Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

Renovo Wooden Bicycle: An Amazing Product from a Charmingly Incompetent Company

with 91 comments

Yes, I own a wooden bicycle. That sounds kind of crazy, but it is one of the most beautifully crafted things I have ever owned. It is also the most amazing ride I have ever experienced. Though it took over a year to finally get my hands on my bike, it was worth the wait.

The Amazing Renovo

The bike is called a Renovo Elwood. First, it is stunning. I’ve only been on the thing a few times and I’ve had lots of people stop to ask about it. Even a bus driver on my daily commute across Lake Washington got off at a stop and took a picture for his riding buddies. It’s fun!

Neal’s First Renovo Elwood, April 2012

Neal’s First Renovo Elwood, April 2012

But won’t wood break? Ken Wheeler, the founder of Renovo and an engineer, calls wood “nature’s carbon fiber.” He designed the frame using monocoque construction techniques to distribute the load around the exterior shell. I’ve seen their shop in Portland, OR. The wood blanks are carefully selected for quality and the frames are shaped by a sophisticated CNC milling machine with a drill bit that turns at >15 K RPM. The half shells are then bonded together using epoxy. The result is a very, very strong frame.

Zack (8) in front of Renovo frame half shell

Even better, the ride is unique. Each power stroke on the stiff frame transmits energy directly to the wheels. Yet the bumps are not transmitted back from the wheels to the rider. Some how the frame absorbs this energy and dissipates it. The best way to describe the ride is organic: it just feels natural and right.

The Elwood model, named for Ken’s dog (who I met at the shop in Portland), is an aggressive commuter bike. For the woods I selected bubinga and wenge, strong African hardwoods with deep colors and textures used in many fine musical instruments, and Douglas Fir, a native to the Northwest and used extensively in my 1920’s Seattle home. I spec’d it to have disc brakes and fenders for the Seattle rains, Rolf Prima mountain bike rims so I can handle curbs, potholes, and gravel trails on my daily commute without breaking any more spokes, and the Shimano Ultegra component group as I’ve been happily riding Shimano my entire life. The bike is lighter, tighter, more responsive and better looking than anything I’ve ever ridden.

Charmingly Incompetent Company

Ah, now on to describing Renovo the company. I ordered my bike June 2, 2011 and finally picked it up today, June 3, 2012. It took over 12 months to get the dang thing. There were multiple delivery dates promised and missed. The CNC mill broke, and rather than have the manufacturer on the east coast repair the bit they tried a local shop in Portland that failed. At one point the delivery was delayed for six weeks because their drop out manufacturer was building custom parts for the mountain biking nationals. This just means of course that Renovo can’t think ahead to manage its supply chain. Even more frustrating, nobody at the company seems to know how to do customer service. They never once reached out to me proactively, only in response to my inquiries: “Hey, it’s me, the guy that paid for his bike in full 6 months ago. I was wondering if you could give me an update?”

After many disappointing misses, Ken finally brought the bike up to Seattle for the Bike Expo in April 2012. That was a nice touch, saving me a trip down to Portland to get it. I picked it up with the kids, and for two weeks was in bike heaven.

Zack (8), Amelia (6) and Cormac (3) celebrate the delivery of Neal’s Renovo Elwood at the Seattle Bike Expo, April 2012

It was bike heaven until, one day climbing out of the parking garage at work, I heard a CRACK.

FAIL! The wooden frame cracks

Ken was mortified. He said this had never happened on a production bike and only one prototype frame ever failed. I sent it back to Portland and they found the root cause: they had failed to put a full bead of epoxy where the chain stay meets the bottom bracket. When I power stroked up the hill, the frame flexed at this joint and caused the split up the bottom tube grain. I felt somewhat better knowing the cause and therefore that the frame was not architecturally poorly designed. However, I felt slightly worse knowing that I had to add to the list of what I was learning about the company – poor supply chain management, poor customer service, poor manufacturing, poor quality control.

Each frame carries a 10 year warranty, so Ken quickly put my rebuild at the front of the queue. The team cranked out a new frame in a month. Unfortunately, they shipped it to Seattle without the headset installed, so off it went back to Portland. Then they shipped it without the cable stops installed, so another round trip ensued. Nothing new, I guess.

All water under the bridge, though. I now have a beautiful heirloom bike in my garage, and I can’t wait to ride it. The funny thing is, the long effort to get this bike somehow makes it more special. You can’t typically just buy this bike off the floor of a showroom. You have to buy it from Ken Wheeler, an affable, charming guy who has made an amazing bicycle.

Ken Wheeler, founder of Renovo, with Neal at Seattle Bike Expo, Apr 2012. Photo by Amelia (6) from her height.

Update 6/4/12: I shared a link to this post on Renovo’s Facebook wall. I guess not surprisingly they deleted it. But they didn’t even reach out to me to have a conversation on Facebook, or show up here on the blog to leave a comment. As an online marketer I have to say this is bad form. Clearly I care about Renovo enough to have written a post and to have liked the brand on Facebook. Clearly the company has also failed in some significant ways. To just ignore my post or try to hide it is another fail. They didn’t even try to address the issues I raised. So to all the other things I’ve learned about Renovo this past year (poor supply chain management, poor customer service, poor manufacturing, poor quality control) I guess I now have to add poor use of social media. Ah well.

Update 6/5/2012: I rode my bike to and from work today. Pure joy! Ok, back to this topic: Renovo is a small company with just seven employees. It must be incredibly challenging to make the business successful. I really respect Ken and the company for making it work as it must be a labor of love. I really hope they survive and prosper. He’s not very happy with me right now for this post and commenting on Facebook. He says they’re trying hard and my experience is not normal.  However, it seems like they may not have improved much over the last few years. Scot Hacker wrote a story describing a very similar experience getting his Renovo Pandurban back in 2010.

OK, I’ve got to be straight up here: Renovo make an incredible product, but their business skills leave something to be desired. I was reluctant to wait six weeks, and never would have ordered if I had thought it would take longer. But with delay after delay over the course of nine months, they never once contacted me about additional delays – every single time it was me writing them, “Hey, can I get a status update?” Even in the final stretch, after they contacted me to say the frame was done, and that I could send the balance of the bread and it would be ready by the end of the week… it was another two weeks of waiting. The whole process was incredibly aggravating, and I came close to canceling the order many times, but friends cajoled me into sticking with it – “It’ll be worth it!”

They were right.

Update 2/10/13: Unbelievably, the replacement bike broke again in fall of 2012. I was starting up from a stop light in Bellevue on my commute home when – CRACK – the frame split along the grain of the Douglas fir on the bottom tube.

Nov 2012 Frame Failure II Nov 2012 Frame Failure

John Rasmussen, the new manager, sent a nice guy named Tony up to Seattle on the Amtrak from their shop in Portland to pick up the bike. It took them about three months to rebuild the frame and assemble the bike, and there was the standard black hole of information about status. They decided to the frame failures were due to weakness in the Douglas fir and replaced it with ash. After 20 months since my original order, I may finally have a bike that works. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the white ash, and the front derailleur still doesn’t stay tuned. Maybe it’ll grow on me. (Update 2/11/13: It did!)

