What are the disadvantages of buying a bamboo bike?

You might already be aware that biking is one of the most eco-friendly transportation methods. Some people aren’t satisfied with that fact. They want to take things one step further. If you Google something like “how can I make my bike habits even more eco-friendly?”, there`s a huge chance that a bamboo bike would pop up in the search results.

I spent several hours researching bamboo bikes to only come to the conclusion that “naaah, I am not buying one”. And in this article, I will lecture you about the disadvantages of having such a bike. In addition to that, I can also quickly add that I spent three years of my life working part-time in a bike shop in Norway. In other words: I know a thing or two about bikes. 🙂

If you have read this full article and still want to buy one…well, then we have two very different personalities.

What clear disadvantages do a bamboo bike have?

Ok, let me get straight to the list.

1. Selection

“There must be loads of companies out there trying to sell bamboo bikes?”. Nope. There is one large manufacturer – and a couple of small local ones.

If you decide to buy a bike in general, you literally have 1 million bikes to choose from. But if you want to narrow your search down to only include bamboo bikes…you don`t.

2. Lack of reviews

I am a huge fan of real reviews every time I purchase something online. Not sure where it comes from, but I always tend to trust random people online. If a hotel or bike got a good review: well, then I`ll have it!

The problem with bamboo bikes? They do not have any reviews online.

After desperately searching through Trustpilot and Google, I was not able to find anyone who was either satisfied or pissed off at the bamboo bike company.

After working in e-commerce for more than 10 years, I , unfortunately, know what this means. They do have a very limited number of sales. As a potential customer, that is not very comforting either.

3. Are they REALLY that eco-friendly?

There is no doubt that bamboo products, in general, are eco-friendly. However, I tried to do some research on Youtube to figure out more about the manufacturing and logistics processes. What I found was that the bikes are actually produced and shipped from Africa:

In other words: shipping bikes all around the world is not a very green way of doing business. Without having the full CO2 calculation in front of me, I would much rather source something locally compared to buying something “eco-friendly” from the other side of the world?

To whoever might be African reading this blog post: sorry. I take into consideration that 99 % of my reader base is located in Europe, Canada , and the US.

Study suggests bamboo products might not be TOO eco-friendly in general

One very interesting study on bamboo harvesting in China revealed a lot of dark secrets about the bamboo industry. Referring to a study that was conducted a year ago, the authors of the report wrote the following, quote: “At that time, our investigation revealed many environmental concerns associated with growing, harvesting, and converting bamboo to useful products”.

If you want to read the full report called “BAMBOO PRODUCTS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS: REVISITED”, feel free to click here (external link).

4. The bamboo bike is not going to last forever

Let`s be honest: there is no 100 % organic material that can be used in a bike and still be solid in about 10 years. When I was 16, I remember trying my grandpas` old bike. He told me he bought it forty years ago (!), which is amazing.

That could never happen to a bamboo bike.

5. They are not versitile

Try riding a bamboo bikes among bamboo trees in the forest, and you will have a very unpleasant experience. These bikes are barely made for soft city biking, which makes them unfit for my needs.

I see that the bamboo bike company claims that they have two different bikes: one “offroad/forest” bike and one “city bike”. After just having a look at them, I don’t see much difference to be honest.

Last words – conclusion

I already gave you my conclusion before the article really started: as of now, I will never buy any bamboo bike in my life. That does not mean it won’t be a good fit for you. However, I really hope that this article left you with something to chew on.

Even though this article came out a bit negative, please note that I love bikes and the concept of biking. One of the most popular articles on Sustainability Matters is actually calle “five reasons why you should bike to work“. If you feel like that could be something for you, I would really recommend you to look at the facts in that article.

Warning! It will inspire you to get in shape! 😉

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