FAQs


Wood is amazing. It is versatile, beautiful and strong.  My bicycles are intended to be fully functional pieces of  “art that moves you.”  They have an amazing ride and a unique look which is sure to start a  conversation wherever you go. As you’re getting wherever you want to go you’re sure to be smiling.  Riding one is an experience of its own.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why use wood?
What makes it good?
What are people saying?
Is it just nonfunctional art?
Can you ride it?
Is it strong?
How is the ride?
Is it really handmade?
Is wood as durable as other materials?
Can it get wet?
Can you jump it?
Is it *all* wood?
Why laminate with Kevlar?
Is the frame hollow or solid?
How much does it weigh?
What is a scorcher?
Why no wood forks?
What kind of wood do you use?
Can you use different woods?
How long does it take to get one?
How much do they cost?
How do I contact you?

Why use wood?
Wood is an amazing material. It is strong, beautiful and has great vibration absorption characteristics which make it great for building bicycles.  Think about axe handles, baseball bats, boats, early aircraft… all made of wood.  It is a great material for bikes and makes for a beautiful aesthetic and an ride unlike anything else out there.  I love to work with wood and have always loved building functional art.  Wood bikes are the ultimate combination of design, engineering in wood.
top

What makes it good?
Aside from the obvious visual differences and beauty, wood has always been and currently is a sought after construction material.  Wood can be shaped and formed and has amazing strength to weight, but what may make it best of all is the ride.   Wood hammer handles are preferred by many builders because they absorb the harsh impact and vibrations from hammering.  Wood baseball bats take amazing impacts and don’t make the wielder’s hands numb afterwards.  Wood ladders are preferred by many firefighters and painters because they flex before they break and can be substantially damaged yet still retain their structural integrity.   These same characteristics are desired and will be felt when riding one of these bikes.  Oh, and when hand shaped and finished it is amazingly beautiful.
top

What are people saying?
People are saying great things about these bikes:

Velo News (2/2013) http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/02/gallery/gallery-in-the-shop-at-connor-wood-bicycles_273017

Capo Velo (2/2013) http://capovelo.com/community/index.php?/topic/816-connor-wood-bicycles/#entry917

Boulder Weekly: http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-10325-wooden-wheels.html

Gear Institute: http://www.gearinstitute.com/cycling/item/connor-cycles-woody-scorcher-29

Adventure Journal: http://www.adventure-journal.com/2012/08/the-daily-bike-august-30-2012/

Bike Blog (German): http://bike-blog.info/2384/modern-rustikal-connor-holzfahrrader

My Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Connorcycles
top


Is it just nonfunctional art?
Absolutely not. These bikes are amazing works of art which might well look great on your wall but what they’re intended for is to be ridden.  If you don’t ride it you’re really not going to appreciate what it’s all about.
top


Can you ride it?
Of course you can. Anything that claims to be a bike *must* be able to be ridden.  These bikes are strong and agile and are meant to be used as bikes. Ride it far and fast and be prepared to smile inwardly or outwardly every second you’re on it.
top

Is it strong?
Wood is incredibly strong and these bikes are engineered to withstand the stresses of normal usage.  Ash wood — which is used primarily in their construction is a true American hardwood. It’s also considered a “tool wood”, something used in tools and well suited for abuse and impact. Aircraft grade structural adhesives are used in their construction coupled with classic woodworking  joinery.  Furthermore, critical stress areas such as the rear triangle (seatstays and chainstays) and around the steerer tube are reinforced with Kevlar laminates.  This combination makes these pieces strong enough for any but the most abusive riding.
See a video here showing just how strong it is.

top

How is the ride?
The ride is one the best things about these bikes.  It’s smoother and more vibration free than steel without being a “wet noodle.”  It has control but just eats up the vibrations giving a buttery smooth ride unlike any other modern frame material.   You kind of have to ride it to believe it though. Jump off any other type of bike, steel, aluminum, full suspension, etc. and you’ll be able to tell that this ride is special.

Riding position is more like a mountain bike than a cruiser.  A cruiser is nice for dawdling around on  but if you want to actually get somewhere it isn’t  all that great. This position is more upright than your typical mountain bike but enables you to ride comfortably in more of a proper riding position and get to where you want in real comfort.
top

Is it really handmade?
Yes, these bicycles are entirely handmade.  The parts are shaped with routers and templates — not CNC (computer controlled router systems).   The joints are fitted by hand and smoothed with rasps and files. Lots of hand sanding is required to make everything flat and ready for finishing.  Very few bicycles in the world require this much hand skill and direct input from the maker to create. It shows in the finished product.
top

Is wood as durable as other materials?
There’s no doubt that wood is durable. It bends, it moves with changes in heat and moisture and may flex where other materials would break.  Is it as hard as steel?  No. Can it be worked as thin as aluminum? No. But it is plenty strong for a bicycle.  Early aircraft propellers were put together with oak and animal hide glue.  Seasoned ash with aerospace epoxy will do what you need it to do.
top