New version of Elwood with Ash instead of Fir

New version of Elwood with white Ash instead of reddish Fir, February 2013

Update 4/28/13: I hate to add this, but the third frame also failed. This time was not quite as spectacular as the previous two: there was no loud crack. I was just talking about the bike with a riding buddy and pointed to the bottom bracket, saying that this is where it had failed previously. Then – gasp – I noticed long cracks in the varnish along the joints. I’ve seen this before on my wooden boats. It’s a sign that the wood is flexing, and it absolutely should not be happening on the bike. When I emailed the photo to Ken he immediately offered to pay to have the frame shipped back to Portland. I really appreciate how strongly they stand behind their product even as it has repeatedly failed. I just hope they figure out what’s happening so I don’t have to keep doing this. I signed up to do the Seattle to Portland ride this summer and guess I won’t be able to do that now.

Third Frame Failure

Broken varnish indicates chain stays are flexing along the bottom bracket

Update 11/25/13: I finally received my fourth (yes, fourth) frame from Renovo, a mere seven (yes, seven) months after the third frame failed. I missed the entire summer 2013 riding season. It’s got to be hard to get good help at the wages they can afford to pay, because they are just terrible at meeting any deadline, even the ones they set for themselves, and have almost no ability to communicate status. It’s still a beautiful bike, but at this point I gotta tell ya, not worth the effort. I ordered the bike 3.5 years ago, have had it in my possession for about 6 months of that time, and had three frames fail. I wouldn’t order one again.

Sir Elwood the Fourth

Sir Elwood the Fourth

Update 12/24/13. I finally got a chance to take a closer look at the bike out in natural light. I was disappointed to find several imperfections in the finish quality. In some places the varnish clouded to a milky white color, which happens when too much is applied at once. In other places, it looks like dust or other foreign items were varnished into the finish. Either a rookie did this bike, or the crew was moving too quickly. In either case, the quality of the finish does not match the first three frames I received. I’ve let John and Ken know, hopefully they’ll take care of this. I don’t have a great camera phone, but here are the shots I could take:

WP_20131224_001 WP_20131224_002 WP_20131224_004 WP_20131224_008 WP_20131224_012 WP_20131224_016 WP_20131224_019 WP_20131224_022 WP_20131224_024

Update 1/18/14. John talked to Ken and they decided they were “embarrassed the bike made it out of the shop as there are clearly flaws.” I should send it back and they’ll take care of it. Ugh. Honestly, I wonder if this company is going to survive. If I send it back to them, will they be around long enough to return it to me?

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Written by nealfreeland

June 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Hobbies

91 Responses

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  1. Excellent post, good comments, thanks

    PTB in San Diego

    June 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

  2. I’m surprised that they deleted an honest complaint. It’s poor form in my opinion. Just based on anecdotes, most people are willing to overlook growing pains if there is an honest effort to address them.

    Nonetheless, I’m glad to read that your happy with the bike to date.

    InvisibleHand

    June 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

    • Thanks invisiblehand. What’s surprising is I don’t really feel like I’m complaining, just telling the story of my experience as they’ve created it. they should actually be thankful I took the time and embrace the feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve. But I guess no one there outside Ken is brave enough (or experienced enough) to engage.

      nealfreeland

      June 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

      • Hello, I have a Renovo Hoodoo triathlon bike frame, brand new, just completed for sale. Any recommendations where I can advertise this? Ykepinc@yahoo.com

        Ingrid Fenton

        April 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

  3. […] Renovo Wooden Bicycle: An Amazing Product from a Charmingly Incompetent Company Yes, I own a wooden bicycle. That sounds kind of crazy, but it is one of the most beautifully crafted things I have ever owned. It is also the most amazing ride I have ever experienced. Though it t…… […]

  4. Placed a deposit on their 29er in January. Hopefully I won’t share any of your experiences. If I’d read this earlier, I doubt I would have ordered one–especially with two failures.

    Mark Sunday

    March 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    • I’m sure it’ll be fine Mark. It rides like nothing else and looks great. You’ll be glad once you’ve ridden it.

      nealfreeland

      March 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm

  5. Your story resonates with a mate who ordered his bike nearly 12 months ago from Renovo and has beeen told 4-6 weeks for such a long time now it has become a running joke in the peleton. Unfortunately he has paid in full and cannot exert much influence over them. Similar stories about equipment failure staff leaving etc etc causing delays.

    Michael from Oz

    April 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm

  6. I’m scared to leave my story as the bike ordered June 2012, is still not here. Same issues, CNC breakdown, staff changes, promises promises of a 4-6 week delay, more accurately a 4 – 6 month delay, and still going….
    I fully empathize with a small family run business trying to cope with a production line that is fully labour intensive, but let’s get realistic with time lines. Ditto with the black hole as far as proactive communication is concerned. The last thing I wanted to do, or be, is the squeaky wheel demanding oil, fearing being pushed way back in the waiting line.
    Also being far away in Ozzie land, no real option but to wait. Ironically pleased that its not just me, only sorry for the guys who produce such remarkable pieces of art that the business side is not being well coordinated.
    My riding buddies have found me a new alias “Woody 426” , hope to show them the real thing sometime this year,

    Woody426

    Andrew Metter ( Woody426)

    April 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    • I have been waiting since May 2012 for an R4 and found this post because I wondered if others are complaining, wondering wtf, etc. so I googled “renovo bike delay.” Don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad that I have found others and that this has been going on for a few years.

      Steve

      April 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

      • Sorry to hear it Steve. All I can say is that it’s worth the wait as the bike is unique and a wonderful ride. I tried to view the challenges with the company as part of the charm, like dealing with flaky artists. You’ll love the bike once it arrives. Good luck! (And PS, give Bing a try, that’s where I work 🙂 )

        nealfreeland

        April 23, 2013 at 11:18 am

      • Thanks Neal for the optimism and for posting your experience. I went out there last May and gave an R4 a 20 mile test ride and knew I was not going to leave Portland without putting down a deposit. Just sorry the lack of communication and the waiting has not added to the experience…hope it will all be water under the bridge when I receive it (as of now, I am still in limbo). (PS, I do use Bing now and again, just “googled” has become the lexicon).

        Steve

        April 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  7. Andrew and Michael – sorry to hear this! But you will get the bike and you’ll love it. They are good people in the shop just a bit disorganized.

    nealfreeland

    April 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  8. Called Renovo to cancel my order Monday. Was told Ken was unavailable and left a message. Also sent an email. Ken never returned my call nor did he respond to my email.

