2005 Calfee Bamboo Bike
Yep. This is a racing bike made out of bamboo.
It’s a Calfee road bike that was built in 2005. It’s made out of bamboo tubing that’s wrapped in the joint areas with carbon fiber. The bike is reasonably light (18 pounds), it handles quite well, it’s made of environmentally friendly materials and it grabs a lot of attention wherever you ride.
We’ve noticed that bamboo as a frame material (just like wooden rims) garners a fair amount of skepticism. Hundreds of Calfee bikes on the road and we’re here to tell you that there’s no reason to doubt the frame’s strength.
Really bamboo has nothing but benefits. It makes a little bit of noise as the frame flexes back and forth but there’s no need to worry about rust like with a steel bike. The fatigue life is really long, probably better than the average aluminum bike. There’s no need to paint bamboo.
If your bike feels a little small you can go out for a ride on a rainy day and it’ll grow to the next size up. Really, with a bamboo bike the only issue is that you have to keep an eye out for hungry Panda bears.
Certainly the bamboo frame tubing is the most prominent material in the makeup of this bike, but if you’re tired of seeing black carbon fiber everywhere, this bike has an amazing mixture of materials. There’s the titanium for the dropouts, carbon fiber joining the tubes and making up the cranks, handlebar, seatpost and fork. We have aluminum and steel in the drivetrain parts. The wheels have beech wood rims, there’s leather in the saddle and handlebar wrap, while the tires are made out of cotton and rubber.
How did Craig Calfee ever decide to start making bamboo bicycles? As one of the premier carbon fiber bike designers, the cycling world looked to Calfee to show off the latest in high technology at the winter trade shows. As a joke they made a one-off bamboo bike (with brahma bull horns for handlebars) for their trade show displays in the ‘90’s. Probably got tired of people asking to buy that bike…