When we first saw the AluBooyah fatbike prototype at Interbike last fall we were intrigued. Initial test rides on the one and only prototype available at the time were encouraging and we put in our request with Boo Bikes owner, Nick Frey, for a review bike.
Boo Bikes has made a name for themselves as a producer of custom, handmade, high-end bamboo bike frames in which the bamboo is joined with carbon components at the head tube, seat tube cluster, BB etc. Riders on Boo Bikes have been winning road and cyclocross races regularly proving the performance and durability of bamboo and helping to legitimize it as a viable material for bicycle construction.
The AluBooyah trades carbon for aluminum with the main tubes a composite of bamboo, to take advantage of its shock absorbing characteristics, and aluminum to help keep the cost in the realm where mere mortals can afford one.
Being that the AluBooyah is a fatbike it is fitting that on the day a pair of boxes containing the AluBooyah Fatbike arrived we were in the middle of a snowstorm that would drop 7 or so inches!
While “standards” in the fatbike market are continuing to evolve, the Alubooyah uses what is currently the most common configuration of 135mm front and 170mm rear.
- The front fork is a symmetrical 135mm model. Our test bike has a Salsa fork but AluBoo is working on their own fork that should be available by the time you read this or shortly after. The Salsa let us get our hands on a test bike sooner! The AluBooyah fork will have has a 1.125 – 1.5” tapered steerer tube and three bottle bosses on each leg for a variety of attachment configurations like water bottles or panniers.
- Rear hub spacing is 170mm and symmetrical, currently the most common width for new fatbikes.
- The bottom bracket breaks a bit of new ground using a Press Fit 121 design that accommodates several different cranks and allows the bike to use wheel setups as wide as a 4.8″ tire on a 100mm Clown Shoe rim.
- Geometry is right in the middle of current fatbike offerings at 73d seat tube angle and 70d head tube angle. While the chain stay length is about 18.4”. Our medium frame has an effective top tube length of 23.5” again, pretty typical.
When you order your AluBooyah you can chose form a wide variety of parts to fit a range of budgets. Our test bike is specced with a typical mid-level component build:
- SRAM X7 Drivetrain
- SRAM X9 Crank
- Avid BB7s
- Ritchey Bars
- Truvative T20 Stem and Bars
- Rolling Darryl Rims
- Husker Du Tires
- Test bike would sell for right about $3000
Initial rides on the beach, trails and in town have confirmed our first impressions from Interbike. This is a competent fatbike that seems to work well in a variety of conditions. We will have more on the ride as we get more time on the AluBooyah.
One minor issue we had with our test bike was that the included seat post was too short for our test riders. The bonding of the bamboo and aluminum mean that the seat tube does not allow for as long a seat post as would be possible if there were simply a traditional seattube so we substituted a longer post for our test. There is approximately 3” of seat post adjustability available on our Medium which should be plenty once you get a post near your size range.
Interesting concept. I like the overall form of the bike. Is Alubooyah trying to take advantage of the weight savings of Bamboo or is it more of an environmentally friendly approach to the market? Is this bike vastly lighter than comparable aluminum fat bikes?
PS: new to fat bikes; so glad I found fat-bike.com – very helpful for a noob like myself!
The damping characteristics of Bamboo are more what they are going for. We didn’t weight the frame only but the weight of the complete bike with mid-level components is just under 34 pounds for our test model and that is pretty similar to comparable aluminum bikes.
Neither. It’s about comfort. Bamboo has 4 times more compliance than carbon (read: comfort). The sustainability of bamboo on your frame is a perk. It also means someone can hand cut parts of the frame…very cool grassroots work. To some, it gives you awesome citizen cred for being somewhat socially responsible. While to others, it makes you an anti establishment hippie or obstacle to discredit in favor of more economically scalable (read: financially motivated) mass productions. But it’s really just about fun 😀 Try a bamboo bike if you ever get the chance…comfy as hell. Do you think this is drivel or do you zombie on?