Bamboo in bikes isn't a radically new concept (see below for our previous posts), but what is striking in this instance that a company would establish itself around a line of green bicycles crafted from bamboo and recycled aluminium alloy. With a swath of matching eco bike accessories to match.
Organic Bikes has been set up by Wheel & Sprocket. As the largest bike retailer in the US state of Wisconsin, with over 35 years in the trade and recipient of the National Bicycle Retailer of the Year award, it would seem safe to assume this venture has been well thought through. It's great that such experience is being brought to bear on making our most efficient means of transport even more environmentally benign.
And the bikes, what of them? Ah, sorry, read on.
First to hit the streets (in December 2009) will be the Dylan, seen here. A city commute and recreate model, on a fast road bike style geometry. It will be offered as a single or three speed option across five frame sizes. The bamboo main tubes and seat stays are fitted into 100% recycled alloy lugs. Aside from that you chose pretty much the rest: colours, seat, grips, handlebar, etc. (No indication of pricing, as yet.)
Then in early 2010 the Dylan will be joined by a road bike, (the Caleb), a cargo cruiser, with bamboo fenders (mudguards) and rear basket (the Edwin). Followed sometime later by bamboo beach cruisers- (Hudson and Mimosa).
Also on offer as stand alone bike accessories are bamboo fenders (mudguards), bamboo handlebars, bamboo grips, and two bamboo sheathed toolkits. Plus there are organic cotton and bamboo T-shirts.
Are far as we can make out, from the photos on the site, the bamboo used for the frames and handlebars is a solid laminate, not the hollow bamboo stalk, as used by others. No doubt there are trade-offs with either design option. The laminate would provide a more uniform material to work with, but incur extra production energy to fabricate. The stalk would use far less energy, yet be much less consistent to make precision products from.
One product that Organic Bicycles appear to be quite chuffed with is their 500 ml water bottle. It's made of plastic, to which was added--at time of production--a special additive. Bio-batch, as its known, apparently messes with the molecular structure of several plastics and renders them able to decompose into biogas and biomass. But Bio-batch only performs this magic trick once the bottle in in contact with microbiological environment such as a compost heap. Then, we're told, after one to five years, it's all vanished back into the soil. Truth or Fiction? Not entirely sure yet, so we'll dig a bit deeper on that one.
But overall this comes across as a intriguing new business and we wish them well with it.
Photos: Organic Bikes
• Biomega Biolove Bamboo Bike
• Bamboo Bike by Calfee Design
• Open Source Bamboo Bike Trailer
• Build Your Your BamBike
• Bamboo In A Bicycle Built For Two
• Bamboo Mountain Bikes are Growing on Calfee Design
• Learn How to Make Your Own Bamboo Bike in One-Weekend, Plus Support a Good Cause