I’ve selected the 7 culms (fancy word for a bamboo pole) for the first frame. Here’s a pic of them laid out into the respective parts of the frame:
And here’s a view of the thickness of the downtube:
I also ventured to my local hardware store and picked up some epoxy resin, glass coat, borax, beeswax and some other glues and finishes to test the curing and joint making processes with:
I haven’t managed to find Boric Acid anywhere yet thou. I suspect I’ll be able order it online somewhere, or it might be available at a chemist.
Bamboo is susceptible to mould and bugs if left untreated so I’m planning on following this procedure for curing the bamboo, which basically involves soaking it in borax and boric acid solution for 2 weeks. After this I’ll dry the bamboo for a few months and periodically check to see if it’s cracking or not. Apparently cracking is the main problem with bamboo frames!
I’m starting a journey of discovery into 2 things. The way of bamboo and the way of the bike frame. I plan on making 2 prototype bikes with mostly bamboo frames. One with lugged steel joints, the other with woven fibre and epoxy resin. Based on the successes or failures of each prototype I then plan on producing custom frames for demanding customers who’re after something a bit different in their daily ride.
The prototype bikes are going to be simple single-speed flat-bar commuters, similar in geometry and style to a Giant CRX or Apollo Blade.
Using BikeCAD and a tape measure I’ll measure and design the requirements for each frame, and decide upon what’s going to be bamboo, and what’s best left to steel or other material.
I’ve sourced enough bamboo (from my kind parent’s garden) for two bikes. But before I can use it I need to cure and treat it against bugs, mould and cracking. Hopefully I’ve got enough to play with after all the experimenting!
After treating the bamboo I’ll be examining diameters to see which will best suit the various parts of the frames. From there I’ll explore the joining process with metals and other materials.
Protecting the bamboo against the elements will also require some research. What oils, paints or varnishes can I use?
This site will seek to be a resource of information about bamboo bikes as well as a documentation of the building process from start to finish for others to follow.