We’re not making wood bicycle frames because we’re woodworkers. We’re not. Hell, we’re not even carpenters. Two of us took woodshop in middle school, but that’s it. We can’t make a desk or dresser, or build a house, nor have we, though I suppose we could probably figure it out. We’re just engineers/designers who chose wood as the material of choice for bicycles because of its excellent properties. It didn’t hurt that we had the equipment necessary to make wood bikes, but we also have the equipment and training to make metal bikes, and carbon bikes too, for that matter. Frankly, these other materials were half-considered every now and then as relief from the ordeal of trying to create an apology-free wood bike. It took a great deal of research, testing, trying and crying before we had a good bike. Historically, wood bikes came before metal bikes and we only half jokingly say ‘metal bikes were invented because making a wood bike is such a pain in the ass.’ Well, it is hard to work with, but we get better every day and there’s a lot of satisfaction in conquering this unruly stuff.
Our employees come from a broad range of backgrounds and training; design, mechanical engineering, aircraft design and manufacturing, art school, graphic design, and marine technology among others, but we all share a passion for bicycles and fine craftsmanship.
Each of us at Renovo feels very lucky to be building wooden bicycles. Even now, after so many frames, we still get captivated by the latest beauty that has gradually, but finally emerged from the pile of rough lumber we started with. We’re all a little mystified that we can actually make such an amazing, beautiful thing. But when we ride one, the smooth, quiet, magic carpet ride once again reminds us why we’re doing this. The ride and the beauty are enough to keep us happy, and the ‘cool ride’ compliments on the trail are frosting, but the best reward of this whole gig is that our passion and joy in making these bicycles is reflected by Renovo owners who are equally passionate about riding them. Making stuff does not get better than this.
Renovo was founded by Ken Wheeler whose background includes the design and manufacture of the Wheeler Express, a composite, 4 place airplane. He, with his son Stuart, developed and tested the first Renovo bikes. We worked over a six month period between Stu's graduation from college and when he entered the U.S. Marine Corps to train as a fighter pilot in December 2007. Hard work has paid off for both of us; Stu has thrived in one of the Worlds toughest training environments to become a carrier-qualified pilot, now flying the Marine's AV8B Harrier vertical takeoff tactical fighter, and Renovo has evolved from a family company with one model to a close-knit group of skilled folks producing some six models of well-respected bicycles with sales worldwide, from South Africa to Finland.
Ken Wheeler, Founder