Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 6th, 2007 at 5:35 pm
Ariston of Daedalus Cycles.
Local bamboo bike builders Jacob Prinz and Liakos Ariston of Daedalus Cycles are putting the finishing touches on their new city bike and they invited me to their shop to take a closer look.
Ariston and Prinz are building bikes from a loft of a building (owned by Ariston’s family-owned wine wholesaling business) in Portland’s central eastside industrial district.
The two friends and business partners have been perfecting their method for bonding bamboo to carbon composite lugs for over two years.
The lugs are composed of a mix of epoxies, foam, carbon fiber, and fiberglass and are joined to a high-grade bamboo that is stripped of its outer layer (which contains silica that inhibits bonding) before being placed into a jig for alignment.
They’re the only bike builders in town that don’t do any welding.
Notice Ariston’s hand-stitched leather grips.
Working with bamboo tubes presents unique challenges.
Currently, they’ve only made a handful of bikes but Ariston says they’ve learned a lot and he’s excited for what lies in store for his fledgling bike company. Their current project is a city bike based on a road bike frame with flat bars.
Ariston let me take his for a spin. It was my first time on a bamboo bike and I liked the ride. It was stiff and light, with just enough flex to keep things comfortable. The frame was paired with a basic steel fork, a Brooks saddle, mustache bars, and leather grips hand-stitched by Ariston (a classy touch).
They have plans to add bamboo fenders, an internal hub option, and other city bike essentials like a generator front hub.
But beyond the parts, there was something intangibly cool about pedaling a piece of bamboo.
Working with a natural material like bamboo has its challenges (vs. using machine made tubes), but if Ariston and Prinz can achieve their vision, I think they’ll find plenty of folks willing to give a bamboo bike a spin.
You can meet Liakos and Jacob at the upcoming Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. For more photos, browse my Daedalus Cycles gallery.