Wooden mountain bike gets by with a little help from Kevlar
By Paul Ridden
March 18, 2014
Wooden-framed bikes are things of undeniable beauty, but they're also highly prized for their smooth ride capabilities. At the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Chris Connor of Denver-based Connor Wood Bicycles introduced us to a new mountain bike named DURT, that's had sections of the steam-bent, locally-sourced reclaimed wooden frame reinforced with Kevlar for a gorgeous combination of strength, beauty and performance.
Like the other bikes in the expanding Connor Wood Bicycles range, each DURT mountain bike (which stands for Denver Urban Reclaimed Tree) is individually made and sculpted by hand. The frame is fashioned from reclaimed lumber that can be tracked back to its originating zip code area (specifically American white ash frame with black walnut center strip) and protected against the elements with marine spar varnish.
Connor told us that layers of Kevlar have been sandwiched inbetween wood in the rear triangle, with aircraft-grade epoxy used to laminate the layers together. High-stress areas in the front triangle (such as those adjacent to the bottom bracket and head tube) have been hollowed out and lined with carbon fiber for increased strength without adding extra pounds. The resulting ride weighs in at around 30 lb (13 kg) and is described as unbelievably smooth.
The DURT bike features FSA carbon fiber components (including stem, seatpost, and cranks), a DT Swiss 110 mm suspension fork, Magura carbon disc brakes and 29-inch wheels with Ghisallo wood rims and Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. Other specs of note include wood and Kevlar handlebars, a 14-speed Rohloff internal gearhub, and a Gates carbon belt drive. One of the custom options on offer is beechwood rims (though they're not made by Connor).
The setup featured in the gallery has been used in the Leadville Trail 100, an endurance epic that starts in the Colorado mountains and runs for 100 miles (160 km) on trails and dirt roads, and costs US$10,000. Configurations are available at a starting point of $7,500.
Source: Connor Cycles