Italy is home to a new biking innovation that dares to challenge conventional biking norms - the wooden gravel bike named Ornus. Developed by a namesake company, the Ornus bike frame is made from solid ash wood, a prime material well-regarded for its shock resistance and strength. The company claims the overall weight to be around 9kg, with the frame alone accounting for 1.9kg. The bike is offered in three build options embodying varying specifications and the price range falls between €6,800 to €8,300 based on the selected configurations. Interestingly, the bike has gone through intensive testing and has been awarded the EN ISO 4210 certificate of conformity, attesting to its structural durability, strength, and safety.

The creation process for an Ornus bike is quite remarkable. Craftsmen at Ornus carefully select ash for its specific seasoning and fibre characteristics before shaping components on a CNC machine. Thereafter, the parts are transformed into very light shells, joined and reinforced by patented membrane grafts. The bike’s main frame comprises hollow tubes, supplemented with solid ash for the smaller ones. These organic components are then glued together around aluminium connectors designed for aeronautical applications, offering strength and ensuring control even on challenging terrains. The brand assures that the aluminium connectors also help the bike safely navigate gravel tracks and rough roads, further enhancing the adventurous appeal of the innovative bike.

So why would Ornus opt for wood? The answer lies in the natural properties of wood which dominate its attraction. The company states that wood’s inherent ability to absorb vibrations delivers an enhanced comfort level to the rider. Ornus even compares the bike’s performance on par with carbon fiber on-road and steel off-road. On sustainability parameters, wood stands strong, not only does it claim renewable and sustainable virtues, it also requires less energy to machine than metal. With that said, the Ornus gravel bike is not merely an amalgamation of designs and materials, but more of a testament to the celebration of craftsmanship offering an intriguing experience to biking enthusiasts.