I've commented previously about exotic and unusual frame materials, including bamboo and Clancy's wooden bike. (See link.)
There's a very interesting story on the KBOI TV website about an Oregon craftsman who builds handcrafted wooden frames. They look gorgeous, and apparently ride very nicely. Surprisingly, at least to me, the weights are very comparable to the super thinwall tubes we're all accustomed to.
According to the Renovo website:
- Lightweight; a frame weighs from 3.5 to 4.5 pounds--bikes, 16.5 to 20 pounds.
- A magically smooth ride thanks to wood's unique ability to absorb shock and vibration--you feel the difference immediately.
- Stiffness to order: from carbon-stiff hickory and others, to the supple smoothness of laminated bamboo; you can tailor the stiffness and ride to what you want, not just what comes off a production line.
- The hardwood frame is remarkably tough. It easily withstands impacts that ruin butted metal or carbon frames.
- The fatigue life of wood rivals carbon and is substantially longer than aluminum or steel. The Renovo is an heirloom quality frame.
- The Renovo frame is environmentally friendly, with sustainable woods, bamboo and low VOC waterborne sealers and finishes.
Go and feast your eyes at the website, lots of nice photos. I kinda like the two-tone ones... the bloodwood/curly maple is pretty sweet! (They are very expensive, but certainly not out of line with other high-end bicycle frames made of more conventional materials.)
The only downside? If you live in Beaver Country, you do NOT want to leave your sweet wooden bike outside! (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)