Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Boo Bikes Bus of Bamboo481

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about bamboo bikes, with Boo Bikes right in the thick of it. Some has been good, some negative, but really when it comes to using bamboo as a frame material there seems to be a lot more questions than answers in the general population. After listening to a number of friends rave about their bikes after test riding them during the Cincy3 CX weekend, we decided it was time to sit down with Boo Bikes founder Nick Frey for a candid interview to try and find out what Boo is all about.

Find out how to grow a bike after the break.

Boo Bikes Bus of Bamboo478

Nick surveys the ground below from atop his new Boo bus.

Bikerumor: How did the company get started?

Nick Frey (Boo Bikes): I started the company myself, and James Wolf is in Vietnam and he is our frame builder, and so James and I have been working together for almost 6 years now. We first started working together on March 4, 2008, so coming up on 6 years now. When I started it, the company was just a school project while I was at Princeton in Mechanical Engineering. It was a junior year design project, and we had seen Craig Calfee bring some bamboo bikes to NAHBS and we were like, “oh my god, that’s so cool!”

But we knew from an engineering perspective Bamboo wasn’t just a novelty material, it is an incredible composite that nature has come up with that rivals carbon fiber and is actually better in certain ways. It’s actually really unique stuff.

Bikerumor: Who is currently involved in the company?

Nick Frey: Now it is me, James Wolf, and Drew Haugen who is my partner as of a year and a half ago. So drew is the guy back in Fort Collins who is putting together our Kickstarter bikes right now. I brought Drew on when we wanted to start Aluboo, because with Aluboo we had this awesome frame design that’s way lower priced, but it’s going to be a whole other… We actually started it as a completely separate company.

Bikerumor: So that was my next question basically, what is the division between the two arms of the company and how will that work out in the future?

Nick Frey: So it’s actually two companies that have merged now, so it’s one company. Both brands will still exist but we’re moving towards using Aluboo just as a frame model instead of like a whole other brand. So it’s actually going to be more and more integrated but it started out separate.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Boo Pro CX Racer Rotem Ishay

Bikerumor: So what was the reason for the separation?

Nick Frey: We were really worried about… from day one, because of the way bamboo bikes kind of started and were first sold, they were thought of kind of a novelty, or green material like…

Bikerumor: Like building bikes in Africa or something?

Nick Frey: Yeah, yeah, like you know no one has ever thought of it as a performance option or viable alternative to carbon or ti or steel. So that’s been our biggest concern is being seen in the wrong light. So since day one we have raced in the UCI circuit, we’ve raced professional level in mountain bikes, road bikes, cross bikes, everything and we’ve been trying to get away from that conception as fast as possible. With Aluboo, because it’s a lot lower price point and it’s not a full on custom bike like a Parlee, Serotta, or Moots or whatever, we wanted to have it be a separate brand because we didn’t want people to confuse the high end custom Boo bikes with the more affordable Aluboos.

So I think we’re not as susceptible to that as much as I thought. People seem pretty open to it, and I’m actually surprised at how high performance the Aluboo is. So I’m not as afraid of having them connected.

Bikerumor: So for Boo, you started recently offering stock frame sizes where it previously was custom only, right?

Nick Frey: Yeah, so it’s helped us lower the price a bit and it’s helped us reach out to dealers a bit because a lot of dealers aren’t super stoked on having to wait on custom bikes. We’re going to have inventory in the shop in Fort Collins starting in March, so James is actually building the frames right now, and the goal is to be able to turn around an order in a few days or for dealers to have the bikes ready on the floor.

Bikerumor: How long does it take to make a Boo?

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Boo Bikes Bus of Bamboo477Yes, the bus has rock climbing holds to get to the top.

Nick Frey: The actual frame construction time is really difficult to pinpoint, it depends on what’s included. That bamboo treatment alone takes over a year. From the point of harvesting to the point of a frame being done is close to 2 years. But we have a huge stockpile of the best bamboo in the world that James harvests. He literally cuts the stuff down, he maintains the crops, the combs – which are clumps of growth that can be up to 100 years old. Some bamboo spreads these runners and others is the clumping kind which is what we use. There are over 2,000 species – it makes hardwood varieties look like…

Bikerumor: So is the bamboo grown on farms? In the wild?

