Are we excited yes? — we are damned excited. A week ago I posted several photos of the individual bamboo tubes that would form the frame for my new Calfee Design gravel bike.
The techno-twist is that the ever-inventive carbon bike pioneer Craig Calfee hollows out the bamboo tubes even more significantly in oder to lower the weight, then builds in extras strength by lining the inside of the tubes with a layer or wrap of carbon fiber. Check out that link and you’ll actually see the carbon fiber inside.
There’s something wonderful brilliant and ironic about natural bamboo and high tech carbon fiber playing nicely together in the same bike frame tubes.
I started this project because I needed a bamboo gravel bike quickly and I’ve always admitted the beauty, technical artistry and downright uniqueness of Calfee’s bikes. He’s a pioneer in carbon and has also been building bamboo bikes for over 20 years.
Last year he and his crew build up a monster size Manta carbon bike with disc brakes, Gold Prima Ares 4 carbon wheel-set and Calfee’s own minimalist rear suspension. The bike rides like a dream and that spring-loaded suspension takes the edge off every bump.
The impetus behind the new gravel bike is an adventure out over the horizon on May 5th. World Champion Peter Sagan’s gravel gran fondo out of Truckee, California, high up in the Sierras. It’s going to be a stunning and beautiful ride and the first time I’ve ever tackled a gravel ride. The fact that I have a place up in Truckee makes this almost too sweet to be true.
Jason Cruz at Calfee will be sending me photos along the way and it’s exciting to see the thing come to life, stage by stage. Just today, the conversation was about how dark the stain should be. Nature produces bamboo is a range of colors, some whiter, some more yellow, and some darker. Calfee gives you the choice of three strains depending on your particular esthetic.
Stay tuned for more on the gravel bike if you’re curious about how the material is used and how the bike handles on the gravel.