Can it get wet?
When finished properly using marine spar varnish, wood is perfectly capable of being exposed to the elements for extended periods of time and still look beautiful.  If you want it to continue to look its best, don’t leave it out year round.  But also don’t worry about a ride the rain or its getting showered on when parked in front of the store.
top

Can you jump it?
Sure, you probably *could* jump it.  I’ve launched mine off curbs and had heavyweight friends mildly abuse it.  Would I recommend it? No.  It’s strong but I haven’t done destructive testing yet.  I’m comfortable saying these bikes are fine for normal riding but any time you start doing crazy shit you take your life into your own hands.  Be careful.
top

Is it *all* wood?
The frame uses wood for all the major sections.   At critical junctures where wood needs to interface with bearing surfaces, it is reinforced with aluminum.  The head tube, bottom bracket, a short sleeve of seat tube and the rear dropouts are embedded in the frame or secured into place.  The seat stays and chain stays and a section by the head tube  have layers of Kevlar laminated in with the wood to ensure absolute strength.  Otherwise it’s all wood.  No hidden metal in there.
top

Why laminate with Kevlar?
Strength is key for reinforcing a structural part like the seatstays, chainstays or handlebars.  I steam bend wood strips for these parts. Simply laminating them back together would increase their strength over uncut wood, however I wanted something even stronger.  Composite lamination with epoxy and Kevlar gives me the right balance of strength and flexibility with the confidence that these parts should not fail.  I also laminate layers of Kevlar sandwiching the head tube into the frame so it will never come loose.

I chose Kevlar because, even though it is harder to work with, it is tough.  Kevlar absorbs a tremendous amount of energy and will bend significantly before it breaks. That’s why it’s used in things like bulletproof vests. It also extends the positive properties of the wood I work with. It increases strength, and to some degree stiffness, without becoming brittle and enables the amazing ride that only wood can deliver.  Carbon fiber on the other hand is very strong and very rigid.  It makes a structure that does not really bend well and when pushed to its limits (which are impressive) it may shatter.  While it is great for many structural applications carbon fiber is not the best material to laminate in with wood when trying go give a supple smooth ride.
top


Is the frame hollow or solid?
Connor cycles frames are cored out in areas that are not near to structural junctures and areas where the wood is strongest. They are not thin-walled  in any places and plenty of  wood is always left around bearing surfaces or the joints where I put pieces together.  This method of selectively hollowing lets me save a good amount of weight while never compromising the strength of the frame.
top

How much does it weigh?
In the bicycling world where gram shaving can become an obsession, these bicycles are not the right choice for someone in pursuit of a featherweight ride. That’s not what they’re about either. They’re cruiserweight. The frames weigh between 7-8 pounds. I give a range because different pieces of wood weigh different amounts — it’s a natural substance which varies.  Finished, built-up bicycles weigh between 25-30 lbs depending on final componentry.
top


What is a scorcher?
Fast, fun stripped down and simple. They are a simple bicycle harkening back to earlier times.  Clean lines, a basic drivetrain with swept back handlebars and high volume tires capable of smoothing out the ride of rough city streets or country trails. Read more here.
top


Why no wood forks?
While there are parts you *could* make from wood, forks are not one I would recommend. My belief is that the forks are such a high-stress component that the benefit of making them in wood doesn’t justify the potential hazard. I’m OK with the frame where you can overbuild in specific high stress areas. Handlebars too are easy to reinforce with Kevlar, but the forks take such high loads and really need to have the crown, lugs and steerer tube made from metal in order for it all to work that there’s not much left except the for arms.  Just stick with the nice steel forks on the market.
top


What kind of wood do you use?
I use American white ash for the frames and handlebars. I also laminate black walnut in to the center of the frame to make the distinctive center stripe.  Ash is a great “tool wood” used in baseball bats, hammer handles, and has been the wood of choice for hundreds of years for building things that need to withstand a beating.  Even the structural underpinnings in the bodies of Morgan cars are made from ash. Both ash and walnut are sustainable hardwoods which should be available for many years to come.
top


Can you use different woods?
Other woods such as birch and hickory may be suitable alternatives which I may explore in the future.  I prefer to use woods for which the strength is not in question.  I would be willing to explore other alternatives.
top


How long does it take to get one?
Build time varies but the waiting time for delivery is approximately 12-16 weeks.  More on ordering here.
top


How much do they cost?
For a standard built bike it costs $3,500 -$4,500 or more depending on which model you choose. More on ordering here.
top


How do I contact you?
If you have any questions or would like to place an order I can be reached by phone at 720.369.9881 or my email is echrisconnor@yahoo.com
top