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Bamboo is a plant, or more specifically a grass. You’ve likely seen in in gardens, or used to construct products such as floors, or furniture. You can also use it to make smaller products like cups, face cloths, and gloves.
However, you can also find bamboo in bike form!
What Is a Bamboo Bike?
A bamboo bike is one that has a frame made predominantly out of bamboo. This does not include the lugs holding the tubes of bamboo together to create the frame.
How Are Bamboo Bikes Made?
Bamboo bikes are made from carefully sourced bamboo (the strongest species). The bamboo is cut to size, then bonded together using lugs. The lugs are made from strong, mouldable materials.
The bamboo which makes up the frameset will usually be treated. This ensures the frame is protected from issues like rotting.
Are Bamboo Bikes Sustainable?
Bamboo bikes are very sustainable. This is due to the fast growing nature of bamboo, which allows for rapid regeneration. Bamboo only needs a small amount of water to grow.
Farming bamboo is sustainable as it absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide, and releases a lot of oxygen into the atmosphere. This helps to combat climate change.
However, you can argue that buying a second hand bike, or one made from recycled bicycles, might be a more sustainable and effective long term solution, instead of the metals becoming waste products.
How Strong Is a Bamboo Bike Frame?
Bamboo bike frames are very strong, and difficult to break or snap. Therefore, any crashes or knocks sustained shouldn’t damage the bike, unlike carbon, which can snap easily.
Bamboo is relatively flexible in relation to other materials used to build bike frames. This means that bamboo is not the stiffest material to build a bike out of, and wouldn’t lend itself to optimal power transfer.
However, for bikes that aren’t designed with high performance in mind, the compliant nature of bamboo means you get a much more comfortable ride when compared to the likes of carbon fibre.
Is Bamboo Stronger Than Carbon Fibre?
Bamboo is arguably stronger than carbon fibre. However, carbon fibre bikes can be made a lot stiffer in comparison, as bamboo structure cannot be altered in the same way.
This produces a more cushioned feel, which gives you a more comfortable ride in comparison to a carbon bike. The flex of the bamboo dampens vibrations from the terrain you’re riding on.
In addition, you can damage carbon from small knocks or bumps. Bamboo is a lot harder to damage.
Are Bamboo Bikes Any Good?
Bamboo bikes are a good, solid alternative to bikes constructed from either metal or carbon. They’re more sustainable, and therefore good in an environmentally conscious sense too.
People describe the ride quality from a bamboo bike as very comfortable, thanks to its ability to absorb the shocks and bumps on the road.
However, it’s important to note that bamboo bikes are not ideal for high performance, as the flex can negatively impact power transfer. This function is vital for a high-end, performance based bikes, like a road or time trial bicycle.
Bamboo Bicycle [Pros + Cons]
Although bamboo is a wonderfully sustainable material that doesn’t require chemicals and pesticides to farm, it does also come with some cons that you should be aware of before purchasing.
Remember that the bamboo should be sustainably sourced in order to be eco-friendly. This is because some bamboo plantations can harm biodiversity by impacting native forest ecosystems.
However, done right, it’s a really good option for those of you who are conscious of buying sustainable or recycled products.
|Bamboo Bicycle Pros||Bamboo Bicycle Cons|
|It’s very fast growing, and regeneration is fast||Some bamboo production is not as sustainable and eco-friendly as others |
|It’s a very strong material||Its handmade, and therefore more costly than mass produced bikes|
|It doesn’t need much water to grow||The bikes still use other materials for lugs|
|Less electricity is needed in order to produce a bamboo bike||Bamboo bikes can be very expensive|
How Much Does a Bamboo Bike Cost?
The cost of a bamboo bike will depend on the style of bike you are looking to purchase.
For example, many of the bamboo bicycle companies offer a child’s balance bike as their cheapest option. Of course, this smaller bike has less materials.
However, the cost of a typical adult sized hybrid style bicycle made from bamboo could set you back anywhere from of £1,500 to £4,000+ which is clearly a lot more than your average aluminium bike.
That being said, when buying sustainably, you should think about about buying an item once, that will last longer. This is a much more eco-friendly way to think than ‘buying cheap’ and replacing frequently.
Bamboo bikes are all hand made. Therefore their value shouldn’t decrease as much as with a standard bike. When you consider this, the bigger price tag doesn’t seem so bad.
Bamboo Bike Brands:
Where to Buy a Bamboo Bike
Alternatively, you could try building your own!