Daniel’s Cyclocross build

What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?

I’ve always liked challenges, working with my hands, and the thought of building my own bike out of 100% renewable materials, in my own workshop/garage with common everyday tools intrigued me.

Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?

I 100% enjoyed the building of my Bamboo bike.  But to be honest there were frustrations and delays during my build.  The frustrations were nothing major and I now consider them learning experiences.  The delays were by no means a result of the build.  We decided to move to a new house and couple that with a list of other commitments and buying components the build took me much longer than I had anticipated.  But in the end, it was all good and to be honest I was not in a big hurry anyway

What did you find most difficult about your bike build?

  • Probably the most difficult part of the build was getting the rear triangle straight.  Even though I used the provided JIG when I mounted my rear wheel for the first time it was way off from being straight.  I literally had to cut off the chainstays, remove the dropouts from the seat stays and rebuild the rear triangle.  Thank goodness I had a couple of extra bamboo pieces
  • I also found the wrapping of the lugs a challenge.  The hemp fabric fell apart on me.  What I ended up doing was ordering a dozen rolls of fiberglass cast material which I used for the initial lug wrapping.  Then I ordered a couple of rolls of 3” wide hemp wrap and used it for the final wrapping.  This I believe has led to a stronger bonding at the lugs.  An added benefit to using the fiberglass casting material.  It comes in many different colors, though I chose white!

What was the easiest part of the build?

  • It was all relatively easy.  The key was/is paying attention to detail, measure several times and always cut long and take your time.

How would you describe the ride of your finished bike?

  • The ride of my finished bike is simply amazing.  I’m blown away at how smooth and quiet it is.  It’s also lighter than I expected, coming in at 11.29Kg or 24.9 pounds.  I have a full carbon fibre road bike (Specialized Roubaix) and I believe my Bamboo bike is a smoother ride.  Granted some of the added smoothness may be contributed to me running 7000x32c gravel tubeless tires @ 60psi

What would you improve about the build experience or your finished bike?

  • A definite improvement to the build process would be some sort of centering/alignment JIG for the rear triangle.  This is the area I had the most difficulty with.
  • Another improvement would be a list of compatible components e.g. forks, BB, headset.  I spent many hours trying to locate many of the components 

In conclusion I have absolutely no regrets in buying and building my DIY kit.  The kit its self is well thought out and the instruction/build manual is easy to follow.  Though I will say I did not receive my Bamboo Beer ☹ so that was a let-down.  I’m no thinking about the possibility of building a recumbent bike out of Bamboo.  Not sure if such a kit is offered by James and Bamboo Bicycle Club.  I certainly hope so.

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