Boo Bicycles’ Aluboo Budget Aluminum & Bamboo Bike Kickstarted

The folks at Boo Bicycles showed us the Aluboo in detail at NAHBS with promises of a Kickstarter campaign launching just after the show. They’ve held true to their word, and the fundraiser’s off to a good start!

In a nutshell, the Aluboo is an alloy and bamboo framed bicycle that’s versatile in its uses. It can be made to run thick tires or thin, disc brakes or rim calipers, flat handlebars or drops, chains or belts, gears or not. The point in developing this bike was to make something with the ride characteristics of bamboo without the huge price tag of a full custom ‘boo and carbon fiber bike.

Head on over to their Kickstarter page and pick up a frameset for a pledge of $645 or a complete bike for as little as $945. For $3,995, you can travel to Vietnam and tour their bamboo farm and manufacturing facility, ride around with the builder and more! Click past the break for the full list of options…

Options:

  • 120mm spacing (track, single-speed, or fixed-gear setup)
  • 130mm spacing (road/urban/cyclocross setup)
  • 135mm spacing (internally-geared hub setup)
  • Derailleur hanger, or no hanger
  • Rear disc brake mount, cantilever studs, or standard road caliper
  • Breakable, so you can ditch the chain for a belt drive–no lubrication and no mess!

Other features:

  • Clearance for up to 40mm cyclocross/touring tires
  • Fender mounts front and rear
  • Rack mounts–carry a huge load with pannier bags
  • Removable cable guides for front and rear derailleurs and rear brake
  • Road, cantilever, and disc brake mounts
  • Full belt drive compatibility, up to a 50t front Gates CenterTrack ring

Comments

Mindless - 03/25/13 - 11:36am

$945 for something that you can get for under $500. Why?

1Pro - 03/25/13 - 11:47am

what? steel and ti not sustainable but aluminum is? wtf?

CJ - 03/25/13 - 11:53am

WHat is the point of all this bamboo, wood frame nonsense??
It certainly isn’t inexpensive, offers zero performance advantage, I guarantee as soon as some shredder busts one posing doing tricks and blows his face out the whole annoying trend will be over.
This is what happens when greenie poseur d-bags gather around to see who (deleted).

endorphin - 03/25/13 - 12:42pm

dampening: to make slightly wet
damping: dispersing energy in an oscillating system

I prefer bikes built by engineers…

satisFACTORYrider - 03/25/13 - 12:43pm

i believe in $*#!starter

InsightTree - 03/25/13 - 12:44pm

(Some people woke up on Monday morning with a serious case of (deleted).

Chill guys – don’t like it or have doubts? Fine. Going off like a horrible c-unt or asking questions without sharing the knowledge that formed your perspective only makes you seem foolish.

Besides, have you ever ridden one from Boo? Maybe that answers a lot of the questions. Give them a call and ask where the nearest demo unit can be found and take it for a ride. Trash it on the internet afterward, if it deserves it.

drider - 03/25/13 - 12:51pm

This is one of those rare sites like Youtube where the content is amazing, then you go down to the commends and have to drag your hand over your face at just how retarded some of the things people say on here are.

drider - 03/25/13 - 12:51pm

comments*

InsightTree - 03/25/13 - 12:59pm

1Pro – Aluminum is mined through extraction of bauxite, commonly found in consolidated or loose heavily weathered soil near the surface (strip-mining). The material is then smelted to extract aluminum.

Iron, TI. nickel, etc. requires either open pit or subsurface mining operations that often utilizes chemical treatments to help mobilize the commodities from the native rock, which is subsequently smelted. The volume of rock processed for this method is higher.

Is it ‘sustainable’ – No, of course not. Does Aluminum have a lesser impact during primary extraction? Yes. More easily recycled? Yes.

80 - 03/25/13 - 1:00pm

bamboo has ride characteristics now?

would you even be able to tell with such comically short sections of bamboo in the frame?

satisFACTORYrider - 03/25/13 - 1:04pm

you’re in a tall tree- if you’ve got a product that will eradicate (deleted) sell me that product that you’re on. kickstart it. it’s kinda sexist you called it that though.

Fredrick - 03/25/13 - 1:08pm

Alright, for the sake of argument, these are completely sustainable frames.

What about the rest of the bike guys, you know the parts that regularly wear out and thrown away?

I can honestly say In frames i have sold all but one of my frame I broke in a crash, so i would say that the frame is the most sustainable part, much like a good pair of wheels. In component on the other hand I have gone through everything and likely its several times more than the carbon foot print of my race bike.
I think you guys are focusing on the wrong part, frames are one of the most long lasting parts of the bike, if you are looking for sustainability you need to look at the rest of the bike.

As far as sustainable bikes go, a steel frame, with a belt drive, and $400-1000 is probably the most sustainable bike you can get right now because it has so few parts that could wear out quickly.

Jim - 03/25/13 - 1:25pm

God, the commenters on this site are toxic.