Nick Frey: Yeah, ours is grown on a plantation in Vietnam and it’s extremely, well, it’s the hardest and stiffest bamboo in the world. Even the weakest bamboo is still very stiff by weight compared to any other natural material. So you’re talking about the best of the best. It’s extremely similar in bending stiffness to carbon fiber.

Bikerumor: What about the rotational stiffness?

Nick Frey: Yeah! So that’s what I’m stoked about figuring out. The reason the bikes feel like they do is that bamboo is extremely stiff in bending and rotational stiffness is not as high. A lot of times you tell that to people and they kind of look disappointed but then here is why this is a good thing. When you do an FEA of the frame and you check out the different loads experienced – you can be out of the saddle sprinting and really throwing the bike around like on a steep climb, sprinting, out of a corner, and when you do that you’re relying on the lateral stiffness of the bottom bracket and it’s essentially like this line from the rear axle through the bottom bracket and up to the head tube. That whole lower half of the bike.

If you look at a Cervelo R5 or Specialized Tarmac you’ll see huge tube sections on the lower half of the bike while the top tube and seat stays are very small. This is because the lower half of the bike is experiencing a huge amount of lateral bending. That’s what bamboo is amazing at is lateral bending stiffness. Then when you look at the front end, handling is not looking at the bending of the bamboo it’s relying on the torsion or the twist of the front end. Well, I’m actually a believer that you don’t want a huge amount of torsional stiffness at the front end.

You want a good amount – because that has to do with the precision of the bike going where you want it to and not feeling like a noodle. But, when you have too much front end stiffness, the bike goes exactly where it’s pointed. Exactly. And the moment you hit any rocks, or off camber section, stutter bumps, chip seal or rough sections in a crit – then the bike just goes exactly that direction since there is no give in the system. Whereas with our bike you can actually kind of adjust the steering in the middle of the corner and just throw the bike into it. You are really throwing the front end of the bike in before the rest of the bike gets to react – and it’s like a small split second thing.

Bikerumor: Sort of like the argument that a World Cup level downhill fork can actually be too laterally stiff?

Nick Frey: Yeah. There’s no give in the whole system except for the tires. Everything you feel on a bike happens where the tires meet the road. That is the only force that is acting on the entire system. Otherwise it’s the bike and the rider acting as one unit and the only thing acting on them is those two tiny contact patches. When you look at how the road feels relative to those contact patches, it’s like a translation of that contact. You have road and you have rider, and in between you have this bike and if it’s such a direct contact then you have no give except that surface between that tire and the road. And it might even be tiny little micro amounts….  [our dogs butt into the conversation competing for our attention]

A lot of bikes these days, they’re not even trying to make it stiff in certain ways but not others, it’s just across the board, just stiff. They don’t consider that there are three modes of stiffness – bending, compression and tension, and torsion. This is the danger, I hate to say it, of carbon fiber engineering – composite theory is so complicated and understanding how the plies interact, the people doing that are pure engineers, they’re some of the best in the world but a lot of them aren’t bike racers. They aren’t professional cyclists, they aren’t connoisseurs of bike riding, and so they think if it’s 8% stiffer and weighs 37g less, it’s automatically better. Not as many people add things up and realize, oh man, we actually want it to be more forgiving…

Bikerumor: So did you know all of this going into the process?

Nick Frey: No. [laughter]

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: So if you didn’t know all of these things, what made you want to pursue bamboo as a frame material?

Nick Frey: Well, it’s actually the third property which is this stuff called Lignin which is a substance that is in the bamboo. A bamboo tube is essentially a bunch of really dense fibers that are mixed with Lignin inside the fibers, and it holds the fibers where they are. When you look at what the fibers do – all the bending stiffness is the fibers. When you look at the lignin, the lignin actually absorbs all the high frequency vibration. So that was our main goal was having a bike that could be stiff but would have a great ride quality. That was our thought; just straight up riding in straight line it absorbs a lot of roughness from the road. That’s great, that’s what we experienced, but we had no idea about how the different bending and torsional stiffness manifests itself until on the 29er especially, we saw that the bike really hooked up in the corners. If you get thrown off your line in the corner, the bike doesn’t just punish you.

