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  1. #1
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    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.

    This one is three years late but I finally got it done. I had promised my sister-in-law I would build her a bamboo hardtail back in March 2011 but busy life just got in the way. At the time she was riding a full suspension but recently went back to hardtail when her fs failed. After having to endure her *****ing and moaning about the rough ride of the ht on almost every ride, her boyfriend and I decided we needed to get this one started...and in time for Christmas. He would supply the parts for the frame that I would build.

    Being my first full suspension I just wanted to keep it simple by doing a elevated chain stay single pivot design. The hard part with was sourcing the dropouts. Couldn't find what I was looking for, I decided to make my own out of carbon fiber.

    I used 4mm thick cf plates and sandwiched them together to make 8mm plates then cut them out with a jigsaw for the dropouts and the rocker arms.

    The tabs for the dropouts and rocker arms were not not quite perfect but I had to make do because cf plates are not cheap.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12779995305_342b842f58_b.jpg


    For the pivot I used a head headtube with a Cane Creek headset.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12779989665_e97c58ae02_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780150433_7ebb973fd3_b.jpg

    Front triangle tacked up on the jig.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12779992895_0f0bdbf7d1_b.jpg

    Wrapped the joint with cf and a little rough sanding. Headset installed to the pivot.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12779991005_63c84cce92_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780269503_e7254214ea_b.jpg

    Rear triangle tacked up and istalled for alignment check. All ready for carbon fiber lugs around the joints.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780438294_33005f2f4d_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780558674_4771bb1d1d_b.jpg

    Lugs done and sanded smooth.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780245513_224ea53202_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780442894_2d3a87e9d6_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780135445_145988c4a9_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780136755_f24d437d8b_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780246823_993863f471_b.jpg

    All ready for build.
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780132845_3786cffd78_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780566624_8dd5607544_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780248723_8f16256513_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780259433_9243df50bd_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780255893_2f28f8b11e_b.jpg
    First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12780128865_d7854f54b9_c.jpg

    Final measurements: HT-69 deg, ST 74 deg, BB drop-70mm, CS length-17.5". 4.3" rear travel, 120mm fork. Frame weight- 8.1 lbs. Final weight was a hefty 31.8 lbs. Time of completion- a frustrating 3 months but lots of lessons learned. Needless to say I didn't get it done anywhere near Christmas.

    No trail time yet but riding around the neighborhood and park the bike feels responsive and handles well. No noticeable flex from the rear yet. All said and done I feel pretty happy about the way the bike turned out.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First full suspension...and it's made out of sticks.-12779997145_6790de7fee_b.jpg  

    Last edited by kosayno; 02-26-2014 at 01:20 AM.

  2. #2
    will rant for food
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    Well -- you know what my reaction is gonna be.

    F'n SWEET!!

    Nice job man.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  3. #3
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    Sweet bike and very nice fork choice. I have few questions.

    Carbon wrapping the lugs and joints, are those CF sheets or tow thread? What epoxy did you use?

    Are the aluminum tubes bonded? If so what did you use?

    I've been thinking about doing a similar technique with a HT for about 2 years now and always like to see what other people are doing.

  4. #4
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    LIKE!!!!

    Great to see these alternative builds. I really enjoy the colour variation that CF and the Bamboo gives.

    Well Done.

    Eric
    If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?

  5. #5
    WIGGLER
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    NICE bike!! Are your hands tired from all the weaving and sanding
    PAYASO 36er.....Live the Circus

  6. #6
    Nemophilist
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    Pretty dang cool!

    Looks almost... normal! You could paint it and no one would even know! Now that you have your process all worked out, you can use some lightweight materials for your next build, to get the weight down.

    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip D View Post
    Sweet bike and very nice fork choice. I have few questions.

    Carbon wrapping the lugs and joints, are those CF sheets or tow thread? What epoxy did you use?

    Are the aluminum tubes bonded? If so what did you use?

    I've been thinking about doing a similar technique with a HT for about 2 years now and always like to see what other people are doing.
    I put a layer of 3k plain weave kevlar cloth over the joints before putting a few layers of 3k plain weave carbon cloth and then wrapped everything with 24k carbon tow. For epoxy I used West System 105 resin with 209 hardener.

