Monday, November 14, 2011


Bamboo is not a widely used frame material and probably never will be. That said, there are some very attractive options out there. Most notably (according to me) is the range of bikes from Craig Calfee. These bikes are beautifully made and while I can't see myself ever buying one (knowing full well I should never say never), I would love to give one a ride. This one for example...

According to Calfee, "There are many good reasons to choose Calfee Bamboo for your next bicycle frame. Calfee Bamboo bicycle frames are very stiff, transferring power efficiently; are durable, resisting damage from stress and impacts; are comfortable, surpassing aluminum, steel, titanium and most carbon frames in smoothness."

Perhaps pledging that I'll never own a bamboo bike is just an example of being old-fashioned and scared of change. Maybe bamboo will be THE material in years to come. If so, fine. I can live with that and I will be the first to eat my words.

Bamboo Bike Project

One place where bamboo does seem to be taking off as a frame material is Africa. There, initiatives such as the Bamboo Bike Project are training Africans to build their own bicycles out of bamboo. Bamboo is abundant, cheap and relatively easy to work with. Projects such as this one provide bikes for poorer Africans while also stimulating a bicycle-building industry.

All this bamboo talk was prompted by this bike which I found the other day in an art and craft shop in Phnom Penh:

While I can't profess to know much (anything) about bamboo bikes, I get the feeling this one is aimed at the attention-seeking consumer after a bit of novelty value rather than anything else. This might have something to do with the fact that it was for sale amongst quilts and mobiles. It costs $400 and looks to be poorly built. Apparently they're made in Vietnam and other options will be available soon.

So, while you may not have heard much about bamboo as a frame material in the past, you have now, and you may well hear more.

1 comment:

  1. BambooBikeMaker dot com has them out of Thailand as well.