Gravel Bike by Dan

Gravel Bike by Dan

Design: Gravel Bike
Build: Workshop Build
Location: London, U.K

What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?

James kept nagging me until I started building it!

Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?

Thoroughly enjoyed the build. There was a lot of hard work involved but that just makes the finished bike more satisfying to ride, knowing how hard I worked on it and the effort I put into it.

What did you find most difficult about your bike build?

I think the most difficult part was judging how much strength/stiffness would be there at the end of the build. It was hard to know how much wrapping to do and how much to sand down the lugs. In the end I just judged it by dead reckoning and with James' help and then sanded down the lugs till I liked the look of them. The wrapping was hard because you know you're working to a time limit, and everything is covered in glue and sliding around. If there were a more methodical approach to that it would help, like maybe wrapping diagrams or a set order and orientation of wrapping for each joint (just as a guide).

What was the easiest part of the build?

The most fun part was planning out the geometry and setting it up on the jig, cutting the bamboo and seeing the frame come together. Shaping the tube cuts and joins, and there were a few technical bits on mine like custom tube profiles and a dropped chainstay that were a fun challenge.

How would you describe the ride of your finished bike?

It rides so smooth and I can keep up with the guys on the carbon bikes no problems. It also turned out pretty light so I'm very happy. The maiden voyage I rode it up to the peak district from London for a stag do. There were a lot of very bumpy towpaths around Milton Keynes and it ate those right up. Big tires helped but the bamboo was the crucial player in that I reckon.

What would you improve about the build experience or your finished bike?

I wouldn't do asymmetrical seat stays again, they work on Landshark track bikes but not so much bamboo gravel bikes! I also don't like the look of my oval laminated seatstays, I might even cut them out and put in normal tube. The experience was fantastic but I did take a really long time on it. I could have planned it out a lot better, especially the wrapping, to get a better result. I chose to finish the bike by painting with acrylic paints and then epoxying over the entire bike including the bamboo. This has been really durable, and I like the way it looks but it was an absolute nightmare to do, there was epoxy everywhere, it started going off in the pot and then got all lumpy (luckily only under the downtube so not too noticeable) and overall I am still traumatised from the experience! So I could have done that better on balance.


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