About Grass Frames

In March of 2011 Grass Frames was founded on the principle of innovation. We value continual improvement of ourselves and our manufacturing processes, and thus our product. In a time where more companies are going through a “greening” process, we started Grass Frames on the idea that social and environmental responsibility would be at the core of every decision. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate to the world that a fully green business is more viable and better for the community.

“I’ve been at this kind of thing for some time now. Since high school I have enjoyed working with my hands, something I think everyone should try, and putting my head into my projects. Some joinery here, some marine repair there, and a bit of finishing carpentry and odd jobs. It kind of gets under your skin. Even going through university it was renovations that payed the way. I have been distraught, however, by the extreme wastage, the excess, and the pollution. A few years back I had drafted up plans to make a reclaimed materials business; I would disassemble homes and build up others with the parts. These have since become others’ dreams and aspirations. While this was going on Josh and James became more attuned to design and began dreaming of getting a 3D printer or rapid prototyper going. Not really my thing, but I could get behind the idea. So where did bamboo come into the picture?

“I think I first encountered bamboo in high school, at Josh’s. I remember staring  wide-eyed at this perfect “wood”. He had fashioned a cup out of a piece of timber bamboo, in shop class. A bit later, when I was dabbling with wood products and joinery, I had come across bamboo ply. I had thought to myself ‘this is all I want to use from now on’. Unfortunately the ply also came with a very prohibitive price. I remember dreaming about growing some bamboo in BC and running a ply press… but who has millions to toss at me to let me chase that dream? …talk about a barrier to entry. After a brief flirt with linguistics and philosophy I found myself in Japan. Bamboo like you have never seen before (well, those of you who have not been through America’s groves nor Asia in general). I was attracted to bamboo even more.

“Over my stay in Japan I took to trimming down some local varieties, drying it, and in between classes and volunteering I would make crafts or furniture out of it. I encountered some major difficulties. How to bind the bamboo and how to dry it properly. I had tried wood joinery techniques, knots… not too effective. Air drying also did not work too well during the wet seasons in Japan. Returning home and sitting on my mother’s couch it hit me, a kickback to my fibreglass days. If glass fibre, a non-permeable membrane built into a mesh, could be saturated with an oil based glue… why not whet out a natural fibre with a plant based glue? This is also similar to an older marine technology of canvassing a deck and pouring paint on it until it would not accept water (though the best paint was lead based, and the seams were often patched with tar). A week later, after pitching the idea to Josh and James Grass Frames was born into its first incarnation, me sitting on Josh floor with a pile of miss matched bamboo strewn around me and a bunch of hemp string on its way. It would take us another 6 months to learn what running a business entails, and 3 months to set up the technology and shop to the point where we had a usable prototype. A year and a half later we hit the market on a trial basis. Here we are armed with a manifesto, ethos, and a bits of scattered philosophy to guide us along the way.”

-Al Roback, Owner, Grass Frames-

Our Ideals

Customer Commitment & Quality Assurance

We at Grass Frames are dedicated to our customers, and providing them with the very best product. This is a promise that all our employees honour. As such, all of our frames come with a 3-year warranty. We work closely with each of our customers to create a bamboo bicycle that fits their lifestyle. Each customer rides away with a personalized product that supports their lifestyle.

Action Oriented

Others talk about “going green”, but Grass Frames makes social and environmental responsibility our baseline. We scrutinize every aspect of our production process to ensure safety for our customers, employees and the environment.

Locally Crafted

Grass Frames manufactures hand-crafted bamboo frames and full bamboo bicycles in Vancouver, BC. We love living in Vancouver as it is the ultimate bicycle testing ground, and allows us to implement changes to our product quickly. Producing locally helps create jobs and keep money within our local community.

Natural Materials

We use materials that are sustainable, ethical and not toxic to the environment. We strive to use the most eco-friendly materials including a plant based epoxy. Using plant-based materials instead of metals limits emissions from the mining and smelting processes. You can lean more about our materials here.

Locally Sourced

Grass Frames sources our materials as locally as possible. This cuts down on emissions from shipping, helps us save you money and keeps strong connections with our local suppliers. Our bamboo is grown in California and our hemp is being sourced in Manitoba. We are also working towards our goal to grow bamboo in the lower mainland.

Reduce, Reuse, Repair & Recycle

We closely examine our production process to ensure we are creating as little waste as possible. We also build strategies to redistribute unused materials back into the community. Bamboo that hasn’t met our standards has been given to children’s craft groups, hobbyists  and gardeners for fencing. Of course we also recycle everything else we can from our process.

Employee Quality of Life

We feel it is important to provide our employees and volunteers with the best training to develop their skills. This way they can create the best product as well as live the best life possible. We also put effort into making Grass Frames a fun place to grow and succeed both personally and professionally. Our approach with employees is steeped in innovation. We believe in working smarter not harder. We are exceptionally lucky to have a team who constantly strive to innovate and improve our bicycles.

Employees are encouraged to pursue passions and we readily provide flexible schedules to accommodate. We do our best to provide every employee with their own bicycle. This is a great way to show off our bicycles and an even better way to encourage our employees to practice what we preach, stay healthy, and have fun.

Community Investment

Grass Frames will invest in the integrity of our community by helping to green current businesses, mentor budding new green business, advocate cycling as a green and healthy lifestyle, and get people of all ages onto an ethical bicycle. To better meet these goals we are partnering with local advocacy and charitable groups.