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(real questions from real people)

Building Process

  • Can you teach me how to build a bamboo bicycle?A bamboo bike is not as easy to build as it looks. I spent many years perfecting the technique and made several dangerous mistakes along the way. They are also very labor intensive, thus the high price for the US made Calfee bamboo bikes. With the Bambooseros, it takes five full days of training to learn the basics. We catch and correct any mistakes on the first frames made, then they can be certified as Bambooseros.The Bamboosero development model is for people in the poorest countries in the world. By purchasing a lower cost Bamboosero bike, you support people who might otherwise seek income from dubious enterprises, including email scams, prostitution, illegal logging, bushmeat hunting (endangered animals) and other crimes. Or they simply do without and reduce their chances of a productive and healthy life.   If bamboo bikes are improperly made, the whole idea of bamboo bikes can become spoiled, hurting our efforts to bring jobs and development to people who have far fewer opportunities than even the poorest communities in the developed world. Thanks for understanding.

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  • What is stopping people from using bamboo bicycles if there are so many benefits to it? (or why we do not see a widespread use of it?) Any new material will always go through a period of slow growth while the general public realizes that the material is suitable for that purpose. The process is slowed down considerably when early attempts with poor construction are brought out that critics can point to and say it is not a good material. This was the case with carbon fiber. In our case, the bikes are incredibly strong and durable.

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  • Is the material durable? Does it rot over time? (like how bikes rust over time) Is it easy to maintain?  Bamboo frames are can be very durable and will not rot if coated with a high quality automotive clearcoat. The coating may chip off over time if left outside for long periods of time. But if cared for, it will only see normal wear and tear.

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Economies of scale

  • Are your bamboo bicycles 100% hand-made? If they are, what difficulties are there in converting to factory mass production?  Our frames are hand made. As they are currently designed, it would be difficult to realize economies of scale with mass production. Otherwise, pushing down the labor cost is the primary way to lower the price. Other designs using bamboo laminated construction would be mass producible.
  • Do you think the price can be scaled down to around US$200 when you produce them through a mass production line? Perhaps with a laminated bamboo construction method. But a $200 (new) bike of any material is a questionable investment because the parts are of low quality and are very heavy or break easily.

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