Craig Calfee was one of the first to introduce Carbon Fiber as a frame material in the 1980′s. Since 1995 he has been building bicycle frames with bamboo.
There are relatively few bamboo bicycles on the road. Calfee Design Bamboo bicycles have been reviewed by two professional bicycling magazines.
Bamboosero customers have their own feelings about their bikes – but also get to hear the opinions of many others! The following are some reactions to the brand and the bike:
“My husband recently was so kind to buy me one of these bamboo bikes. I’ve owned one of Calfee’s bikes for about 13 years or so and still absolutely enjoy riding it every chance. On the other hand this bike has been a great bike to head down to the farmers market, ride with my sisters on the trail or just wandering about in the neighborhood. Every time I have had it out people are amazed at the beauty and the construction of the bike and ask me many questions, some I can answer some have left me questioning it myself… Thanks for the added information, I do get asked about the resin the most. People are very curious of the joints on the bike. I think what has surprised me the most about this bike has been how really comfortable it is. Just had it out the other day on the trails and did about thirty miles and felt as good as my carbon bike! “
“Yeah, its a sweet ride. I took it yesterday on that 27 mile ride to Mt. Vernon and back. Leaped up hills, cruised the flats… and I am sure there were some roadies I could have smoked had I had the room and inclination. That is how versatile this bike is. Its sort of funny really… I haven’t ridden my Cannondale road bike since I got the Boo and I am worried it will no longer be anywhere near as fun or comfortable to ride. Such a hard biking life if that is my biggest issue! Cheers, “
“Hey, I’m lovin the bike, rides great, looks cool, I get compliments everywhere I go. My ceramics prof, who’s a biker himself, thinks it’s the coolest thing. Thanks a lot, “
“I had a beautiful 25 mile ride this morning before church services (I am a Lutheran pastor). It is smooth, comfortable and quick–average speed 17.9 mph. My average speed is up about 2 mph over the Madone. That may have to do more with excitement over the new bike, but it is definitely a smoother ride.”
“[My] initial concerns before riding the bike would have been the geometry, balance, and alignment of an imperfect material of non man made origin. [I] envisioned riding in non intentional circles, serpentine like patterns of [my] path left behind, or wobbles from flawed geometry. Not the case. The bike tracks perfectly. It has tight maneuverable handling with a feeling of crisp flowing exuberance.”
“There are so few opportunities in life to buy something that gives me true pleasure. The Bamboosero is one of them. It’s beautiful to look at, comfortable to ride, and healthy for the earth. I find the ‘look’ of bamboo very appealing. I’m not generally into ‘flash,’ but I find it incredible how much reaction the bike gets from other people. They really love it – and love the idea of it. As I ride it around Berkeley, people want to know about it. The ‘sustainability’ piece is part of my reaction, for sure, as is the notion that the bike might be creating some jobs in less-advantaged regions of the world. But, even without this, the bike, itself, is a terrific ride.”
Rick Foster, co-author of How We Choose to Be Happy and Happiness & Health
“In short: I love the ride quality of my bike! It’s way better than my old full-suspension aluminum bike. It’s lighter, easier and more comfortable to ride. Also the fact that I know someone has spent many hours building it by hand gives me a good feeling. It makes the bike more valuable to me than a ‘factory’-frame. My bike is from the Philippines and I know this helps poor or rural communities so that’s an added value to me.”
Joep Van Ginderen
“First impressions are good – stiffness will not be a problem as I actually found it very stiff compared to my current bikes. I also thought it rode very smoothly and felt solid as well. I expected to be quite conscious of the fact that it’s bamboo and compensate my riding accordingly but I actually found that after the initial few minutes I basically forgot about it and just enjoyed riding a nice bike – the fact that it was bamboo was almost incidental which is how it should be.”
“Most of my cycling experience with biking during the past several years has been with small-wheel, suspended bikes as the Brompton and Moulton. Certainly some of the ride experience I’m enjoying with the Bamboosero is due to wider, larger wheels, but there is definitely an almost indescribable fluidity to the ride of the bamboo. I feel the road surface perfectly and yet it is almost without shock, and allows a confidence I’ve not felt with regular suspended bikes. Only problem with it is the nut between the ears thinking he’s in his 20′s again and getting too near the edge too soon. But long live the ‘Type G(od) Carbon Fibre Bicycle!’
Gary Batterson MSG, USA, Ret. And Livin’ Large
Distance: 4,368.9miles (7,281.5km)
Bamboo bike1 record (before accident): 2,979.3miles, 2010/9/10-10/28
Bamboo bike2 record (after accident): 1,389.6miles, 2010/11/11-12/6
Start/Goal: from Bamboosero in Santa Cruz, CA to Bamboobikestudio in Brooklyn, NYC
“The bamboo bike rides really nicely-stiff like aluminum, probably due to the oversize tubes, er, sticks, but more muted like a nice steel frame. There is not much springiness, though, like you would find in steel or titanium bumps and blips and waves in the pavement don’t twang or resonate or bounce like in some frames made of those metals.
Hits are not as sharp, nor do they have that hard, stomping-on-a-rock bone-jarring feel of a big-diameter aluminum frame.
I don’t know how to explain this, it’s like talking about music…you have to use words that are relative to other things. Like ‘blue,’ a color, is understood to mean ‘sad’ or ‘melancholy’ in music. This bike feels a little transparent-it’s tough to pin a character onto it, though. ‘Alive,’ maybe?
Perhaps because the frame is made from an organic substance-it feels like it is actually working on its own, maybe pushing back against hits. Power transfer is great-it doesn’t hesitate in a jump, doesn’t seem to flex unfavorably, doesn’t creak or groan. Perfect alignment; I can let go and sit up and it goes right straight ahead, no bobbles or wobbles or leaning or arm waving, it goes right where I look.”
Paul Altenhofen (Calfee Bamboo Bike January 2008)