Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

A bamboo bike, hand made in Portland

Posted by on June 13th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Pedalpalooza 07 - Grant Petersen Ride

Bamboo meets carbon fiber
on this locally made frame.
(File photo)

One of the best things about Pedalpalooza is that you never know who (or what) you’ll run into on a ride.

A few days ago I met up with the Grant Petersen-style Ride (Grant Petersen is the personality behind Rivendell Bicycle Works).

This ride was devoted to, “lugged-steel steeds with a taste for tweed, shellac, cork, and francophile tires.” There were Bridgestones, Rivendells, a Waterford. Some gorgeous bikes (photo gallery here). But none of them caught my eye as much as this bamboo beauty.

Turns out it was made by hand, right here in Portland by Daedalus Custom Bamboo Bikes. I met the builder, Liakos Ariston. He said he and his partner, Jacob Prinz, have been making these frames from their shop on Southeast Ash Street since October of 2005.

Liakos Ariston and his bamboo bike

Frame retail price: $1250
(File photo)
Liakos Ariston and his bamboo bike

Liakos Ariston of
Daedalus Cycles
(File photo)

Ariston told me he is a structural engineer by training (but is a wine distributor by day) and it takes him about one week of “non-stop work” to complete a frame. The bamboo comes from Seattle (via Vietnam), and they’re working on a new source for the material from Bandon on the Oregon Coast (they use it for Japanese shakuhachi flutes).

I noticed on the Daedalus website that they even have a Racing Division for, “pushing the bamboo design envelope in the toughest conditions.” A local racer will race on a Daedalus bamboo track bike at Alpenrose Velodrome this summer.

If you’re interested in learning more about these bikes, check out the Daedalus website.

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  • Tomas Quinones June 14, 2007 at 8:54 am

    I LOVE bamboo bikes as being one of the most exotic and sustainable materials to build with. Now, if they could build the rest of the parts from bamboo we could get away from using so much steel and aluminum.

    I\’m saving my nickels for one of these. 🙂

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  • Michael Wolfe June 14, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Except, Tomas, that carbon fibre is one of the *least* sustainable things you can build with. Resin fabrication generates a lot of trimmings and waste which doesn\’t biodegrade. Carbon fibre itself is made from petroleum and natural gas. And what do you do with the bike when it breaks? The bamboo will dreak down, but what about the lugs? If you take the simple steps necessary to avoid contamination, steel can be re-used to make new bicycles forever.

    Which is not to say that you should not get and enjoy a fine bamboo bicycle, but just don\’t do so under the illusion that it\’s somehow \”greener\” than steel.

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  • Kathleen June 14, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    I am looking forward to seeing the bamboo bike; now if we could just get some bike clothing makers to use bamboo instead of lycra . . . I have a bamboo hoodie and a bamboo Tshirt that are not only comfortable but have anti-bacterial qualities. It would be kind of cool to have a bike and clothing made from the same material.

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  • AllRetro June 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    RE: Bamboo frames, I have to mention Calfee here since they have a well-known bamboo frame, though theirs cost about $3k


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  • wyatt June 14, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I think this is a fantastic idea!


    Steel forever!

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  • Martha S. June 14, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    chalk me up for another cry of \”bamboo is AWESOME… but I love my steel.\”

    What can I say? I\’m a fan of simplicity and, to a certain degree, raw utilitarianism.

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  • G Franklin June 15, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t see what is so great about steel frames. Admittedly, I ride one. But I am all too ready to embrace, not only a local builder but a more sustainable material. Steel has allowed us to build things otherwise unattainable: skyscrapers, the Golden Gate Bridge, the architecture of Santiago Calatrava.
    But behind the scenes it scars the earth. Infinitely recyclable? Perhaps, if you discount the endless costs required to transport, breakdown, melt, re-cast; and production of all the machines to do this is astounding. Let’s not loose sight of the big picture. If not bamboo, let’s find some sustainable material more appropriate for those select people who choose not to drive.
    I think this idea is F’in rad.

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  • SKiDmark June 16, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    So could you do steel or aluminum lugs?

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  • b. boo July 13, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Check out:


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  • SKennedy April 11, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I just wonder if it is possible to implement the ideas that these
    ingenious, enviro-friendly, bicycle artisans have pioneered to produce
    automobile body panels. Could Bamboo be shredded and woven into mats similar to carbon-fiber mats and then impregnated with an enviro-friendly epoxy and pressure molded just as carbon-fiber panels are now made.

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  • Andrew June 12, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    The link to Daedalus cycles\’ website is no longer operating, but here\’s a link to their address in case you want more information:


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  • Robert July 2, 2008 at 5:03 am

    SKennedy – such bicycle was at NAHBS, check a bamboo composite frame at http://www.bmeres.com

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  • Tomas Quinones July 29, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Anybody know what happened to daedaluscycles? their website has been a squatter site for months.

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