The Mpora team first caught wind of the guys over at the Bamboo Bicycle Club last July.
We went down to their London workshop for a chat with co-founder James Marr, and then we got talking about the prospect of building a bamboo BMX – quite possibly the first of its kind.
“Would it result in us being brutally slaughtered by a group of local pandas?”
The very structure of bamboo lends itself quite nicely to a BMX on paper. It’s a shock absorbing material that offers a dampening feel, but would it fall apart if you gave it a beating on the street?
Or worse yet – would it result in us being brutally slaughtered by a group of local pandas? There was only ever going to be one way to find out.
Open Gallery11 Images
With James behind the project then and Alex Barton-Holme – a.k.a Fathead – enlisted to put the ride to the test, it was time to take our shiny new ride out of the workshop and into the streets.
James had made the built in just a few days, and despite a few concerns over the solidity of the components, he was adamant that the frame would handle the session well. He wasn’t wrong.
The bike was no eyesore either. Looking slick and ready to ride, the nerves may have been showing on James’ face, but Fathead looked more than happy to give it the pro treatment round the roads.
‘Don’t smoke grass, ride it,’ was the opening line. A couple of hops later and there was an impressed look on the rider’s face. The experiment seemed to be working out nicely.
A few coffees and a sandwich later and the filming was in full flow. There was an early animal scare for the bike, but it was caused by rolling through some dog excrement rather than being cornered by a couple of hungry pandas in a dark London alleyway.
“Don’t smoke grass, ride it.”
After a bit of punishing though, some of the components did begin to come undone on the handlebars – as predicted by James.
We ignored the warnings to power on, but soon our resident BMX rider pulled the handlebars off the bike and sent the front wheel flying with it. Unfortunately you can’t power through that.
A swift return to the warehouse for a 10-second fix and it was back on the roads, but would it stay fixed this time?
After taking it through the House of Vans skate park and giving it a bit of a beating in Southbank, it was safe to say that the answer to that was a resounding yes.
Mr. Marr may not be an expert when it comes to the world of BMX, but the bamboo frame had shown no signs of wear throughout the day. A fairly impressive feat.
A few of the components had fallen and some short reparations were needed, but it was simple stuff, and in the end the ride outperformed how the majority of the office were expecting it to do.
The Bamboo Bicycle Club will be sticking to their road bike building classes and weekend courses of course, but it seems you shouldn’t discount their methods just because you spin some bars!
Film & Edit by Ruskin Kyle