Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wood Bike Status Update

As a semi-professional bike blogger ostensibly engaged in long-term product testing, it is my responsibility to apprise you of how things are going with the Renovo Aerowood:

They are going quite well.  In fact, since replacing the tires with 25s, they are going extremely well indeed.  This tiny bit of extra volume is exactly what the bike needed, and my only quibble now is that the clearance is rather tight:

Once in awhile I can even hear the unmistakable sound of herringbone on wood when I'm pushing it on a climb.  (Well I mean I guess it could be my knees, but I'm reasonably certain it's the tire rubbing.)  However, since I took delivery of this bike Renovo have updated the Aerowood with clearance for 28s, so if you're considering purchasing a Tan Tenovo for yourself you can rest assured you won't set it on fire due to tire rub:

So should you buy a Tan Tenovo for yourself?  Well that's between you and your financial advisor.  (And if you don't have a financial advisor you probably have no business considering an expensive wooden bicycle.)  All I know is that my opinion of the bike has evolved thusly:

  • Before getting the bike: Intrigued by the novelty factor and an excuse to make gratuitous wood puns
  • Shortly after receiving the bike: Impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship but also kind of embarrassed by it at the same time
  • Shortly after riding the bike for the first time: Wow, it feels great, but what's that creaking?  I bet it's broken
  • Once I'd solved the creaking by tightening the bottom bracket: I really like riding this bike
  • Today: All bikes should be made of wood, metal and crabon is for vulgarians
By the way, I really did think the bike was broken due to some very small cracks I found early that turned out to be merely cosmetic.  Had I been a paying customer Renovo would have replaced the bike immediately, but I am not a paying customer so I have no problem riding an aesthetically imperfect specimen.  (In fact even though I'm not a paying customer Renovo were ready to swap the bike, but I declined since it seemed like a waste of everybody's time.)  As for the creaking, as mentioned above it turned out to be a bottom bracket in need of tightening.

Something else to consider when contemplating ownership of a wooden bicycle is the attention you'll get.  The most common question people have is, "Is that wood?," and if they're cyclists they then follow up with "What kind of wood is it?," to which I reply "I don't know" since I really don't know without checking the website.  [*Checks website* it's wenge and maple.]  Then I realize they must think I'm a giant asshole for riding an expensive wooden bike and not knowing what it's made from; I mean, imagine someone on a titanium bike who couldn't tell you what kind of metal it is.  (Though to be honest they probably think the guy on the wooden bike is an asshole even before they start talking to him.)  So I make sure to add that it's not actually my bike and that I'm testing it, but then I get depressed because it occurs to me they clearly don't read my blog or have any idea who I am.

I've got a lot of hangups.

Ultimately though my only quibble about the bike is still the fact that it only has one water bottle mount, which I've mentioned about a thousand times before.  However, the Drysdale has zero water bottle mounts so I guess that makes the Renovo 100% better:

Too bad you can't drink a decal.

If I were Renovo, which of course I'm not, I'd offer a "race" version of the Aerowood appointed thusly:
  • Two water bottle mounts
  • A slightly shorter headtube
  • Disc brakes
Not that I think road bikes need disc brakes by any means, but it seems to me that if you're going to make a high-end Di2-only wooden Fred toboggan you might as well go for the whole schmear, especially since whoever's piloting such a toboggan is invariably going to want crabon wheels.  (The braking has quieted somewhat, but there is still occasional shrieking under the right circumstances.  Then again, that probably happens with road discs too.)

In all, I've become quite attached to the bike, and I'd go so far as to say that in terms of both feel and finish it's the nicest one I've ever ridden.  (Yes, "nice" is a vague adjective, but that's intentional.)  And it does look good in the early morning sun.

Can't say the same for me.


Dave H - TX said...

Top step!

Grump said...

You need "clamp on" waterbottle cages, along with either aluminum or chrome steel clamps.....Not sure if the cages are still available.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

It's going to rain today, beware of moss or fungus on the wooden SmugSled.

Lectric shift... Bzzzt!

The most eco friendly bike is the one already made.


Rallen said...

Cant' you just screw another water bottle cage into the bike with wood screws?

That's what she said...

"Is that wood?"
"there is still occasional shrieking under the right circumstances"

HDEB said...

Nobody here cares that I'm headed to VT with a vehicle fullish of kids and a bicycle but I'm stoked enough to pointlessly post this : )

wishiwasmerckx said...

I believe that before frames had water bottle cage bosses, water bottle cages were attached to the frame with a hasp and padlock.

pbateman coming strong with smart allecky remarks said...

do you use Elmers for the di2 group on this thing in lieu of clamps or brazeons?

couldn't you gain some clearance clarence with a bit of 200 grit?

if an elephant sits on it will he one day be at the top of a giant wenge tree or whatever the hell tree you said its hewn from?

could a sommelier determine its terroir via taste or smell?

do woodchucks build damns like beavers do or what?

pbateman going over quota for comments said...

