Self Build Bamboo Bike Frame Kit Build Thread

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by chriswoody, 12 Oct 2017.

  1. chriswoody

    chriswoody Veteran

    So I've decided that I needed a Winter project to keep me amused in the evenings and what better project than a home built bike? However, I've built several bikes over the years using off the peg components and decided this time that I fancied something a little different. So I'm going to be also building the frame using Bamboo.

    It's actually a home build kit supplied by the Bamboo Bicycle Club in London. I've been intrigued by Bamboo as a frame material for a while and when I saw that there were home build kits available I decided that it would make an ideal Winter project.

    I'm going to be making a single speed road frame and I'll document it all in this thread. It will be a slow build over the next months, but I want to take my time and enjoy it. I'm in no rush to get the bike on the road.

    The guys at the Bamboo Bicycle Club have been really good to deal with as I've placed my order and had a few questions here and there. It arrived packaged in a sturdy box and hopefully contains all I need.


    There's a set of plans and a comprehensive instruction book, beautifully illustrated and containing over 140 pages. Daunted? Me? never!


    The all important Bamboo, there's also a couple of spare tubes in case of mistakes.
    A box containing the dropouts, BB insert, headstock and the frame jig amongst other bits.


    The Hemp and Resin to create the all important lugs.


    The last box contains the most important part of all, a bottle of celebratory beer.

    So far I've just made a start on setting up my work table and set up the frame jig. IMG_20171012_160318600.jpg

    It's been fairly straight forward so far, but I've only set the jig up, the next step will be to cut and shape the Downtube.

    So I'll update this thread as I move along.
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2017
    dan_bo, theclaud, BrumJim and 26 others like this.
  2. Andrew1971

    Andrew1971 Senior Member

    I will following this thread because I have been tempted aswell something different^_^
    Illaveago likes this.
  3. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Sounds fascinating, please keep the updates coming.

    I'd ask to have the thread moved to General Cycling, it would get a wider audience.
  4. OP

    chriswoody Veteran

    Thanks folks, nice to have some people following.

    I was pondering where best to stick this, maybe I will ask for it to be moved there.

    So tonight I spent a happy hour fettling the Down tube. The Down tube is the largest diameter piece of Bamboo and needs cutting to length and mitring to fit the BB shell at one end and the head tube at the other. The kit supplies a piece of plastic pipe of roughly the same diameter as the aforementioned tubes as well as a piece of 40grit sandpaper. So nothing for it but to sand away at the end of the tube until you have the correct profile.


    All the while test fitting against the BB shell to try and get the snuggest fit possible.


    Once that ends finished, measure the down tube against the jig and cut the tube to length, then it's back to sanding the end of the tube to fit the head tube. The key with this mitre is making sure that it's at 90 degrees to the mitre on the other end of the tube.


    Still a bit of work to do, but we're getting there.
  5. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

  6. stewie griffin

    stewie griffin Über Member

    Brilliant Chriswoody, looking forward to following this. :okay:

    Enjoy the build.
    chriswoody likes this.
  7. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Man-Machine Moderator

    No no no I really don't need another bike. She'll kill me to death!

    How much is the kit?
    dan_bo, Hill Wimp, Illaveago and 3 others like this.
  8. Tangoup51

    Tangoup51 Well-Known Member

    Only £260 for some. That said, considering Bamboo is supposed to be a.. "cheap" material and that building things up yourself (like kit cars) tend to be less expensive than pre-built ones... Haavvee to still question the price somewhat, but maybe im missing something
  9. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    Looks fun, better than a model kit. :bravo:
  10. OP

    chriswoody Veteran

    I had to do some hard negotiating with the wife over the last few months as well, I've got a feeling it's going to come back and haunt me one day! This one was £260 and that was without forks.

    It's a fair question and something I pondered as well, however, I think in the grand scheme of things it's a good price. It wouldn't have cost a great deal more for an off the shelf steel frame from the likes of Surly, however, you can't put a price on the enjoyment and satisfaction you get from building your own frame.

    I'm not sure what species of Bamboo it is and hence how hard it is to source, but it's certainly not your Garden cane variety of Bamboo. There's several steel inserts as well, the head tube, seat post, rear dropouts and BB. They all conform to modern size standards and I believe that they are manufactured by Reynolds. There is also an accurate plan of the frame, a comprehensive instruction booklet and an accurate frame jig, not to mention the hemp, glues and resin supplied. There's a lot of design and development gone into this along with excellent after sales service. They even offer Skype calls if you get into a real pickle. The Bamboo Bicycle Club is a small concern, operating out of a London workshop so their economies of scale will be far different to a large manufacture, so overall I think it's a fair price.
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2017
  11. Tangoup51

    Tangoup51 Well-Known Member

    Sadly its true; the bamboo used in those frames is old and has been made to work for this purpose; that said, alot of manufactures of bamboo like to point out how friendly bamboo is to the environment compared to steel frames and what not; stating its a cheaper and renewable source of material, yadadayadaaa; still costing on par with steel (or actually more in a good few cases) which to me; contradicts the whole "cheaper and more renewable material" argument.

    Despite what you get for the price, you have to remember, they're saving alot of money by cutting out labor required to make the frames for you. - The cost of that labor is going to be way more than the cost of supplying you with the basic frame alignment kit, some aftermarket resin and Cut-to-piece metal. I imagine the cost of a high quality steel / alloy frame would be significantly reduced if it just came as individual tubes and not welded perfectly either.

    Aftermarket care is something to be expected; not something you have to pay for either. So, I still maintain that £260 + Hours of your labor to build a "cheap and renewable" frame.. Kinda weird.

    Oh, and actually I did find DIY bamboo kits as cheap as £160 as well, which had decent reviews and provided everything you needed as well, so maybe you paid 40% more for better quality steel inserts..? or more likely excessive packaging, beer & skype calls.

    Bamboo isn't anything special in terms of the material; except, it's grown like a plant and is very renewable. - So its main trump card should be the price, hence, my "eh" attitude to the whole thing having such a price gap
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2017
  12. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    Eerr, Bamboo is a plant, well the one growing in my back garden is. :rolleyes:
    Illaveago likes this.
  13. Tangoup51

    Tangoup51 Well-Known Member

    bamboo is a plant? growing in your backgarden? :ohmy: well don't throw that + a bottle of epoxy at me and charge me £260 :laugh:
  14. Drago

    Drago Guru

    In the middle
    How do the tubes attach to each other?
    Illaveago likes this.
  15. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    Illaveago likes this.
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