NAHBS – Boo Bicycles’ Carbon Fiber Bamboo Bikes

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NAHBS 2010Boo Bicycles fuses carbon fiber and bamboo to make some lightweight, resilient bikes of all types.  Shown above is a fantastically painted track bike (detail photos after the break), and they had a belt drive cyclocross bike and 29er mountain bike on display, too.

Each bike uses bamboo tubes that are hand wrapped with 3K carbon fiber tow (thread).  The wrapping technique was the senior thesis project for several Princeton students who then took the idea and are having the frames made in Saigon, Vietnam.

Check out this and the other bikes after the jump…

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Handpainted Koi decorate the head- and top tubes on the track bike.  The top tube is bamboo that’s been wrapped all the way with carbon fiber thread.  The pictures don’t do it justice, but you can see the thread wound down the full length of the tube.

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Boo backs their bikes with a 10 year warranty and offers a crash replacement program.

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The Boo 29er hardtail was set up with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive and an assortment of Edge Composites components.

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Click this one to enlarge and you can get a sense of how painstaking the carbon fiber wrapping process must be.

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The 29er and the cyclocross frame (below) share the same sliding dropouts and broken seatstay dropout that allow for the belt to be inserted into the frame.  Boo frames are $3,000 for the frame only, and they can offer complete build kits based on your budget and needs.  I’ll go ahead and say it: none of these bikes have proper tension in the belts or chains.

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The Boo road / ‘cross frame weighs in at about 1,500g (3.31 lbs).

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All of the joints are wrapped, cured, sanded, then wrapped some more, putting multiple layers of carbon fiber around each junction.

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Click to enlarge and read more about them.

Comments

Androo - 03/30/10 - 8:20pm

Interesting. I wonder if that’s just the top layer, but it seems to me that, at least for the top tube, that’s not an ideal orientation for the CF. I mean, I have to assume that if it’s a Princeton thesis project that they’ve done some real analysis, but you want to use unidirectional fibers like those ones along the same axis as the bending forces they’re resisting…which would be along the length of it. When bike manufacturers place layers circumferentially like that, it’s just to add some hoop strength to maintain the structure. In this case, the bamboo should already be quite resilient, so the CF would be to increase stiffness.

But then again, this is all armchair analysis. They are very pretty bikes, nonetheless.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/31/10 - 11:04pm

From talking to them at the show, I believe the focus of their thesis was the wrapping of the joints and the wraps around the full tubes was merely cosmetic.

Cross - 04/02/10 - 1:19am

One of boo’s riders and Princeton pals showed up at our local cross race on day on a very nice Boo cross frame. He hammered that thing and it was amazing both in its performance and beauty. They are a gorgeous frame in person and I hope they do well with their buisness.

Carly - 05/11/10 - 11:59pm

Stiff, Light, Smooth = BEATIFUL.

James - 06/23/10 - 6:53am

Hi I’m James and I build these bikes. The carbon binding and wrapping is for strength and stiffness in most cases, but on this show bike I wanted to do something special and have a dark background for me to apply the silver leaf and paint the Koi over.

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