Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Industry Ticker: Renovo’s ‘John Day’ gravel bike

Posted by on March 21st, 2017 at 10:26 am

Made in Portland.
(Photos: Renovo Hardwood Bicycles)

Renovo Hardwood Bicycles has come a very long way since we first profiled them nine years ago. The company has added staff, inked major partnerships, and significantly expanded their offerings.

Perhaps most impressive is that company founder Ken Wheeler has managed to carve out a solid niche in quality, high-performance bicycles made out of wood. Renovo fits right in a city like Portland where we’re proud of our legacy of wood, bicycles, and making things.

Renovo’s latest is the John Day “adventure bike.” Check out the official press release and more photos below…

Advertisement

Renovo Hardwood Bicycles introduces the John Day, an elegant and simple adventure bike that moves seamlessly from paved to gravel and mixed terrain roads. The John Day’s hollow lightweight frame is engineered to deliver exceptional vibration damping, offering a remarkably smooth ride for comfort on any road.

John Day features include “longbow” seat stays, wide/flat down tube, curved top tube and hollow chainstays which augment the Total Ride Quality of wood, making this a great bike- no matter which terrain you choose. The geometry features a long wheelbase, generous BB drop and a tall headtube to let you enjoy the scenery without veering off into it…until you want to.

John Day Features:

— Hollow Frame Construction: Black Walnut, Spruce
— Cable/wiring routing: Internal, Di2 ready
— Brakes: Disc
— Drive train compatibility: Road
— Fenders and Rack Mounts
— Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
— Headset/Steer tube: 1.125″ – 1.5″ Tapered
— Tire Clearance; 40mm
— MSRP: Frameset: $4,250 Full build: $6,150+

Get more local bike industry news in our Industry Ticker archives.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

65
Leave a Reply

avatar
19 Comment threads
46 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
30 Comment authors
jerrywSmokey BearDaveHello, KittyPete Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
caesar
Guest
caesar

$6k for a bike, and not a particularly light one at that. I’m sure that the wood is beautiful to look at. But this is not a viable option for any but a select few. I get it that there are dozens of bikes being priced at twice as much as this wood one, but that still doesn’t change the fact that a light, reliable, well spec’ bike can be had for much much less.

Adam
Subscriber

This bike looks like something BikeSnobNYC would make fun of.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Wasn’t this featured on GCN as one of the nicer NAHBS bikes?

longgone
Guest
longgone

Used to get a beer on with Mr. Wheeler at Roots brewery when his business was a fledgling sprout. I really loved our conversations, and had an insiders glimpse at the operation a couple of times. I for one am so glad to see that over what seems like 10 years or so he is still at it.Many people like some here today will poo poo on his beautiful bikes. Their opinions are narrow minded,naive and uninformed. I will refrain from entering into the abysmal debate on frame weight and cycling performance that will certainly continue here. Suffice it to say the only reason I haven’t purchased a Renovo bicycle is that my funds for any custom bike went away in the 1990s. I am accepting sponsorships. Wood is carbon fiber as nature intended.

Brian
Guest
Brian

6k for a bike that can serve as a main source of transportation, is something nice to look at in the living room each night as well as a source of recreation on the weekend, seems like a great use of money to me. If it motivates someone ride a whole bunch and supports a local small business, I am for it. Nice work Renovo. Beautiful bike.

Smokey Bear
Guest
Smokey Bear

Beautiful wood work! Very impressive.

But, I’ll ride my $450 aluminum mountain bike. Each to his own.

colton
Guest
colton

But it’s too beautiful to risk scratching…

Anyone know anybody that rides one?

John
Guest
John

I’ve been riding one of their “pandurban” bamboo models as a daily commuter for nearly 7 years (picked it up in May 2010). Since that time, I’ve put approx 10k miles on it. The price I paid 7 years ago was about 1/4 of this model’s price today. It’s been in two major crashes (one of which sent me to the hospital with 3 broken bones), neither of which left even a scratch on the frame – I attribute that to luck. All in all, it’s the best commuter bike in the world – for me.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

It’s a bike, it’s high quality, it’s LOCAL. What’s not to like? People griping about the price? Guess what this bike is not for YOU. For the rest of us, well we’ll just enjoy the ride. Always amusing to see the BP “goon squad” skate out to take someone down at the knees.

caesar
Guest
caesar

wsbob
One of the great things carbon fiber has helped to bring about, is the return of beautiful, smooth frame member intersections, or joints. Renovo is doing this too, with their innovative wood lam frames. So many, to my eye, aluminum frame bikes with ugly frame joints, because it’s cheaper to dispense with filet buildup and smoothing, has me glad to see a company like Renovo doing what they’re doing, just for the fact alone that they’re creating bike frames with beautiful flowing lines.
Recommended 2

My 14 year old Cannondale R1000 aluminum road bike has those “beautiful smooth frame member intersections” that you extol. Seriously – they are as flawless as a baby’s bottom. An equivalent model these days sells for just under $2500. I haven’t ridden this Renovo wooden bike, but I have ridden plenty of steel, carbon and titanium frames, off road and on. Frame material and composition is not a reliable determinant of ride “quality,” despite the industry’s attempts over the years to market it at such (Zertz inserts, anyone?). Tire pressure (and width) and proper rider-to-frame fit, on the other hand, are.

