Our workshop lasts 2 full days. Usually the workshop is from 9am to 5pm, but can go much faster if you bring a friend to help you out. After you’re done, the bike still needs about 48 hours to cure and for us to put a protective layer of wax on the bamboo. Then you have a bamboo bike frame!
Installing components takes another 2-3 hours for our mechanics, but we also welcome you to come in and give it a go. Please do know that BBB does not have the space to store your bicycle for longer than 10 days. So please do not plan on keeping it at BBB, RIDE IT! :-)
Of course! That’s the best part! There are an infinite number of ways to personalize your bike. It starts with BBB’s mechanics designing a perfectly sized frame for your body. Then after making the frame we encourage people to do all kinds of things to their bikes! If you can think of it, we’ll support it! Want to see some pretty cool designs? Check this out!
Lastly, the components you put on your bike also make a big different in weight, performance, and aesthetic. Feel free to consult with us about what sizes parts you can use beforehand. (Note: The frames cannot install v-brakes (cantilever brakes).
Hmmmm, yes… probably. We’re usually pretty busy at BBB and teaching one person intermittently is a huge time commitment for us. That said, we’ve worked it out in the past many times. We’ll both need to be flexible but get in contact with us, and we’ll do our best to work something out!
Sure! We’ve had people from all over China and the world come to build a bike. The closest places to stay are the HOME Youth Hostel and The Orchid. HOME is much more affordable as a youth hostel, and if you mention BBB they might give you a discount. The Orchid is a super comfy boutique hotel with amazing food and atmosphere (book ahead of time!). Both of these places are located within a 10 minute walk through the traditional Beijing hutong.
Typically, your bike will be ready to go on Wednesday or Thursday following your workshop weekend. However, this depends on whether or not we have your components in stock and how much customization you want to do.
Hmmmm… We strongly believe that the best part of a bamboo bike is that you can make it yourself! When you make it yourself, you understand every bit of the process and love the bike all the more (and usually ride it more too!). With that said, if you simply can’t spare the time, BBB’s masters will make high-end custom bamboo bicycles for customers. These bikes start at 5000RMB and will take a minimum of 40 hours of handcrafting to reach commercial level of refinement and detail.
Great idea! Yes you can! When you sign-up just leave a note that it’s a gift for someone else. We’ll contact you and email you a gift certificate you can give to your friend. We also suggest you join your friend in making the bike with him/her because it’s a great experience.
There’s always a way! For those flying, we can help back up your bike into a cardboard box that airlines will accept. Many airlines allow a bike to be checked for free, but you should check with your specific airlines (Hainan Airlines and China Air both are free in our experience. United and American Airlines charged us.) If you’re going by train, this is also very possible, and often times just means taking off a wheel or two. And if you want to ship your bike, we can help pack your bike and send it to places in China (usually for 500rmb). For international shipping, we can help pack but we are not a logistics company and cannot ship internationally.
Yes, all the bamboo, carbon fiber, was, epoxy, metal bits, etc are included in the price of 2000RMB. This is all included in the price of the workshop. You must decide on what components to use. Feel free to bring in your own (but check with us about the sizing first) or choose from parts catalogue.
Like all bikes, this depends on how you care for it, but we’re certain your components will likely be replaced before your frame is! With proper care (not leaving it outside in the rain for years and yearly waxing), your bamboo bicycle will last five or more years!
We’ve used many kinds of bamboo to be confident what species and curing methods make for the best and safest rides. Our research has taken us throughout China, Taiwan, and the US to find good and reliable providers of bamboo! We’ve used fishpole, iron, Japanese timber, black, and Tonkin bamboos. All of our bamboo is sourced from China (usually Anji) and is specially selected for age, diameter, curing, and wall thickness.
This is definitely a possibility. Firstly, we do all we can to prevent this by being highly selective in our bamboo, how it’s cured, and protecting your frame with penetrating wax oil. Of our 400+ frames, we’d estimate that about 10% have seen a split occur.
With extreme changes in climate bamboo expands and contracts, and this will sometimes result in a split beginning to propagate, especially in the front triangle. So we suggest not introducing your bike to huge temperature drops (50+F degree drops or 15+C degree drops). In addition, during autumn and winter when the weather gets cold and dry, we suggest keeping your bike indoors and not near a heater!
If your bike does form a split, don’t worry! You’ve earned a “racing stripe!” We can easily repair your bike in the workshop or tell you how to do it at home. Your bike will still be fully rideable and the repaired split will blend right into your bike’s bamboo (or you can turn your split into a flashy stripe which is what our BBBers do!).
Nope! We’re all about building together! By building together we hope to build a longtime relationship with and the other students in the workshop. Many of our participants end up having their own ideas to improve our community and coming back to lead them. They’ve led bike rides, parties, opened new workshops in other cities and countries.