Renovo produces a variety of practical bikes, and each frame is completely unique. Customers choose the kind of wood they’d like their frame made of depending on what they want the frame to look and feel like. The unique design of Renovo also makes them aesthetic heirlooms.
Magnesium for Smooth and Responsive Rides
Paketa Bicycles, based out of Boulder, CO, chooses to make custom bike frames from magnesium. Not only is magnesium stiff and strong, it is also unbelievably light, weighing 50 percent less than titanium.
What’s special about magnesium is its high damping capacity. Damping is the rate at which vibrations are absorbed, meaning the frame absorbs most of the vibrations from the road before they reach the rider. The resulting ride feels snappy and responsive without feedback.
Paketa produces custom-made, high performance road, mountain and tandem magnesium bikes, which are sold throughout North America and will last riders anywhere from eight to 25 years.
Durable and Creative Bamboo Frames
Hoping to eventually build bikes that are completely local, Al Roback and the Grass Frames team source their bamboo from Chilliwack or California, and the hemp from Hungary, China or France. Despite being made from fast-growing renewable materials, these bikes aren’t just sustainable; they’re also practical. Bamboo is strong, flexible and absorbs vibrations, while the hemp and eco-epoxy wrapped around the bamboo frame for protection and durability has “spider-silk properties,” meaning it holds up better than fiberglass.
While butting is impossible with bamboo, the tubes have a natural strength from the lignin arrangement at a cellular level. In terms of the craft technique, the material selection, cutting the selected material down to size and taking out the nodes is not the hardest part. What’s most time consuming during the building process is wrapping the entire frame with the protective eco-coat. Depending on the detailing desired by the customer, each semi-custom frame takes anywhere from 40 to 100 hours to complete.
Karin Olafson has contributed to local and national publications and is currently researching an article for Triathlon Magazine Canada. Her writing includes opinion, culture and sports pieces.