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Archive for January, 2009

The Makings of a Bicycle

Raw Bamboo - The Makings of a Bicycle

The Bamboo Bike Project has sent two prototype bicycles to Kumasi, Ghana! After many hours of building and testing our sample bikes, we completed two models that were shipped to the potential investor with whom we are working on the ground in Ghana. He will take these two bicycles around Kumasi to further test the viability and market strength of bamboo bikes in the area. We are excited and waiting to hear about these bikes’ reception in Africa, and will share with you the feedback we receive!

Finished Bikes by Alma Mater

Finished Bikes by Alma Mater

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Our New York engineers have integrated new testing machinery into the bamboo bike-building process, enabling them to better approximate professional grade material testing.  In an effort to build the ultimate hoop-stress test setup, Marty purchased a hydraulic splitter and a pneumatic fatigue tester, which hooks into the fork of the bike frame and flexes it until the frame breaks.

Biking to Work

Marty and crew are able to use this machine to compare relative strengths of bicycle frames built of different bamboo varieties, as well as bamboo that has been treated with different treatments and using different treatment methods.  How, for instance, does bamboo treated with one brand of epoxy resin hold up to another? What style of wrapping creates the strongest joints, and to what degree do the results differ?  Eventually, we might even be able to use this technology to test new treatment methods altogether: how, for example, would a piece of flame-treated bamboo hold up against a piece coated with beeswax or smoked in a bamboo smoker?  The splitter and the fatigue tester, when coupled with a newly acquired air compressor that tests the strength of the bicycle joints, will enable us to make use of detailed, scientific, more empirically accurate data as we construct the strongest possible bamboo bikes.

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