    Quote Originally Posted by todwil View Post
    NICE bike!! Are your hands tired from all the weaving and sanding
    It's definitely a workout for the hands.

  8. #8
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    That is just awesome!! I love it, the name is great. Wonderful job!!

  9. #9
    Nemophilist
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    ... you can use some lightweight materials for your next build, to get the weight down.
    Hey;

    That may have seemed flippant, but it was really intended to be a sort of round-about question. The eye sees nothing that would necessarily account for it, so in your post build analysis, how do you think the weight got that high? It doesn't make any sense at all, given the spec.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  10. #10
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    That looks really sweet, must say, looks absolutely fantastic

    As to you could paint it and no one would know it's bamboo and CF, but then what would be the point

    As to the weight, I figure a HT and headset used for the pivot would add about a 1/2 pound to the weight and then you probably over did the carbon wrap and a few other things, this being your first FS and not wanting anything to break. Can't blame you for the pivot, that should last a long time

    Me personally wants to know why so much BB drop? To me that's insane for the trails I ride, I'd have to be constantly just timing pedal strokes, not pedaling, just can't imagine a 11.7" unsagged BB height, with sag that down below 11.3".
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Hey;

    That may have seemed flippant, but it was really intended to be a sort of round-about question. The eye sees nothing that would necessarily account for it, so in your post build analysis, how do you think the weight got that high? It doesn't make any sense at all, given the spec.
    I was kinda surprised myself that it weighed so much. Early in the build I was convinced the final weight was not going to exceed 7 lbs. I'm seeing many ways they bike ended up weighing so much. A little here and a little there added up quick ie the ht and headset for the pivots, all steel hardware(just look at the size of the hadware required for the rocker arm and shock bolts), over did the carbon fiber and too much epoxy in the bamboo tubes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    That looks really sweet, must say, looks absolutely fantastic

    As to you could paint it and no one would know it's bamboo and CF, but then what would be the point

    As to the weight, I figure a HT and headset used for the pivot would add about a 1/2 pound to the weight and then you probably over did the carbon wrap and a few other things, this being your first FS and not wanting anything to break. Can't blame you for the pivot, that should last a long time

    Me personally wants to know why so much BB drop? To me that's insane for the trails I ride, I'd have to be constantly just timing pedal strokes, not pedaling, just can't imagine a 11.7" unsagged BB height, with sag that down below 11.3".
    I think bamboo is beautiful and definitely don't want it to be mistaken for something else. However, I did try to use a black stain to darken it up but still show the beautiful grain of bamboo but it just did not want to soak up more stain than just a very light coat.

    A lot of the trails we ride a rocky, steep, and have long climbs. Yes that bb is low, but I've ridden lower bb and I don't see it as a big deal over big rocks as long as you know how to time you pedal strokes. If you also didn't notice that it has such a steep st angle yet the ht angle is really slack. I built the bike for the conditions I explained about our trails here in Colorado. Slack ht and low bb for control and balance, steep st for those long extended climbs. At least that's how it should work in theory, will see how it really handles in practice once we get on the trails.

  13. #13
    The cat's name is jake
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    That is a very clever use of available tools and materials to make a bike. I am impressed and inspired!

    Anything in particular that you learned that others could benefit from when doing something like this? Ways to minimize mess, process of wrapping/gluing, etc.?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BungedUP View Post
    That is a very clever use of available tools and materials to make a bike. I am impressed and inspired!

    Anything in particular that you learned that others could benefit from when doing something like this? Ways to minimize mess, process of wrapping/gluing, etc.?
    My advice would be to only making hardtails. On a serious note, just keep everything covered in plastic, especially the bamboo tubes. If you want smooth, clean looking lugs, take it slow and practice lots of patience. Same goes if you want are vacuum bagging.

    For wrapping the epoxy/carbon lugs, vacuum bagging is best, but it can also be a headache especially for bb and st junctions. I've just about given up vacuum bagging for these two areas because it's so hard getting a good seal and enough vacuum pressure. The worst is when you just wrapped the lugs with wet epoxy and carbon and you can't a good seal and have to revert back to the ol' electric tape method before the epoxy becomes dries. Vacuum bagging materials are not cheap either.


