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Next: the wood bike

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

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Remember the iconic scene in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial where Elliott and his alien friend fly through the air on a bike, silhouetted by the moon? With a new steed from Portland-based Renovo, you might just be able to stage a re-enactment — minus the alien, of course. Last summer, Renovo founder Ken Wheeler used his background in airplane manufacturing to develop Renovo’s line of hollow hardwood bicycles. At just 16.5 to 20 pounds, they’re in the same weight class as metal racing bikes, and because wood is a natural shock absorber, they have a smooth ride. Available in more than 53 varieties, from Brazilian cherry to Douglas fir, the bikes also look like rolling works of art. Wheeler tested the materials for durability and says they’re every bit as tough as metal tubes, too. The frames, which made their debut at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show earlier this year, start at $2,000 and can be purchased through Renovo’s Portland workshop or at retailer Gateway Bicycles.   JAMIE HARTFORD



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