Got wood? Montreal trio builds bike frames from ash

Montreal group Picolo Vélo to launch crowdfunding campaign in September

The bicycle's original predecessor, the Draisine, was made of wood nearly 200 years ago, but modern bikes made from trees are few and far between these days. This September, a Montreal trio called Picolo Vélo will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for the Picolo V1 frame that is made from ash.

Pierre Laplante created Picolo Vélo, and Montreal woodworkers Nicolas Goupil and Loïc Dehoux of the cabinet company AMIK ébénisterie are now partners. 

The first prototypes were built at AMIK ébénisterie.

So why wood? Picolo Vélo touts a few things about the material as being beneficial: it has a much lower carbon footprint than alloy or carbon, and it has natural vibration-absorbing properties.

The frame is made with two triangular pieces of ash that are hollowed out to decreased the weight to 2.6kg for a size small, Dehoux told BikeRadar. "We are still working on prototypes, but we think we will sell the frame for around CAN$4,500," he said.

Picolo Vélo is salvaging wood from ash trees cut down in Montreal
Picolo Vélo is salvaging wood from ash trees cut down in Montreal

As for the choice of ash tree, Picolo Vélo is reclaiming the wood from trees chopped down in Montreal because of beetle infestation. 

While Picolo Vélo claims to be the first Canadian company building road bike frames from wood, they aren't the only ones worldwide working with trees. 

Renovo Bikes in Portland, Oregon, has been making wooden bikes for a decade, Connor Wood Bicycles works with ash and walnut in Denver, Colorado, Williams Cycles hand-carves the Urban One in the UK, and Skuut, in a throw-back to that original Draisine kick-bike design, offers wooden balance bikes for tykes. 

The company hopes to have a crowdfunding campaign live in September
The company hopes to have a crowdfunding campaign live in September

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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