Calfree Design hasn't got the market to itself any more.

Bamboo comes out of the woodwork

Calfree Design has been making its bamboo bike since 2004. Sales grew 10 percent in 2005, but 33 percent in 2007.

Nick Frey – the 2007 US Espoir National Time Trail Champion – has teamed up with fellow Princeton engineering students to create a bamboo bike business, Sol Cycles. It will start building bamboo road bikes in the summer

Frey told the college newspaper: “Bamboo is even more impressive than carbon fibre because it does a better job of dampening high-frequency vibrations, an incredibly important property in bicycle frames. This amazingly comfortable ride allows us to make a bike that is very stiff and efficient, yet a joy to ride long distances, a perfect optimization made possible by nature.”

Bamboo is also eco.

“Our frames have a negative carbon footprint,”said Frey.

The Princeton student was featured in Newsweek magazine on 21st April, in an article titled ‘Stronger than steel.’

Reporter Lily Huang wrote: "Despite its lowly reputation, bamboo may be the strongest stuff on the planet. It has greater tensile strength than steel, and it withstands compression better than concrete. Both qualities are essential to keeping the plant, which grows to nearly 60 meters but is only as wide at the base as the very top, from falling over. It needs the compression strength to hold up its own weight and tensile strength to bend in the wind without breaking.

"The Western mind is also opening to bamboo’s environmental qualities. In both temperate and tropical climates, it grows as quickly and abundantly as a weed.

"Though most often used as an alternative to timber, bamboo, with its underground rhizome root system that continually regenerates the plant when the stalks are cut, is technically a type of grass. In fact, it grows faster than any other grass—in some conditions well over a meter a day. It also produces 35 percent more oxygen from carbon dioxide than trees and more effectively binds soil to prevent erosion."

Riding a bamboo bike, Frey told Newsweek "is like wearing comfortable loafers and having the efficiency of track spikes."

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