Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Bamboo bikes are growing in popularity as a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional bicycles. Riders are waking up to the environmental benefits of bamboo as a renewable resource.

The material has been used in bicycles for over a hundred years: the first bamboo bikes were patented and introduced in England in 1894 by the Bamboo Cycle Company. In 1896, a U.S. patent was granted to August Oberg and Andrew Gustafson to build bike frames from bamboo.

The benefits of bamboo frames are clear: the tubing has a high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent vibration control, which provides for a smoother ride and increased stability on rough terrain.

But the mainstream modern-day industry is still dominated by aluminum frames—mostly due to manufacturing challenges, such as quality control and consistent sourcing. Some buyers also have concerns about the longevity and maintenance of bamboo frames.

Bamboo poles can be joined in several different ways; early bikes used metal joints which were then tightened around the bamboo. Another approach is to wrap the joints with resin-saturated fibers to make composite lugs.

Today, bamboo bikes are invariably rather niche products—albeit very interesting ones, in a world increasingly focused on sustainability.

The Grass Is Greener: Ozon Cyclery's DIY Bamboo Bicycle Kit

DIY Bamboo Bicycle Kit by Ozon Cyclery

We love all bikes on The Spoken, but sometimes the most impressive ones are those that push the boundaries of frame design and materials. Right now, we’re totally bugging out on these bamboo bikes from Germany’s Ozon Cyclery.

The Grass Is Greener: Calfee Design Bamboo Fixed Gear

A Bamboo frame fixed gear bike by Calfee Design

The dust of the 2016 North American Handmade Bicycle Show has settled, and everyone involved is slowly getting back into routine. One of the more interesting bikes from the show was this bamboo Gates belt-driven fixed gear by California’s Calfee Design.

Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

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