bamboo bike Part 4: brake bridge and water bottle holder

Besides the lugs, the other metal bits on this frame are the brake bridge and the screw bosses for the water bottle holder. For the brake bridge I started with some 1/2″ thick aluminum plate. I sketched a shape on cardboard, traced that onto the metal, and cut it out roughly with a bandsaw.

rough brake bridge

rough brake bridge

this is how it will fit on the frame

this is how it will fit on the frame

The brake I am using has a nut that is meant to be countersunk (otherwise the bolt isn’t long enough). I just did this with a drill bit, which seems to work alright, even though the bottom of the counterbore is conical, not flat.

counter bore with a drill bit for the nut that holds the brake caliper on

counter bore with a drill bit for the nut that holds the brake caliper on

What followed was a lot of Dremel work. I discovered my love for burrs like this:

straight cylinder dremel burr

 cylinder dremel burr

Its kind of like using a handheld end mill, and you can actually remove a considerable amount of material with each pass, so its much faster work than you would expect. After the rough shaping with the burr, I did a lot of hand sanding with sand paper to get softer edges.

brake bridge after a significant amount of filing and dremeling

brake bridge after a significant amount of filing and dremeling

Here it is after a layer of hemp and some sanding:

mounted brake bridge

mounted brake bridge

To get the screw bosses for the bottle holder I cut up my original metal frame with the screw bosses so that I would have a big flange to glue it to the bamboo. I used the same Dremel burr to shape these flanges so they fit well to the tube and tapered nicely on the edge.

making water bottle bosses from water bottle bosses

making water bottle bosses from water bottle bosses

had to grind the insides to fit the diameter of the tubing, had to grind and sand the outside so it would look nice

shaped the insides to fit the diameter of the tubing, shaped the outside so it would look nice

To fit these on the frame itself, I just had to drill some holes to clear the threaded insert and apply epoxy. They don’t seem to take that much load, so hopefully this is enough to hold them in over time.

holes in the frame for the water bottle bosses

holes in the frame for the water bottle bosses

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9 thoughts on “bamboo bike Part 4: brake bridge and water bottle holder

  1. Wonderful. How do you sand the bamboo frame itself before adding the clear coat. What quality and how rough should the sandpaper be ? Thank you very much. Ralph

    • Sorry for the late reply! I sanded down to 320 grit. A good test for it it is fine enough is to wipe the lug with a damp cloth. This will clean off the dust and tell you if sanding marks will be visible after you apply clear coat. Good luck!

  2. Hi, congrat for your wonderful piece of work. Looks really great. May i as you something. What sandpaper do you use to sand the bamboo poles before you add the clear coat to the frame ? How rough etc. Thanks advance for your help. Ralph from Switzerland

  3. Hi Amy, I have built two bamboo bikes. You are more precise than I. I end up eyeballing things more than you do. My second bike is a racing/timetrial bike. Very strong frame. I also ended up using untwisted rope (“manila”) rather than hemp fiber which is harder to obtain. How is your bike holding up with use?

    • It trades off duty as a commute bike with another bike (aluminum frame). No signs of wear yet. I’m kind of nervous about cracking though, so I try not to park it anywhere that might see extreme temperatures.

  4. Hey, any word on cracks or frame issues these days? I’m thinking about making a bamboo bike, and I’d like to know how they perform long term.

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