Builder Profile: Savvy Cycles
Meet Mike Mahoney, the owner of Savvy Cycles in Grand Junction, Colorado. For many years, Mike made beautifully crafted wood longboard skateboards. As Mike tells it, when he began no one was interested in longboards. Over many years, Mike continued perfecting his craft while awareness was building and he was ready for it when people became interested. After selling the longboard business, Mike looked for other opportunities to use the skills and techniques he had honed over the years. Mike's passion is mountain biking so naturally he started thinking about building a wooden mountain bike.
"After making longboard skateboards for ten years I was looking for a challenge. Since I’ve been riding mountain bikes for over thirty years, it seemed natural to join my passion for woodworking and cycling." Mike Mahoney
Similar to how the awareness and appreciation for longboards grew over time, Mike hopes for the same kind of change with wood bikes.
"Most of us grew up on a steel or aluminum bike, today it’s carbon fiber, so the concept of a wood frame bike is a mindset change for cyclists. However, once you ride one, you understand the benefits of wood." Mike Mahoney
We hope to help with that spreading that message!
Read on to learn more about Savvy Cycles and Mike Mahoney.
WBS: What type of bikes do you build?
Mike: We make mountain bikes, fat bikes, city/commuter bikes, and have an all road/gravel bike in the works. Our wood frames have been third party tested and meet EN 14766-05 mountain bike standards.
WBS: Do you typically build bikes to order? Do you offer custom builds?
Mike: Our wood frames are built to order. We have standard frame sizes, and can do custom geometry and sizing.
WBS: What types of wood do you typically use?
Mike: Savvy frames are usually made of Ash and/or Hickory, we use Sepele, Walnut, and died Maple for accents.
WBS: What do you love most about building wood bicycles?
Mike: There are many reasons I love building wood bicycles, but ultimately, I love riding something I created. How many people can say that?
WBS: What has been the biggest challenge / obstacle to success?
Mike: The biggest challenge is getting people to understand that wood (nature’s carbon fiber) is a viable frame material. Most of us grew up on a steel or aluminum bike, today it’s carbon fiber, so the concept of a wood frame bike is a mindset change for cyclists. However, once you ride one, you understand the benefits of wood.
WBS: What do you wish people knew about wood bicycles?
Mike: The advantage of wood as a bicycle frame material is that wood has a natural ability to absorb vibration. Other frame materials require the frame builder to make compromises to avoid a rough ride. With a wood frame, those compromises can be avoided because of woods inherent ability to dampen the ride yet maintain a responsive feel.
WBS: Where can people learn more about your work?
Mike: Learn more on the website or social media. We hope you’ll give wood a try. If you’re in the Grand Junction CO area, give us a call, we’d love to take you for a ride!
Learn more about the production process!
Many builders use a CNC machine to accurately carve parts of the bike frames. Mike is no exception and uses a combination of lamination and intricate designs to achieve the beautiful and natural shapes of the bikes. Mike shared some of the details of his process in a video produced with the CNC manufacturer. Check out this video.