Artisan Bamboo Bikes from Cyclik - Roc D'Azur 2019

Oct 12, 2019
by Matt Wragg  
Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Cyclik have taken a very different approach to making bikes. Based near Nimes in the South of France, owner Felix makes all his bikes by hand, to-measure and you can have completely custom geometry. However, Felix won't be welding metal tubes like a typical frame builder but crafting his bikes from locally-sourced bamboo and natural resin.

Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Felix claims that bamboo offers superior compliance and many of his customers are around the world cyclists who value the added comfort. It is also so environmentally sound you can practically hear the birds chirping as you look at one.

Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg

It takes around 50 hours of painstaking labour to prepare each frame. Craftsmanship like that means they're not cheap or quick to buy - a frame alone will set you back €3000 and you normally have to wait between three and six months for production. And, well, just look at them...

Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Roc D Azur 2019. Frejus France. Photo by Matt Wragg



75 Comments

  • 80 2
 i wood love one of those
  • 64 2
 That price is bamboozling though.
  • 42 1
 They panda to the environmentalists among us.
  • 18 3
 it's hard to grass the amount of tlc that goes into the production.
  • 29 2
 The great thing is you will crack a woody every time you case a jump.
  • 7 6
 I can appreciate the craftsmanship and it sure looks nice! But the only thing I’m Roc-in is my my D’Azur-t after dinner.
  • 5 2
 @2d-cutout: what kind of dickbag downvoted you? you deserve a million more ups. My only regret is that I have but one to give.
  • 5 1
 Got termites?
  • 29 4
 Next level dentistry.
  • 27 9
 Holistic dentists: no fluor, no anesthesia, no yeti
  • 2 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Organic floss FTW!
  • 14 1
 it would be hard not to feel pretentious riding this bike..

Cool steel frame bro. Mine’s hand made out of locally sourced bamboo and natural resin.
  • 16 2
 Your bike? Or your bong?
  • 1 0
 Where do you get this natural resin?
  • 4 0
 @aljoburr: oh, I scrape it once it builds up.
  • 14 1
 Boogaali Bikes in Uganda charges approx.US $500 plus $150 shipping to North America for bamboo MTB and road frames. Also top-notch craftsmanship.
  • 4 0
 Spent some time on a Boogaali mtn bike. While it looks very cool, the frame is about as stiff as a wet noodle.
  • 9 1
 @npejeau: The marketing term you are looking for is "it had excellent bump compliance"
  • 1 0
 @the-mountainbart-experience: I thought the same thing; "Superior compliance," per the article. I respect the craftsman aspect of these types of projects, but if you want an art project take up painting...
  • 11 1
 It's so eco friendly when you gotta slave for Exxon to afford a bamboo frame
  • 7 0
 The great thing is, as a one man show he cannot make enough for everyone, so it is literally “not for everyone” and I probably wouldn’t get one but I appreciate it. In my neck of the woods I see those like me in the trades that earn our livings with our hands are more willing to pay for something made with another’s hands.