    I called again on Tuesday and could not reach Ken. Drew Nasto called a few minutes later and gave me a song and dance routine about the frame failures Neal experienced. I decided to keep my order, until seeing Wwody426 post his experience. Funny: Drew told me that he was never involved with Neal’s issues. Is this true?

    I don’t feel that these people are charming: they’re deceptive. Ken assured me my bike would be ready in late April or early May. Drew told me it would be June, but he wasn’t sure. Now I see that they’re still delivering 9-12 months later.

    Renovo is now insisting that they only want to refund $750 of my $1,500 deposit because of their hours of work. Really? I should pay people to lie and make promises they have no intention of keeping?

    I’ll keep everyone posted.

    Mark Sunday

    April 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

  9. Forgot to mention that Drew has lost my build order twice, and emailed to ask what components and woods I wanted. I guess that’s part of their charm as well.

    Mark Sunday

    April 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  10. Hey Neal, please delete my latest comments. I spoke with Renovo again, and decided to keep my order. I do hope it won’t take 9 months though, especially since the lead time was my first question to Ken.

    Mark Sunday

    April 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    • Hey Mark – Thanks for reading the post and for your comments. I think you’ll be glad you kept the order. It’s an awesome bike and you’ll really like it. That said, as you’re learning the process of dealing with Renovo as a company can be frustrating. Think of them as artists and engineers and passionate bikers. That could help lower your expectations about customer service. In the end, they are really committed to making sure you have a great bike, and will do whatever it takes to deliver it. Good luck!

      nealfreeland

      April 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  11. Neal, any update on the frame issue on 4/28? I’ve got my Elwood expected delivery end of May 2013. Your experience has gotten me a bit concerned. I commute year round 25 miles a day in the rain or snow. I’m also signed up for Seattle to Portland ride and planned to either drive or fly my bike out there but I think I a back up plan is in order.

    Nick

    May 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    • I know they’ve received the bike but haven’t heard back yet on the plan to replace. Based on history, I doubt I’ll get a replacement in time to train and ride in STP. I definitely think a back up plan is in order for you. It’ll reduce risk and frustration, and then if they actually deliver you can be surprised and happy.

      nealfreeland

      May 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

  12. Ended up canceling my order. I am visually impaired, and planned on obtaining a low interest Assistive Technology loan to acquire the bike. Ken indicated in our January conversation that they would be able to refund most of my deposit if things didn’t work out. In April, I was denied for the loan.

    Renovo offered to refund half my deposit only. All attempts to contact Ken were futile, as he would never return calls or respond to email. I eventually accepted the offer of half my deposit. After one week, Drew at Renovo told me that Ken had not responded, so I contacted American Express: American Express came through and provided me with a full deposit refund!

    If Ken had refunded my deposit as he stated he would, then I would have been happy to keep saving my pennies until I had enough to pay for everything up front. Unfortunately, he didn’t do that. It’s too bad too. The product is so original and unique, and I truly wanted to support their effort. Now, I could never encourage anyone to do business with Renovo.

    Ken also assured me in January that their production issues had been resolved , and that my bike would be ready in 3 – 4 months at most. From what I’ve read here, that appears to be another over enthusiastic promise.

    In short I didn’t find Renovo to be charming. I feel they engage in deceptive tactics. I would like to see them succeed, but I would also like them to be more honest with everyone.

    Mark Sunday

    May 27, 2013 at 8:29 am

  13. After 14 aggravating months, I FINALLY received my R4. I have only had it less than a week so a full critique and review is premature. However, after 100 miles, so far, it is the best ride I have had (mind you I am coming from a Cannondale CAAD 10 with Sram Rival comps)…unbelievably smooth and ridiculously beautiful. I am 5’10” and the 54 cm frame on my Cannondale is perfect..if having to do it again, I would have gone for a 56 cm frame for the Renovo. But the 54 will work fine for me.

    Yes, the delays, inability to accurately convey turn-around is amazingly frustrating and unacceptable… that must be improved as Renovo grows. As a small business owner myself, and I have always felt that customer service should be the easiest part…it is something that you can control, it is free and man does it go a long way.

    Anyway…psyched to finally have it in hand. For those that are at their wit’s end as I was…hang in there…if you are ordering a Renovo, you are in it for the long haul…so wait it out.

    For those interested pictures of my bike can be found here (note this is a direct link, it is not on my site proper): http://www.stevenspowers.com/o_powers_renovo_r4.html

    Steve

    August 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    • Wow, that is a really great looking bike! I like how the R4 curves along the top tube and rear triangle. Very sharp. Glad to hear it was worth the wait!

      nealfreeland

      August 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  14. I swear your story is mine. My bike was delivered a year after the originally stated delivery date. It was a frustrating time that included at least half a dozen missed delivery estimates with NEVER a call or an email letting me know there was a delay. My frame was one of the frames stolen from the factory so after months and months of waiting and finally being told my bike would arrive “next week” I was back to square one. When it finally did arrive it was a beautiful bike that was outstanding to ride. It rode far better than anything else I have ever ridden….for 2 weeks until the frame cracked. I sent the frame back (at my expense) and was told they would replace it. I asked how long that would take. I was told “30 days”. I replied “I don’t believe you. Just be honest. How long will it really take?”. I was again assured 30 days. Long story short, that was 3 months ago and I’m still waiting. I suppose I should be upset but the bike rode so well that I assume it will be worth the wait. I just wish the communication from the company was better and more accurate. If, like you, my frame breaks again I suspect I will reach the point of being upset.

    Bum4life

    August 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    • Sorry to hear it! I’m still waiting for my rebuild but John has been a bit proactive about reaching out with updates. Keep the faith and we’ll both have great bikes again soon.

      nealfreeland

      August 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    • Oh so familiar are all the stories, the frustrations, the heartaches, and ultimately the pleasure on receiving what can only be described as an exceptional piece of art.

      A major concern for me was the incredible distance from home down under (Australia) to place of production (Portland), which meant multiple frustrations to power of 10.
      Distance definitely contributed to magnifying all concerns, despite email assurances, (or lack thereof) and when they did happen the time frames were way out.

      12 months on, I have received this absolute masterpiece of craftsmanship, joinery not seen before anywhere on such a fine piece of machinery, and a ride like no other.

      Renovo craftsmen are true to their craft. They do not work on assembly lines, they do not work to time schedules, but when they do work, which no doubt they do, they produce a one of a kind product that is a joy to hold between the legs.

      With this in mind let me assure you, it is worth the wait.
      Happy cycling

      Andrew

      andrew metter

      August 21, 2013 at 3:42 am

  15. Hi Neal, I stumbled across your blog while searching for information on wooden bicycle frames, as I’m thinking of building one soon. I work for a hardwood supplier up in Bellingham, and I just wanted to mention that the first two catastrophic frame failures were almost certainly directly related to the use of Douglas Fir for the tubing. Hardwoods and softwoods have a fundamentally different cellular structures, with the grain of hardwoods (generally) being much more interlocked – and thus much less prone to splitting along the grain – than that of softwoods like Doug fir. While the fir would be plenty strong enough in most ways to use for the tubing, it’s also unfortunately quite easy to split with relatively little rotational force, and the failure tends to propagate for long distances along the straight, non-interlocking grain lines.

