always, it is very clear in these stories that I am simply copy/pasting press releases.

          I realize it’s not what we usual publish on the front page… But I feel like this is stuff worth sharing! And it’s not sponsored content – if it was you’d know it. I would loooove if it was sponsored of course, because that’s how we pay the bills. ;-).

          Anyone else have questions about this?

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          • q`Tzal February 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm

            As I said right up front I wasn’t accusing.

            If you can get sponsored stories from local bicycle businesses that do world class work go at it!
            Make the Portland bike economy shine!

            Hmm… does Portland have a bicycle business alliance that would normally handle advertising fluff that thinks it is news? Even if we aren’t actually at “platinum” bicycle city I’d expect some organization to be crowing loudly and weekly about our bicycle artisans.

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      • davemess February 4, 2015 at 7:57 am

        Fair assessment. I guess personally I draw a pretty distinct line at a utilitarian commuter bike (which I expect to be relatively cheap) and a performance bike for racing (which I would expect to be a lot more expensive).

        Seems like a lot of the commuter bikes recently featured have fallen into the expensive/performance category. For me, I just don’t get spending a bunch of money on a bike that is going to get beat up with day to day use, weather abuse, and has a much higher likelihood to be stolen. I think some people just have an issue with these bikes being touted with labels such as “utilitarian”.

        But if people want to spend the money more power to them.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly February 3, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I’d rather spend $6k on a bike than $40k on a car.

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  • Psyfalcon February 3, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I’d have to ask myself what this bike does for 3-5 times the price of a fairly high end type bike. I like the wood, I like the local, and I like the look. But anytime one of the high end local bikes show up here the articles seem to miss describing why I want one.

    A new car costs 30k on average now, but if I read a car magazine or website I know why I want a 90k sports car. Those usually come with giant engines that unfortunately these bikes don’t seem to upgrade. 😉

    I think I would complain a lot less about the occasional ad for a 6k bike if we also had actual reviews of them, and also the occasional post about low costs bikes, such as something from the local used bike shops, or how to repair your Goodwill bike to a functional state.

    The only equipment posts are local, but they are all very expensive. Even the car magazines have the occasional base hatchback comparison.

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  • Dave February 4, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I would think this blog would be delighted that wealthy people would spend their money on bicycles. I would think civic boosters would want wealthy people to buy locally build products. How about wood, naturally occurring and renewable product. How about industrial art….. these bikes are so cool that if Steve McQueen and James Bond had a love child it would be a Renovo. Hate the rich? I get it but don’t we want power brokers and the monied aristocracy to embrace bicycling. those are the people who can enact change to make cycling better.
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    I totally agree–it’s a good thing for every cyclist if cycling becomes a ruling-class sport/exercise/transpo mode. Don’t you want the people who buy and sell politicians, TV stations, and newspapers riding bikes and influencing transportation policy in our favor? I sure as hell do! Don’t know about the wooden frame, though–the material might be better used by Gibson, Martin, or Dupont!

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    • Granpa February 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Regarding your questions about wood as an appropriate material, I suggest you go into Renovo website. It is hard to dispute that wood is nature’s carbon fiber. The frame builder has a background in airplane design and construction and the deep finger splices look plenty robust. The frames are machined hollow wood tubes so they are not heavier than is necessary.

      The claim that they are less bone jarring than aluminum is easy to imagine as the material has strength but a natural flex.

      I don’t have one of these bikes, I don’t have any association with the builder or the company. They are just neat, different and good.

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      • davemess February 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Does any of that change though when you add a thick coat of lacquer over the wood?

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  • Brendan February 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Told you to do this 5 years ago Ken. 🙂 Hopefully in time the reduced complexity brings down the price some. I don’t know why people freak out about a 5k bike though. River city has bike around that price. It’s just that you are paying for craftsmanship and something different rather than weight savings and high performance. They do have a unique and interesting ride and for the right person it makes perfect sense to me. Glad to see you’re still making bikes. Beautiful as always. (I designed the ‘Aerowood’ that last image there, working with Ken 4 years back).

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