Blending is something that many in the whiskey world are familiar with. Often two good things can be combined to make something truly great. Maybe this is the logic behind the recent collaboration between Glenmorangie, the famous single malt distillers, and Renovo Bicycles. The result of their collaboration, the Glenmorangie Original, certainly involves a unique mix of ingredients: the bike’s frame is made from the staves of Glenmorangie’s American White Oak barrels and crafted by Renovo’s expert craftsmen into a bike that promises the same smoothness and sophistication we’d expect from a fine dram of scotch.
Renovo are no strangers to the combination of cycling and carpentry — in fact they only make frames out of wood. Each frame takes more than 20 man hours to make from over 40 pieces of wood. Renovo’s team use state-of-the-art adhesives, finishes, and manufacturing techniques that ensure that each frame has a consistent stiffness and vibration damping. Renovo claims that this gives their hollow frames a ride that feels as comfortable as your favourite arm chair.
Both companies clearly share a passion for wood. Glenmorangie’s whisky spends a decade in bourbon casks before it’s bottled, and each cask is only used twice before being discarded. The first fill instils flavors of vanilla, almond, and honey, and the second contributes citrus notes. After two fills, the wood has imparted its finest flavors to the whisky and is ready to return to the USA. Glenmorangie’s used staves are shipped to Renovo in Oregon and kiln-dried and smoothed before being crated into the finished frames. The curve of the barrels is reflected in the frame’s downtube. Glenmorangie’s collaboration with Renovo is the second in the distillery’s “Beyond the Cask” series. Last year, Glenmorangie created the world’s first Scotch whisky sunglasses with British eyewear designer Finlay & Co.
The Glenmorangie Original comes in sizes from 52-58cm and prices range from $1,000 for the frame alone to $6,950 for a full build. With Shimano Ultegra and FSA based components the it’s commensurate with carbon bikes at the same price point. A prestige edition, with electronic gearing and carbon wheels, is available for $11,450. The bike is versatile enough to accept 40mm off road tires of 28mm road slicks and makes use of the latest disc brakes and a carbon thru-axle fork to traverse roads, trails and even the occasional peat bog if you’re inspired to visit the distillery with your new purchase. Unlike carbon bikes, each of these frames will be slightly different thanks to the combination of oak and darker sapele woods and each piece’s individual grain. Every frame will carry a number identifying its place in the limited production run.
The frames will carry a Glenmorangie head badge and Renovo and Glenmorangie branding in gold text. Otherwise the wood is left unstained so that, when you ride up to the bar, everyone can enjoy a dram and appreciate the amazing craftsmanship that goes into each of these frames.