One of the most eye-catching bikes at the Bespoked UK Handmade Bicycle Show last weekend was this beautiful wooden gravel bike from Twmpa Cycles, based in Hay-on-Wye.
The frame is made from European ash that’s grown in the UK under a sustainable forestry programme. The first thing you notice is that it’s gorgeous with neat detailing throughout.
Twmpa Cycles says that it uses wood because it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than either steel or aluminium along with unique vibration damping qualities.
The frame is hollow and weighs from around 1.7kg to 2.0kg, depending on size, with complete bikes starting at around 9.5kg. If the use of wood worries you, Twmpa Cycles says that its frames have been tested to BS EN ISO 4210-2:2015 safety standards and that it has ridden prototypes over thousands of kilometres of trails for two years.
The wood is finished externally with three layers of epoxy and two layers of a two-part polyurethane yacht varnish to keep mud and rain out.
A layer of epoxy is given to the inside of the two halves of the frame before they’re bonded together, and a drain in the seat tube makes sure that water can’t accumulate in there.
That said, Twmpa Cycles recommends that its bikes be stored in a dry place and that the finish is checked regularly and repaired before water has the chance to get in and cause damage.
The frame takes a BSA threaded bottom bracket and a 30.9mm seatpost, and the head tube has a 44mm internal diameter. The cables run internally with continuous outers.
Frames include custom CNC dropouts made from anodised Al 6061-T6, and come with Syntace rear axle components including a rear derailleur hanger.
Standard frames start at around £3,000. You can also buy a frameset – with an Enve G Series fork, a Chris King headset and bottom bracket, and a Hope seat clamp – for £3,955. That’s some classy kit included there!
Check out this head tube on another bike from Twmpa Cycles.
Complete bikes are available too. A SRAM Rival 1 build, for example, with a Columbus Futura Cross fork and Hope 20FIVE wheels, is £5,600.
Chances are that you’ve never ridden a wooden framed bike before, so Twmpa Cycles allows you to visit and try a bike before committing. You’re looking at a delivery time of about eight weeks.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.