    I hope you get your bicycle back soon. They are really beautiful, and if they ride half as nice as they look, it would be hard to go back to other frames!

    Keith

    September 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    • I agree and thought for a bit risky. I have it on floors in my old Seattle home and it’s pretty soft. They said it’d be ok, but experience showed otherwise.

      Thanks for the comment, Keith, and good luck with your project!

      nealfreeland

      September 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

  16. same here… 12 months… been told 1.5 months left. I hope its worth it..

    Daniel

    November 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  17. Just received my seemingly infinite ” sorry we can’t make the delivery date we stated” email from John. I have reached the conclusion that if I could figure out how to start a competing company with any sort of decent customer service, Renovo would be in deep trouble. I will be over a year if the new promised delivery date is met, but I’m not hopeful.

    Chris

    November 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm

  18. Well I’m in the same boat here. I was working with a guy named Drew and then he “left” the company. My main concern was more about them going under and losing my money that I paid in full many moons ago when they were ready to “begin” production after my initial deposit many many moons before that. John let me know they were training new finishers and that was the current bottleneck. I ordered all my components when they “began” production so at least I have had a cranksets, shifters, and some wheels to keep me company in the meantime 🙂

    dogma

    November 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm

  19. I ordered my R4 in Nov 2012 and paid in full last Feb. I am still waiting! I was told the frame will be bonded today. Then later the two triangles attached, then shaping, sanding, finishing starts. Finally, I am hearing real progress. I share the same frustration and concern as the others on this post, but it helps to know I am not alone and that Renovo eventually comes through.

    John

    December 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

  20. Wow , sorry to here about your problems, Im building my own wooden bike, Interesting to see these issues.. hows it going now? Did they respray your frame. Thanks Adrian (England)

    Adrian Hatton

    January 3, 2014 at 1:14 am

    • Hey Adrian – building your own frame is impressive!

      Renovo is deciding what to do and will get back to me. Still figuring it out.

      nealfreeland

      January 3, 2014 at 9:20 am

  21. As the owner of a Renovo Badash 29er, I’ve got to pipe in too. It took over eighteen months from the initial order to the delivery of the bike – the original estimate was 3 months. In that time, no updates were forthcoming, other than a continuous flow of machine breaks, staff changes etc etc. Drew kept assuring me it’d only be “another three weeks till it’s out the door”, then Drew left; it took about a month for John to answer my eMails and though he did finally apologise when I picked up the phone, he again promised “two to three weeks”, which turned into over seven months.

    I twice asked them to cancel my order, but they convinced me not to, promising “a truly beautiful bike”, and that “it’ll all be worth it”. I’d completely given up hope when I got a tracking number via eMail. When the bike did finally show up days later (I’m in Israel), it was absolutely beautiful – not blemish free unfortunately (there are three dents in the wood which I hope will not prove to be structurally problematic), but there is absolutely no way I am dealing with the company again in any event short of a frame failure. The whole experience has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I know I don’t love the bike as much as I should.

    Everyone who sees the Badash is smitten, but I try and talk each and every person out of placing an order. It’s a shame, because the bike is hands-down the best balance of smoothness and rigidity I’ve ever ridden, but Renovo is absolutely the worst managed company I have ever had dealings with.

    J

    January 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    • Great perspective, thanks for sharing

      nealfreeland

      January 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      • Well that was an interesting and frustrating process. 16 months, to many broken promises to count, and the bike arrives with a ding in the frame. Not enough to send back but disappointing none the less. It’s gorgeous and I am looking forward to riding it when fully built out. Nice frame, but be aware it will take 5 times longer than they state.

        Chris

        June 2, 2014 at 7:53 am

  22. My deposit was paid on 5-9-13. My balance on 10-9-13 There was an opening in production and if I paid my balance I could have my frame in Sept of 2013. since then 4 missed delivery dates have come and gone! Pathetic communication from Renovo, the whole time NO BIG SURPRISE! When you read the numerous other complaints. Taking someones money under false pretenses reeks of fraud, my belief! Asked for a refund at first of year! John, now refers me and my legal counsel to Ken now, who will not return calls. NOTHING CHARMING AT ALL! this co. has been in business way to long to be using growing pains as an excuse. This is not how good people do business! I just want an amiacble closure on this. But that’s not happening. My opinion is AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COST!

    Steve Saunders

    February 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

    • Wow, sounds really frustrating. I’m sorry it’s been so contentious. Good luck and hope it gets resolved to your satisfaction!

      nealfreeland

      February 5, 2014 at 9:26 am

      • Just a follow up I have done everything I could To make Renovo Aware of my frustration with they’re deceptive practices. And requested A refund Close to 2 months ago. Which prompted a communication shut down from them. Now I hear from the better business bureau that Renovo is supposidley , Almost done with my frame and there is no refund possible at this point. I have never been so disappointed or insulted by any business venture in my life!. Any honest business would have recognized my frustration and worked towards an amicable solution. But not Renovo. It is they’re intent at this point to force they’re unwanted product onto a totally dissatisfied customer. DEFFINATLEY THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU ENGAGE THIS COMPANY!
        Steve Saunders

        Steve Saunders

        February 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm

  23. Over 15 months have gone by since my deposit, still dont have my bike.

    Daniel

    March 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

  24. Daniel all you have to do is demand a refund, yourself. have your lawyer contact them and demand a refund. At which point Renovo will not respond to you, or your lawyer. And then call the Better Business Bureau At this point Renovo will then build your frame. Even though you are trying to cancel the order and want nothing to do with them. And finally you will receive sum information about your build. Not from Renovo. But they will communicate to you through the B.B.B. At this point they are building your frame to your specifications, and a refund is not possible. Try it, that’s how it worked for me. And somehow My frame was built before yours even though you committed your deposit before me. My deposit was made 5-9-13
    I have currently refused delivery of my unwanted frame. And am intending to sue Renovo over it’s misleading and unacceptable practices. And it’s flagrant disrespect of it’s customers

    Steve Saunders

    April 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

  25. I was considering buying an R3 from this company after seeing them at the NAHBS show. Sadly, I can’t even get an email back from them in response to my inquiries about different woods. I’d hate to have some of the posters experiences AFTER they’ve gotten my hard earned money.

    Thinking a bamboo bike from Boo Cycles is a better option. Though not as pretty, the “magic” ride quality of natural materials will remain. Shame really, I think Renovo has a great concept.

