Finishing Touches

Posted: 7th July 2010 by Nigel in Miscellany

After the epoxy had set, I was ready for the finishing touches. I sanded down all the joints with 80 grit sandpaper to smooth them out, then applied a second coat of epoxy for a nice finish. Once that had set, I put on the bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, wheels and chain, and I was all done!

Here are a few close pictures of the joints

Since I didn’t have my choice of donor bike, the head tube is too short for me. To overcome this, I got a $20 fork with a long steerer tube, and made a nice looking bamboo spacer. Now the bars are the right height. Unfortunately, I think I grabbed a fork for a 27inch wheel, which is designed for a front wheel that is 14mm smaller in diameter then the 700c wheels I am using. I was able to file it down to fit, but I can’t fit it with brakes. I will replace it with a 80s carbon fork. They occasionally come up pretty cheap on eBay, they look pretty cool, and they are light weight. I can’t use a standard fork, because the head tube is for a 1 inch threaded fork rather than the standard 1 1/4 inch threadless.

The bike weighs in at 21.5lbs. Thats fairly light, but heavier than I was aiming for. The fork I have on right now is very heavy, so I should be able to shave 1.5 to 2 lbs with a carbon fork, bringing it into line with what I was going for. It has now joined my stable.

  1. Rebecca Tunnacliffe says:

    Very cool technology, and well presented on this site.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nigel Tunnacliffe. Nigel Tunnacliffe said: I have finally finished my bamboo bike! Check it out at […]

  3. Josh says:

    This is awesome Nigel, well done!

  4. Peter says:

    You say: I am passionate advocate of environmental responsibility.
    So you take a perfectly good bike, cut it appart,
    cut down some bamboo (that was producing oxigen b4 you cut it down).
    Use gas to heat treat the bamboo.
    Use in the best case green electricity to drive your powertools.
    Than you use epoxy resin (not verry green material eather) to glue it back together.
    To create a bike that you can not shange the size of, so not many other people can use it.
    Can you explain to me what is the environmental responsibol part in this?
    & you say: …and have a keen interest in alternative transportation.
    You bether set up a facktory & make real bamboo bikes build whitout first breaking a bike in the first place. I mean a bike build from bamboo were even the rims are made from bamboo. I don’t know how they do it but they weave or croswise lay out the bamboo & than pres it in to a shape, don’t know if they use heat/ steam to do so or that they mix a resin or something with it.
    I know bamboo is an amazing material to make things from, but you shoud start with it from 0 & not from a metal frame that you cut up. That would be a good alterative. & I would like someone to do that.

  5. Nigel says:

    Hi Peter,

    You make some interesting points. However, I am having a hard time agreeing with you about this not being a sustainable method for building a bike.

    1. The bike I cut apart in order to build the bamboo bike was being scrapped. Had it gone to recycling instead of being used in this project (upcycling), it would have required considerable amounts of energy to be transported, processed, and then manufactured into something new.

    2. Bamboo is incredibly fast growing. In fact, it is a type of grass. The plot I cut it from was very over crowded, with lots of new shoots coming in. Even as a lone shoot, it would sequester about 5lbs of CO2 per year. That is the equivalent CO2 produced by burning 1L of gas in a car. By riding a bike 10km/year rather than driving, it would negate that effect.

    3. The amount of energy required to transport a bicycle from the factory (even if that factory is in your country) to you far exceeds the amount of energy in electricity and propane I used to build this bike. That doesn’t even begin to take into account the energy required to manufacture a regular bike, or a car, or what have you.

    4. Epoxy isn’t the most environmentally friendly material, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. It is essentially a very small amount of plastic, roughly the same as a couple plastic grocery bags.

    5. Just like any other bike, the seat and handle bars are adjustable. It is no more or less versatile than any other bike.

    Overall, I think you need to try to put things into perspective.