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Section 7. Testing the Bamboo Bike

Road Testing the Bamboo Bike

The seat post clamp did not arrive from China, I came back from 10 day holiday and still no sign of it. So, I asked for a refund from the chinese Ebay seller, and oredered another from a UK seller (much faster delivery even if a bit more expemsive). The chinese guy obliged with a refund (gotta love Ebay) and the UK one arrived within a few days. I immediately installed it, along with the chain and chainstay protector (to keep my lovely bamboo clean). A quick fine tuning of the rear derailleur, and I was out for a spin around the block. Wow. It felt just like a normal bike. It even went straight when I took my hands off the bars - no more worries about alignment. A beautiful test, now it only needs a few minor adjustments to the gears. a longer cycle to prove it, and maybe a parking up at a coffee stop to see what attention it draws on itself......

A video of the bike's first road test

The finished bike - almost

A footnote to the finished bike...... a few minor adjustments to the gears turned up a suprise. The FD which I knew needed adjustments wasn't perfect. A few repeated loosening and tightening of the cable screw on the FD got things working perfectly. Then while running through the RD chain positions it turned up a problem with the shifter - it had stopped working across the range and was only shifting across three cogs. Thinking it was a bit jammed - I stripped it down again. At the moment of originally writing it was sitting in an oil bath after multiple flushing out with WD40, and I was planning to look up some Shimano 8 speed shifters on Ebay. Anyway, I now had a working bamboo bike, I just needed some working shifters (the existing ones or maybe some off Ebay). Winter was approaching, along with wet weather (not good for bamboo bike cycling) so I had plenty of time to get this sorted before spring...
Also, as a result of some prompting from a Facebook Group that I use, I gave some thought to what I am going to call the bike. My name is Alan, I already have an Alan (Italian Classic) Bike, and I've just bought another Alan frame (a Super Record from 1980 no less) from Ebay - 5 days ago and not arrived yet. So, really my bike should be called an Alan. But what model name to give it? I quite like the Alan Carbon bike called the Carbonio (I don't have one) but as mine is made of Bamboo, I thought why not call it "Alan Bamboonio". Ta Da!
Shifter Update - December 02, 2016 - Got some Shimano Sora 7 speed STI levers on Ebay for a good price. They look unused although some sticky tape marks indicate they were mounted on a bike. When I went to fit them, I found that the gear cable would not fit through the lever as the holes and grooves did not align up properly on the lefthand lever. Guess I know now why they looked unused. However a quick widening of a few holes with a drill and everything is perfect. And a quick recabling, retaping of the handlebars (same tape reused) and the bike is running perfect - gears real slick.

A couple of photos of the new, and old, levers
New levers have black front cover with 'Shimano 7 Speed' in white

Christmas - a new saddle. While on a trip to Edinburgh in December, and browsing through a bike shop (as you do), Ann persuaded me to let her buy me a tan coloured saddle as a Christmas present to me, reasoning that the tan colour would suit the bike better. And she was right.

And then, finally in 2017, the Bottle Cage. I really wanted something different, and was looking for a copper coloured cage, when I chanced on a Gecko styled cage on my friend eBay. I thought this would be very much in keeping with a bamboo based bike. I did not want to use ugly clamps to hold on the cage, so I bucked up the courage to drill two holes in the bamboo to insert two "embedded furniture bolt holders" (these were supplied with the kit), but broke while screwing into the very hard bamboo, so I bought stronger versions locally. Last two photos below show one of the bolt holders, and a closeup of the bottle cage.

Photos of the bike resplendent with it's new saddle and a later two detailing the bottle cage
Overall Summary and Final Impressions

I have had the bike out for a few spins, easy coffee shop spins with my wife. There have been a few hills involved (about 400m of climbing over the course of a 40km cycle) but nothing serious. The pace of the cycles has been leisurely. Through it all the bike has performed great, you forget it is bamboo as it just feels normal. But it is no lightweight racing bike, I would be very reluctant to take it up the big mountains or for a long 200km cycle. But as a Cafe Racer, it is perfect - I'll keep it up for fine day cycles with my wife to cafes in the low mountains. Nice to feel I'm on something that I fully built myself - feeling smug.

End 7. Testing the Bamboo Bike

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