Semester Bicycles- Hextube bamboo composite frames made in the rural South

Commuter, Concept, Utility 9 335

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9 Comments

  1. Impossibly Stupid August 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Holy crap, this is actually a well-executed concept with reasonable prices! That $1300 full build sure looks sweet. Who knew bamboo fenders would be so pretty?

  2. Matt August 16, 2013 at 7:19 am -  Reply

    But why bamboo? Surely you could just make it out of carbon? It’d be a whole lot lighter.

    Seems perverse to make claims about bamboo being sustainable and then use carbon fibre, epoxy, powder coat and other polluting, unsustainable products to make it. I’ve got some vegan shoes that are made from dead cows but the laces are hemp…

    Still, can’t knock these guys for providing work for communities

    • art August 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

      Because making the tube out of all carbon requires a bunch of layers, which gets expensive fast. This composite looks like a really good balance between the cost of bamboo and the consistency of an engineered material.

      The only thing that concerns me is that they say the hex tubes are incredibly strong, but don’t provide any mechanical or environmental test data. Delamination is going to be a serious issue with moisture and temperature variation. The fact that they say the use of dissimilar materials “dampens” road vibrations doesn’t lend confidence that they have any real data.

  3. MJ August 17, 2013 at 10:43 am -  Reply

    I like the idea. In terms of materials use, I’m not sure a bamboo bike actually out performs a cycle made from re-purposed or recycled steel or aluminum. Unless of course there is a compelling argument about carbon sequestering in the growth and harvesting of the bamboo.

    Thoughts?

    • Paolo September 14, 2013 at 10:00 am -  Reply

      carbon is already difficult to recycle, is a mix of different components, the idea to mix also with bamboo is not so good, i can see here not a eco bike but a not reusable mold for the carbon.
      I don’t like any kind of wood bike, the longevity of a bike some time is more than 10 years, the industrial production of a metal frame take a lot of energy, but at the end you have an object (that without accident) could life forever or be recycled 100%.The value of this project probably is in the production process more than in the product. the same concept could be more useful for furniture design.

  4. Rick October 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    Well, the Hex Tubes sure look interesting.

    One could use wood instead of bamboo. I could envision using a mix of different types: walnut, cherry, oak, etc for a fine furniture look or even using them in fine furniture for legs or shelf supports.

    Inlay “decals” would be cool too.

    How difficult is it to remove the inner tube after the epoxy sets up? Does the epoxy stick to the rubber or does it peal away easily. Or do you have to use a release agent or another non-porous layer such as Mylar?

    Thanks,
    rick

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