Boo Bicycle: Turning Bamboo into High-Performance Material | Simple Collect


Boo Bicycle: Turning Bamboo into High-Performance Material | Simple Collect.

Stumbled on this story about a bicycle company that uses bamboo as a primary material for its frame.  I wondered why bamboo isn’t used more often as a raw material, as it’s an extremely renewable resource.  Have you considered bamboo as flooring material, instead of wood?  Or a chopping block for the kitchen?

Use of bamboo seems to be more widespread (would like to see research on this), but it would be nice to see it used in more contexts.  In Thailand, one can find some vendors who use bamboo for disposable cups, in lieu of plastics.  What a great idea!

I’d like to see more bamboo toothbrushes (but be sure they are ISO certified, as suggested by our friend in the industry, Ray), home furnishings, and simple household tools…  The convenience, light weight, and abundance of plastics has really made it easy for us to abuse them, and our environment is taking a hit.  Plastics are so ubiquitous, and we use them so mindlessly.  It would be nice to see more manufacturers and retailers use natural, renewable materials like bamboo for a change.




4 thoughts on “Boo Bicycle: Turning Bamboo into High-Performance Material | Simple Collect

  1. Ray is most definitely the Thai-American MacGyver. 😉

    I recently blogged about a hybrid bamboo tricycle competing for a prize at an upcoming Chinese bike expo. The high-stress portions of the frame are not bamboo. A follower emailed me to say that someone in Milwaukee is producing boocycles as well. Very expensive of course, but still pretty cool.

    I installed bamboo floors in my place in Madison, liking the look of them and the environmental aspect of an easy to renew source. But one wonders about the process of treating the wood to form the planks, the aluminum oxide urethane finish, and just the fact that it must ship from far far away, likely China (which opens up a whole different can of worms re: quality control, ecology and ethics). I read about a guy growing bamboo in his yard in Pennsylvania. It is quite adaptable in that respect, but detractors will point out it is an aggressive and potentially invasive species in that case. Perhaps Ray can comment on that from his previous life as a botanist, EPA investigator and industrial engineer. 😉

    1. LOL, nice post, Kevin. The 3 of us should be having this conversation over seafood and beer, not on my humble blog with 3 readers (still looking for that lurker). True about what you say about bamboo flooring, and how it needs to be treated, and shipped, which may end up being a greater carbon footprint than using oak… I guess this whole conversation is an exercise in critical thinking, and what looks like it should be green may not be green… I recall articles comparing the Toyota Prius with a Chevy Tahoe, and when you compared both vehicles’ footprint from birth to grave, the Tahoe had a smaller carbon footprint… (or whatever measure was used then)…

  2. Boo Bicycles are race winning bikes and cost anywhere from $5000-$10000 (approximately)
    Check out Webb Works Bamboo Bikes in Chiang Rai, Thailand. It seems to be a relatively cheaper option although the frame alone will cost you $800-$900. This means you will spend at least as much on the components (wheels, gears, pedals, crankshafts, handlebars, brakes, etc). If you want more than basics you will spend two to three times the frame price.
    Incidentally, this brand of bike by Webb Works was featured in an article by Greg Jorgensen (@BKKGreg) in CNNGo Asia Beta
    The thing with bamboo bike frames is the need to join the bamboo pieces using costly carbon fiber technology which automatically ups the price and the caliber of bike. Basically, these bamboo bikes still cannot be made economically or at a price where they can be mass produced.
    Yet another problem with bamboo is although it is better at first regarding performance, it’s longevity cannot measure up to steel, aluminum or carbon fiber. Bamboo is wood and it will deteriorate much more quickly than the three materials I just mentioned. Bicycle frames undergo a large amount of stress from the weight of the rider to the uneven ground, which only quickens the bamboo’s failure.
    In my past life I raced bikes competitively on the road and offroad. I also coach a cycling teams and was also a bike mechanic. Thus, my two and a half cents regarding bikes…lol.
    That being said bamboo may be more suitable for everyday use items like cups, chopsticks, furniture, tools, or even flooring.
    ***As a dentist (my present life) I have to say that safe toothbrushes undergo very rigorous mechanical testing and meet a large number of criteria before they can be used by the general public. Having sat on the International Standards Organization (ISO) for Dentistry for two years and seen what disasters can happen when unapproved toothbrushes leak into the public (e.g., from China) I must warn you that you risk severely hurt yourself with a splintering toothbrush handle. There are multiple mishap reports regarding this ranging from abrasions to deep puncture wounds from fractured and/or splintering handles. The company that you linked to above has no ISO approval for their toothbrushes so I would be extremely wary of their product. That being said, I do not recall any types of wood or natural products being ISO approved toothbrush handle materials. I could be wrong. :/

    Back to the topic at hand: Happy Earth Day!! Humans need to learn to be better guests of our childrens’ home. 😉

    1. Ray, thanks for the comment(somehow, “comment” doesn’t quite capture it)!
      Yes, I googled the toothbrush company and posted one as an example only, definitely not an endorsement. I’m glad you mentioned the risks of non-certified brushes and the problems they cause. I’ll need to clarify that in the post.

      It’s also very true that it’s more costly to manufacture greener products, like hybrid or electric cars, or the bamboo bikes.

      So, what else do you dabble in? I think you’re the Thai-American James Bond, eh??

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