Good article here on the nature of the bike business, bamboo and being an entrepreneur.
James Wolf started one of his companies, The Bike Shop – which is located in the expat hub of Thao Dien in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – after pressure from friends pointing out that it was a much-needed business for the neighborhood. But he’s not in it for the cash.
The chaps at the Bamboo Bicycle Club in London are demonstrating the power of 3D Printing and bamboo during a Future Bike Live challenge at the Design Museum. Check it out at Kickstarter:
How cool is this? There’s some great simple innovations in the frame building kit here. I hope it gets funded!
Maisie, 5 years ago as a Cyclocross single speed.
Maisie in 2016, as a fendered, racked and illuminated commuter/tourer.
So it’s been 5 years since I built Maisie, my first bamboo bike, and since then she’s morphed from a svelte single-speed cyclocross machine, to a more relaxed and convenient commuter and tourer. It’s amazing how versatile a bamboo frame is – you can drill holes in it, attach things (like cable-stops) with wood screws, and generally tinker with it without the need for welding. The thick walls mean that threads can actually bite in and using things like rivnuts or threaded inserts is relatively easy.
Last year I got rid of my car, so Maisie’s been my primary mode of transport since then, and I’d estimate I do about 150km per week of commuting and getting about.
I’ve taken a bunch of photos of Maisie in her current state, and will go through the various small customisations that I’ve made in order to turn her into a geared, racked and fendered commuter/tourer.
A while back my awesome LBS gave me a box of carbon tubes and lugs and said “You’re the right person to give these too!”. And with that I had 4 frames to build, one of which I’ve completed. Take a squizz:
The process wasn’t a simple one. Here’s what I did:
- Bonded all carbon tubes and dropouts together
- Sanded and filed those back.
- Drilled and riveted front derailleur clamp
- Drilled and set water bottle bosses
- Drilled custom internal cable routing
- 3D printed custom rear brake boss
- 3D printed cable stop for front derailleur cable
- Masked and handpainted the colour stripes with enamel paint
- Flat black enamel spray followed by 3 coats of gloss enamel spray.
What does this mean for bamboo? Well, I don’t know at this stage. It’s certainly easier working with full carbon, pre-made tubes! Maybe there’ll be another bamboo bike made soon… only time will tell.