New frame for Bamboo Bikes

Ben Forsbrook at work on a bamboo bike frame.'120951c.
Ben Forsbrook at work on a bamboo bike frame.'120951c.

A SCARBOROUGH-based bike manufacturer which is spearheading the concept of bamboo frames in the UK is preparing to launch a new model.

For the past two years Bamboo Bikes has manufactured high performance mountain bikes out of bamboo from a small workshop in Cayley Court, off Hopper Hill Road in Eastfield.

Now the company is preparing to launch a hybrid city bike before starting work on designing a bamboo road bike.

The concept of using bamboo for bikes was brought to life at Oxford Brookes University where experts put together a design reliable enough to handle the roughest terrain, light enough to be speedy and strong enough to pass rigorous safety tests.

The company Bamboo Bikes is now just over a year old and its manufacturing operation is a small workshop in Scarborough where one man makes every single bike by hand, Ben Forsbrook.

Mr Forsbrook graduated from Exeter University with a degree in mechanical engineering, and used bamboo for his degree project. An additional love of cycling made him an ideal recruitment candidate for Bamboo Bikes.

He takes three days to make one frame, though most of the work he does is in batches.

“Bamboo is a very strong material, they use it for scaffolding in China,” he said. “It is ideal for bike frames as it is light but also durable. It is great to be the only people in the country making these on this level, and to be doing it in Scarborough. There are only about five people in the world that do this job.”

Scar-borough’s proximity to Dalby Forest made it an ideal location for the manufacturing operation, said Rachel Hammond, the managing director.

“One of our directors is based in Scarborough and I’m originally from West Yorkshire so it was important to me to keep it in the north.

“Scarborough has the added bonus of being close to Dalby Forest, which became our playing ground. It is important to us that we are able to provide jobs in Yorkshire, and we are looking forward to taking on more people around Scarborough as the company grows.”

“When I first saw a bamboo bike I thought it looked so beautiful,” she added. “I just couldn’t leave it alone. It is very smooth and quiet, you don’t get that general noise and buzz from just riding along.

“The bamboo frames are stiffer than aluminium and handle impact better than carbon fibre. They are very strong while at the same time being flexible to a degree.

“The bikes are very different aesthetically, and are surprisingly extremely responsive.

“A lot of people get on it and expect to hate it, but once they are on they don’t want to get off.”