Unlike steel, aluminum, or carbon bikes, bamboo bikes have not received extensive testing either in laboratory settings or in the professional peloton. Therefore, it’s important that we test various building methods and materials to achieve the optimal balance between cost of manufacturing (including time and material) and safety.
With three bikes fully assembled and six more well on their way to being completed, we are beginning to assemble a fleet of bamboo bikes that we plan to test. One of the bikes, built with untreated bamboo, has served as Marty’s commuter bike. In the ride to and from Marty’s office every day, it has been able to withstand many miles of wear on New York City potholes and steam grates, and constant breaking of stop-and-go traffic, and has withstood the rapid and significant changes in winter temperature.
We are hoping to destroy five of the other bikes we’ve completed thus far, in the name of science. Each of these prototypes is constructed with slight variations in design and in their component parts; by smashing each to pieces and breaking them in every way we can envision, we will test differences in material strength and rank the crash safety of different models. In this way, we can ensure that our final bike prototypes are the strongest and safest they can possibly be.
And yet we maintain: our bikes have a future that goes far beyond their effective utilitarian use. With the aim of keeping our attention focused on the aesthetics of a bamboo bicycle just as much as the strength of it, we are outfitting our final three prototypes with lights, traffic horns, and all the trappings of an eye-catching, exclusively-designed vehicle.