There’s value in craftsmanship.
  • 3 0
 Order a kit from Craig Calfee. build one yourself!
I got to demo a BOO fat bike at interbike dirt demo a few years back, and when combined with a Black Sheep Ti bar & truss fork it felt just like a 4" travel fork! Supple and fun (rigid) bike.
  • 4 0
 I always wanted to buy a bamboo frame kit. All the parts for a frame including g bb shell dropouts and head tube shell for about 300$.
The attention to detail on this bamboo frame is out standing.
  • 3 1
 Bamboo in Jamaica grows up to a foot a day and after a few months its like 40' tall. Not hard to harvest as long as you cut the bamboo on a DARK no moon light. Bull Weevils get in and eat the bamboo on moonlit nights. Unlike wood that takes decades to harvest you can do the same with bamboo in under a year. Why are the frames so damb expensive the bamboo is worth shekels.
  • 2 0
 Cost of living is not the same in all countries. Also if you are working as an independent in France and many other european countries you have to subscribe to a number of insurances, pay for pension, taxes etc. In the end very little in the cost of a frame comes from the materials.
  • 5 0
 Bull weevils huh. Thats something I didn't anticipate learning on PB today...
  • 2 0
 Very interesting!
  • 1 0
 Have you ever taken an aluminum frame in and sold it for scrap? There's only a few dollars worth of raw material there too.
  • 2 0
 Good bull right there. Grate info.
  • 1 0
 @gibspaulding: How much RnD and machinery costs did it take to make the frame? the shit grows like weeds and its FREE
  • 2 1
 @Otago: ALSO!!! bamboo items that are made in humid countries change drastically in dry conditions. IE= I have bought and made ash trays, bongs, lamps etc. and after they get back to T=Dot a few months later the colour changes and the items become brittle and eventually the fibres separate. I wonder about long term use for a very expensive fashion statement. Hell give me a ti Chromag ffs.
  • 1 0
 Well try build a bike out of raw bamboo, it takes some skill too build a good one?
  • 5 0
 How does it handle large jumps, drops and rock strikes? (Honest question)
  • 2 0
 I expect it to deal just fine with jumps and drops but it probably does need some protection against rock strikes. Bamboo compared to wood is like UD compared to a weave. An out of plane hit may cause the fibres to separate. They probably covered the bamboo with some coating to preserve and protect it. But for against proper strikes it may need a bit more than that.

There is a workshop in The Hague where you can build your own bamboo bike (bamboefietsfabriek.nl). Was thinking of building something for the pumptrack out of bamboo someday. I've got a pumptrack a five minute walk from home and there are no sharp hits to cause any serious damage. So it would be fun to build some stripped down bmx. No drivetrain, maybe an emergency brake, bamboo frame would be nice.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: A bamboo pumptrack bike sounds like a lot of fun
  • 3 0
 @vinay: Ok thanks, so basically it's a lot like carbon fiber then !
  • 1 0
 Better than carbon fibre, or bamboo is natural carbon fibres, bike industry could easily build frames from bamboo, but people would rather buy toxic carbon fibre, made from oil, or are they forced too do so?
  • 3 0
 @aljoburr: Never heard of natural carbon fibres, I have to look that up. I think one of the shifts the industrial revolutions brought us is that because people could (somewhat) do calculations on strength, stiffness, vibrations etc is that people needed predictable materials. If they use so much of that material there and there, this is how it is going to perform. Especially in sports, weight weenie business etc they want to optimize whereas they can't obviously do destructive testing on something that needs to be sold to the customer. So yeah, that's how we ended up with products made from industrially produced metals, plastics and synthetic fibers. When tolerances aren't that tight or we don't need that level of optimization of course, people are more open to using natural construction materials like wood, hemp, flax, bamboo etc. So yeah for instance flax can be really strong but still with huge variations so for an engineer to design a critical structural product out of that, they can't rely on it to always be of the highest quality. Not for mass production at least. In the more artisian field then yes of course. Electric guitars for instance can be mass produced (largely CNC cut) out of the specified type of wood hence with large variation in quality (tone and stability) whereas a custom guitar builder will hand pick the suitable pieces of wood for the job. It is a similar deal here with these bamboo bikes. Apparently this frame builder wants to cater for the higher end market hence hand picks the top quality bamboo from local production. Blackstar bikes makes more or less similar frames but not for this high end (sports) market so they can be a bit more overbuilt/optimized. What they choose to do is allow the bamboo to grow in Africa and let the people there add the value (that is, actually do the production). These people may not necessarily be into cycling as a sport but they're obviously able to build a good frame and pick suitable pieces of bamboo. But it would be hard if not impossible to transfer the obsession it takes to make someone pick the perfect pieces to make a top level frame. Just like it may be possible to teach me how to pick pieces of wood to make a decent violin out of, but it would probably never be able to teach me how to spot the pieces that make a top level violin. Sheesh, sorry it seems to take me forever to drive this one home. What I meant to say is, it is easier for an engineer to instruct the workshop to spec metal tubes and how and where to weld them together and all that and end up with the product you want than do something like that with natural materials. Of course I do agree there is room to more with bamboo than we currently see. But mind you, we're luckily already seeing more bamboo products. Heck, the BTR T-shirt I'm wearing right now is half bamboo fibre. If you cut the bamboo open and comb it out, there is a lot more you can do with the fibres. Maybe not just in frame construction but we're seeing a lot of short fibre reinforced plastics in our products. In a bicycle context, nylon glass filled composite plastic pedals make a good candidate. I think natural fibres would do just fine there too.

