•The technology: The production technology is particularly unusual. 67 It takes hours for a frame to be made, says Eker co-founder Stefan Krisch, “everything is done by hand.” It begins with the harvest: suitable tubes are harvested by hand in the bamboo forest in Uganda, and the frame is manufactured in the capital Kampala. Final assembly takes place in Sweden.
In addition to bamboo, the bark of the Mutuba tree is also used in production. Together with an “environmentally friendly” epoxy resin, which is largely ecologically produced, it is used to connect the pipes: “We cut the bark into strips and wrap the pipes in a specific pattern in order to achieve maximum strength in all directions”, says Krisch about the process.
The frame parts made of bark can be recognized by their darker colour. “Because each tube is unique, it is a huge challenge to produce repeat quality bike frames to a tight specification,” says Krisch.
Every tube is different. The frame of the test bike weighs 2905 grams, but in size M it can be between 2400 and 2800 grams. “The weight of each frame varies depending on harvest time and other aspects of the bamboo material,” says Eker, who gives the frame a five-year guarantee. “Due to the high fiber content, our bamboo frame will not break even under heavy loads or direct impacts,” he says. In addition, the material, although a natural product, is protected against wind and weather.
Eker not only coats the inside of the tubes, but also provides the frame with four layers of clear lacquer in the final production step. “Weather resistance and aging tests under Nordic conditions” could not have harmed the material in summer or winter.
But the biggest advantage over common frame materials such as aluminum or steel is ecological: According to a report by Duke University in North Carolina produces approximately 250 kilograms of CO2 to produce an aluminum bicycle frame and 67 kilograms of CO2 to produce a carbon frame. The opposite happens with bamboo: As a renewable raw material, it binds CO2. “According to our calculations, the bamboo used for an Eker frame corresponds to absorbing 500 kilos of CO2 from the atmosphere,” says the Eker co-founder.
•Equipment, accessories, peripherals: On the bike there are components from well-known brands, in this case Sram. The hydraulic disc brakes and the shifting components come from the American supplier. The rear derailleur, crank, sprocket set and chainring (32 teeth) are part of the ambitious GX Eagle entry-level MTB group. The cassette with sprockets from 10 to 52 teeth offers a transmission range of 500 percent, spread over twelve gears.
The 100 millimeter Suspension fork comes from Rockshox (model Judy Gold RL 10″)”. The 29 inch wheels are mounted via quick-release axles. Michelin studded tires, model Wild Racer (10″x2.1″) were mounted on the test bike However, the equipment is flexible; two higher levels with better components can be clicked in the web configurator, which means that the price can almost be doubled. Eker also takes on special requests for individual requests.