The convergence of a passion and an education set the stage for this unique American maker. Please meet Randall Levere
a Maine native, cycling enthusiast and structural engineer.
A graduate from The Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, Randall spent years in corporate and, as with so many of our Makers, was not feeling a connection to his work. He kept circling back to bikes and, in 2009, decided to build a prototype.
Bamboo spoke to him.
Being a competitive racer, Randall understands the performance and material properties he wants in a bicycle.
In bamboo, he found a material that had great performance but also a smoother, more supple ride than bikes made from aluminum, steel, or Titanium.
He knew he was on to something so he incorporated in 2010 under the name of Erba Cycles. Erba is ‘grass’ in Italian and, technically, bamboo is classified as a grass.
Randall starts with a species of bamboo grown in Florida that takes three years to grow to the proper wall thickness.
To make the joint, he uses hemp fiber or flax fiber.
He then wets the fiber with an epoxy resin and wraps it in a pattern.
He finishes the joint by hand filing the resin to a smooth finish.
Randall’s studio workshop is located in Boston’s Seaport district in the Innovation & Design Building where he is dedicated to building a quality American Made product, by hand, one piece at a time.
The frame is made entirely out of bamboo.
He has added bamboo fenders.
The combination of bamboo, flax or hemp fiber and an epoxy resin made from a pulp-and-paper by product makes the Erba Cycle as green as can be.
Randall uses leather for the seats as it compliments the natural aesthetics of bamboo. This fine leather was sourced from Edelman Leathers – which is located just down the hall from the Erba studio.
The Erba Cycle is a better performing bike than a metal frame one. The bamboo frame and bamboo fibers absorb the vibrations felt by metal frame bikes and work to create a smooth and quiet ride. Says Randall ” bamboo is stronger than steel alloy in tension and stronger than concrete in compression.” You can’t argue with a structural engineer!
Come look at some of his creations. True pieces of art and totally functional.
The 2016 collection includes three styles of bikes providing different experiences for various terrain and distances.
The Erban, a stylish Commuter bicycle geared toward urban dwellers.
The Erban Speedster, an aggressive, fast, comfortable urban bike.
Randall has a van that can hang five bikes on the inside and four on the outside.
Randall hustles by touring the country.
His intent is to get out there with his bikes and talk about them.
Team New American had the pleasure of meeting Randall at both the Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY American Field Pop-Up Markets. We are delighted to feature another ‘Made in the USA’ company. Since 2010, Erba Cycles has been making exquisite and totally functional bamboo bicycles in Boston, MA. Randall can be proud to be part of the ‘American Made’ community that is fuel for the engine which makes America great.