I’m not picking on Renovo here. What I am picking on is a bike industry that somehow has convinced many people that they should spend beaucoup $$ for that extra additional ineffable tech upgrade, whether it be a “revolutionary” new frame design (that will be discontinued in a year or so in favor of yet another, still better design), a new “special” composite frame material, somehow even better and lighter (by a few grams) components, etc, etc. Professional racers might derive some benefit, but as Bike Snob often says, most of us will still suck no matter how light or laterally stiff/vertically compliant our frames are purported to be by the Marketing Department. Any of us could look and feel good riding the latest sub-6.8 kg $9,000 Cervelo or Pinarello or Specialized – but Peter Sagan will still kick all of our asses riding a basic Schwinn Varsity with center-pull brakes.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The 40 mm tire clearance is kind of minimal for much of the terrain I ride. I wonder how much wider one could go if one changed to either 650B or 26″ wheels instead of 700C. I’m just so much happier when I’m rolling on 48mm or wider rubber than I am with the 37mm I’m stuck with on one of my old steeds.

Other than that nit-pick, it looks like a gorgeous bike. I’ll have to keep it in mind for a future n+1.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

All these comments about how spending $6k for a bike is such a crazy thing. For the general public, if someone spends $60k on a new low/mid level BMW, the reaction might be something like, “Well, if you can afford it, it’s a great car!” But a used Honda Civic accomplishes the same real-world tasks for $5k. If you have the means, spending some disposable income on a beautiful product that actually improves your health (physical and psychological) and can also be a device of utility (commuting, etc.) seems like a great investment to me. Even if a Surly LHT (akin to the Civic mentioned above) is a quarter of the price, the splurge for a nice bike seems like a much better deal than the BMW.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Not sure what your point is?
Does the industry want us to spend money on nice bikes?
Of course.
There are bicycles at a price point for everyone. 6K is not a lot of money for some people and certainly not a lot of money a bike that can be used as transportation for years.
I have a nice 15 year old Cannondale like yours. I also own a couple of way more expensive custom bikes. I ride and enjoy them all.
I have an old used car that is worth 4-5 k.
It is a piece of crap.
My bikes are used a lot more and are way nicer for the same amount of money.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

That’s a very pretty bike! I’d love to ride it just to see how the ride compares with my other bikes.

I’d be a little nervous about the geometry and the materials used– except that I know how English longbows are made, and if they’ve followed those principles, I’m sure it would be fine.

caesar
Guest
caesar

Alan Love
All these comments about how spending $6k for a bike is such a crazy thing. For the general public, if someone spends $60k on a new low/mid level BMW, the reaction might be something like, “Well, if you can afford it, it’s a great car!” But a used Honda Civic accomplishes the same real-world tasks for $5k. If you have the means, spending some disposable income on a beautiful product that actually improves your health (physical and psychological) and can also be a device of utility (commuting, etc.) seems like a great investment to me. Even if a Surly LHT (akin to the Civic mentioned above) is a quarter of the price, the splurge for a nice bike seems like a much better deal than the BMW.
Recommended 1

I respectfully disagree. Comparing an old $5k Honda with a brand-new $70,000 BMW and making that equivalent to our bicycle comparison discussion isn’t fair. That BMW will do many things better and safer than an old $5k Honda. Better brakes. Better weight distribution and hence more stability in the curves. Better steering. Safer interior. Larger crumple zone. Nicer sound system ( admittedly a luxury, not really a necessity). Never mind the aesthetics which play no role in performance. The BMW is simply a better car. Yet that $4k wooden frame, other than looking much nicer than my apple green $2k aluminum Cannondale frame, offers no advantages. The manufacturer can claim that it’s a more supple/complaint/responsive ride, but every single bike manufacturer in the world these days makes the same claims because somehow, every single bike manufacture at that price point has figured out the secret to making the ultimate bike frame. Thus the markup is for aesthetics and, probably, to compensate for higher local labor costs (Cannondales these days are made in Asia, although mine was among the last to be made entirely in the US). There are plenty of Asian manufactured bikes branded by American and Italian companies that cost well above $6k.

bendite
Guest
bendite

People still complain/comment about the price of bikes?

caesar
Guest
caesar

dwk
Not sure what your point is?
Does the industry want us to spend money on nice bikes?
Of course.
There are bicycles at a price point for everyone. 6K is not a lot of money for some people and certainly not a lot of money a bike that can be used as transportation for years.
I have a nice 15 year old Cannondale like yours. I also own a couple of way more expensive custom bikes. I ride and enjoy them all.
I have an old used car that is worth 4-5 k.
It is a piece of crap.
My bikes are used a lot more and are way nicer for the same amount of money.
Recommended 1

My I may be mistaken, but my suspicion is that this bike blog rarely promotes bicycles within the purchasing range of most cyclists in Portland. By that I mean people generally earning less than $100,000 a year. Granted, if you’re really motivated you could flip burgers at McDonald’s and save enough money to eventually buy a nice beautiful wooden bike. But most of us don’t have that sort of discretionary income. So I wonder how much it really furthers “the cause,” which I would hope is to promote cycling as a way of life, as a standard approach to commuting, as a solution to the huge problem that is overcrowding by automobiles and all of the problems and death and mayhem that they bring, to promote a bike that I believe is a luxury no matter how much we might try to make it otherwise. If bikeportland.org really really does advocate for cycling (and I know that Jonathan does) why promote luxury bikes over affordable ones? Again, if Jonathan has written stories about truly affordable bikes then I will gladly eat my words and go away for a couple of days. But I don’t remember seeing any.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Termites.

Smokey Bear
Guest
Smokey Bear

The first bicycle, in 1817, was made almost entirely of wood – 200 years ago:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle