Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Part I: The Beginning and Bambi?

A few people may already know that story behind this project, but I think there are enough people who don't that I shall tell it from the beginning.. As I'm nearing completion of the bamboo bike frame, I've been bouncing around a few names that would be suitable... The first one I've come up with is "Bambi"... (maybe I'll put it to a vote later.. haha)

It was the third or fourth day of lecture when I was sitting in MatSci 201 (Into to Material Science) and the professor pulled out a question, and asked us about material selection. Still a little disoriented from trying to find my way around the Frances-Searle building to the lecture room, I didn't think much into the question: What materials would make a bike frame? My classmates were raising their hands and answering with somewhat obvious answers: titanium! carbon fiber! etc.

Maybe this moment wasn't really as pivotal as I seem to remember, but our professor casually mentioned how sometimes it's good to consider/try out uncommon materials and explore how they perform. That's when he gave the example of using bamboo as material for bike frames.

I went back to my normal routine for a while, and the interesting notion of using a nicely sustainable, yet theoretically ideal material (insert discussion here about axial strength, elasticity under transverse loading, etc etc) for a bike frame kept popping up. A quick internet search led me to Calfee Design ( and their beautiful bikes. I was a bit discouraged by their $2500+ price tag, but they were a good inspiration and proof that it can be done.

(Calfee bamboo bike)

This project was placed high up on my proverbial shelf of to-dos and stood there collecting dust for at least a year... Though the next time I revisited this project and found the determination to finish it, it was thanks to BME..

(to be continued!)


Anonymous said...

hey good job man.