Tiki Bike

I walked by this impressive piece of handiwork in Alameda this morning.

Tiki Bike

Check out the larger version at Flickr if you want to see some of the detailing, such as the wicker on the fork or the stays (even some of the cable housing is wrapped with rattan or some such). It’s safe to say that a lot of time and attention went into this bicycle.

14 Responses to “Tiki Bike”

  1. ng says:

    Unbelievable! Do those extra pieces (roundish) on either side of the frame have any function?

  2. wordnerd says:

    Is the frame metal? I couldn’t find convincing evidence. Hmm…is Fragmentary Evidence the opposite to The Smoking Gun?

  3. dc says:

    ng: Those extra supports on the frame don’t seem to have any function, as far as I can tell.

    wordnerd: I assume it has a metal frame which has been well-disguised by the bamboo and whatnot. The bottom bracket, dropouts and the top of the seat tube all look like metal in close-ups. I suppose it’s possible that those joints are only connected to each other by the bamboo tubes, but I highly doubt it. Here’s some more evidence for you:

  4. jabel says:

    Just the thing one needs to ride to a Tiki Bar.

  5. dc says:

    Tiki bars seem to be trendy again these days, and I did wonder whether the bike had any connection to a Tiki bar about 4 blocks away from where I saw the bike parked, or a different Tiki bar right across the bridge in Oakland, about 8 or 10 blocks away.

    Speaking of Tiki bars, the Mai Tai was recently made Oakland’s official cocktail, since it was invented here in at the original Trader Vic’s.

  6. wordnerd says:

    For a less serendipitous version:


    At the Boston Road Club races twenty-five years ago, the ex-Olympian John Allis used to ride a bike with wooden rims. Neither Tiki or Renovo are going that route.

  7. dc says:

    This Cameroonian custom build might take the cake:

    You can get some handcrafted Italian wood rims from this guy:


  8. unique distance from isolation says:

    In the Beverly Cleary book I am reading my kids, Henry Huggins goes to a bike auction to buy a bike with his carefully saved $4.04. There is a crowd, so HH can’t get close enough to the auctioneer to see any of the bikes or to have his bid heard. Ramona, who has come along with Beezus, goes missing. When Ramona shows up (held up and announced by the auctioneer as if to be bid on, naturally), Beezus goes up to get her. Henry, who still can’t get through the crowd, asks her to bid on a bike for him. Beezus bids successfully, and excitedly tells Henry that she has gotten him a good one, with handlebars and everything. When Henry sees it, however, he is crestfallen. Not only is it beat up, missing several spokes, etc., it is completely unsalvageable in a more essential way: it is a GIRL’S bike. Henry takes it home nevertheless, and tries to fix it by using twine to tie a sawn-off broom handle in place. Of course, the first thing his friends Robert and Scooter say when they come over is: What’s that broom handle tied to your frame for?

    Now, if only Henry Huggins had seen the tiki bike, he would have known what to do. In fact, we are still in the middle of the book, so maybe Henry will wrap his bike in bamboo yet.

  9. nnyhav says:

    gives a whole nother meaning to bike basket dont it?
    wonder if it can be repaired whilst weaving in and out of traffic …

  10. jabel says:


  11. dc says:

    Turns out that bamboo frames are more common than I realized. There’s a place in Brooklyn that’ll even teach you how to make one in a weekend. Someone made a nice bamboo cargo bike in Ghana.

    I still think the frame above was bamboo-wrapped steel, but I’m less sure than I was. I wish I had investigated more closely. (Haven’t seen it since that day.)

  12. wordnerd says:

    Bamboo and Carbon Fiber Bike Design…like Smartphones and Smoke Signals.

    We grow bamboo in Massachusetts, by the way.

  13. dc says:

    I normally don’t give the Company Store catalog any attention when it finds its way into my mailbox, but the cover on the one that arrived yesterday caught my eye:

    The bike, sadly, is not for sale in the catalog. (You can buy Charisma® for as low as $6.39, however.)

  14. ant1ph0n says:

    here ya go

    these were a steal for $150 for both! (someone apparently left them in a storage unit that was never paid for)

    his and hers pair =]


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