Bicycles

Bamboost e-bike combines bamboo and balsa with a touch of tech

Bamboost e-bike combines bambo...
The bamboo/balsa composite-framed Bamboost by HERObike (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
The bamboo/balsa composite-framed Bamboost by HERObike (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The bamboo/balsa composite-framed Bamboost by HERObike (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The bamboo/balsa composite-framed Bamboost by HERObike (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
The carbon fiber and metal insert-reinforced rear drop-outs (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The carbon fiber and metal insert-reinforced rear drop-outs (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
Adding some functionality to the Bamboost is a semi-rigid hand-made leather cargo bag that sits inside the frame while the bike is in use, but that can be removed and carried with the rider when it’s parked (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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Adding some functionality to the Bamboost is a semi-rigid hand-made leather cargo bag that sits inside the frame while the bike is in use, but that can be removed and carried with the rider when it’s parked (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
The sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
HERObike designer Lance Rake, with the Bamboost prototype (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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HERObike designer Lance Rake, with the Bamboost prototype (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

Bicycles made from bamboo stalks are becoming increasingly common, but Greensboro, Alabama’s HERObike takes a different approach to using the material. At last year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show, we saw some HERObike frames sporting carbon-fiber-reinforced tubes made from woven bamboo. At this year's show, the company was showing off its upcoming Bamboost e-bike, which features a composite frame that adds balsa wood and 3D-printed parts to the mix.

The main vacuum-formed sides of the Bamboost consist of an inner layer of carbon fiber, followed by laminated layers of woven bamboo, a balsa core, another layer of woven bamboo, and finally a protective layer of resin. Areas that are subject to abrasion, such as the rear wheel drop-outs, are protected by an added outer layer of carbon fiber.

Steel inserts are also used to add strength in the drop-outs.

The sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
The sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

The sides are joined to one another (and to the rest if the bike) using a series of 3D-printed spacers, seen above. Together, those side panels and spacers form the frame – they’re not simply joined onto an existing aluminum frame hiding underneath.

Adding some functionality to the Bamboost is a semi-rigid hand-made leather cargo bag that sits inside the frame while the bike is in use, but that can be removed and carried with the rider when it’s parked.

HERObike designer Lance Rake, with the Bamboost prototype (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
HERObike designer Lance Rake, with the Bamboost prototype (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

While the mechanical and performance specs of the bike are still being worked out, it will utilize a SRAM E-matic rear hub motor and rack-mounted battery.

The Bamboost should be available "soon," priced somewhere around US$2,500 to $3,000.

Company website: HERObike

1 comment
Tom Benson
Wow, use all these exotic materials and practices to build a bike frame and then put all the weight high and on the rear: right where it doesn't belong. I don't get it.