The 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Louisville, KY March 6th – 8th featured a bike built for one of Louisville’s signature brands, Louisville Slugger. Connor Wood Bicycles from Denver, CO worked with Louisville Slugger to produce a wood bike made from Slugger’s ash wood baseball bat billets. Connor’s bikes are renowned for their beauty, amazing ride and the strength of their wood. American white ash wood, traditionally in the Louisville Slugger bats is known for both it’s strength and amazing striking capability. The same qualities directly translate into beauty and a silky smooth riding experience when used in a bicycle. This customized bike is a rolling work of bicycle art which is now on display at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY.
“When Chris first contacted Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory about making a bike from baseball bat lumber we thought, “Wow, that’s a first! Sounds interesting, but is it really doable?” After speaking with Chris and checking his website, we knew this was a special opportunity to partner with a very talented artisan. The process could not have been better. Chris was easy to work with, flexible and very efficient with his communications. His creativity and passion are balanced by a sound business sense and professionalism. He respected our needs and our brand, pushed us when we needed pushing, and went above and beyond with his customer service. Chris delivered a functional work of art that took our breath away. Our museum guests are delighted by it every day, and we have received significant media attention for the bike. The piece provides a sturdy but beautiful interactive element to one of our marquee exhibitions. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is thrilled to have a Chris Connor bicycle in our permanent collection and we look forward to sharing it with our guests for many years to come.”
Vice President, Executive Director
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
800 West Main Street
Following the show the bike was installed at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in downtown Louisville as an interactive display at the museum. Visitors to the museum are able to see the bike, spin the cranks and hear the familiar sound of a baseball card flapping in the spokes.
Customization of this bike started with the frame, which is made entirely from baseball bat billets. Connor received raw billets from the Slugger factory and machined them into a fully wood bicycle frame. The frame was sent to the the Louisville Slugger Factory where it was branded with the signature Louisville Slugger logo and sprayed with the same durable finish that is applied to its bats. The assembled bike now showcases a Gates belt drive, wood handlebars wrapped with Slugger’s bat tape, and a customized leather saddle made from Slugger’s baseball mitt leather. Completing the build are 29′ custom wheels with a drum brake hub and carbon fiber forks.
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