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Bamboo Composite frame at NAHBS

I have not found the time to look at many photos from The North American Handmade Bicycle Show yet, but here is something that caught my eye at first glance. Longtime readers may remember my post about Brano Meres and his homemade carbon bike. Brano was at the show this year with a couple of new road bikes, one of which is pictured here. The bamboo composite bike looks a lot like a carbon frame, but it is made from bamboo fibers instead. Just like a carbon frame, the fibers are embedded in a plastic polymer to create a shaped composite frame. Brano points out that the frame is too flexible at this point, but it is certainly an interesting idea. Read more about it at Cyclelicious.

The other road bike that Brano debuted at the show had a frame and seatmast made from carbon fiber truss. You can see that bike here, or check out both road bikes on Brano’s site.

Of course, there were many other interesting things in Portland, so I am anxious to take a look at more show coverage when I have some free time. Fritz was at the show, so there is good coverage on Cyclelicious and in his Flickr stream. Brandon 448 also has a great set of Flickr images from the show that I want to look through when I can. Bicycling magazine covered the show and has a wrap-up post. The guys from Bike Hugger have some video to check out. I am sure that Bike Portland has good show coverage as well, but the site seems to be down at the moment. I have no doubt that there are many other good sources I should check as well. Let me know about any that I am missing.

photo credit: Cyclelicious

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12 Responses

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  1. Jimmythefly says

    There was some sweet, sweet stuff there. I’m currently in an email debate regarding the merits of form and function with respect to “concept” or flight-of-fancy type show bikes. This is the perfect blog for a point-counterpoint style post about that subject, no?

  2. bikesgonewild says

    …jtf…agreed…mentioned yer saran wrap idea on fritz’s site regarding the delta7 ‘mudpacker’ frame…designer still denies frame would hold mud, making me wonder if he has any wet weather riding experience…

    …i’d like to know if this ‘bamboo’ composite uses the fibers in a simple suspended matrix format, or if bamboo is processed & woven into sheets or strips…

    …wondering if it could then be laid up in cross-plies, to achieve the required characteristics…haven’t found any solid info yet…

  3. James says

    jimmythefly, good idea for a post topic. I don’t have much time this week though. Are you interested in writing a short guest post on the subject?

    bikesgonewild, great question about the bamboo composite. Maybe Brano can elaborate on the construction for us.

  4. Fritz says

    Wild and James, Brano showed me the naked sheets — they looked like woven mats of fibers embedded in the plastic. Brano said he’s still working with it. James, I assume you’ve emailed Brano to ask about this?

    Brano also plans to start selling his bamboo/carbon MTB frames beginning later this year. The frames will be very similar to the prototype shown on his website that he built several years ago.

    Wild, regarding the isotruss bike — TYler said they rode it through mud fully expecting the frame to get packed up, and was surprised when it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t have any reason not to believe him.

    Most of the photos I’ve seen of that Roark kids bike don’t show the scale — it’s built for a *small* child. The wheels are cut from a 2″ thick slab of aluminum. It’s some amazing work.

  5. Ron says


    I’ve got a 3 part series on bamboo bikes if you’re interested. Check out the blog…

  6. Stephan says

    We’ve got a few more show pic’s at Flickr to toss into the pool.

    I’m just sorry I didn’t have my camera for all of the evening activities. Too hard to hold my beer and shoot pic’s at the same time.

  7. bikesgonewild says

    …ron…haven’t had time to finish all three articles, but fascinating stuff…thanks…

  8. James says

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Ron, I saw those posts and skimmed through them. Good stuff. Like bikegonewild, I haven’t had the time to read them all yet.

  9. Brano says

    bikesgonewild, for building the frame I used the fabric, which was woven for me from pure bamboo fibers according my requirements (not really exactly what I wanted) in China. I built the frame using the same method that is described on my website how I built my first carbon frame. So there are several layers of bamboo fabric embedded in the epoxy resin, variously oriented. I will add some info at my website later.

    BTW, I would like to do some more research in this field, use various other materials, biodegradable resins, so you will see…

  10. bikesgonewild says

    …brano…just realized you had replied, so thank you…i have you bookmarked & will continue to check your site…

    …the bamboo composite, despite the problems you’re encountering, is really interesting & the idea that you are exploring bio-degradables certainly adds to the appeal…

    …while i’m not a fan of the look or style of the truss frame bike, i love the ‘idea’ that you’re exploring different concepts…

    …also, your sense of humor is great…the ’60′s soviet bluetooth phone is awesomely funny…

    …anyway, keep up the great work…

  11. Anonymous says

    A composite medium like bamboo gives you the ability to have a design specific fibre size or mix of sizes, with optimised fibre orientation and weaving for enhanced directional stresses and loads!
    ….also, the fibre/resin ratio is infinitely tweakable to achieve the desired stiffness for each part of an engineered product!
    Is brilliant!
    Is he hydroforming this stuff?
    even wet-lay bamboo weave composite has many benefits over standard fibreglass though with its champions claiming twice the "strength" for half the weight of fibreglass.
    Im thinking of making a marine structural foam vacuum infusion boatskin.
    The possibilities are endless it seems.
    Ive seen stuff from surfboards to lotus bodyshells made of bamboo reinforced plastic or BaRP as i like to call it!
    16 december 2009 copyright property of (c)eightyape

Continuing the Discussion

  1. NAHBS, a Torker cargo bike, and more | Bicycle Design linked to this post on March 4, 2010

    [...] mentioned a few interesting bikes at the last couple of North American Handmade Bicycle Shows. This year’s show, which opened [...]

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