@Mac1987: In part, yes. Big difference though is that bamboo is a "live" material so just like wood it react to temperature and humidity. You can't/shouldn't rigidly lock it into place like the Athertons/Robotbike do to their carbon tubes with rigid lugs. As you can see here, they use some kind of leaf material to wrap the tubes together. This expands and shrinks along with the bamboo and doesn't introduce excessive local stresses which would cause it to burst. If you have seen the 2012 movie about the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition (by raft from South America to the Polynesian Island), there was a discussion about the bonding material. The initiator of the whole mission insisted to use natural materials only, just like the original discoverers of the Polynesian Islands would have done. Someone else wanted to use more modern materials like steel nails as these would surely be more reliable. Eventually they stuck with hemp wire and obviously that worked out well. I definitely believe steel bonding material would have cracked the bamboo.

@mattwragg : \Yeah, definitely. Also because I'd rather work with bamboo than with carbon and epoxy (if I were to make it myself) and I may also prefer working with bamboo over steel (or any other metal). So just from the perspective of making it myself, I'd prefer bamboo. And from that same perspective, not requiring a drivetrain gives much more freedom to play with the design. I thought it would be fun. The drivetrain requires some rigidity that otherwise I wouldn't necessarily need. And then yes as for riding, I can imagine it has this nice bounce that makes you want to keep pushing and pumping. Wonder what it will sound like. Will it be really silent or will it be creaky as bamboo and wood constructions can be? I think it would be a fun experiment and a blast to ride. My BMX is from somewhere 2004 or so, with ACS freewheel, 48 spokes front and rear and all that. It wouldn't hurt to be ahead of the wave for a change Wink .
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Well written, but you half bamboo t shirt is highly processed bamboo, not saying do not need some processing, but if you start with a natural material that grows & add a lot of processioning kind of defeats the point?
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: Fair enough, haven't really dug into that part of the chain. The point I see in the use of bamboo is that it is fairly sustainable. There are many uses for the word "sustainable" I agree. What I'm aiming at is that bamboo grows relatively quick compared to other material sources so you can use relatively much without without depleting the source. Because it grows high you don't necessarily need a clear cut field without weeds etc like what for instance cotton (or many of our intensive agriculture crops) require so I suppose it has less severe impact on biodiversity.

So yeah as for the alternatives for textile materials:
- Leather has a huge impact of course. Even if you think of it as a byproduct of the meat industry, the processing of skin to leather creates a lot of toxic waste.
- Not sure, but I think cotton takes quite a bit of processing too. And as mentioned the growth is more resource intensive than bamboo.
- Synthetic materials, biobased or not. They're likely not biodegradable so the fibers that flush away in the laundry definitely contribute to the plastic soup.
- Wool is a good one for technical/demanding clothing but as an animal product, it is quite resource intensive too. And the way these sheep are treated are quite often questionable, which is a shame.
- Don't know much about latex clothing but it isn't quite my style anyway.