    Jonny Walker

    April 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

  26. Neal, thanks for telling your story! I am sure I would have thought even harder about ordering my Renovo if I’d known about your frame problems. But, so far I’ve had a great ride on my Elwood pretty near every day since I got it over 2 years ago. About a year ago I did find a tiny hairline crack in the direction of the woodgrain where the screw attached the rack to the frame (Renovo built my bike, too). I took a photo & got an immediate reply to bring it in. I’m local, so that was easy – they found the crack was not in the wood, just the varnish (I have the matte) – they stripped and refinished it and it has been fine since. I agree they could use some communication skills, but otherwise I’ve been happy. I was told 5-6 months when I ordered my bike and it was around 9. And little communication to keep me up to date until it was nearly finished. But once it was done, it was worth the wait!

    LL

    April 20, 2014 at 7:02 am

    • Good to hear that you’ve had a positive experience w the company. I agree it’s an amazing ride.

      nealfreeland

      April 20, 2014 at 8:16 am

  27. Just to share my personal history with my order place more than 19 months ago and $6977 forked over, but nothing but empty promises received in return:
    Nov 3, 2012 Placed order for bike and paid down payment $2500
    Feb 23, 2013: Scheduled delivery for end of April 2013
    March 8, 2013: Paid $4477 for remaining balance on bike.
    May 23, 2013: Delivery scheduled out to August 2013
    Sep 4, 2013: Set new delivery date of September 27, 2013
    Dec 5, 2013: Beginning of January 2014 for delivery
    Mar 6, 2014: A mid April delivery looks good at this point.
    Jun 9, 2014: Sorry about the delay in responding to your email.
    Still no answer to this date.

    Mark

    June 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    • I ordered an R4 in late Nov 2012 and experience a similar timeline as above. I just received it last week (a little over 18 months). It was a bit frustrating, as you all know. However, it did come out beautiful and the ride is superb.

      John Aylward

      June 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

  28. I paid in full to have an Elwood frame built on Sunday September 1st, 2013.

    My measurements were submitted on September 5th, 2013.

    My wood selection for the frame was submitted on September 9th, 2013.

    The first estimate for when the frame would be ready was February 2014.

    The second estimate for when the frame would be ready was March 2014.

    In February 2014, I was put in touch with someone in their Sales “department” who indicated that the Elwood model that I purchased could not be made for my physical measurements and the order was changed to the Renovo F1(Audi Duo) style frame.

    In May 2014, I was told that my frame would get moving again in the next week or so and might go out by mid-June.

    It is now June 20th and I haven’t heard a peep out of Renovo; 9.5 months after paying for the frame and there is no indication that they have even begun working on the frame.

    At no point has anyone from Renovo ever pro-actively communicated with me. They eventually respond to emails sent to them a few days to a week or more later.

    If one really wants to own a Renovo bike, it seems like a better strategy would be to purchase one of their already built frames that they have on their website and then bring it to a local bike shop, purchase parts and have the local shop assemble it.

    Stefan L.

    June 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

  29. No big surprise. Obviously it’s “status quo” @ Renovo, I guess that the guys at Renovo are just way to busy collecting down payments from new and unsuspecting customers to deal with any old comitments. So Neal did they ever bother with fixing your problem?

    Steve Saunders

    June 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    • Yes! They sent me another new frame which is in my basement. I’m not riding it this summer (focused on swimming) and consider the bike more a work of art than a useful conveyance.

      nealfreeland

      June 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      • Most recent facebook posts suggest a lot of activity on their end to produce and finish frames. Personally, I don’t mind waiting for the beautiful bike I have been dreaming of. The frustrating part has been Renovo repeatedly letting me down on promised delivery dates. With all I know now, I’ll just sit back and wait for the email/phone call telling me that my beautiful bike is ready, whenever it may be.

        Mark

        June 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm

  30. Hey this is Nick following up from my earlier post May 2013. I ended up taking delivery of my Elwood earlier in 2014. Finish had a few flaws, but no big deal it’s handmade. Love the bike, ride was great and I was surprised at the attention that it got. Didn’t think that many people would really notice it. It has developed a creaking noise that goes with crank rotation. Checked the pedals and chainring bolts, they are OK. Closer inspection reveals a slight crack in the varnish propogating in the exact same spot as yours, non drive side extending from the stays. Going to keep an eye on it. I commute on my bike in heavy traffic. If this thing gives out while I’m riding in traffic, I’m going to be very displeased. I’m in the auto industry, these need to be tested on a durability cycle, not just stress and strain tested once after the frame is new. They need to make up a shaker rig for the frame and run that bitch on endurance test.

    Nick

    August 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

    • Well funny thing ….just this morning I spoke with Renovo. Mine is back with them. I noticed a similar creaking noise and took it in to my friendly bike shop to have them look at it. We thought it needed the bottom bracket replaced but once taken apart they could see the crack in the frame along that housing.Took it in to have Ken look at it and he said they knew of that potential problem – due to brittleness of the wood. I was told now they add a biscuit (thin wood piece with grain in opposite direction) at that area to prevent it from occurring. Mine was an early one in the model line, so I guess they didn’t do it back when building mine. They told me they plan to dowel it to repair. He said there are many of their bikes with heavy use that have not had this issue. I realize natural products (wood) can be a bit unpredictable. But, I agree with you – I ride every day in traffic and would have liked a head’s up that this was a possibility so I could watch for it. I had noticed the creaking but kept thinking it was a new chain ring settling in, etc. And, the usual, everyone is very nice, but – told 2 weeks for repair. It has now been 4 and they haven’t started on it. New projected time – 2 weeks. It is my daily commuter bike so being without it is a hassle.

      Laura

      August 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm

  31. After 1 year and 9 months after initial deposit I finally got the bike. Looks beautiful. Still cant believe it took this long. If you dont mind the wait, buy one.

    Daniel

    August 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

  32. Hi,

    I can’t believe the misfortune you have encountered Neal – it must be very frustrating.

    My own experience has been a very positive one with Renovo since ordering my Badash in May of 2010. Renovo has treated me well and I have been so impressed by the bike that I even responded to their call last year for investors to loan funds for their expansion plans. I have recently also bought two additional new Firewood frames (they just arrived and are gorgeous!) and have even offered to help them establish distribution where I live.

    I have worked with a fair number of start-ups during my career and understand that they will have their issues in scaling up their products and managing their processes. What helps me decide to be part of a journey with a company is whether their products are amazing and if the dedication of the founder(s) to putting things right is in the “DNA” of the company. I believe that even in Neal’s case these seem to be intact.

    Yes, I love my bike. It rides superbly. It looks fantastic! On some week-long group rides when my bike is leaning on a fence next to a dozen other bikes that cost twice or more as much I now know which bike will get all of the attention – and a fair few strokes of the wood! At my coffee shop everyone has a look, local carpenters shake their head in amazement at the joinery work. Most think it is one heck of a great paint job at first! “Yes, it is really wood” I assure them.

