Handcrafted Bamboo bikes by Abhijit Samant

From this very own Venugram or the Bamboo village, Abhijit Samant who is an avid cyclist he wanted to pursue his career as a professional cyclist. But what is life if all things went on as thought of. Abhijit Samant opened his own design firm “Grayscales” where he makes bicylces in Bamboo frames and also conventional bicycle frames all handcrafted.

Bella Vista Belagavi

Speaking to AAB, Abhjit said, “at Grascycles, we handcraft bicycle frames using the finest bamboo in the world. Our Calcutta bamboo, nicknamed ‘Iron Bamboo’, is stronger by weight than steel. It’s so strong that it’s used to build bridges and multi-story scaffolding. Building performance bamboo bicycles is an intensive and lengthy process. But if done properly, the rewards of crafting bikes using this amazing material can be great–producing bicycle frames that are the best of both worlds: stiff and durable, nimble and confident, lively and smooth.”

grayscale-bamboo abhijit samant belagavi
Inset – Abhijit Samant

Abhijit has been building bikes for the past 8 years (and he still uses the first bamboo bike that he built 8 years ago) and has been doing it for professional atheletes from the past 2 years.

A bamboo frame will cost you 15,000 and rest of the components can be fitted based on the riders requirement and budget. We can also use components from an existing bicycle that the customer has if he wishes so. Bamboo comes in a variety of sizes, thats what makes it interesting. we can select a piece with the desired wall thickness and diameter depending upon the customers riding style, unlike steel or aluminium tubing which comes in a limited sizes. To date I have sold about 84 frames, we make custom frames in all kind of material right from bamboo to carbonfibre to aluminium to steel,” he added in his candid conversation.

When asked about sourcing of the Bamboo, he replied, “We source the bamboo from a bamboo research institute called KONBAC in Kudal. We even harvest bamboo locally. It depends on what characteristics the customer is looking for in the bike. There are about 2000 species of bamboo and each one has a distinct property. Well I have been learning the art of crafting bamboo from various flute makers from Belagavi, Kerala and even Japan and after these many years I still feel like a novice.”

Abhijit did his schooling from St.Paul’s High school and later his mechanical engineering from GIT.

He wanted to be a professional cyclist. As any professional cyclist, he wanted a bike that was custom made for his body proportions, so that one could achieve the best results. At that point of time there were no custom bicycle builders here in India, and the bicycles that were available here were made with a average person in mind.
Getting a bicycle built from abroad was very expensive, thats when he decided to build his own bicycle. The next problem that he faced was bicycle tubing. The only option he had was commercial steel tubing which is used in construction. That would make a bike heavy and would not fulfill the main purpose. Getting bicycle specific tubing from companies like Renolds or COLUMBUS was very expensive. The tubing alone including the custom duties and the shipping costed about 25,000. Then one day he saw a dog playing with a bamboo stick. The stick was tough as well as light. Thats when he decided to build a bicycle with bamboo.

Bamboo is a composite material, meaning it is made of multiple substances whose properties combine to create something with unique traits. An extremely stiff material which absorbs harshness…sounds like a brilliant material for a bike frame!
The Price range starts from 20,000 – 3,50,000 (For our custom made bicycles) and they are also introducing DIY kits costing about 6000.

Every Grascycles frame is handcrafted individually. Each frame is tailored to ones riding needs and built to the highest performance, quality, and durability standards.

Grascycles frames are built using tube-to-tube construction. All of the frame’s bamboo tubes are hand-cut and chiseled to fit together perfectly before being bound with unidirectional hemp fiber. The average Grascycles frame takes 40-50 hours of labor to construct.

All their frames are available on a custom-only, made-to-order basis. Rider measurements, component specifications, and riding objectives are integrated into a custom BikeCAD geometry which, in addition to a number of innovations that increase frame stiffness without sacrificing ride quality or weight, combine to produce our best frame yet.

Speaking on the future venture, he said, “We are working to launch our new products which will have stock geometries and which will be cheaper that our custom bikes. We are also coming up with a “BUILD IT YOUR SELF” kit which will have all the materials to build your own bike.”

You can reach Abhijit at – 58b ranapratap road, angol-c-scheme, Tilakwadi, Belagavi.

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