Chris Connor is a woodworker. He makes gorgeous furniture. He builds amazing guitars. And speakers. And, well, 29ers like his Woody Scorcher.
Wood isn’t the most obvious choice for bikes, but what Connor’s doing isn’t without precedent: Calfee’s been at it for a few years. And, refreshingly, Connor’s not praising wood the way 650b converts assault you with all the glow of a New-Age (and freshly converted) crystal worshipper.
He readily says that wood has some amazing characteristics, including the ability to dampen harsh resonance, and he touts strength-to-weight values that rival or exceed more “modern” materials. But he also says that wood isn’t the “answer” to every structural question on his bikes. Note the metal seatpost, fork, stem, and wheels. While Connor’s Scorcher is put together using furniture-style joinery reinforced with aircraft-grade adhesive, he also reinforces the rear triangle and steerer with Kevlar.
We also dig his honesty about what wood can and can’t do:
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.