    I didn’t buy a Renovo for others to ogle at it, but it does reinforce the image that buying a Renovo bike is a lot more than just buying a bike. You are buying into a company and helping to make it successful with your support. I like that, it makes me fee a part of something special that you don’t find in most things you buy today. Yes, I had to be patient, but then I expected that this may be part of the deal. I can be patient when the prize is worthwhile. Besides, I am pretty certain that they are not just lazing about and that they are improving and with the additional funds and new models things will improve much further.

    Mind you a number of my big-brand buying cycling buddies have also had frame problems and what is for sure is that they don’t get anything like the support Renovo is offering – or the length of the guarantee. Their arguments with the distributors and the delays getting things put right are woeful.

    I hope Renovo continues to make innovative, fantastic bikes and that they have many more happy customers – even if something were to to go wrong on occasion. Ken and this team deserve respect for what they have taken on and are producing. Neal, I hope you finally get that bike that is just as it should be.

    That’s my story – please just don’t let my wife find out she is getting one of those new Renovo’s for Christmas!

    Omar

    December 21, 2014 at 2:06 am

    • Great comment Omar thanks for sharing and glad to know Renovo is expanding.

      nealfreeland

      December 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

  33. Nick again posting an update from my August post. I don’t think it’s going to break on me. Things are maintaining during the cold weather, cracks have maintained, not gotten worse. Creaking noise is about the same.

    Nick

    January 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

  34. All this sounds depressingly familiar. I placed my order in September 2012, and paid in full in December 2012, and was promised a delivery date of 29th April 2013. I have chased, and visited, and chased. When I visited in April 2014, I was shown some pieces of wood with my name written on them, this some 16 months after production was supposed to start. In January 2015 I offered to accept just the frame, and a refund for the groupset. I was told that they would prefer to ship it all as they had invested in the parts, and that this would hopefully happen by end of February. It is now end of April, and despite several emails requesting an update, I have not heard since then. I have asked Renovo to ship me what they have in whatever state it is in, and I will have it put together here in the UK. It is disappointing to read so many other similar stories….

    Tommi Grover

    April 26, 2015 at 9:28 am

    • Tommi – Will they not provide a pre made frame that they announced with much fan fair about 9 months ago? Oh thats right, they can’t manage a production schedule.

      Mine took 16 months, a law suit and a return when delivered for a ding in the down tube and a broken derailuer pulley. Good luck, but my thoughts are that if my R4 ever breaks it goes on the wall as art and I will move the parts to a carbon frame. Its a great bike to ride, I have about 5,500 miles on mine and its simply the best bike i have ever had. Looks great, rides fantastic, just a company that is impossible to deal with.

      Chris

      April 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      • Hi Chris, well, I am glad to hear that the bike is fantastic. If I ever see mine, then I am sure I will love it. I have no doubt that they are all nice people as well, and that is partly why it has taken me this long to get angry about it…

        Tommi Grover

        May 10, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    • Tommi, I am anxious to learn when your frame is finally delivered. Since I placed my order in November 2012, I might just get my bicycle about two months later. Otherwise, all my experiences with Renovo are exactly like yours. The prospect of owning a beautiful wooden bicycle is still enticing to me, but “expectation postponed makes the heart sick.” (Proverbs 13:12)

      Mark

      April 27, 2015 at 9:18 am

      • Hi Mark, I will let you know when/if my bike is ever delivered…!

        Tommi Grover

        May 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      • Hi Mark, just to update you, my bike was delivered today. It does look great, I am leaving for Finland in a few days time and wont be taking it with me so it will have to wait until I am back before taking it for a ride, but it really does look fantastic. The best thing is that my colleague who answered the phonecall to say that there had been a delivery of a bike to reception actually screamed and said “oh my god, what really, he has been waiting for it for over two years….!”

        The sad thing is I would have been happy to wait for two years and 9 months from placing my order, had I been told that it would likely take that long, or even had I been pro-actively informed everytime there was a delay…

        I am happy with the bike, and if it rides as good as it looks, then I will no doubt forgive the service in time…!

        tommicvp

        June 3, 2015 at 1:25 am

      • Just a final update. I couldnt wait to ride it so found someone to check it over and went out in the evening. The guy that did the service on it said it was difficult for him to work on, because so many people kept stopping him to say “can I take a photo”, “is that bike really made of wood”, and “wow, I have never seen a bike that beautiful before”. I have only been for a short 45 minute ride, but it felt great and I rode faster than ever before on several segments. That might have been enthusiasm too, but still, the bike was definitely worth the wait. Good luck, and I hope that your bike is as beautiful as mine when it does arrive.

        Tommi Grover

        June 10, 2015 at 3:48 am

  35. lol. I paid for my bike frame in full 603 days ago on September 1st, 2013. No sign of anything so far. I periodically send Ken Wheeler and John Rasmussen an email asking for status of my bike and invariably the response will be that the frame is close to being ready, or something like that. Then I won’t hear a peep out of them for weeks or months until I remember, hey, I paid thousands of dollars for this thing and I’ll send another email and the cycle will repeat. This is actually some great sociological experiment being directed by the CIA.

    Stefan

    April 26, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    • Update: 630 days after paying for my bicycle frame, it has been completed, I’ve seen photos of it and I’ve paid for components to be purchased and installed on it. Getting closer…

      Stefan

      May 24, 2015 at 6:36 am

  36. My name is Bruce,I live in Florida,and wish I knew of your site two months ago. I have admired these bikes for years,and took the plunge on April 27. I ordered a John Day frame,headset and fork,that’s it. I am going to finish building it myself. I was told about two weeks to prep and ship. It is now five weeks gone. Seems my experience is like everyone else. My real concern is all of the cracked frames all of you are experiencing. Now I’m getting paranoid about ending-up with a high priced pile of toothpicks. Maybe should have got the Rivendell or Tout-Terrain after all? Well,we’ll see what happens.
    (Wonder if Renovo folks read your site).

    Bruce Schenck

    June 4, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    • It’s a work of art, which requires a “relationship” with the builder. You’ll love it Bruce when you finally get it 🙂

      nealfreeland

      June 5, 2015 at 9:57 am

  37. Lifes lessons has taught us not all “relationships” are healthy! I am still trying to settle with Renovo and even though they have sold the frame in question, Ken believes a partial refund is fair. We have currently suggested arbitration. But Renovo is slow in responding back. NO BIG SUPRISE THERE! And yes renovo folks read this site. My statements seem to be a roadblock for Ken to work things out amicbly. in my opinion

    Steve Saunders

    June 6, 2015 at 8:36 am

    • How is a partial refund even an option? You paid for a product they failed to deliver. The hassle of a long legal process is the main reason I waited for my delivery. I do love my bike but would have happily traded it for a full refund for about the second year I was waiting on my bike.

