What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?
I've been wanting to build my own bike for quite a long time. A friend of mine has built some beautiful steel bikes which inspired me but for me it's always been bamboo. Originally my intention was to build a single speed (fixie) but when I changed job I started commuting on my bike on a daily basis and the plan grew to build a road bike with disc brakes
Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?
I started off with the standard kit where you mitre the bamboo and then fix them together with fibre and epoxy. The main problem was the alignment of the rear stays as the home-build jig wasn't as sturdy as the steel jigs they use in the workshop. But while I was in the process of building it, the Bamboo Bicycle Club came out with the pre-fab lugs and I could just see that with those you would be able to build a very good looking bike in a short space of time. And indeed, within a couple of weeks I was riding my home-built bike! So in summary, I think if you want to do the whole hog and go fo the fibre and epoxy, I would personally advise to do it at a workshop. For home-build, the pre-fab lugs are just fantastic
What did you find most difficult about your bike build?
Like I said, the alignment of the rear-triangle when you're building with epoxy. With the pre-fab lugs, the only issue I had was finding a solution for the rear disk. The first batch of lugs did not have an attachment for the brake calliper so I had to fabricate something myself. I understand that there is a new version on its way that resolves this issue.
How would you describe the ride of your finished bike?
It is an absolute pleasure. I love looking at my bike so when I'm riding I can't wait for the next coffee stop to park my bike so I can look at it lovingly again :-) Ride-wise, it is exactly what I was hoping. It is quick, light, nimble and smoothes out the poor road surface that we have to suffer here in the north.
What was the easiest part of the build?
Once the frame was finished, putting all the components on was a breeze. I've done quite a lot of bike maintenance so putting it together was just a great experience to see me getting closer to riding it.
What advice would you give to other bamboo bike builders and what would you improve if anything?
I think if you want to build with epoxy, then I strongly advise to do the workshop or at least get a steel jig. I would also advise to take your time on the mitring of the stays. As for improvements, having a disk brake calliper on the pre-fab lugs is already on its way :-)