While most bike producers have focused on improving bike frames by using aluminium and carbon fibres, members of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers club decided to go back to basics and produce frames made of bamboo.
Founded in 2009, the producing company KawayanTech (Kawayan is the Filipino term for bamboo) defines its objectives as developing “indigenous forms of bikes and other alternative means of transport as social entrepreneurship”. The bamboo is sourced from multiple parts of the Philippines and the only power tool used in production is an electric drill. Especially environmentalists welcome the invention due to its low carbon footprint. But the bikes are not only environmentally friendly, they are also a work of art. Each one is handmade and the company sells the frames only, which means that bikers can customise all other components.
Until now, the company sold 80 different kinds of bikes, ranging from bikes for toddlers to high performance bikes, such as mountain bikes. In the near future, KawayanTech plans to extend its product range and also include bamboo skateboards and wheelchairs.
It is yet to see if the bikes will be able to crack the mainstream market. While some bikers believe that the frames are not stable enough for rugged terrain, the company dismisses those fears and claims that bamboo bikes are not inferior in any way.