Bamboo Bicycles a Generation Later
1894: BAMBOO CYCLE CO. LTDThe first bamboo bicycles were shown at the London Stanley Show of 1894 and caused a sensation. [English patent No.8274 of 26 April 1894]. This model (1896) can be seen in Prague.
2005: CALFEE DESIGN Craig Calfee revisits the bamboo bike in 1996, going into production with first class road frames in 2005. This is not just a cool bike. It is appropriate for racing and for everyday use.
TECHNOLOGY: Culms of bamboo are heat treated and smoked to prevent cracking. Bamboo is selectively chosen for each part of the frame, then joined using hemp wrapping or carbon fibre. For an extra stiff drivetrain, the rear stays can be made completely of carbon fibre. Mixing materials and bonding creates advantageous vibration and damping characteristics.
Applying modern frame building techniques to an idea from over a century ago brings to life the astonishing natural properties of bamboo.
TESTIMONIALS for Bamboo Cycle Ltd. London from 1896
Baron Hill, Beaumaris, North WalesDecember 2nd, 1895
SIRS,In reply to your letter of the 22nd Nov. which I found on my return home, I beg to say that I am more than satisfied with the Bamboo Bicycle which you supplied me with. I have ridden it a fair amount, frequently on rough and stony grounds, and it has yet shown no signs of ordinary wear and tear. I have recommended them strongly to several of my friends, and shall continue to do so when I am enquired of concerning them. I consider they possess several advantages over other machines, and certainly the appearance of them, in my mind, is better than that of steel machines. There still, however, appears to be a prejudice against them, but as far as my experience goes, it is an unfounded one. I believe they will stand every bit as much wear and tear, and are as strong as any on the market.
(SIR) R. WILLIAMS BULKELEY
Kirby Hall, Horton Kirby, KentNovember 1st, 1896
DEAR SIRS,My Bamboo Cycle has been simply splendid, I have had it about nine months and it shows no signs of wear whatever. For perfect comfort I consider it cannot be beaten, and for appearance there is no machine in the market to touch it. The comments of those who have not tried them are most amusing.Faithfully yours,L. ALLEN SHUTER. The British Chess Club, 37 King Street, Covent Garden October 25th, 1896DEAR SIRS,I have much pleasure in testifying to the excellence of your machines. Before deciding upon your make I had great difficulty in choosing from the number of different bicycles advertised, and I am happy to state that I have had cause only for congratulation that my choice fell upon the Bamboo. It has been my constant companion when touring, both here and abroad, and I have made long journeys with no fatigue and great comfort. I can positively say it is the best machine I ever mounted. Should anyone be in doubt my advice is Buy a Bamboo.Yours truly,JULIUS SCHULMAN.