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Zuri handcrafted bamboo bicycles out of Africa

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July 25, 2012

Zuri chose the bright-colored components as a contrast to the Urban Fixie's natural bamboo...

Zuri chose the bright-colored components as a contrast to the Urban Fixie's natural bamboo frame

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No matter how many bamboo bicycles we see - and we have seen a few - they continue to astound with their otherworldly looks. Zuri is a German operation that hand builds bicycles in Africa out of locally sourced bamboo. It's multi-hued bamboo-framed bikes are designed for both city commuting and mountain biking.

Bamboo has taken off as a building material in recent years thanks to its sustainable growth, light weight and durability. Its distinctive looks don't hurt, either, especially on a bike, where they serve as a contrast to the traditional metal frame.

Zuri is the venture of two Germans, David Hoffmann and Philipp Sayler. The company is based in Munich, but it builds its bikes out of a small village in Zambia, where the bamboo is harvested. Though bamboo is a simple material, Zuri crafts it into ornate bicycles - the rich grain and multiple shades of bamboo combine to create bicycles that are almost guaranteed to earn looks and questions.

Zuri harvests bamboo when it's approximately three years old. After several days of impregnation, it dries the bamboo in an incubator for two months. Then, it selects the strongest bamboo tubes and constructs them into frames. The most stressed parts of the frames, including the head tube and bottom bracket, are made from CNC machined aluminum. The process to create the finished product takes about 50 hours of work, according to the company.

The Urban Fixie Gold has a deeper reddish-brown appearance

Zuri bills its bikes as "pure urban lifestyle," but it makes a mountain bike, in addition to urban-oriented street bicycles. Bamboo may seem like a fragile material for the bumps, jumps and drops of off-road riding, but Zuri isn't shy about putting its frames to the test. It shows the bikes flying through the air, dropping down steep rock faces and wheeling over rugged trails. The bamboo is said to provide some shock absorption, smoothing out the ride.

Zuri recently won the ISPO BrandNew Overall Winner Award. Its five models include the Jungle mountain bike, Urban Speed road bicycle and several urban fixies. Prices start at €2,490 (approx. US$3,020 at time of publication). At the moment, it only lists current and future dealer locations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Source: Zuri Bikes via ISPO

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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6 Comments

It is a beautiful bike and bamboo is a wonderful structural material. Great stuff.

Nantha
25th July, 2012 @ 10:29 pm PDT

Agree that most bamboo bikes look stunning. How much do the local builders/growers get? Fair trade bikes?

Gadgety
27th July, 2012 @ 02:01 am PDT

Bamboo can be very useful, and should be promoted as a useful material, not banned, like they want to do in New York, lumped in with other so called invasive plants.

Richard Dicky Riddlebarger
27th July, 2012 @ 06:00 am PDT

@ Gadgety;

The Zuri deal was with Zam Bikes in Februaryaccording to Times of Africa (http://allafrica.com/stories/201202271120.html), so these are re-branded local bikes so 100% made in Zambia. They have their own website (http://www.zambikes.org/products/bamboo-bikes/road-bike/). Wholsale prices (http://www.zambikes.org/uploads/pdf/Zambikes-Product-Kwacha-Price-List-2012-Wholesale-Price-list.pdf). The bamboo frames are custom but a 6 speed is 780,000 ZMK (101.96 GBP) I would expect a 50% or more local markup but at £150 - £200 they could and should have gone direct sales with the internet.

The reason - a +1000% markup in the UK (http://www.bikebamboo.com/where-to-buy-bamboo-bike.php - FRAME ONLY!)

L1ma
27th July, 2012 @ 07:54 am PDT

I wonder how much they weigh?

Wolfhoundpax
27th July, 2012 @ 08:13 am PDT

bamboo were being used in Middle kingdom aka china for years as scaffolding support.

They use the some kind of natural material to tie bamboos from end to end as to lenghten them and also work as modern days ziplocks binds together very well.

Some of them go as several storey high when building or repairing a building.

Jimbo Jim
28th July, 2012 @ 05:38 pm PDT
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