Journal

Kevin’s Road Bike home build

Released: 13th September 2019

Published by: James Marr


What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?
When I passed my 11+ exam back in 1964, my father took me to the LBS to buy a bike. In the shop window they had a Reynolds 531 frame in bits with a box, which they would not sell to my father to assemble and build. That’s stuck in the back of my mind all these years, and when I retired three years ago, I thought I’d see if I could build a bike from scratch. And the Bamboo Bicycle Club provided the perfect answer.

Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?
Of course, I started the project thinking I knew how and why a bicycle works, and now I do. I’ve repaired the family’s bikes over the years, but none has needed really thinking about.

What did you find most difficult about the bike build?
Knowing when to stop trying to make it look like a bike off the shelves of a shop. I decided on the simple colour scheme early on, but making the painted hardened hemp joins look evenly finished was arduous.

What was the easiest part of the build?
Assembling the jig.

How would you decide the ride of your finished bike?
Smooth, almost silent, confident.

What would you improve about the build experience of your finished bike?
Clearer reference to the BBC YouTube build videos. I chose to do the whole project on my own, with negligible external support and no third party reference points, the videos were very helpful and useful.
Recommend using an electric holesaw set and drum sander to work on the frame mitre joints. The supplied plastic tube and sandpaper was awfully slow and tiring.