Mindless: It’s a medium cost frame/fork… you might as well say “why buy a rockhopper when you can get a huffy 20″ for $80 bucks”. The answer is: because one has stuff you want that the other does not. You can get a sweet surly frame for $500, but sometimes it’s worth saving up for something unique, or beautiful.

CJ: The point is: it’s gorgeous and has a slightly different ride feel. As far as durability, they’ve been racing cross on their bikes for quite a bit now. While you’re calling people posers, these guys are trying something different and doing it well. Have you actually seen one of their bikes in person? My guess is no.

Summary: Just because this is the internet doesn’t mean you have whine about everything you don’t personally want like a bratty 14 year old. There is a difference between critique and trolling.

My personal opinion: The bike looks beautiful, and the BOO guys seemed really cool at NAHBS last year. They care about this stuff.

CJ - 03/25/13 - 2:07pm

Jim: Sorry the whole bamboo thing is stupid. If you live in Realville you would realize this.

Said on a previous thread: I found a dessicated cow turd the other day and am thinking of making itointo some chainrings. Good day to you.
Please take the first train to Realville. You will be refreshed by its candid reflection of society at large.

Formosa - 03/25/13 - 2:38pm

The drive train on the blue bike in the opening shot is on the wrong side of the bike.

Is this a new product or some clever witchcraft?

Mindless - 03/25/13 - 3:16pm

@Jim: Huffy is worse than Rockhopper. That why is costs less. This poseur-mobile is worse than a normal bike twice cheaper.
99% of “green” and “sustainable” claims are utter bogus when you run ALL the numbers. And I bet the amount of farts from their smug owners will offset any advantage if there is any.

Alan - 03/25/13 - 3:53pm

@Formosa,

you’re right! Bamboo is for left handed people???

Velo - 03/25/13 - 6:17pm

I’d love to own a Boo bike. Is a Boo bicycle more Earth-friendly than a normal bicycle? Probably not. But it looks cool. And if cool-looking bikes get more people into cycling, that’s a good thing.

carl - 03/25/13 - 9:29pm

Calling that a bamboo bike seems like a stretch…. there appears to be more ALU than BAMBOO. Never ridden one, and they may be great, but it seems like someone is trying awful hard to achieve coolness… The carbon fiber backlash???

Ratas - 03/25/13 - 9:59pm

Why does BOO need a kickstarter campaign anyway? They’re by no means a new idea, or a new company. In fact, they present themselves as well established in what they do. Their “Why Kickstarter” portion of their campaign is weakest point. If they’ve been able to build bikes successfully for so long now… is it just to get an additional cash injection so they could buy a few extra welders, mills, jigs? Seems outside the spirit of Kickstarter.

1Pro - 03/25/13 - 10:28pm

Ratas, because kickstarter is obviously viral enough to be a fwiw functional marketing tool.

so yes, i agree with you.

Aluboo Bikes - 03/26/13 - 12:19am

We use Vietnamese Tam Vong in our bikes, nicknamed ‘Iron Bamboo’ because it is widely regarded as some of the strongest, densest bamboo in the world. We use bamboo because it is a PERFORMANCE material––it is strong, light, stiff, and excellent at dampening high frequency vibrations.

To prove this point, James recently sent some of his bamboo tubes to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich to be tested versus steel, carbon, and aluminum. The tests performed on the samples included a 3-Point bending test, dynamic mechanical analysis, and oscillation testing.

The findings from these tests included the following:
1) the relative modulus of bamboo is better than the relative modulus of steel and aluminum
2) it is relative to the modulus of carbon with fiber orientation from 30-40 degrees
3) BAMBOO CULMS CLEARLY DAMP BETTER THAN STEEL, ALUMINUM, OR CARBON

Our bamboo had a quarter of the vibration of the carbon tubes in the testing. It also had a higher tensile strength than steel.

This gives our bamboo bikes excellent ride characteristics, as the dampening abilities of the bamboo make for a much smoother riding bike while the strength makes sure the bike remains stiff and handles excellently.

While our Boo race bikes contain more bamboo than Aluboos (Aluboo’s inserts extend as far as possible into the aluminum lugs though to maximize the effect of the bamboo), both bikes maintain these excellent ride qualities.

Bamboo is also renewable and one of the most effective means of sequestering carbon dioxide known to man, and aluminum is easy to recycle. We are not a carbon-neutral bike, but we are much more sustainable to produce than many bikes on the road today.

Aesthetically, these bikes, and this material, are beautiful. There’s not quite like it.

Boo Bicycles - 03/26/13 - 12:27am

One more note: our Boo cyclocross competed successful at the Cyclocross World Championships in Kentucky this year, took fourth in collegiate nationals, and has won multiple awards and races.

http://www.boobicycles.com/about

PDXbiker - 03/26/13 - 2:27am

A now defunct company called Organic Bikes sold virtually the exact same frames, manufactured in Vietnam, a few years ago. It seems like these guys are trying to have another go at it. Probably even the same Vietnam manufacturer. The last of Organic’s aluminum – bamboo frames were offloaded on eBay at a substantial discount. I purchased one, a Caleb model, and built it up as a commuter for my wife. Quite frankly, I was pleasantly surprised at the build quality. The headset, BB, and dropouts were all in spec and the bamboo portions were nicely melded into the aluminum frame pieces. With a Ritchey carbon fork and a 105 groupset, it built into a unique ride. Always draws a nice comment when we’re out on our Sunday pedal.

