By Steve Meurett
Yes, I’d seen a smattering of Boo bikes on the web and was aware there must be something to them, considering the company managed to scoop up Adam Blake- (all things fat-bike) sage and consummate, cycling guru. Not just bamboo, but tam vong bamboo- “iron bamboo” which is particularly strong and perfect for building. When I actually got my hands on the natural golden frame and slid it from the packing box, I realized that the inetrwebs hadn’t done justice to how sweet these bikes look in person.
This is the bike I’d been waiting to ride-to really see what this unusual (for now) tubeset was all about. Adam built up a stock Shimano SLX Alubooyah fatbike, slapped it on the bottom and shipped it from Boo HQ in Boulder Colorado. The AluBoo came shod with competent 45N Husker Dus, 65mm Turnagain rims and a Race Face crank. Salsa Enabler hubs, Ritchey saddle and a mix of Pro Koryak and Boo’s own components round out the build.
But it’s all about the frame-unboxing this beauty uncovered one surprise after another while peeling off the bubblewrap. The frame is constructed of massive aluminum lugs-raw alloy left in it’s post modern brushed finish with burly welds -seemingly indestructible. I loved this look. While the seat and chain stays are also aluminum, the three main tubes are bamboo-much more robust than I’d expected. The carefully selected tam vong is perfectly milled and bonded within the lugs for a strong impeccable fit. These are gorgeous warm tubes. Boo handles the front end with their own light off-set tapered alloy fork-finished to match the bike’s no-nonsense clean look. Bamboo headset spacers were a tasteful touch as well.
Beauty aside, I wanted to uncover the beast, or as Boo calls it-”the monster truck of bicycles.” Bamboo as a frame material is alleged to be stiffer than aluminum and much stronger than carbon. They claim zero failures of their frames, something not always true in some carbon and other frame materials. There will always be a strength versus weight debate and although other bikes can be made scary light, Blake says Boo has keyed in on the ride quality of bamboo-high frequency dampening, resilience and a smooth ride. I can’t wait to hammer some fast packed singletrack to find out.
The Alubooyah can handle 4.8” tires and 29+ making it a great all around bike. I ride a fat-bike all year, so having the versatility to run both wheelsets is a killer option (and one only available on some bikes). It’s nice to be able slip a big meaty tire on the front like Surly Bud for sketchy winter riding and have a hardpack rocket come summer with three inchers on Rabbit Hole rims.
It took me all of an hour to unpack and slide the wheels into the dropouts and clip in for an initial ride-Adam had the bike dialed in (right out of the box-perfectly). He describes the Alubooyah as “a cross country trail bike that is a fatbike”…and I concur. “It falls in line with our brand-efficient, quick handling and a hardtail.” he added. That’s what I felt straight off, down the packed singletrack at Levis Mound-not super slack in the angles and a bit shorter overall. With its mountain bike geometry and nimble touch on the steering, I felt like I was riding a “normal” bike during warm weather months, but I’m really looking forward to the next several weeks of rides to push this test bike to the limit.
(click any photo to enlarge)
Stay tuned as we slide deeper into winter and the Alubooyah gets a workout cruising groomed singletrack, powder and maybe even a race or two!
(note: Amanda Miller just captured the USA Cycling National Fat Bike Championship aboard a Alubooyah in Ogden UT)
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