Before starting this activity, Mr. Valery Gorbatov’s business was making wooden furniture, now he uses the same material, but uses it to make bicycles which are just made of wood.
The first thing that people usually ask Mr. Valery Gorbatov when they see one of his bicycles for the first time is: “are your wooden bicycles as strong as metal ones?” it’s just a matter of the bicycle frame. It’s as strong as steel bicycle but thanks to the natural flexibility of wood when you ride it you don’t feel the bumps – Gorbatov explains.
Gorbatov had the idea to make the “Velobike” about six month ago, after he saw a similar model made by an American firm, which at this time is the only company to produce for the American market.
Enthusiastically Valerii immediately decided to share his idea with his good friend Alexander Chuprinyukom, with whom he then found the company Woodrover. The business has its headquarters on the outskirts of Kiev in the Ukraine.
The inspiration of their Velobike came directly from the Internet. The frame is made of beech and a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine is used to make it, it is then hand polished and varnished to protect it from weathering. Gorbatov is keen to point out that it is impossible to find two identical bicycles because the wood grain is unique for each bicycle.
VALERII: Cycling on one of our bikes is like sailing on a luxury yacht, you are always the centre of attention, and often people stop to ask you for information about your bicycle. Some people even doubt that the frame is really in wood, thinking that it has been covered with an adhesive or some special type of paint.
URLOPOP: Who was the designer of the bicycle? I must say that it is really a perfect combination of style and functionality.
VALERII: For the design and development of the project, I asked my dear friend Mr. Anton Lubnin who is a brilliant aeronautic engineer, to help me. For this reason the logo of our company brand incorporates wings, to recall the connection with the aeronautic industry. The bicycle adopts the best of the technologies available on the international market: the varnishes for the wood come from Italy, the bicycle fork comes from SR Suntour, Taiwan, the shock absorbers, wheels, brakes and gearshifts are produce by Shimano, the well known Japanese company , while the leather saddles are manufactured by Brooks England. To produce the first prototype It took me four month. We invested 10,000 Euros in special machinery and equipment . The price for a Woodrover starts at 3,000 euros.
URLOPOP: How many people are working in your team?
VALERII: At present there are four of us. Anton Lubnin the designer, Alexander Chuprynyuk head of PR, Alexander Dyukov Export & Sales Manager and myself.
URLOPOP: Can we call your bicycle an ecological bike?
VALERII: Compared to the production of a traditional bicycle in metal or in carbon fibre, ours is 100% ecological, we use renewable resources and we don’t pollute the environment. Who knows what the carbon footprint is to produce a bike made of carbon fibre or aluminium. Even the varnishes that we use are entirely environmental friendly, our frames are protected by 12 coats.
The company is not even twelve month old, but its products are being exported all over the world, Gorbatov has enquiries worldwide. The first four bicycles were bought by the “Hotel Volnogora” in the Carpathian mountains – the bicycles are well suited for our bike park at the hotel – says the hotel owner Alexander Belchikov.
In the near future Woodrover intends to expand the range of products, introducing, city bikes, electrical bikes, and womens and childrens bicycles.
URLOPOP: Who are your customers? Are there any famous people who own one of your bicycles?
VALERII: Our customers are of the upper-middle class, but we don’t wish to reveal their names.
Though we started our business recently, I must say our clients are all satisfied.