Aluminum and bamboo might seem like an odd mix of materials for a bike frame. But entrepreneurs Nick Frey ’09, Drew Haugen *12, and James Wolf believe it may be the next big thing in cycling.
Frey, Haugen, and Wolf are cofounders of Aluboo, a startup that builds on earlier work by Frey, a professional cyclist and mechanical engineer, and Wolf, a craftsman and industrial designer. The two created Boo Bicycles, handcrafting frames from tam vong (“iron bamboo”) rods and carbon fiber joints in a workshop in Vietnam. Boo bikes have competed successfully in a number of cycling and cyclocross races, and Frey contends that “you could race the Boo in the Tour de France.”
Bamboo is actually an ideal material for bikes: The plant’s strong, fibrous structure dampens road vibrations and provides for an exceptionally smooth ride, and it is more sustainable than other popular bike materials, such as steel.
The major drawback is the price tag. Each Boo bike is custom-made and priced between $5,000 and $14,000 — not a bike for the weekend warrior. That’s where Haugen comes in.