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Bike Radar reports on the Renovo Hoodoo at Kona and RAAM.

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Making a Frame

The Renovo frame is monocoque, composed of two halves bonded together side-to-side along the long axis of the bicycle. Each frame half consists of four pieces, precision jointed with the strongest and most reliable of joints, the finger joint, then bonded with oven-cured, high temperature epoxy.

2528739-1732170-thumbnail.jpgThe frame is hollow except areas around the bottom bracket shell. The shell is both bonded and mechanically fastened to the frame. The head tube and the top of the seat tube have metal inserts inside the frame. All metal components are chemically treated before bonding to achieve maximum bond strength. The arched top tube is made of thin wood strips formed into an arc, bonded with epoxy and oven cured before machining. 2528739-1732744-thumbnail.jpg

The frames are machined to extremely close tolerances ( .005”/.13mm) on an Italian computer-controlled machining center (CNC). But don’t think we just sit back and watch the Italian do all the work.

Each piece of wood is carefully inspected for defects before being chosen for a frame based on its color, grain and figure. The Moisture content is measured and if necessary, adjusted to the correct percentage in our dehumidifying oven. The wood is then cut to size before beginning the complex journey to become a bicycle frame; the pieces visit the climate-controlled laminating room, CNC and oven six times each, and along the way enjoy the attention of four different saws, a planer, and a wide-belt sander. Each step of the process is scrupulously monitored for quality before moving to the next. The frame and rear end are assembled on an alignment fixture for final bonding, then oven cured.

Painted frames

The frame is then detailed, sanded and finished. The finish consists of two coats of epoxy, followed by three coats of linear polyurethane; it may not be bullet-proof, but this is the toughest finishing system that can be sprayed on anything. The epoxy coating is typical on boats and the polyurethane is typical on aircraft or expensive cars. Each coat is oven cured.

The CNC guarantees that our frames are precisely what we’ve designed, and are absolutely consistent from frame to frame. But it takes meticulous and painstaking hand craftsmanship to turn those precision parts into the beautiful bicycle you’ll love like no other.