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Top 5 frame building mistakes!

Posted by James Marr on
Top 5 frame building mistakes!

Building a home build kit at home is super easy but as with anything DIY mistakes can happen especially if you are rushing! Over the 6 years, we've been distributing kits. 1000's have been built by people including kids in schools! Here is a list of some in no particular order!

1 - Rear wheel/dropout alignment

Aligning the rear dropouts is super easy. You can check that the rear triangle is correct by using simple maths. The center of the jig is 140mm so measuring from the center you can check clearances. The other best tip would be to use a wheel! Nothing shows the reality of your build better than placing a wheel between the dropouts and checking!

Build by Tim, build a MTB build kit he's fitted in the wheel to check.

2- Glue mixing

When using epoxy resin the glue must be mixed for at least 2 minutes. It's a chemical reaction and if the glue isn't mixed it won't set. A very simple thing but it's been under mixed by the best of us. If this happens the frame will not have structural strength and any unmixed glue and fiber will need to be completely removed and redone. Check the ratios when mixing! Our standard glue is 2:1 ratio

Using a ratio cup is an easy way to make sure the ratios are correct. When building, set up a gluing station so you have everything ready!

3 - Metal parts

We use standard metal parts to provide threads and bearing tolerances just like in a carbon frame. When building a bicycle frame it's easy to work messy! Keep all your metal parts clean of resin, paint, and fillers. That way when you go to fit your much loved Chris King bottom bracket you don't cross the threads or spend time cleaning out resin or other material that have blocked the treads, best tip - Line the inside of the bottom bracket with grease to keep those threads clean

Bottom Bracket Bamboo Bike
Use grease or wax to stop glue setting on threads

4. Plan your build

Building a bamboo frame is very easy and almost anyone can do so. However, once you want to turn the frame into bicycle things may not go to plan! Typical problems are the following

  • Mudguards - The fork doesn't have enough clearance or any fittings on the fork. Fitting the brake bridge to low can also result in a lack of clearance.
  • Front Derailleur - Personally I have an increased dislike roll on the 1 x 12 developments! The bamboo you use for your seat tube must not exceed 35mm otherwise the setup will be difficult
  • Rear-wheel - Want those lovely700c x 40mm tires to fit, something you should certainly think about during the build. Check the chainstays and adjust if needed!
  • Belt Drive - Great product but the can be tricky as the front chainring must be much bigger to allow for the correct ratio. Check chainstay clearances
Mixing Glue Bamboo Bike
Using a ratio cup is an easy way to make sure the ratios are correct. When building, set up a gluing station so you have everything ready!

5. Protect your finished frame

Any new frame needs a finish applied no different to a steel or carbon frame. We recommend a polyurethane clear coat. This will prevent cracking and stop the bamboo from absorbing water. In the workshop, we use a 2k which is super strong and durable. By apply good protection, your frame will be in great condition for many years.

laquer bamboo frame
2k Laquer as used in the automotive industry

Build your bike at home -

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