Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Making of Gorilla-Bam, my bamboo ride!

Sawing off one piece at a time:

Geometry traced, tacked together. 

Mitered joints, first wrap of hemp. 

Mock build, rear triangle way skewed....

Starting over, kinda.

DIY jig.

Tacking together again.

Epoxying the joints.

Epoxy mixed with bamboo dust.

How I made the dust. 

Tight fit.  Yay.

2nd time's a charm. 

One of 10 rolls of electrical tape. 

Some of the hemp.

The frame in it's glory.

Second build, and it rides!

Added more hemp, and gorilla face. 

Completed bike, chain.

Completed bike, BELT!  And 2 speed hub. 

Some closeups:

The gorilla carving I bought in Rwanda.

Vinyl lettering...the water cage is made by Organic Bikes.

Gates Center Track.  Made with grunts!  (Gorilla reference)

My dropout mod to accommodate the belt.  Basically an aluminum plate.  There's a small part I machined with a file (I don't have a mill!) that supports the dropout where I cut it out.

The frame I'd guess cost only about $350 to make - bamboo, hemp and epoxy.  The entire build would add another $300 or so.  I love the way it rides, except for a little too much flex on the front end.  But this isn't a long distance bike, nor a descending one.  The belt is ultra smooth and the choice of 2 gears is really nice too.  

This project was a huge undertaking.  I'd guess 60 hours or more, and a whole lot of frustration.  But perseverance is a good thing!  The other thing: not as green as you'd think....I went through a whole box of latex gloves (100 pair!) and at least 10 rolls of electrical tape!  That's a lot of waste.

And if I ever do this again, I'll likely look at getting (or making) a proper bike building jig!

Main supplies:

Bamboo: http://bamboohabitat.com (I used Madake)
Hemp: I can't remember.  How ironic.
Epoxy: https://www.entropyresins.com/ (Super CLR - Slow Cure..rocks!)
Drivetrain, etc: http://www.universalcycles.com

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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete