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NAHBS – Wicked Titanium Cruiser, Club Racer, 29er and More from Black Sheep Bicycles

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NAHBS 2010 – I’m going to go ahead and say it: Black Sheep had the biggest collection of 100% bad ass bikes of any other booth there.  All titanium, they covered the gamut of speedy fixed gears (above), 29er mountain bike, cargo bike and a quick looking path racer.  Coupled with the frames they were building for Vuelo Velo, their frame designs and shapes were, in a word, wicked.

Shown above is the singlespeed speedster, featuring S&S couplers and a sweet criss-cross seatstay.  The curvy frame is accentuated by their custom spear-tip handlebars, semi-integrated seatmast and smoothly shaped fork legs.

Check out more after the break, you’ll be glad you did…


The twisted spoke lacing on the front wheel and the pointy handlebars give the bike a sinister demeanor.  A lot of steel forks at the show are capped with lugs, but these come up and weld to the steerer tube.  The custom stem uses a separate faceplate since there’s no way that bar is sliding through.


One of Black Sheep’s designs on several of their bikes are these sliding chainstays called HACS (Horizontally Adjustable Chain Stays).  They allow for proper chain tension on fixies and singlespeeds, and they give a frame break for inserting a Gates Carbon Belt Drive.



Really, can you have too many pictures of a bike like this?


This one is the Pista, a vintage path racer looking bike that’s built up with thoroughly modern parts in the drivetrain and classic wood for rims and headset detail.


Nice details include wood inlays in the custom Cane Creek Ti headset and fork legs that finish straight up.


Custom adjustable length stem and sweet mustache handlebars.  Hmmm…wonder what kind of stash you could hid in that stem…


As built, this Pista has White Industries hubs, pedals and cranks and would retail for about $5,500.  That means you’re getting a pretty sweet deal on the components because the frame is $4,000 and the S&S couplers are $750.


Sliding dropouts let you get the tension just right, and a frame break just above the dropout would allow for a belt drive to be installed.




Probably the baddest commuter bike you’re likely to see in a while.  Their new cargo bike design didn’t even come in until the second day of the show it’s so fresh, but it quickly had crowds all around it.


Your first instinct is to look at the built-in cargo rack, but closer inspection up front reveals a unique take on the truss fork design.  Rather than attach to a separate steerer tube clamp like most, this one is connected directly to the handlebar, allowing for a shorter stack height and bruiser front end.


There are plenty of square, straight racks, and some racks with custom floral or other designs welded in, but this swept back, pointed design is just awesome.  Look closely, and you’ll see that the rear brake hose pops out of the frame just in front of the rack’s support.  The front hub dyno powers the headlight and, through hidden wiring, illuminates that tiny LED rear light on the back of the rack.


Note the ever-so-slightly curved seat tube, continuing the overall swoop of the frame.  From what we can tell, Black Sheep is pretty good at assembling a total package.


The cargo frame uses the same adjustable chainstays as the others.  As shown, this bike is around $7,000+ complete.


Last but not least, their new 29er mountain bike called “El Culibra” which loosely translates to “The Snake” (nevermind the gender confusion and misspelling…it should be “La Culebra”), and is their single speed race bike. Featuring a mixte-style frame, the outer top tubes flow past the seat tube to become stays and offer a bit of vertical compliance.  The frame uses their Faith Ti truss fork in standard configuration.


The double barrel downtube adds style points and allows for pretty wide attachment points at the bottom bracket to enhance stiffness.


Solid chainstay brace.  Solid.


This frame has their second-generation HACS.  Originally, they were round tubes, but overtightening the screws could ovalize or indent the inner tube, making them hard to slide and adjust.  The new version has small ridges on a flat surface, and the bolt fixes to those without having to harm the tube.


Non drive side has a disc brake reinforcement brace.  The frame weight is about 3lb 3oz (1,446g) and will set you back $3,400.  The fork is $1,000 and the handlebar is $550.  Each bike is custom built with specific tube shapes, diameters and sizes to fit you and your riding style.  Black Sheep has about a 3-4 month wait list at present.

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Mike Allin
14 years ago

Nice looking titanium cruiser! The price is quite high though! Never heard of black sheep bikes before but I’m glad I have now. Looks like they’re catering to a niche market of bike lovers. Great stuff! Thanks! -Mike

14 years ago

That first cruiser is indeed sweet. I love the handlebar set. Questioning the S&S couplers though – what, so they can take their cruiser apart, and check it in on an airplane? Why? Is there some S&S speed dating party going on that I don’t know about, where you bring your bike in halves and see who else’s bike fits in your couplers? I like the idea of the sliding stem, more than the idea of riding it however.

Kristi Benedict
14 years ago

S&S Couplers were rampant at the show, lots of builders were showcasing them…probably just to show that they can add them if a customer wants but also to show that the bikes could be knocked down into a smaller suitcase to give the middle finger to the airlines.

14 years ago

Does sliding the chainstays stress the seatstays? Seems like quite a pain in the ass to get chain tension every time you get a rear tire flat. Props for the idea, it does simplify the rear disk mount.

Dean Vickers
13 years ago

I recently aske Black Sheep to build me a titanium fork for my ti road bike.
The quality/workmanship was in need of improvement. I was cheering
them to produce a top quality product but, it did’nt seem to happen. Not
sure what happened during the construction of the fork, but I summized that
one of James’ helpers took on the project. I look forward to approaching
Black Sheep in the near future and discuss the issues.
I like their fork and want one on my bike.

11 years ago

I was searching for reviews of Black Sheep Bikes and found this article. Wow These have got to be some of the Sexiest samples of Metal Manipulation for both Speed & Style I have seen in along time… Bravo Black Sheep…. Now as soon as I sell my Kidney and Spleen I’m getting one built for me…

Daniel Woo
3 years ago

Sexy Titanium Bike…These kind of bikes have good demand in our part of the world.

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