      Adam

      June 6, 2015 at 10:07 am

  38. I’ve been thinking about purchasing an Elwood instead of a Cannondale Synapse frame. Ran across Renovo and I am getting alot of mix reviews. Im just looking for a Endurance Bikes that is lightweight and can handle my body size 255 lbs 6’4…

    Marc

    June 26, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    • if you need a bike now, get the canondale. if yuo want a work of art and don’t mind suffering to get it, get the renovo. just be prepared to wait and wait and wait…

      nealfreeland

      June 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      • I don’t need a bike right away. I’d like to upgrade to a durable bike with disc brake and DI2. Also I am wondering if a lot of the previous experiences were the result of growing pains and progress to perfection. I am curious if they continue to have these problems or if it has been perfected.

        Marc

        June 27, 2015 at 1:58 am

      • I paid for my bicycle frame in full on September 1st, 2013 and subsequently paid Renovo another $3k or so for tires, brakes, the rest of the components etc and its now June 27th, 2015 and I don’t have my bike yet nor do I have a credible ETA. Is that an indication of growing pains, progress to perfection, ongoing problems…I don’t know. It is what it is.

        Stefan

        June 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

  39. In my opinion Renovo is just perfecting it’s problems. Suit yourself! Remember you pay up front! For the lesson.

    Steve Saunders

    June 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

  40. Just wanted to add my 2 cents here, it looks like the Renovo support group I have been needing. Sitting here in MN, waiting over 2 years. Ordered in May 2013, paid full by December 2013, since then an endless series of delays and excuses (as indicated by others) and lousy to no responses. I can’t imagine how this place stays in business, but now they have my hard earned money and there is nothing I can do. While it is weirdly comforting to hear I am not the only one with this experience, my question is what can be done about it??

    Dave V

    July 27, 2015 at 5:07 am

    • So sorry to hear this, 2 years, wow! That’s really painful. I Guess you just keep waiting? They do seem to eventually deliver.

      nealfreeland

      July 27, 2015 at 8:13 am

    • Hi Dave, I ended up making a complaint via the Better Business Bureau, and that seemed to get things moving for me. I think someone in an earlier post had suggested this. I felt horrible doing so, and felt like I was jumping the queue, but when they stopped responding to any emails I felt it was the only thing I had left to do.

      That said, I have had my bike now for a couple of months. I haven’t been able to ride it much as I have been away in Finland, but in the past week I have been out on several rides, steadily longer each time. The bike is by far and away the best bike I have ever ridden, and certainly after 80km on fairly bumpy surfaces I felt like I could have happily stayed on the bike for another 80km.

      The bike is the fastest bike I have ever owned, the most comfortable, and the best for climbing. By a long way. I am not a bike expert, but it just feels great. And it is a bit gratifying to have everyone in the bike shop stop and stare when you wheel it in to buy a bottle holder or some new mitts… one man when he thought I wasn’t looking even reached over and knocked his knucles on it to see if it was really wood….

      So, I would say try calling them on the phone, and if you get no answer to any other attempt then maybe try the BBB? It really is worth the wait….

      tommicvp

      July 27, 2015 at 8:19 am

      • Ordered my Renovo bike in Nov 2012, paid in full in March 2013 (see earlier posting). In Dec 2014, my frame was supposedly “through the second round of machining and the rear triangle [was] being bonded.” In Feb 2015, they said “It shouldn’t be a problem to get you the bike with enough time to get ready for the ride,” my first century in mid-May 2015 that I ended up doing on my Trek hybrid. Now, I am registered for the Portland Century this coming weekend, with still no Renovo bike and no response since March 30 when I was told to get an update “tomorrow.” I gave up on asking for updates as they have becoming meaningless, … and my friends keep laughing at me and telling me that I hopefully learned a lesson.

        Mark

        July 27, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    • Dave, the best thing to do is to have a constructive conversation with Ken at Renovo. I have now bought 3 Renovo bikes (we just finished a 2-month 2,000 km tour in France, US and Canada on two of them) and even visited their shop recently and find Ken extremely easy to engage with and talk through any issues with. He has always sorted things out for me. Yes, sometimes that has meant being patient too.

      Why you are not able to reach a satisfactory outcome is something I can’t understand but it is clear that they have been busy trying to shift into a new line of bikes to build volume and create a distribution network to guarantee their future – something they need to do. It is a big undertaking. This may have caused delays to custome bikes is my guess but only Ken can tell you for sure how this has affected your build.

      I do suggest that going in “hard” with threats is probably going to prove counter-productive unless you have lost all hope. The bikes are great and worth the extra effort and wait to secure!

      Omar

      July 27, 2015 at 2:16 pm

  41. Omar per your post of 12 21 14. how much money have you invested into Renovo’s expansion? What is your roll with Renovo? And how is it. That Renovo has the resources to produce prebuilt bikes for sale but can’t even respond to those who paid for and were promised delivery so long ago? As an investor you should be “talking” to Ken and trying to shape a future that is beneficial to all. Aparently going in “hard” is the only way to get things out of this company.. It is my opinion that once Ken gets your money you are no longer important to him! I’d be really worried if I gave lot’s of money, myself

    Steve Saunders

    August 9, 2015 at 8:30 am

    • Steve, I really don’t appreciate the accusatory/cynical tone of your note – it is unecessary. My experience could not have been more different than yours from the very start until now.

      To set the record stratight, in June 2011 I took delivery of a Badasher that I have enjoyed very much. I responded to Renovo’s call for investors over a year ago to help fund their expansion with a $7500 investment note (fixed interest). I have recently bought two Firewoods – for my wife and I – and received and used them extensively over the last months. Do I hope they succeed, you bet I do!

      A few weeks ago I went to Portland to visit with Ken and to see about a small issue that had developed on one frame. We got the tour of the workshop and Ken was most gracious and has sorted everything and been a great person to get to know.

      For years I have discussed with Renovo how to help them establish a larger market presence in Australia where I live. I have always offered my bike to those wanting to see one in my area and have become an unofficial ambassador by just riding the bike around and answering questions. Whether I can do more for Renovo here has never been a precondition, but I remain open to exploring ways to help them sell more bikes.

      So that’s my full involvement in a nutshell. My delays (and all of my bikes were delayed a bit) pale in comparison to yours and were well within expectation. How many people had my kind of experience vs the ones expressed here is impossible to know but I have only written to offer my experience.

      Whether the $7500 is repayed or not is a risk I take as in any other investment I have made. What I know is that there are few other products that I have owned that I have enjoyed as much. That Renovo is going through growth pains is nothing different from what I have seen in other start-ups. I wish them every success.

      I truly hope that you can come to terms with Renovo – perhaps a good start is to get back in touch with them and work through the options. I suggested turning up the heat may be counter-productive but I am sure you have your own way of dealing with people and situations that works for you. I leave you to it.

      Omar

      August 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      • Getting back in touch with Renovo doesn’t seem to change anything. I paid for my bike frame on September 1st 2013. Here is the log of all my communications with Renovo going back to May 22nd, 2015:

        Renovo Communication Log:

        May 22nd, 2015: Received email from John Rasmussen at Renovo:
        Hello Stefan,
        We have your completed frame here and ready to go. The question now is how you would like to outfit the frame with a component build.  I think we had settled on the mechanical Di2 quote, but I sent both quotes for your consideration. I have attached copies of the two quotes we were exploring. 

