Projects: The laminated bamboo bike
Michael Cubbage designs and makes bikes with laminated bamboo and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Using bamboo for bikes isn’t new. The material’s been utilised since the 1800s, but historically bikes were made from canes lashed together with hemp and glue.
Michael, from Tri-Sept Cycles, has a very different approach.
“The bamboo I use is similar to what’s used on floors and worktops in kitchens,” he explains.
“I buy 5mm veneers and have them bonded together as a board. They’re panel pressed and CNC machine cut to my design specifications. Then they’re finished and lacquered.”
According to Michael: “Bamboo maybe the strongest stuff on the planet. It has greater tensile strength (or resistance to being pulled apart) than steel and withstands more compression than concrete.”
That’s just one of the reasons he uses it for his bikes. Other benefits of Bamboo include high strength-to-weight ratio, vibration control and sustainable growth (it’s a very fast grower).
“WEST SYSTEM epoxy is used to bond all the parts together,” he says. “The bike’s structure is in four pieces: the left and right hand sides, the seat and chain stays. We use WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin with 206 Slow Hardener plus 403 Microfibre Adhesive Filler to make sure the joins are as strong as possible.
“I’ve been using WEST SYSTEM epoxy for a good ten years. It was recommended by a wooden bike builder in USA. It’s always worked very well and is relatively simple to use. Plus, I get good, comprehensive help from Wessex Resins & Adhesive’s technical team.”