FAQ

Why do you build bikes using bamboo?

We build bikes with bamboo because it makes bikes that ride incredibly well.  Our bamboo is stiff like carbon, meaning the bikes handle nicely and transfer power to the road efficiently.  The bamboo also soaks up vibrations from the road surface three times better than carbon, yielding a smooth and forgiving ride.

 

How does the weight of a bamboo frame compare to carbon or metal?

Boo frames (bamboo and carbon fiber) weigh more than a comparable carbon fiber frame, and are on-par with a comparable titanium frame.  Aluboo and Alubooyah frames (bamboo and 6061 aluminum) are on-par with comparable steel frames.

However, weight is a complicated issue when it comes to bikes.  The most important weight to reduce on a bike is rotational weight (the wheels), as getting that weight moving and building momentum is much more impactful to the ride quality than the static weight of the bike.

What’s more, a super-light bike is less likely to be durable or to dampen vibration as well as bamboo does.

 

Is bamboo eco-friendly?

Yes, and no.

Bamboo is one of the best absorbers of carbon dioxide on the planet.  It grows without fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides.  It does not contribute to soil depletion or erosion.

The only requirements for cultivating bamboo are water, light, and air.  It grows to peak maturity in 3.5 years, and new tubes sprout from the culm (a clump of mature bamboo) every season.

However, we harvest our bamboo halfway around the world in Vietnam.  We transport the bamboo using vehicles that burn fossil fuels, wrap our frames with carbon fiber (a very ecologically costly material to manufacture), and build them into bikes with components made from metal or carbon.

While bamboo is an excellent natural structural material with an ecologically beneficial footprint, there are environmental costs to making ANYTHING.

Our thinking–if you’re going to build something, build it to last and use the best materials for the job.  We believe bamboo is that material for bike frames.

 

Is bamboo a wood?

No–bamboo is a grass.

 

Are all bamboo created equal?

No–there are thousands of different species of bamboo.  Some are super-strong, some flimsy and flexible.  Some species are native to arid climates, while others need heat and humidity to grow properly.  Species like our incredible Tam Vong can be used to build scaffolding, bridges, and trusses, while others are purely ornamental and should not be used structurally.  Some species are even edible!

 

Where do you get your bamboo?

We grow a special species of bamboo, Tam Vong, ourselves on a private plantation in Vietnam.  It has an incredibly high fiber-density and is very strong and stiff as a result.  It’s basically the mahogany of bamboo. LEARN MORE

 

What makes our bamboo strong?

The bamboo that we use in our frames, Tam Vong, has thousands of strong and lightweight fibers in each tube.  These fibers carry water and nutrients for the plant during its lifespan and become strong and stiff after the tubes are harvested and cured, giving Tam Vong its trademark strength and durability.

 

Why does bamboo ride smooth?

In between the bamboo’s thousands of strong fibers is lignin, an insulating material.  This material damps a variety of frequencies of vibration from the road surface, soaking up the ‘chatter’ and smoothing out the ride in the process.

 

Is bamboo durable?

Our Tam Vong bamboo is very durable.  It is stronger by weight (tensile strength) than steel, and about as stiff in bending (Young’s Modulus) as carbon fiber.

 

Do you do custom?

Yes!  From custom geometry frames to custom finish and handbuilt wheels, if you can dream it, we can build it. GALLERY

 

Can the bamboo split?

We mitigate splitting in our bamboo tubes during our post-harvest treatment process, during which the bamboo is slowly and carefully cured to reduce the probability of splitting.

However, the bamboo will occasionally experience small splits, also known as checks.  These checks are cosmetic, as the bamboo’s strong fibers all remain intact.  LEARN MORE