Cycle Life

    Photo: © Farid A. Abraham

Our Favorite Bicycles From NAHBS 2013: Boo Bikes Glissando

Of the more than 200 small bicycle manufacturers that gathered to show off their designs at the 9th annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver last week, these seven stood out

Having constructed high-end road, cross, and mountain bikes from bamboo tubing for several years, Boulder, Colorado-based Boo Bikes turned to a laminate for this concept bike to add architectural elegance. “It’s inspired by fine wood furniture,” says Corey Collier, the industrial designer who collaborated on the project. “The titanium gives the bike its strength and structure, while the bamboo softens it up and provides an organic feel.” When asked about the integrity of the bamboo laminate, which is cut in segments from bamboo tubing, steam-bent, glued together, and sanded to a well-hewn finish, Boo’s Vietnam-based designer and bamboo supplier explained that while some varieties of the woody grass can be brittle, the strain he uses, called iron bamboo, is exceedingly strong and durable. “There are 2,000 species of bamboo,” he explains. “If you get the right variety, and you know when to harvest it and how to work with it, it’s stronger than wood.”

We love the arc of the dual cantilever top tube design, as well as the Gates Carbon Belt drivetrain, which is as smooth and subtle as the frame itself. And the rearward sweep of the custom titanium fork is a brilliant and gorgeous touch. At an estimated $3,500 for a frameset, the Glissando is a seriously pricey commuter bike, but Collier calls the bike “functional art” and says it’s not that expensive compared with an original painting or sculpture. On the other end of the spectrum, Boo Bikes also debuted a compelling offshoot company called Aluboo, which will build budget aluminum-bamboo stock bicycles starting at around $1,000.

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