Bikerumor: It seems like there really isn’t a lot known about bamboo for bikes..

Nick Frey: Yeah, it’s such an education process. I mean, people didn’t know anything about carbon fiber when it first came on the scene, it’s taken over a decade for people to be well versed and know what’s going on with carbon.

Bikerumor: So do you think that’s one of the reasons more companies aren’t looking to bamboo? Is it a matter of time, or is there something else that is discouraging them?

Nick Frey: That’s a really good question, um, there is a huge amount of stuff that we have had to go through to produce a bike that can be raced at that level and feel like it should, if not better. I think there is so much that is not part of the industry that would have to become part of it to get there, for a larger company to do it – I don’t think that any larger company would want to invest in the resources to do that. But if we have another one or two companies that pop up that can do a bike that is similar to a Boo it would be really good for us.

If you look at titanium, it took a critical mass of companies to do it before people saw it as the way to go if you want a super high end bike. Then, even carbon fiber it took a certain critical mass of companies and riders, and then it was like everything became carbon. If you look at the timeline of that, no material has stayed on top for more than 15 years recently. It’s approaching 15 years for carbon fiber. I think you’re getting to the point that people are beginning to dislike the fact that their bike is super super stiff, or that it’s basically disposable and they’ve broken them, or they hate the fact that everyone has one or is the same bike year after year with basically a different paint job.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: I’m assuming there is a lot more to bamboo bikes than just replacing the tubes with bamboo, so what can you tell us about your process that isn’t a trade secret?

Nick Frey: [Laughter] Well, we use tube to tube construction, which is how a lot of high end custom carbon bikes are made like a lot of Parlees. So they use an Enve composites premade tube and then hand wrapped carbon lugs. So that’s the same way we do ours, just that we use bamboo tubing instead of Enve carbon tubing. We’re always playing around with the layup of each joint, the modulus of carbon used, the epoxy, the resin, all that stuff has a huge effect on how the bike feels and rides but it doesn’t look any different.

The tricky part is honestly the interaction between the bamboo and the carbon which is honestly probably the reason no one else has really done a frame like ours. Actually we’ve had a number of people say “we’ve heard there were different rates of thermal expansion between bamboo and carbon which is why you couldn’t do it.” No, they just couldn’t do it. It hasn’t been anything like that, but it’s been other stuff that we have dealt with.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: What is the most challenging aspect of working with bamboo?

Nick Frey: It’s getting the raw material. You know, James has exclusive access to the plantation, he’s the only one who has access to it. Getting the raw product is extremely difficult. Because there are so many different species, and there is so much that you have to know about bamboo just to get it – you can’t buy the bamboo that we use. There is no way to get it.

Bikerumor: Uh, so how does one go about getting access to a bamboo plantation?

Nick Frey: You have to, well, it’s super sketchy as far as Vietnam or any part of the world where bamboo grows. It tends to be in the jungle, third world, you know, it’s not something that’s engineered. It’s just growing there. So this guy owns the plantation that is extremely high quality stuff and we essentially pay 3 times as much to have exclusive access to his plantation and James maintains it. In exchange for that, we get the best bamboo in the world and then you have to treat it. You have to have the entire body of knowledge to understand what time of year to harvest – they actually harvest it at night under a full moon, only one time a year.

Bikerumor: Really?

Nick Frey: Yeah, and it’s so much like art, and old time experience like “oh we should wait another day.” They’ll actually take ribbons and go through and only pick certain poles from certain combs or clumps. It’s actually kind of like harvesting grapes for wine. Vintners have the same thing, and it’s this old school, guys doing it their entire lives kind of thing. So, unless we sold another company bamboo I don’t really see much competition…[laughs]

Bikerumor: Would you consider yourself the biggest bamboo bike manufacturer?

