Portland’s Renovo Bikes, makers of the bicycle equivalent of wooden yachts, have scored a coup: they’ve just collaborated with Audi to enable a foray into the lucrative bicycle market. While it may just be a natty marketing exercise on Audi’s behalf, they have successfully done in one move what Porsche, Volkswagen and BMW have been trying to do for years: actually create a bike with credibility.
The partnership with Renovo is an interesting one. Audi has simultaneously demonstrated that they not only have a modicum of interest in bicycles being something other than just a marketing tool, but also a brave confidence in selecting a builder that specializes in wood and not carbon-fiber.
The Renovo R4 is a wonderful work of craft, if you’ve ever had the slightest appreciation for wooden yachts you should find something to admire in its planes. Renovo construct their frames with black walnut, Port Orford cedar, Wenge, Padauk, Sapele, hickory, ash and purpleheart. Apparently the weight is comparable to frames constructed from steel or titanium, and also provides a far suppler ride. If weight is your concern, there are plenty of other options, but if you want an impeccably crafted work of rideable art, a Renovo is sure to provide years of satisfaction. All photos by Jonathan Snyder.