We didn't design wood bicycle frames because we were woodworkers. Hell, we weren’t even carpenters, still not. We took woodshop in middle school, that’s it. We’re just engineers/designers who chose wood as the material of choice for bicycles because of its excellent engineering 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, or carbon bikes too, for that matter. Frankly, these 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 unruly, but we've learned how to make it behave in this unusual application and it's proven to be superb as a frame material and well worth our effort.
Nevertheless, our craftspeople who actually hand make these bikes DO have some serious training and varied experience from guitars to fine and production furniture, and all those years of experience show in our bikes...just look at the Purpleheart ribbon inlaid in walnut to the left. Their skills humble us designers, so we keep trying to find something they can't do; but no luck so far. In the end, we all feel very lucky to be making wooden bicycles. Even now, after so many frames, we still are captivated by the latest beauty that has gradually 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. Well, it would be good if we could do it faster...
Renovo was founded by Ken Wheeler, whose background includes the design and manufacture of the Wheeler Express, a 4 seat composite airplane and a variety of projects before that. He was joined by his son Stuart, and they worked together to develop and test the first Renovo bikes 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 World's toughest training environments to become a carrier-qualified pilot flying the 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 seven models of well-respected bicycles with sales worldwide.
Ken and Stuart Wheeler, Founders