Nick Frey: Yeah, definitely. It’s mostly been others trying on small scales doing one off bikes for some press and not making more than a few frames. We have it down to doing geometry and having a frame constructed in a few weeks, and then having it here.

James Wolf in his Vietnam work shop.

Bikerumor: Are all of your bikes made in Vietnam?

Nick Frey: Yeah, James Wolf and his wife have a work shop there and they do all frames. Boos, Aluboos, anything we ever make – that’s where it’s made. He’s lived over there for almost 20 years now. His wife’s name is Lamb…. (married to James Wolf). She runs the business and accounting, and he does all of the creative and a lot of the design work actually. The engineer puts together what it needs to be, and then he helps figure out how to actually do that.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: So you do all of the engineering and then send it to him?

Nick Frey: Yeah, and most of the engineering was really in the first three years and now it’s more of small things like modifying our drop outs. When Skylar crashed at the world championships and ripped the rear derailleur into the rear wheel, the whole frame was pretty much cooked since it broke the dropout. That was painful since the rest of the frame was still good, so now we have the entire driveside dropout replaceable. Now it doesn’t use a replaceable hanger which results in improved shifting performance. The whole thing is replaceable and you can switch out to singlespeed without a hanger and it allows for use of a belt drive.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: How did you get hooked up with James in the first place? Is he just known as the bamboo guy?

Nick Frey: He actually emailed me on March 4, 2008 which was two days after an article in Velo News that was about my school project. They just put it up on the site, and James saw it and emailed me, and I was kind of like, “man, who is this crazy guy in Vietnam?” [Laughter] I still have the email, and on March 4th each year, I send it to him and I’m like happy anniversary!

Bikerumor: Do you go out to Vietnam much?

Nick Frey: Never been.

Bikerumor: Never?

Nick Frey: James comes over here every year for the handmade bike show which is huge for us, and he usually comes over a second time to visit his family. He’s from New York originally. Those are really the only times he visits.

Bikerumor: What kind of testing is performed on your bikes?

Nick Frey: I like to call it the “proof in the pudding.” We pretty much go out and thrash them as hard as possible and then if there are things that need to be improved, we figure out how to do it. I’m planning on getting into bench testing the frames now that I have this theory about the bending and the torsion, I want to test it and see just how accurate it is. But honestly, this goes back to my racing days when I raced professionally with a power meter and I became such a head case about it I was actually getting worse. I think that happens with a lot of people when they look at the wrong end of the telescope so to speak, and I think that looking at a bike from a testing perspective and then trying to prove it on the road is a bit backwards. You try to prove it on the road, and then you go back and test it to see what’s happening. But if you don’t have people that know how a bike needs to feel and ride and sprint and so on, then good luck trying to engineer it.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

Bikerumor: Is there anything that is required by law to approve a bike for sale?

Nick Frey: Not for anything that’s under 10,000 units. You have to do CPSC certification, but that’s like reflectors and stuff. The European standards, I hate to say it but you can have a frame that can pass all of the most stringent standards, and it still shatters in a crash the moment you put someone’s pedal into the top tube. The tests are extremely limited, and you can engineer around them. You can engineer a bike that will pass those tests but then you want to shave grams everywhere else.

Bikerumor: What kind of warranties are offered on your bikes?

Nick Frey: If you break it, we replace it. It’s such a rare occurrence; it’s not even a concern. If it’s something like you had a really bad crash, in general we’ll just offer a new frame at cost.

Bikerumor: Have you ever considered building a full suspension bike, or does the benefit of the bamboo…

Nick Frey: Yes. Yes and yes. I’ve considered it because a couple times I’ve been drawn to the fact that some of the market thinks they need full suspension, so we’re missing out on those customers. But I personally would never ride one, so that’s the first big issue is that I’m not going to sell something if I’m not going to ride it. Secondly, I feel that a lot of the events that people do, a full suspension bike isn’t necessary. The third reason is the bamboo actually does have such a good ride quality that you don’t have a lot of the harshness like many hard tails.

