2015 NAHBS – March 6-8 - The Kentucky International Convention Center
Boo Bicycles
Boo_logo_600x600_1

Boo Bicycles handcrafts bicycles using the finest bamboo in the world. Why bamboo? Because it makes the best bicycle frames in the world.  

A natural composite material, bamboo is actually comprised of two main elements: 1) strong vascular bundles (fibers) that transport water and nutrients throughout the plant, and 2) a fleshy connective material called lignin that insulates and binds these fibers.

There are more than 2,000 varieties of bamboo. Some are strong, others flimsy. Some grow in arid climates, others need humidity. The species of bamboo that we use in our bicycles, dendrocalamus strictus, has been nicknamed “Iron Bamboo” because of its incredibly high fiber density and, as a result, its strength.  

Our bamboo is stronger by weight than steel, and has a stiffness against bending (Young’s Modulus) almost identical to carbon fiber. What’s more, the fleshy lignin material dampens vibrations that run through the tube’s fibers FOUR TIMES better than carbon fiber tubing. Additionally, bamboo tubes have some torsional (twisting) compliance.

When you combine all of these material benefits of bamboo into a bicycle frame, the results are unique–a frame that rides both stiffly AND smoothly.  

When out of the saddle sprinting or climbing steep grades, the entire frame is put in a lateral-bending mode and the bamboo excels at resisting this bending, and thus transfers maximum power to the road.

When cornering, descending, or riding in very rough terrain, the front half of the frame is under torsion, and the bamboo allows for additional compliance in these circumstances. As a result of this torsional forgiveness in the material, cornering is a treat. The bike feels stable and secure, providing greater confidence in treacherous conditions and at high speeds.

These material properties of bamboo manifest in every bicycle frame we build, and this is why we build bikes using bamboo.

Award Entries:
RS-M (Entry for: Best mountain bike):
Boo Bicycles handcrafts bicycles using the finest bamboo in the world. Our bamboo is so strong it is nicknamed ‘Iron Bamboo’ and is commonly used to build bridges and multi-story scaffolding locally in Vietnam, where we grow our bamboo ourselves on our private plantation.

Boo frames are built using a tube-to-tube construction method. All tubes are hand-cut and chiseled to fit together perfectly in the jig before they are bound together with unidirectional carbon fiber. Tubes are hollowed to a 3-5mm wall thickness (dependent on frame size and type) for weight savings and stiffness tuning. The average Boo frame takes 40-50 hours of hand labor to construct.

Aluboo and Alubooyah frames are built using a lugged construction method. Poles with a slightly-larger diameter than our aluminum lugs are selected. The ends of these inserts are ‘turned down’ and textured for a nice, flush fit. The frame is then assembled, and an aircraft-grade epoxy secures the ends of the bamboo inserts in place inside the aluminum lugs.

Boo handles all bamboo procurement in-house. From managing our mature culms for new tube growth, to the harvest of mature poles (3 1/2 years old), to our extensive post-harvest treatment process to temper the bamboo and prepare it for use in our frames, our craftsman James has spent almost 20 years working with bamboo and refining our procurement process. Like a fine whiskey, the raw inputs and aging process to produce high-quality bamboo are intensive and lengthy. But if done properly, the rewards are great.
SL-G (Entry for: Best cyclocross bike):
Boo Bicycles handcrafts bicycles using the finest bamboo in the world. Our bamboo is so strong it is nicknamed ‘Iron Bamboo’ and is commonly used to build bridges and multi-story scaffolding locally in Vietnam, where we grow our bamboo ourselves on our private plantation.

Boo frames are built using a tube-to-tube construction method. All tubes are hand-cut and chiseled to fit together perfectly in the jig before they are bound together with unidirectional carbon fiber. Tubes are hollowed to a 3-5mm wall thickness (dependent on frame size and type) for weight savings and stiffness tuning. The average Boo frame takes 40-50 hours of hand labor to construct.

Aluboo and Alubooyah frames are built using a lugged construction method. Poles with a slightly-larger diameter than our aluminum lugs are selected. The ends of these inserts are ‘turned down’ and textured for a nice, flush fit. The frame is then assembled, and an aircraft-grade epoxy secures the ends of the bamboo inserts in place inside the aluminum lugs.

Boo handles all bamboo procurement in-house. From managing our mature culms for new tube growth, to the harvest of mature poles (3 1/2 years old), to our extensive post-harvest treatment process to temper the bamboo and prepare it for use in our frames, our craftsman James has spent almost 20 years working with bamboo and refining our procurement process. Like a fine whiskey, the raw inputs and aging process to produce high-quality bamboo are intensive and lengthy. But if done properly, the rewards are great.