Gravel Touring Bike by Daan
30 Nov 2022
What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?
I wanted a new bike that would better suit my needs, when touring fully loaded for a few weeks, than the old vintage bike I was riding. I couldn't find a commercially available bike on the internet that had the parts and build I wanted so I started looking into the options of getting a custom made frame and building the bike myself. Then I found out you could make your own bike from bamboo! A few years ago I saw a video on Youtube from a guy that was riding a bamboo bike and I thought it was really cool. Then when learning about bamboo bicycle club, when looking for ways to build a custom bike, everything just came together in a way. I could have a cool bike like the guy from Youtube, it would be custom made like I wanted, and I would build it myself! At first I hesitated a bit because I am a student and it was a lot of money for me, one of my friends tried to convince me to just get a Trek frame, and I still needed to figure out all the parts. However after half a year or something, I decided that it was too unique to pass on and that I would just keep wanting one so I got a workshop with Tim in Amesfoort and it was worth it :
Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?
Yes! I think its awesome I build everything. I also didn't order a groupset or something but ordered all parts separate and build an unusual shifting setup. I was really proud when my frame was finished, and when every part slowly was added afterwards. I also learned a lot from it. Maintenance got a lot easier because I know how all the parts work together.
What did you find most difficult about your bike build?
During the workshop itself I had a few difficulties, like choosing which bamboo tubes I wanted to use (cause they all where beautiful). Also just standing the whole day for 2 days was difficult for me, however Tim was a great help when I got tired. During assembly at home the biggest difficulty was getting the front derailleur to work. I ended up drilling a hole in the flax and using that as the cablestop. It worked for a few weeks, but eventually I started running into problems with shifting becoming really difficult again. I will try to find a new solution in the upcoming weeks.
What was the easiest part of the build?
The first day of the workshop. I choose the bamboo, measured and cut everything, and did the preparations for the wrapping (that would be done the day after).
How would you describe the ride of your finished bike?
Its great, I have 5 bikes and this is my favorite one. When comparing to the steel vintage Peugeot there are a few main improvements. It feels stiffer, in the past when touring with heavy luggage on my racks the bike would feel really swingy when taking turns, it always felt like the bike was flexing under me. With this new bike I don't have that problem anymore, this also gives me more confidence. Better vibration dampening. Besides the bamboo frame I also used a thudbuster suspension seatpost and a redshift suspension stem. I really appreciate this, it makes the ride a lot more comfortable. On Tim's recommendation I used hydraulic disc brakes instead of calipers. This also was a big improvement. So all in all, my bike feels really comfortable and feels a lot safer than my other one, therefore I feel more confident riding it.
What would you improve about the build experience or your finished bike?
I will experiment a bit more on how to do everything with the cables for my front derailleur, because i'm not happy how it is currently working. I will also build some cable stops and install the rear derailleur cable a bit different (it's working fine but I would like a little less friction).