    I've done enough frames now that I've got a good work flow, but it seems like there's always some unexpected issue that comes along and adds significant time for a whole build. If you want to build a bamboo there's lots of resources for ideas if you just google.

  15. #15
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    Where about in CO are you at? I've ridden in Ft. Collins and that area, Crosier Park, Crested Butte, Gunnison and can't think of one place I'd want a BB that low. Know how to time pedal strokes, but there's a point at which is goes from being part of riding to taking over your entire concentration and not being fun. When I was last up there the bike I was riding had a 12.25" BB un-sagged and could have been higher for sure.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Where about in CO are you at? I've ridden in Ft. Collins and that area, Crosier Park, Crested Butte, Gunnison and can't think of one place I'd want a BB that low. Know how to time pedal strokes, but there's a point at which is goes from being part of riding to taking over your entire concentration and not being fun. When I was last up there the bike I was riding had a 12.25" BB un-sagged and could have been higher for sure.

    So then you know what our trails are like. I live in the Denver area but I ride all along the front range and also the western slope. My thinking is opposite of yours however. Places on the fr with big rocks like Dakota Ridge, Hall Ranch, Deer Creek, Golden Gate Canyon, Devil's Backbone for example, never left me wishing I had a higher bb. Then again, I'm told all the time by my bike mechanic friend that I'm always using the wrong bike for certain trails. Personally, I've never had issues but that's just me.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, fun and varied if you're willing to spend a hour or two driving around for it. Rode Hall Ranch, Golden Gate Canyon, 3 sisters, Aldefer, Devils Backbone, Blue Sky, Coyote, Lions Gulch and wouldn't say BB height was an issue, only one I'd say had enough rocky tech to make that a thought was the top of Coyote and Crosier. Curious what bike you're riding, rigid, HT or FS and what BB height was/is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kosayno View Post
    So then you know what our trails are like. I live in the Denver area but I ride all along the front range and also the western slope. My thinking is opposite of yours however. Places on the fr with big rocks like Dakota Ridge, Hall Ranch, Deer Creek, Golden Gate Canyon, Devil's Backbone for example, never left me wishing I had a higher bb. Then again, I'm told all the time by my bike mechanic friend that I'm always using the wrong bike for certain trails. Personally, I've never had issues but that's just me.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Yeah, fun and varied if you're willing to spend a hour or two driving around for it. Rode Hall Ranch, Golden Gate Canyon, 3 sisters, Aldefer, Devils Backbone, Blue Sky, Coyote, Lions Gulch and wouldn't say BB height was an issue, only one I'd say had enough rocky tech to make that a thought was the top of Coyote and Crosier. Curious what bike you're riding, rigid, HT or FS and what BB height was/is it?
    Currently I'm riding 29er hardtail with a 120mm fork and bb height is 12.25" unsagged. One of the best handling bikes I've owned was a Zion(Jenson housebrand) rigid ss with 425mm a/c. I never measured the bb height on it but I would estimate around 11.5" with those short fork legs. Head angle was 71 deg with a 80mm fork so I probably had it around 73 deg with the rigid setup. I rode that setup at all the trails you mentioned but except Crosier and loved the way it handled.

  19. #19
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    I asked specifically about what type of bike because BB height on a rigid compared to an FS is a whole lot different since the BB height on the rigid never changes, but the FS can and will by prob use as much as 50-60% travel in stuff you'd want to be pedaling through, which drops the BB relative. Yeah, I know those Zions, they were some smoking deals and everyone seemed to like them a lot. Personally I enjoy riding my rigid Monkey a lot as well, just since moving to slacker angles would like to get a longer rigid fork to slack it out a bit, BB height hasn't been a n issue either on that and it's someplace close to 12", but again, that doesn't change.

    Quote Originally Posted by kosayno View Post
    Currently I'm riding 29er hardtail with a 120mm fork and bb height is 12.25" unsagged. One of the best handling bikes I've owned was a Zion(Jenson housebrand) rigid ss with 425mm a/c. I never measured the bb height on it but I would estimate around 11.5" with those short fork legs. Head angle was 71 deg with a 80mm fork so I probably had it around 73 deg with the rigid setup. I rode that setup at all the trails you mentioned but except Crosier and loved the way it handled.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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