GreenStar Ecoforce - 1
by dennis bean-larson

We've all seen the increased popularization of bamboo-framed bikes over the last ten years - from Craig Calfee's innovations back in the late 90's to Nick Frey's "Boo Bikes" (started as a college engineering project and debuted right here at Fixed Gear Gallery) to many many other high-custom or winter-basement owner-built frames. The all fell into two groups ... either extremely expensive or simply one-of-a kind.

So now, here comes GreenStar Bikes with a complete ready-to-ride bicycle for only $449. Let's take a look and see what it offers and how it rides.

We ordered the 60cm size for a 5'11" rider preferring to err on the larger size. We wouldn't ordinarily order this large of a size, so be sure to check the geometry and especially the seat tube dimensions - this 60 is measure to the top of the seattube rather than center-to-center which might be more common. We would ordinarily ride a 56x56 so be aware.

The Ecoforce 1 arrived nicely boxes for shipping and was packed well. All that needed to be done was to install pedals and handlebar and inflate the tires.

GreenStar bikes are not available for purchase on-line at this time. They are developing a U.S. dealer network so take a look at their dealer list on-line. Or ... tell your dealers about these bikes so you can get one locally.

We had our choice of colors - green, white, or blue - and we picked this green because it seemed to compliment the natural wood bamboo colors best. It certainly attracted attention when we rode it downtown on one of the few recent sunny and warm days last week. If you were going to steal a bike, this certainly wouldn't be the one to grab.

Components are pretty typical for an affordable bike in this price range and they all work satisfactorily. Nothing fancy here ....... except the beautifully finished bamboo sections really shine with a great clear gloss finish. GreenStar has their own Bamboo source in China where their bikes are made, and they developed their own steel frame geometries, epoxies, and construction methods according to the manufacturer.

Certainly compared to any of the high-end Bamboo bikes, these are quite a bit simplier, but a Boo or a Calfee will cost you up to $3.000 USD for the frame alone so we're talking a completely different product here.

There's literally hundreds of small manufacturers trying to hit this under $500USD price point, and they are all pretty much the same ... except for the GreenStar. If you're looking for something diffenent, then look closer.

The Ecoforce 1 comes with a flip-flop rear hub - singlespeed on one side and fixed on the other. We rode it singlespeed around town - geez we almost never ride a singlespeed so it reall felt odd ... freewheel and no gears, what's up with that? We fipped the rear wheel right after these photos.

The Ecoforce 1 also comes with front and rear brakes so riding as a singlespeed is a lot safer. Color-matched components, deep section rims, and color-matched tires all complement the frame. And we just have to comment that the paint is first rate, it's heavier than most OEM frames, it's high gloss, and it looks like it'll be pretty durable and look good for a couple years.

The weather isn't all that great here in December in Michigan, USA so we weren't able to get in any longer miles beside a few quick trips across town, but the Ecoforce performed well, the geometry, fork rake, and general size are all perfect for urban riding with a touch of style.

Contact your local dealer and be the first in your town with an affordable Bamboo frame. And ..... ride safe.