Bikerumor: So your average customer who walks into a bike shop, why should they consider a Boo or an Aluboo for their next bike?

Nick Frey: Boo, you should consider if you’re looking at another carbon bike. You’ll have the same acceleration, climbing and feel but it’s just so much more comfortable. It handles better, it’s more comfortable in a straight line, and it descends with more confidence. It’s more durable. Infinitely more durable. It’s an investment bike, it’s not a disposable bike.

Bikerumor: You’re saying the bamboo tubes are more durable?

Nick Frey: Yeah. One of the demos I do, for anyone that doesn’t believe me, is I take the pedal wrench from our tool box and whack the top tube – and nothing happens. People freak out, and I’m just like trust me it’s not a problem. I’ve seen carbon bikes damaged from just falling over. If you’re not convinced by the race performance, just watch anything we’ve done on Youtube in the last 4 years. As far as trying one, we’re doing this demo tour so that people can feel the bikes first hand.

Interview: Talking Bamboo with Boo Bikes Founder Nick Frey

For Aluboo, there are probably two big reasons to get one. First it just looks cool, compared to anything else in the price range. It’s just unique. Secondly, it’s so versatile. We use Paragon sliding dropouts that are interchangeable so you can run just about anything. One frame can do so many different things, it’s incredible.

Bikerumor: So the Kickstarter was successful, and that jump started the Aluboo company?

Nick Frey: Yeah, we spent all that money on the bus [Laughs]. No, it was great. The Kickstarter, we’re actually sending those bikes out now (two weeks ago at this point). So we’re hoping that each of those customers are just great early adopters and advocates and help spread the word.

Bikerumor: What does the future hold for you? What are you excited about?

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Nick Frey: I’m excited to be honest, for the Tour of Battenkill. We’re going to be going to the handmade bike show, and Battenkill is only a few weeks after that in New York. In between we’re doing a big east coast swing, and I’m doing my favorite road race ever. I’ve done it for 4 or 5 seasons now. This will be my second time doing it on a Boo. We’re really excited about showing up with the bus and making a big impression.

We’ll be doing a big west coast swing this December after LA cross and then Bend, Oregon. So we’re doing Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and in between.

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As a converted Blue Bird school bus, the Boo bus is a pretty sweet demo rig/home away from home. There’s even a TV that was playing Top Gear.

Bikerumor: How should customers track down your bikes?

Nick Frey: It’s easiest for customers to just call or email me. That way I can say go here, or do this and get them going in the right direction.

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Comments

drider - 11/21/13 - 10:13am

Whoever came up with the branding, is a serious amateur at it. Even I know you don’t pick names associated with negativity. Shall we count the ways the word “boo” can be used negatively?

Nick Frey - 11/21/13 - 10:37am

@drider–would you call it something more creative, like “Bamboo Bikes”? I’m sure people would love that! Wish I had thought of it myself :)

wheelguy - 11/21/13 - 10:46am

Thanks for this article. I’m much more interested in trying a Boo bike now. Looks like it would be a great material for an ultra-distance mtb hardtail, or an ultra-cross bike: light, strong, simple and built in natural suspension/give.

Vectorbug - 11/21/13 - 10:47am

DrRider it all depends on how you leverage it (which is what marketing is all about). For example you could say the same thing about the word “envy” but they seem to be doing alright.

Or if that’s not enough look at any company that considers itself a “drug store”. Or “coke”.

You don’t know anything about marketing (based on the statement “even I know…”), so please refrain from spreading misinformation like a kindergartener with finger paint.

Boo bikes is obviously a niche company run by passionate people, if you read the interview you’d see the creative is produced by the person who is also the book keeper and wife of the supplier (for lack of a better word). Boo isn’t trying to be a slick mega corp, and there’s definitely a market for that.

Source: I’m an art director.

Mr C. - 11/21/13 - 10:51am

drider – I assume that handle of yours would be YOUR ‘branding’… IE (if you’re not smart enough to figure it out) DERIDER! Professional hater? HAHA! Touche, mofo!

