While that may be nothing new, what is new is how this puppy is brought to life and what you can do with it. So, hang on tight for the next few minutes, and get ready to grab your checkbooks for what could be your neighborhood's, city's, and even state's only Ornus bike.
So, what the hell are we looking at here, and how did this machine come to be? Well, as I mentioned, a whole lot of info about Ornus doesn't yet exist. But, what we're told is that this project has been in the works for years, and only now does this crew feel they can offer you a bicycle that is, indeed, worth every penny of its €6,800 ($7,400) starting price. Depending on the drivetrain setup you choose, you can end up paying up to €8,300 ($9,000 at current exchange rates).
I know, I know; it's quite a whole lot to be paying for a gravel bike, but then again, is it? After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if you ask me, this is one juicy and stand-apart two-wheeler and one that's sure to be getting a whole lot of attention every single time you ride it.
You've heard CNC milling mentioned over and over again since we started exploring the Ornus, and with this manufacturing technique, individual shells of wood are created. Once those are brought to life, Ornus mentions that each of these 'shells' is "joined and reinforced by patented membrane grafts," whatever the heck that means.
In order to understand a bit more about what's going on, I looked into the whole wood membrane grafting idea, and it's actually quite neat. In short, we're fusing separate woods at a molecular level with an array of composite materials mixed in with some UV irradiation thrown into the process, assuming that Ornus uses this same method and that I understood what this Italian crew is doing here.
Once that beautifully crafted base is in place, it's time to complete the rest of this bugger, and frankly, some composite materials clearly made their way onto this gravel wonder. If that fork isn't carbon fiber, I quit my job.
As for the price range I mentioned earlier, it's because of the secondary components used to make this bike move. I'm talking about the drivetrain and wheels. For example, the G1 includes a Shimano GRX820 groupset and Fulcrum Speed wheels.
Climbing up the price ladder, the G2 version is equipped with a Campagnolo Ekar 13V drivetrain and Levante wheels, while the big boss is rocking a Shimano GRX810 and Fulcrum RapidRed 5 wheels. The latter is the one cruising in at $9,000, without any shipping to wherever you may be in the world.
As for what you can do with this beast once you finally receive it - it takes up to 45 days to build each one, and they're made to order - Ornus mentions that each G can even be used for bike-packing, not only hitting roads and singletracks like there's no tomorrow. However, it looks like we'll be using nothing but frame bags, as I don't see any cargo mounts anywhere on this sleek and flawless backbone.
Personally, I've always been a sucker for wooden bicycles, and to finally see one built for the industry's fastest-growing sector, gravel riding has got me drooling all over my keyboard. I'm so curious as to how this thing feels and how much it weighs that I just may head down to Ornus next time I'm visiting Italy.