@HBEB - i'm jealous of a trip to VT with a bike. I have been looking at destinations a bit further north to do some "epic" riding, albeit with no kids as I guess I'll one day be dying alone and sad (or at least as sad as one can be with his hot nurse at his side)

have my eye on Quebec and their la Route Verte which is i guess some neat-o bike road paved in cash and reefers from what I've read so far. looks nice.

would be really nice if my shop would hurry up and paint my damn b-stone so i can get that built up in time to take with.

Chazu said...

I visited the Renovo website for the first time recently. I wouldn't have known about them if it weren't for the fact that you're test riding one and blogging about it.

My skepticism was fairly high as the Renovo home page loaded. Approximately 20 minutes later, I basically had to mop up the drool from my keyboard for fear of a short-circuit. I don't consider myself to be a materialistic consumer, but there is no denying the craftsmanship and beauty of these bikes. Wanting one is a perfectly reasonable response to spending 20 minutes on their web site.

Gene said...

@That's what she said: "and my only quibble now is that the clearance is rather tight"

Isn't Wenge the latest Specialized model? I hear it's one better than a Venge.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. BSNYC -

My dog wishes to point out that your issues may not be Renovo specific.

He wishes to point out that when I break he too hears "occasional shrieking under the right circumstances."

He wishes to point out further that the shrieking is coming from me.

I had no idea he was a pointer.

Unknown said...

Since it's wood, you could probably use Elmer's glue to add a second bottle cage?

JLRB said...

The Vulgarians shall inherit the earth ... or at least the whitehouse.

Anonymous said...

Who are you>

bad boy of the south said...

Why do i hear REM's "it's the end of the world and we know it" playing in my little brain these days?

bad boy of the south said...

....time to head out on on a wooden,steel,aluminum,crapon beek.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that kind of narcissitic to think your wood ride looks good in the morning?

mander said...

In the old days, people actually had a special pouch near the appendix and so they didn't need to drink water while cycling.

wishiwasmerckx said...

There is an article on lamenting the ever-decreasing US television audience for pro cycling events in the post-Lance era.

The savior they predict?

Legalized gambling - I s--t you not...

For anything but the TdF, you basically have to kidnap a TV audience in the US.

Anonymous said...

That bike is made of WOOD.

Steve Barner said...

@pbateman, you missed it this year, but info on the most epic of Vermont rides is available at One and done. Just the ticket for those who like to overdose. This year it involved climbing steep mountainsides in an ice-cold, wooden bike warping rain, after 150 miles, with 60 to go. Riders experiencing hypothermia on one of the longest days of summer. Tell me how it gets any better.

Anonymous said...

Wenge is the german model but pronounced Venge.

dop said...

I was tut-tutted in a bike shop recently for running 28s on a bike spec'd for 25s.

I told the man, no, everything's fine. The bike slows down after the dirt portion of the Putnam trail, but if I can't get the mud out with a spray from my bidon, I pop the wheel and scrape it out with a multitool.

As soon as I said it, I realized how stupid it sounded.

Now I'm worried that I'll do an endo when a twig gets stuck in the mud under the forkcrown. All because I can't bring myself to quit the 28 gatorskins that fit my old bike.

Anonymous said...

Uhg. Your punctuation is atrocious! "All bikes should be made of wood, metal and crabon is for vulgarians" should have had a semicolonoscopy, not a coma. May you die soon and rot in hell (or at least slip into an extended comma that will bankrupt your family)!

skydave said...

At least you can braze some bottle cage bosses on the Drysdale.

JLRB said...

Since everyone has brilliant ideas for adding second water bottle cages that aren't going to happen because they involve modifying someone else's bikecycle,

How about one of those seat post rear mounted bidet style models the tri freds seem to like?

-like this one from Special-ed for example

Equally absurd.

dancesonpedals said...

Anonymous: No one will die and rot in hell. At the worst, he may slip into a comma.

BamaPhred said...

Looks like it could use a good rubbing with Bona High Gloss Hardwood polish. Bona and hard wood, it just never gets old.

Mooseknucle said...

Route vert all through quebec is beautiful. Wife and i have ridden lots of it

Skidmark said...

While riding a bike fabricated of wood, I think a bota bottle made of untamed goatskin would be nice.

Anonymous said...

"Impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship but also kind of embarrassed by it at the same time"

Exactly how I feel about an expensive new pair of shoes.

wiwm--They need to bring back Cyclysm Sundays on NBSN. If all they are showing on Sunday afternoons is that damn stupid auto auction, then would it kill 'em to show some cycling?