Nick Frey - 11/21/13 - 11:05am

@wheelguy–you are absolutely correct. The 29ers are really purpose-made for endurance MTB races like the Leadville 100. Then for ‘cross, they’re totally proven on the UCI circuit and the guys love how they handle really rough, jarring corners without throwing the rider off their line.

@Vectorbug–really appreciate the compliments. And you’re 100% correct. We are growing and reaching many more people and dealers, but will *always* ride and race what we sell and will never settle with what we’ve already done. The marketing and branding is just fun, but the bikes are serious. It took us five years to get even a halfway-decent website because we have been completely focused on our product.

drider - 11/21/13 - 11:14am

@Nick Frey: If your creativity has such depth, that the best you can do is turn “bamboo” into “boo”, and be all sarcastic in response to criticism of the name, then you really need to try harder.

@Vectorbug: Envy is actually a positive name due to the emotions it evokes in people who read the word, when it is attached to such a high end product. A product name is seen from two different perspectives, 1. the business’ own perspective, 2. the client’s perspective. “Coke” well precedes the negative connotations associated with the word, which came about much later. I don’t see what “drug store” naming has to do with any of this as most of them are not called a “drug store” but a name that usually has nothing to do with the word “drugs”, heck most of them are now called “pharmacies”. And if they are using the word right in their name, it is watered down by other words like “mart”.

So what if you’re an art director, your job is to vet artists/photographers and other creative people that your company wants to hire, what does that job have to do with coming up with good names for companies?

M.A - 11/21/13 - 11:50am

Caytre Bikes (at least that is what Bamboo in Vietnamese).. but Boo works too. ;)

Andy S - 11/21/13 - 12:10pm

@drider, your two cents on this article are worth less than a penny. If you don’t like the name of the company, don’t purchase their product (then talk bad about them when they pass you on the trail/road or wherever you ride). Your need to comment on the name is childish and a waste of everyone’s time.

If we are going to take the time to be childish lets contemplate what “drider” might stand for…. perhaps “d*ckrider”?

Clever name Boo, wish you well on your endeavor.

drider - 11/21/13 - 12:28pm

LoL, judging by the highly personal attacks, I think I hit a raw nerve here. It’s just some anonymous internet comments, no need to get all riled up.

You bet your *ss I will not be purchasing any boo product, and I AM interested in bamboo bikes, that is why I took the time to comment here… I’ve been talking to a local bamboo bike maker about their frames and would very much like one built for me. But when you get a snarky remark out of the owner, that’s not very diplomatic. I might be some “childish” person anonymously commenting on here but the owner came and revealed himself as rather insecure about the name they chose.

Alex - 11/21/13 - 2:01pm

@drider …..I think you’re on your own.

Pynchonite - 11/21/13 - 2:09pm

@Nick Frey – I know Boo Bikes wants to stay away from the “green” or “sustainable” label, but I wonder how these bikes compare in that arena to full carbon, aluminum or steel bikes. Obviously, there are the lugs and components and the trip from Vietnam, but I’m still curious.

Also, you mentioned different rates of thermal expansion between the lugs and tubing – how do you go about solving that; or, if that’s super-secret, allay my fears that my hypothetical Boo Bike is going to fly apart in extreme temperatures.

Tom - 11/21/13 - 2:22pm

drider: The language you use speaks volumes as to how much you know about “branding” (god I hate that word).

Nick Frey - 11/21/13 - 2:43pm

@drider–if I were in your shoes, rather than bashing the name of an established company, I would consider what they are actually DOING. So that is why I made a bit of a snarky remark.

Our name is what it is, for better or worse. But I stand behind our bikes unlike almost any company out there. I wish you luck riding a local builder’s creation and I’m happy more companies are trying their hands at this. As I said in the article, we need at least a couple other companies to get on our level of performance and quality in order to make bamboo a legitimate next frame material like Ti and carbon.

And I’m happy you took the time to comment and you’re interested enough to be purchasing ANY bamboo bike.

