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Interbike 2008 – Calfee Bamboo Bikes

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Calfee was at it again today with this exercise in bending bamboo into a beach cruiser design with some sweet horns for handlebars and forks.  They also had a mountain bike, road bike and tandem on display…check the rest of the story to see more pics and details on these bikes…

The obvious question is:  How do they make bikes out of bamboo?  Here’s the scoop:

The darker bamboo you’ll see on the following pics is the result of the smoke-curing process, which dries and strengthens the bamboo and prevents it from splitting.  Then it’s rubbed with tongue oil and coated with a matte clear coat.  The “tubes” are bonded together with a mix of hemp fiber and epoxy that’s pressed to remove any bubbles.  Once the epoxy is dry, the “lugs” are sanded to shape and smooth them.  The frames have a 10 year warranty (they’ll repair any splits for you) and are supposedly more resistant to damage than carbon.  The road version, shown below, can be ordered with carbon chainstays to increase stiffness…just in case you want to race on it (?). 

Frame weights are 4.5 to 5.0 lbs depending on size and the bamboo.  The bamboo diameter is selected based on the frame size, and obviously, no two frames are identical.  MTB and Road retail for $2,695 (frame only) and come in three stock sizes.  For $500 more, you can send in your measurements and have one built to fit your limbs.

Note the hole (above) near the cable housing.  On the road bike, the housing ran into the hole with just the cable running along the top tube into another hole, then the housing went on to the rear brake.

The tandem MSRP’s for $4,295 (frame only).  Typical lead time on all bikes is eight weeks…and they only build about 10 to 15 per month.  Each bike has about 40 hours of labor in it.

Their rep said these frames are as durable as any traditional frame, and their 10 year warranty speaks to that, but how do you take care of these frames?  Simple.  Hand wash them with water and a mild soap.  They have a city bike coming out soon, too.

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15 years ago

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