Psi Squared - 03/26/13 - 2:57am

I beg to differ: the comments here make the comments on YouTube seem like comments made by physics Nobel laureates.

Without any data in hand, making claims like those made here–the derogatory claims–only makes the commenters look like they lack the ability to think critically. To make claims about how such bikes would perform without having pedaled the bike is as brilliant as claiming the Earth is 6000 years old.

It wasn’t long ago that carbon fiber bikes were looked at derisively.

Velo - 03/26/13 - 5:00am

> it is strong, light, stiff, and excellent at dampening high frequency vibrations.

How much does the road frame weigh?

Sark - 03/26/13 - 7:49am

Full boo: yes
Alu boo: no, just looks not right.. Not finished.. Not ” pure”.
Ah, what do i know. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Maybe riding one changes all that.

Paul V - 03/26/13 - 10:50am

If one were to follow the logic of most of these commenters, we would all be driving the same mass produced low budget cars, riding Walmart fixies, and NAHBS would not exist.

I am personally very excited for these bikes. The aluminum rear triangle should have the snappy power transmission of a full alu frame, but with the bamboo integrated into the main triangle, the ride should be much better across rough terrain, like a cross course.

If recall, one of the Boo designers crashed pretty hard in a crit last year, and the frame was not damaged at all while the components took quite a beating. I think that is a pretty good testament to the durability of these frames.

CJ - 03/26/13 - 11:59am

PSIsquared-So let me see if I get this correctly.
These makers are taking essentially perfectly good frames of whatever metal or CF and replacing the straight sections of tube with Bamboo (an inferior and crude material) because it “looks cool” then charge even more for the privilege of owning this inferior product and they and you are the big “critical thinkers”?
Got it.

Nick Frey - 03/26/13 - 12:00pm

I’ve had enough articles on Velonews, Bikerumor, and other comment-able sites to know this was coming :)

I want to thank those above who have taken the time to write something reasonable, thoughtful, or simply rational.

I would like to point out that @InsightTree is absolutely right about aluminum versus steel/titanium mining. But I would also add that most aluminum has already been recycled many times over, and we’re not doing a whole lot of primary mining for everything anymore. It’s also much *MUCH* lighter weight, which reduces shipping emissions.

However, this is not a “green” bike. We would have to sell 100,000 of them to even bother thinking about “green”. We want to make something cool, unique, and functionally better. Sure it costs a little more, and sure it might have a lot of aluminum. But the bamboo does absorb high-frequency vibrations within the aluminum…hey, that sounds like @endorphin’s definitions! “dispersing energy in an oscillating system”

In the end, if you dig it, buy one on Kickstarter! If you don’t, then you don’t have to. But I personally am thankful there is an outlet to create and sell projects like this, and while Boo is established and proven, I don’t have anywhere near the funds to do a mass-produced run of less expensive bikes. So thank you, Kickstarter, most of all for giving us a chance to make the Aluboo a reality!

Psi Squared - 03/26/13 - 1:23pm

CJ, how do you know the bikes are of inferior quality? Have you pedaled one? Have you seen one in the flesh? Do have any factual information to back up your claims?

CJ - 03/26/13 - 4:58pm

PSIsquared- How and why would I ever even think of gathering facts on such an obvious vanity project. I could care less. I know that the last 50 years of material science will not lead us to “bamboo” as a frame material or cow patties as chainrings, or steer horns as handlebars.
It has ZERO to do with the hugely subjective “ride quality”.That is the term Bicycling Magazine inserts when they are riding a piece of limp spaghetti but don’t want to tell you it sucks. So if you want to hang your entire argument on that , good for you.
Show all the data that says bamboo is superior to all the CF /Ti/Alu/Steel road frames we’ve been riding forever.Until then I will assume it makes a pretty decent greenie floor material in a trophy home.Not much else.

1Pro - 03/26/13 - 5:25pm

bamboo is what it is, durable and suitable.

but i question its consistency and thus the builders emphatic cries when in fact each piece is different that the last. So Nick and the other guy, how do you quantify those un-knowns and pit this against highly engineered composite bikes(not all) where every filament IS a known quantity?

You cant and therefore it can only be what each one is. Suitable but not quantifiable until after the fact.

It is not an “engineered” product point blank.

I think the bikes are great personally but I think the marketing is pure BS.

Velo - 03/26/13 - 5:46pm

@CJ: I know that the last 50 years of material science will not lead us to goose down as an insulating material… oh wait.

CJ - 03/27/13 - 11:44am

Wow Velo-How long did you have to research to get that esoteric reference to make your unrelated snark?
3 days?

AL - 05/25/13 - 2:17am

$945 for a complete single speed is not that expensive. A custom steel single speed goes for higher than that on average. Don’t even get started on what CF or Ti would go for.

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