        Let me know how you would like to proceed.

        J O H N

        May 22nd, 2015: Received from John Rasmussen at Renovo:
        Stefan,
        Here are those pictures of the frame. I added some pedals to your build list on us. The bottom line will remain the same. I’ll send this over to Elyssa and she will get you an invoice. I can get you a delivery estimate once we’re paid up and I check stock levels on the components. It’s normally a coupe of weeks. 

        Thanks,
        J O H N

        May 29th, 2015: Received email from Elyssa Conkey at Renovo
        Dear Stefan:
        Thank you for calling to make your payment. You are now paid in full. Attached is your 0 balance invoice. Please feel free to call me with any questions.
        Best,
        Elyssa Conkey

        May 29th, 2015: Stefan L. sent the following email message to Renovo:
        Great. Let me know when the bike is ready and I’ll drive up to Portland and collect it.
        Thanks.

        June 1st, 2015: Received email from Elyssa Conkey at Renovo
        Thanks Stefan, I will.

        June 14th, 2015: Sent the following email to John Rasmussen at Renovo:
        Hello,
        It has been 2 weeks since I received the attached invoice indicating that my balance has been paid in full. Have the stock levels of the components been checked and has delivery estimate been made?
        Thank you.

        June 16th, 2015: Received email from John Rasmussen at Renovo:
        Hello Stefan,
        I’ll be going through all of our builds and purchasing in the next couple of days. I can give you a better idea at that point.
        J O H N

        July 2nd, 2015: Sent the following email message to Elyssa, John and Ken at Renovo:
        Hello,
        Have the stock levels of the components been checked and has a delivery estimate been made?

        July 14th, 2015: Sent the following email message to Elyssa, John and Ken at Renovo:
        Hello,
        On May 22nd it was reported that the bicycle frame was completed, final payment was made for all bicycle components and assembly and on May 29th I received an invoice indicating that balance due = $0 and the bicycle has been paid in full.
        In May it was reported that stock levels of components would be checked and a delivery estimate made once the bicycle was paid in full.
        Have stock levels been checked and has a delivery estimate been made yet?

        July 27th, 2015: Called Renovo @ 503-231-4888 and Elyssa answered.
        I asked for a status update on my bike and Elyssa requested my phone number and said that she would get John Rasmussen to call me.

        July 29th, 2015: Called Renovo @ 503-231-4888 and John answered.
        I asked for a status update on my bike and John said he would check with Ken.

        July 31st, 2015: Called Renovo @ 503-231-4888 and John answered.
        I asked for a status update on my bike and John said he would check with Ken and this time he would definitely get back to me.

        August 6th, 2015: Called Renovo @ 503-231-4888 and Elyssa answered.
        I asked for a status update on my bike and Elyssa said she would get John to call me.

        Stefan Lister

        August 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

  42. I have been in touch with Ken to no avail. I wish you well in Australia and truly meant no ill will toward you! I myself have visited with Ken in Portland @ the shop and was impressed then. But that opinion has changed! Renovo has been in business way to long to call these issues growing pains and they are not a start up co. They are a Company that takes your money up front under false pretenses and then ignores you. There are way to many comparable posts on this website. This is poor business practices followed up with pathetic communication. in my opinion. Good luck with your investment! And just be carefull who you expose this co. to it may just backfire on you in the long run. Put a little effort into who owns Renovo on paper and tell me what you think then. Again all this rant is just my opinion. And feel free to suit yourself it’s only money!

    Steve Saunders

    August 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

  43. Similar experience as I ordered a custom Elwood in December 2013 and paid in full April 2014 when they had an opening in production. I thought after the RTR bikes were produced they could focus on the custom orders again but no such luck. My last check in with Renovo in August, my frame wasn’t in production.

    Kari Benson

    September 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    • This is Day 752 for me. I paid for the bike frame on September 1st, 2013.

      That said, apparently my bike frame was completed in May 2015 and the last of the bicycle components that I ordered and paid for are supposed to arrive at Renovo this week. In theory, my completed bike could be ready by this weekend in time for my daughter’s 1st birthday. That’s right, I created a human being in less time than it’s taken to create my bike! lol.

      Stefan Lister

      September 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm

  44. I built a bike two years ago and was able to get all parts in 2 to 3 days on the average . And had the option of overnight. But it takes Renovo 4 to 5 months,to procure parts. I wonder why? Stefan did you order exotic parts? or parts that can be found easily?

    Steve Saunders

    September 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

  45. The Gates Carbon Drive Belt system that I ordered could be considered exotic and there are some other parts in my build that I’ve never seen in a bike shop here in the San Francisco bay area:

    Shimano Alfine 11-speed internally geared hub
    Gates Carbon Drive belt and sprockets
    Shimano Disk Brakes, Crankset, Shifter
    FSA SLK Flat Carbon handlebars
    FSA SLK Stem
    Thomson Seatpost
    Cane Creek Headset
    Brooks Saddle
    Philcentric Bottom Bracket
    Tange Carbon forks
    Continental Gator Hardshell Tires
    Velocity Dyad Rims
    DT Swiss Competition Spokes
    Ergon GS1 grips

    Stefan Lister

    September 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    • 791 days after I ordered my bicycle frame and I received this message today:

      Hi Stefan,
      Your bike is complete and ready for pickup…
      Best,

      Visit Renovo’s Facebook page for the latest customer pics, adventures and more…

      Renovo Hardwood Bicycles
      http://www.renovobikes.com/
      Factory & Showroom
      2005 S.E. 8th. Ave.
      Portland Oregon 97214
      503.231.4888

      Stefan

      October 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      • I drove up to Portland and picked up my Renovo this weekend. It was raining up in Oregon so I didn’t take a test ride until I got back to California. I took the Renovo out for a 20 mile ride, came home, got my aluminum Trek that I had been commuting to work with and took it out to the dumpster and left it there.

        The Renovo is the best bike I’ve ever ridden. I’m done riding other bikes.

        Stefan Lister

        November 8, 2015 at 11:09 pm

  46. Greetings to all.
    Time for an update on my John Day. Received my frame late June. Took it to Mark at Truly Spokin
    (my l.b.s.),and got busy ordering parts and assembling. Picked up the completed bike on 3rd Dec. It is beautiful, and rides so smooth.
    I’m quite fortunate that it came together as quickly as it did,in light of those of you who have waited so long for your’s. If you can hold on,you will have the most unique bike in town. A real head-turner. May Santa bring everyone their Renovo.

    Merry Christmas to all,
    Bruce

    (Neal,if you are interested, I could send you a few pics. Just let me know how).

    Bruce Schenck

    December 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm


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