Bambooni: Challenge to create a Bamboo Unicycle

Hello everyone!

It’s been a dream to ride a bamboo unicycle since I saw these beautiful bamboo bikes go out, and I recently decided to launch a challenge to create a challenge to make a bamboo frame that can withstand the abuse of extreme riding.

The idea is to gather a Prize in crowdfunding, and then launch a contest to find a solution in Open Source for anyone to study, modify, produce or distribute it. Once we got a solution that meets all the criteria of strength, lightness and production costs, and that the design and documentation to make it released in Open Licence, then the inventors get the Reward.

I was inspired by the story of Napoleon’s challenges. During european wars his troops couldn’t get the food for his troop in good shape. So he decided to launch a Challenge Prize to see if there was a solution out there, and this is how we got canned foods today.

If we could put together a Prize among us, I think it could attract the attention of inventors that can develop this kind of innovation for the community, and still pay for their work.

For now the campaign is being prepared, but if you are interested, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and get the latest news.

It would be amazing if you could share your feedback and knowing if you’d be interested by this as users or creators :slight_smile:

I’m trying to visualize the benefits of this…

Well, bamboo is light, strong, and renewable. I think it’s worth a shot :slight_smile:

Bamboo frames have been discussed here before, and the consenus, I think, was that bamboo lacked the stiffness needed for a uni frame. Unlike a bike, a uni is subjected to all sorts of rotational force when we pedal, or so it was written in some dark corner of this forum. Apparently UDC was even going to start production at some bamboo bike frame company in Taiwan, but then decided it wasn’t feasible.

This pdf shows that a bamboo unicycle has already been made…Looks like a sweet uni :slight_smile:

For the challenge thing… So we have to make it or discuss? I’d be happier to make it haha :stuck_out_tongue: I’ll check out for Bamboo online :wink:

It certainly would be amazing to find that bamboo is a superior frame material. Aluminum is pretty darn perfect.

I just saw this article while looking for Bamboo tubings on the web. I still haven’t found any tubings except for a whole bike tubeset. We’d only need chainstays/seatstays and seattube. I’m still checking, I am motivated for that :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s the story I was referring to above. With the admittedly very pretty photos, it says “This as a feasible design that could be mass produced is unlikely. The bamboo itself has a lot of flex and would likely break because of the torque the frame receives during normal riding.”

Just now I was riding in the dark, watching the crazy circular pattern my frame-mounted headlight made on the pavement because of my pedaling. A bike headlight doesn’t do that.

If you want to build your own uni, learn to weld! It’s probably a lot more trouble than gluing a bunch of sticks together, but it is certainly more reliable once you get comfortable with it, plus it’s a valuable skill.

As a welders point of view, I really want to try making that Bamboo uni :stuck_out_tongue: I am seriously looking into making one! I really like to test different things even if it seems ridiculous. The Bamboo frame in the article could easily be made better and stiffer, I’m not sure it’ll be stiff enough (probably not) but there’s a way to make it better!

I once made a Fatty frame out of fiber glass hockey sticks. I rode it for 5km, then I realised why no one made fiberglass bicycle frames. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for your answers guys!

These are some of the benefits, and I would add that if we manage to make it available in Open Source, others will be able to build upon it and improve or customize it :slight_smile:
Besides, if the documentation is open, maybe new manufacturers could sprout in countries with bamboo where it’s hard to retail for our “mainstream” manufacturers. More people could try on unicycling around the world.

Well, that’s why we want to make a challenge out of this. We don’t know if it is feasible, we can’t say many people have put their mind into it. Maybe by showing as a community that we are motivated by this innovation someone will put its craft and mind into it.

At least it seems to have already motivated Jakob!

I am creating the judging criteria with Kris Holm, Roger Davies and the people of monociclos.com, and there will be 4 judging phases every 6 months until there is a solution. If there is a functional solution after any judging phase, we give the Reward to the inventor. If there isn’t any satisfying solution after these 4 phases (2 years) the idea is to give back the money that was gathered for the Prize to the backers.
If there is a solution, we’ll have made evolve the unicycling technology and everybody wins, otherwise we’ll all get our money back.

Really cool stuff, I am waiting to see what you come up with Jacob!
It’s amazing to see how fast bike technology is moving forward. Bamboo bikes are going in many different ways.

For instance there is the one you shared, but there are other innovative ways of treating bamboo:

http://calfeedesign.com/bamboo/

I am sure there is an innovation out there that can find a way of making Bamboo torsionally rigid and able of taking extreme riding.

Hopefully the the campaign can get started in November, but I wanted to keep you posted before that and get to know what are your expectations of a bamboo unicycle :slight_smile:

Thanks for your answers guys!