Nick Frey - 11/21/13 - 2:49pm

@Pynchonite–we actually had a Master’s thesis conducted including many companies producing bikes with all the major frame materials (Fe, Al, Ti, C) and our own frames. The conclusion is this: bamboo is a very green material in that it grows back after you cut it and actually *sequesters* CO2 in the process, but the majority of the gain is simply from the use of hand tools over power tools. A majority of our frame construction process doesn’t require anything other than incredible hand skill and old-school woodworking tools. This compares favorably to full-carbon monocoque construction with enormous molds, ovens, pressure, and tons of epoxy.

In the end, our frames are greener than others….but we don’t want to get into a battle about exactly how MUCH greener. We want to make incredible bikes, period. If you ride your bike more and drive less, that’s far more benefit that *what* you’re riding. If you love the bike and the ride/handling/performance, and then feel a little good about your purchase as well, we have succeeded.

bike gang - 11/21/13 - 2:52pm

Yo drider, wood is real. So is Bamboo. Boo is a wicked name. Wood is better. Bike Gang.

chasejj - 11/21/13 - 3:03pm

Another BR article on bamboo. Simply awesome.
“In the end, our frames are greener than others”….uhh so that giant bus is then your carbon offset device x1000 right?

Wow- The BS in this article is just breathtaking.

w - 11/21/13 - 3:13pm

[deleted]

@nick frey–sit back, relax, let the comments breathe. Your baby was the interview. good luck.

Nick Frey - 11/21/13 - 4:18pm

@w–thanks man :)
@chasejj–again, I’m not trying in any way to promote the greenness of our company. I don’t club baby seals, but I don’t save the whales either.

1Pro - 11/21/13 - 4:42pm

How many sentences can you start with “so”? kids.

Brattercakes - 11/21/13 - 9:46pm

So much trolling. Sheesh.

Wtb - 11/22/13 - 2:40am

Bamboo is a grass not a wood.

chaps - 11/22/13 - 10:00am

I raced a few laps in the vicinity of Skyler last weekend and the constant “Boooo!” chorus from the crowd confirms the effectiveness of what Nick called his company.

Jak0zilla - 11/22/13 - 10:16am

Will there be bamboo Garmin mounts for 27.5″ wheeled gravel bikes? I want to read about those.

Jon - 11/22/13 - 12:16pm

There’s some Pinkbike level hate going on here!

aaron - 11/22/13 - 12:31pm

I found the article interesting, and the r&d with sponsored riders is perfect to continue to advance their frames. I do not want the following to be seen as negative:

What i said in the last BR article about the new price point alumboo frames still stands. “It is or will drag down the standing of the original boo product.” I understand the price deal and getting more people on their frames, but i feel this isn’t it. At first there was an attempt to separate the price point frame with the original custom by having different web sites, but that in my opinion just came off as keeping an inferior product as separate as possible. I said regardless of the alu before the boo, people would automatically associate it with the plain boo brand. Now it looks like they are back pedaling by having everything on one site. (sorry that was a little rough..)

I really like the original product and the direction they are still going, but am personally disappointed with the offshoot of the aluminum boo frames – I just feel it hurts / devalues the custom carbon side of things. In no way am i against aluminum as a frame material, in fact i just received a custom aluminum frame from a nahbs frame builder, will not name drop here.

personally (not that my opinion matters) but to have a lower price point frame makes sense, but to still have it be seen as a premium product(yes price point would be higher, but), ti would have been a better choice. tiboo (a big part of me wishes they would kill the alumboo, and do ti or just the original.) Why am i writing this comment? – because i would like boo to continue on and have a positive standing in the bike industry for building a performance product regardless of their material of choice. (sorry for the length of my comment)

Bill - 11/22/13 - 7:10pm

Funny, at Jingle Cross, in a spectator packed section, whenever the boo bikes pro team guys would come by the entire crowd would start booing really loud. You could see the racers cracking laughs every time too. So you’ve got something that pretty much most of us think is a great product, with a crowd of people announcing one is coming through, by turning an act typically considered negative into a recurring joke. (and no one there, racers included, seemed to think anything remotely negative was going on)

Not the worst branding I’ve seen lately.