I don't mean to claim that I'm perfect in my choices, far from that! I've got leather boots and belt and except for latex I've got clothes of all mentioned materials. I just do think that bamboo poses some great opportunies which for a good part are better than the other alternatives mentioned. By no means perfect, but I do think they're better.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree, most manufacturing processes, are defined by production targets, you do not have to dig that deep to see, environmental impacts are never most important concerns Carbon fibre bikes are more toxic but even Bamboo bikes uses epoxy resins that are the most toxic part of carbon bikes But Bamboo bikes ride well, more like Titanium than any other bike material which is a good thing!
  • 6 6
 Nice but, err, I can't see how the sustainability credentials are much to shout about when aside from the frame it's a standard bike... I'd guess most of the environmental impact of a standard hardtail over it's lifetime is due to non-frame stuff and wear and tear parts. For one, I reckon that in two years, the amount of metal in all the cassettes and chains I've gone through exceeds the amount in my frame.
  • 2 5
 Exactly
  • 2 0
 So because the whole bike isn’t sustainably manufactured there’s no point sustainably building frames?

I can’t ride Squamish every day so there’s really no point mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 Not really what I was trying to say, but I wasn't very clear to be fair.

I guess I was trying to make two points:

One, I don't imagine a frame is anywhere near the hotspot of the ecological impacts of a bike. Probably far more effective to try to cut down on wear and tear parts:
> buy harder wearing tyres and sacrifice a little grip.
> spend the extra for decent bearings etc. that last twice as long as the cheaper ones, even if they are more than double the price
> perhaps even go single speed for as much riding as you can and certainly ride local rather than driving hours every weekend.

More broadly, if you've 3000 Euro spare and want to be sustainable, better to buy a nice second hand steel hardtail frame, and put the 2500 Euro you saved into something else: train instead of flying, or all manner of other things.

If you want a bamboo bike just because it looks cool then whatever go for it.
  • 3 1
 Do you have to get it treated with some frequency to make sure it doesn’t decompose? I would certainly be afraid of it rotting after a few winters of riding.
  • 1 0
 Probably not something you’d want to leave wet but for further details regarding care and longevity ask a fly fisherman...there's a certain class who will pay this much for a bamboo fly rod and I'm pretty sure they get wet with every use.
  • 2 0
 @MattWragg Did you use the same stick for the cover photo as the The Chiru Savage one story down? Damn near lined up perfect with background
  • 1 0
 Pure coincidence, but there was only one clear area to snap the bikes...
  • 2 1
 I wonder how many of these it meets.
EN 14764 for City and Trekking bicycles
EN 14766 for Mountain bicycles
EN 14781 for Racing bicycles
EN 14872 for Bicycles – Accessories for bicycles – Luggage carriers.
  • 1 0
 I've always wondered about this too. Are these frames actually viable mountain bikes (ie can I do a 3' drop) or more of a novelty?
  • 2 1
 Oxford Brooke’s made a bamboo bike which passed EN 14766, bamboo is surprisingly strong!
  • 3 3
 You know that kind of time is not going into making a carbon frame and look what they sell for. This seems under priced and it sure is pretty.
  • 2 0
 E-bike version available?
  • 3 0
 Yes.
  • 1 0
 50 hours of work making these by hand yet still it costs 1k less than a yeti frame...
  • 1 0
 Interesting math. Which yeti frame is 4000 EUR?
  • 1 0
 The most beautiful bamboo bicycles: malonbikes.com.ar/en/home ; ) ; ) ; )
  • 2 0
 it doubles as a raft
  • 1 0
 Can I purchase a organically sourced bicycle frame? Non GMO please
  • 1 0
 I might get board on this bike, but I would look like a stud riding it.
  • 3 6
 The whole concept of these "sustainable" bikes is a joke being played on all the hoax believers. I only came here for the comments. I'm developing a MTB frame from compressed dog turds it will be out soon and nothing is more sustainable than dog turds.
You'll love it.
  • 4 0
 If I choose a brown one will it turn white in time?
  • 1 0
 @pinnityafairy: absolutely. The amazing thing is it gets smaller every day.
  • 1 0
 "yeah, well my bike is certified organic...."
  • 1 0
 made from what? yellow bamboo? that had a superior "another power" wkwkwkw
  • 1 0
 So when comes the stone bike?
  • 1 0
 This makes way more sense, frame for 500 USD boogaalibikes.com
  • 3 2
 Beautiful!
  • 1 2
 I don’t think it would hold up ,the rear looks weak, ,
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