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.