Mindless - 11/23/13 - 1:14am

Most pointless gimmick ever. Metal and man-made composite bikes work better in all regards.

Mike - 11/23/13 - 9:41am

Any of you ever ridden a Boo before commenting, such as Mindless?
Well, I have and what Nick says about vibration absorption and a nice level of stiffness vs comfort are both true in spades. My Boo CX was EASILY one of the smoothest bikes I’ve ever ridden, and that is in a shop full of Passoni, Parlee, Baum and other premium builders.
Anyways, not to say a Boo is for everyone, but Nick and his crew have done an awesome job.

Best,
Mike

BLACKSMITH CYCLE

Wes Watt - 11/23/13 - 10:48am

I rode a Boo SS 29er belt drive bike at Dirt Demo two years ago, it was my favorit bike after two days of riding many geared HT & FS bikes, it was one of the few bikes that made it up the steepest climb on the demo loop, I’d love to own one someday.

Nick Frey - 11/23/13 - 4:43pm

@chaps–thanks a lot man! It definitely worked but not because I thought of it! Skyler’s dad Jason actually started pushing it, and it caught on.

@Jon–honestly this forum is FAR more reasoned and informed than PinkBike! I know that ain’t sayin’ much though :)

@aaron–I understand what you’re saying and absolutely share the same potential fears….but we didn’t get to this point by having bad intuition about things. And my intuition about the relationship between Boo and Aluboo is that the latter is a “gateway drug” for the former. We have a bunch of Aluboos going out the door to folks who have been on our BOO email list for years. So that tells me we are reaching an audience that has been receptive for a long time, but hasn’t had the means. The Aluboo is the only possible way to lower the cost to ride a bamboo bike, and yes it’s still a premium product. If you compare us to some cheap Al / steel frames out there (yes, think Surly and Salsa) we are close, but not exactly comparable. Maybe 20% more money. If you want a TiBoo, look no further than our NAHBS-award-winning Glissando, which we are also selling but on an extremely limited basis. Again, I really appreciate your sentiment and I know it comes from a place of positive energy.

@Bill–the funny thing about racers (and yeah, me included) is that we are all early adopters in the name of speed and performance. Any chance we can take to gain an advantage, we are THERE! And as biased as I am, I can tell you candidly that I would never have even started a company doing these bikes if I didn’t feel they could be made to outperform what else is out there in many respects that are both important and ignored by The Industry. So BOOOOOOOO away :)

@Mike and Wes Watt–you guys rock! Thanks so much for the compliments. The BooBus demo tour is really the best (and only) answer we have for any negativity. Once you ride one, you will see the light. And you guys have seen the light. So thanks so much for helping a biased source preach the gospel!

Mindless - 11/25/13 - 12:53am

I see guerrilla marketing is in full swing.

Mirwin - 11/29/13 - 6:04pm

drider: You insult others and then accuse them of over reacting when they dare to question you on your own arrogance? And then you play it up like you’ve been offended? Classy.

Ajax - 11/30/13 - 9:51am

Bamboo would be cool to try out, but I’ve never seen it in any bike shop ever. The vibration absorption of wood sounds good to me, but why ruin that by using chunky aluminum tube lugs?

Generalcuz - 12/02/13 - 11:50am

I remember first seeing these bikes at the Golden Pro Cycling Challenge in the park a few years back. I was skeptical and sort of laughed at the idea. Then, I started seeing these bikes come into the shop as well as amidst cross racing and xc venues. My opinion changed through these experiences and I find my intrigue drawing more and more towards an alumaboo. I have a quiver of bikes ranging from cross, mtb, fat, etc. However, my road bike is almost dead and I anticipate this winter may spellt the end of it’s life, with over 15,000 miles on the frame.

This article really helped me put an alumaboo in the running. If the kickstarter campaign was still in full swing, I would be inclined to put down the cash now. That was a great price point for me. So cool.

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