I think it’s only fair to mention that I’ve not only written this to satisfy my curiosity of all things new and shiny, I was definitely prompted by hugely enthusiastic endorsements by my friend Stephen Phipps. He’s a pretty seriously on it kind of rider and spends plenty of time in the saddle as a guide, so if he raves about anything I’m willing to listen. So lets ask Rachel from Bamboo Bikes what the hell it’s all about.
Commence the Questions:
Rachel – I saw one on display at a show in London 5 years ago and fell in love. There was no one selling them in the UK so I started importing US made frames and selling them here. In 2010, we formed the current company and made a partnership with Oxford Brookes University who were thinking about developing a design for manufacture. We worked together on the design and launched the 26” XC MTB at the NEC Cycle Show in 2011.
Si – With more brands, more materials and more aspects of cycling, did you envisage having a tough time making bamboo part of peoples wish lists. And how did you plan to market in that crowded market place.
Rachel – Rather than it being ‘yet another high end bike’, our range is exclusively bamboo and so bamboo offers something other frame materials don’t. A smoothness sometimes compared to carbon, but quieter and not prone to breakages, a higher tensile strength than steel and a lighter material than alu.
Si – What are the highs and lows of bringing a brand from concept to completion.
Rachel – The excitement and satisfaction in launching something you’ve worked so hard on is great. It takes time, energy and dedication, which is no bad thing, but sometimes frustrating!
Si – You offer full custom geometry, that’s a superb option. Is it proving popular yet ?
Rachel – We get a lot of people interested in custom build, particularly for road and touring models which we don’t yet offer as standard – although watch this space!
Si – With so little actual manufacturing going on with the British bike scene, I find it kinda funny that your bikes are actually built in the UK. Tell us about the process.
Rachel – We wanted full control over the quality and pricing, and having everything here means whenever we need to ramp up production, we can do so quickly.
Si – Do you ever wake up at night after a nightmare about woodworm raiding your warehouse after a bit of exotic dinner?
Rachel – Well..as bamboo is a grass and so not prone to the same diseases as wood..no!
Si – Full credit for putting your money where your mouth is, a full XC race team is on your bikes. How is that working out for you? And how did you put the team together.
Rachel – Thanks, it was important to show people they were up to the job! It’s been great fun, quite a few wins last year, and already some wins this year, we’re really proud of all our riders. Some made contact with us, and some were known to us through bike clubs etc. We’re always interested in hearing from anyone who’d like to compete on a bamboo frame. We hope to have a CX team this year also.
Rachel – Umm…
Si – Tell us why we should rush off and buy one of your bikes.
Rachel – You should rush off and try a bamboo bike to feel the difference to other materials. It’s a bit of a ‘Marmite’ brand, we appreciate everyone won’t like it, but when people do, they really do!
We’ve got bikes in Blue Door Bicycles, Crystal Palace, iCycle in Birmingham, The Activity Centre in Bromley and with Green Race Ltd in Stroud.