Urban Velo

Affordable Bamboo Bikes From Greenstar Bikes

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Bamboo is lightweight, stiff, and about just as strong as steel, making it an ideal material for bike frames – so why don’t we see more of them? While bamboo bikes typically come with a steep price tag that extends upward from a cool grand, Greenstar Bikes has found a way to offer a bamboo bicycle for a much cooler $400 (MSRP).

“It took us almost three years of research, design, and testing to create the bike and a unique process for mass production which accounts for its low price point,” says Eric Hiller of Greenstar Bikes.

The result of all that research and design is the EcoForce 1, a single speed bike with a fixed/free hub and recycled aluminum lugs, with a reported weight of 22 lbs. The natural structure of bamboo resembles the construction engineers strive to emulate in carbon fiber, making this perhaps the stiffest ride you can get at its price point – but bamboo isn’t just technologically ideal, it is also a smart ecological choice. A hearty plant with a short growth cycle, bamboo requires no pesticides and can be harvested annually.

The hangup in making bamboo bikes a viable option in the market has been in the production process. One-off bikes with complicated lugging processes contribute to the traditionally steep price point. Greenstar Bikes has leveraged research and technology coming out of universities in China to develop their low-overheard process.

“After all, what good is green if no one can afford it?” says Hiller.


About Krista Carlson

A regular contributor to the print edition of Urban Velo, Krista Carlson is a cyclist obsessed with bike polo, baking, pickles, and all things bike-y. She is a native Angeleno and is madly in love with the city and everything that makes it the beautiful, crazy place that it is.

View all posts by Krista Carlson →


  1. S. MolnarOctober 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I don’t mean to sound dismissive – I’m sure it’s a fine product – but the eco angle seems way overblown to me. Look at how much of that bike is actually made from bamboo. Sell it on its merits and, sure, mention that a fraction of it comes from bamboo instead of steel or aluminun or the dreaded carbon (which I believe we’re supposed to be trying to sequester; what better way than in a bicycle?), but don’t make the argument that it’s seriously dealing with environmental problems.

  2. DOctober 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Agreed. This greenwashed bamboo bike thing has gotten out of hand.

  3. Lance QOctober 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    S. Molinar and D: Just because the whole bike’s not made out of unbleached hemp, it’s not good enough for you? That’s exactly the kind of negativity that hinders progressive actions.

    If we care about our environment and natural resources, we need to start applauding each step in the right direction, and then encourage more. You gotta start somewhere.

    Plus, did you even read her article? More than half the frame is bamboo, the rest is recycled aluminum. Great job Greenstar Bikes! Keep it up. It’s good to see some people are moving in the right direction instead of just sitting on their behinds and whining about what’s wrong.

  4. ride safeOctober 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This is a great design. I wish they also offered different colors. And the price is not that high for a rare kind of bicycle as this one.

  5. Greenstar BikesNovember 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks ride safe. The Ecoforce 1 is now available in green, white, and blue (check em out at http://www.greenstarbikes.com). Greenstar Bikes supports local IBDs. Ask your local bike shop to contact us so we can put affordable bamboo bikes in your neighborhood!

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