developed by industrial designer lance rake, the HERObike is a road bicycle  made of composite woven bamboo and carbon fiber framework. bamboo is known to be a renewable material with properties that make it unusually strong for its weight, thanks to the unidirectional orientation of its very dense fibers along the length of the culm. these filaments give bamboo extreme flexibility — allowing it to bend without snapping. however, its density also adds weight, a liability in high performance applications such as bicycle tubing. 


first application of the braided tube is a standard double diamond frame

 

 

lance rake’s first application of the braided tube is a standard double diamond frame, but prototypes are underway that experiment with curved tubes of varied sections. ‘bamboo is strong, but not stiff enough for critical areas around the bottom bracket and head tube. the braided tube takes advantage of the strength, beauty and flexibility of the bamboo and combines it with the stiffness and lightweight of carbon fiber to create a versatile new material,’ elaborates the designer.


a number of woven patterns were tried and tested for weight, strength, design flexibility, and appearance

 

 

by splitting bamboo along its length into very thin strips which are weaved essentially as rounded tube forms, and then laminating a fibrous reinforcing material such as carbon fiber to the inside of this woven tube, an engineered composite product that is extremely strong, stiff, and lightweight is created. these woven tubes can be continuously varied in cross section and curved along the length. 

 

‘currently all bamboo bicycles are made from bamboo canes of approximate diameters, cut to length and hand cured.  the plant, during growth, varies in cross-section between nodes and is often bent or crooked along its length. no two pieces are alike in geometry, appearance, or performance. methods for joining bamboo are labor intensive and, in the opinion of many, unsightly’. 


carbon fiber lugs formed in 3D printed molds with vacuum assist / transitions lashed with salvaged telephone wire


final bike fitted with mid-level components and weighed in at just under 19 pounds

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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