These are some of the benefits, and I would add that if we manage to make it available in Open Source, others will be able to build upon it and improve or customize it :slight_smile:
Besides, if the documentation is open, maybe new manufacturers could sprout in countries with bamboo where it’s hard to retail for our “mainstream” manufacturers. More people could try on unicycling around the world.

Well, that’s why we want to make a challenge out of this. We don’t know if it is feasible, we can’t say many people have put their mind into it. Maybe by showing as a community that we are motivated by this innovation someone will put its craft and mind into it.

At least it seems it has already motivated Jakob to look into it!

I am creating the judging criteria with Kris Holm, Roger Davies and the people of monociclos.com, and we’ll judge it in 4 phases of 6 months until there is a solution. If there is a functional solution after a judging phase, we give the Reward to the inventor. If there isn’t any satisfying solution after 2 years the idea is to give back the money that was gathered for the Prize to the backers.
If there is a solution, we’ll have made evolve the unicycling technology and everybody wins, otherwise we’ll all get our money back.

Really cool stuff, I am waiting to see what you come up with Jacob!
It’s amazing to see how fast bike technology is moving forward. Bamboo bikes are going in many different ways.

For instance there is the one you shared, but there are other innovative ways of treating bamboo:

http://calfeedesign.com/bamboo/

I am sure there is an innovation out there in the mind of someone around the world that can find a way of making Bamboo torsionally rigid and able of taking extreme riding.

Hopefully the the campaign can get started in November, but I wanted to keep you posted before that and get to know what are your expectations of a bamboo unicycle :slight_smile:

A “bamboo” uni can be made very stiff, in the same way that Calfee makes its bamboo bikes; by turning it into a composite. At that point it basically behaves like carbon fiber, and you can use carbon fiber for the joints. It’d certainly be cool. Not so cool that I’ll fund someone else’s commercial R&D, though.

I don’t see any bamboo BMX or Trials bikes, could be I’m not looking hard enough. Makes me wonder about Muni on bamboo, also street, trials, flat…

Bamboo (and carbon fibre, for that matter) is brittle on impact relative to metal, so it’s not ideal for disciplines where hitting the frame on hard objects is common.

I think the look would be cool. Bamboo bikes look pretty unique. But as has been stated, I don’t think it’d hold up. That’s why we don’t have carbon frames either.

I’m surprised at the OP’s eagerness though. Why are you so hard up for a bamboo frame?

I think R&D in the unicycle world could be better spent elsewhere (36er wheels, Schlumpf options, etc.)

Possibly by me, in talking about my first Muni-specific frame; more about that below.

Yes, it wood.

Calfee does make some pretty cool bikes (they’re the first rest stop on the annual Strawberry Fields Forever bike/uni event). You would have to use a lot of composite and carbon fiber though, which might take away from the bamboo-ness of it.

Some of us do have carbon frames. Roger Davies used to make them, before the days of UDC. Aluminum lugs. I don’t know if he made any after the advent of very fat tires though. Mine (from 1997?) only fits conventional-width MTB tires. It was with that frame I learned about the very high amounts of torque we put into a unicycle frame when pedaling hard. Such as when cranking up steep stuff. My frame broke at the crown lug, not from a materials failure, but just from a lack of epoxy in the joint. The fittings were so airtight, most of the epoxy got squeezed out during assembly, leaving a minimal amount in there. The frame was later repaired with some aluminum pins. But before I mailed it back to Roger, I tried to straighten it back out. It hadn’t come apart, just twisted. I couldn’t twist it back for fear of breaking something. That’s how much torque we put into our frames, while the front of the seat presses against our legs and we crank as hard as we can.

I encourage experimentation with different materials. but the nature of bamboo, which makes it so useful for many things, is probably not the best material to use for a uni frame. However the same thing is true for bikes, but there are bamboo bikes out there. Why not unis?

Maybe a 36" road cruiser would be a good candidate. Looking at the Calfee site, that seems like what it’s best suited for.

Hey, maybe this is how we can get a purpose-built 32" frame! Hello Jaime Yann – if you’re looking for a void to fill, there you are. You can get the whole wheel assembly shipped for less than 100 bucks from Kent Bicycles (but you’ll have to replace the hub). Just a suggestion.
Cheers!

Yeah, I’ve heard of Roger’s frames and I think I remember a Koxx frame somewhere. Still, they aren’t common place like they are with bikes.

I would think a triangulated frame (similar to the nimbus impulse 36ers and old hunter frames) could solve some of the stiffness problems. Time to get myself some tubing and give it a whirl.