Bamboo Bike


'Live Friday', 14 March 2014

As part of the Ashmolean Museum's Live Friday event, staff rode 150 miles on the Bamboo Bikes that were designed and developed by staff and students within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

Grow your own Bike!

Bamboo bike

Oxford Brookes engineers Dr Shpend Gerguri of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment and Dr James Broughton of the Joining Technology Research Centre along with undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students have developed a bicycle frame to maximise the unique rigidity and vibration absorbing qualities of bamboo and other natural fibres.

The impact manufacturing has upon the environment means there is an increasing responsibility on various companies to provide products from sustainable resources. This project aimed to design, develop, and manufacture bicycle frames made from alternative 'carbon neutral' renewable resources, such as bamboo and flax, which potentially offer a more sustainable engineered alternative to that of traditional bikes.

Designing bicycle structures with natural materials

Bamboo bike

The bike frame is made with bamboo tubes and advanced jointing technology using flax fibre that exploits the specific strength and stiffness of bamboo (taking its own weight into consideration the strength and stiffness of bamboo can be superior to that of steel and aluminium).

James and Shpend successfully put the frame through the gruelling eight day 640km CRAFT Transalps race traversing mountainous off-road terrain that included 21,000m of climbing and descent.

Facts and figures

  • Designed and engineered by Oxford Brookes University's Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment and the Joining Technology Research Centre, the Bamboo Bike is certified to European safety standards.
  • The bikes are built to a high specification to match the high performance ride of the frame.
  • The bike frame is made using bamboo tubes and advanced jointing technology using flax fibre, which exploits the specific strength and stiffness of bamboo.
  • Bamboo's unique properties offer a strong and vibration-absorbent frame material for bikes.
  • Bamboo is considered one of the more sustainable materials of the 21st century. It is a fast growing grass requiring significantly less land and water to grow than, for example, timber, and can absorb up to five times more C02 and release up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. A particular attribute is its ability to be harvested after only 4-5 years and re-grows easily from the remaining culm shoot.
  • The Joining Technology Research Centre focuses on the understanding of the science of materials, joining practice and the ability to respond to commercial reality, leading the Centre to provide support to over 100 organisations throughout the UK and abroad.


Sustainable Engineering and Innovation

Oxford Brookes University
Wheatley Campus
United Kingdom



  • Grow your own bike pdf
  • Oxford Brookes staff & students, led by Dr Shpend Gerguri have developed a sustainable bicycle frame using natural materials