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26th March 2021 / Comments (0)

Building a gravel bike with Bamboo Bicycle Club

Bamboo as a frame material has unique vibration properties making it an ideal material to smooth out trails allowing for better handling and speed. The current trend is for carbon frames which lack environmental credentials. Carbon uses more energy to produce than steel and is difficult to recycle. Bamboo, however is easy to grow and offsets its carbon footprint, combined with a flax and bio composites it has potential to offer a viable alternative.

Meet the makers

Bamboo bicycle

Patrick built his own gravel bike under the expert direction of James Marr

Patrick Lundin is a world-class photographer, and having seen some of the best gravel frames he wanted to build something unique. James Marr is a designer and the founder of Bamboo Bicycle Club, a community-led engineering project that has been pioneering the use of bamboo bicycles for the last 10 years and teaching people to build their own bamboo bicycle.

The frame specification

Bamboo bicycle

The frame was designed around modern gravel geometry

The frame was designed to be multi-discipline, suitable for 650b 52mm tyres and be able to be used on road with 700c 32mm. In addition, it was designed for a 1X build with a front crank of 42T with dropped chain stays which allow for a shorter wheelbase providing a responsive ride.

The custom machined T47 bottom bracket increases tubing diameter around the bottom bracket and uses wider axle cranks. Custom dropouts were designed to accommodate a 160mm flat-mount disc and 12mm thru-axle. Finally, the front end was designed around a variable rake fork and integrated bearings.

The frame build

Bamboo bicycle

The bamboo tubes were joined with a flax fibre composite rather than carbon fibre

The build was created using a custom Bamboo Bicycle Club home build kit with a one-time use jig. The build utilised laminated bio-composite bamboo tubing to improve the performance and strength. The tubing was joined using a flax fibre composite with unique vibration dampening qualities and has the ability to be 100% recyclable.

Components

The finished GRUS, a biocomposite Bamboo Gravel Bike handbuilt at the Bamboo Bicycle Club in London

Shimano GRX mechanical groupset with a Praxis Zayante Crank, Reynolds ATR 650b wheelset and WTB tyres, Thompson Dirt drops handlebar and stem.

For more information and to build your own visit bamboobicycleclub.org

Last modified: 26th March 2021

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