Thursday, December 22, 2011

Black Sheep Snow Roller - The Bike, The Process

A snow bike for snowbikepacking. That's the goal. 

Lucky for me I have three really cool friends that run the show at Black Sheep Bikes. James - the man that started it all - invited me up for the Black Sheep Snow Roller build. So I hung out with James & Todd & Paul and watched them do their thing - Black Sheep Style. 

It definitely was an awesome weekend watching the bike start from a design and some titanium tubes. Yep, it's good to have friends in high places.

Here are the pics that tell the story of the Black Sheep build process. Pretty cool!
The Black Sheep Snow Roller at The Judd's Palatial Palace
Impressions of the custom Black Sheep design and build process:
The process, the attention to detail is amazing. I never imagined how meticulous it all is. Sure there are equations and tools and jigs and all that stuff. But the tube bending and fitting take extreme precision, man-in-the-loop precision. Each cut, each bend, each weld must be perfect - and there ain't no machine or computer that'll do it. It truly is a hand built bike, a process that requires insane concentration, skill and dedication. 
And it's obvious why dudes like me don't build bikes - lack of patience. As a kid that could build a 500 piece airplane model (B-52, B-29, B-17, etc) and paint it in 3 hrs, I never had the patience to do something at a measured pace. It's always a 'if you think it'll take 3 days, I'll do it in 3 hrs, and I don't care if I get glue on the carpet, paint on the dog or rip a sticker.
But as a proud addict of Black Sheep Bikes I'm sure glad that there are dudes out there that take time, pay attention to EVERY detail. AND are cool enough to walk me through the entire process and answer EVERY stupid question that I had. (And I had 739 stupid questions!)
Anyway, after experiencing 4 days of the custom build process all I know is - time to start saving for the next one.
Below is a major set of pics. Then the boring 'Ludacris' comments - Back of the Pack style. 
The Beginning
Highlight #1 - Perfect Geometry
The Snow Bike - The Plan
Where it all STARTS - Titanium
you call it 'a lathe'
the head tube
the bottom bracket
titanium and a lathe
take a break and think about this
gotta make it fit
The Frame
bending the down tube
the down tube, the bend

the jig
the top tube, the down tube
the tubes, top / down / seat
the 'triangle' or whatever
again
the head tube
the intersection
the seat stays
the chain stays

the chain stays / HACS
the HACS
the intersection of many tubes
just a view
fatty for fatty
ready for welding
a rear view
James doing his thing
again
frame is done, like dinner
The Clark Bars
James' Clark Bars - the template
another view
welding the Clark Bars
finished product
again
titanium
Clark Bars and seat post
The Faith Fork
it all starts here
the Faith Fork jig
some titanium tubes - bent
another view
the fork, the jig
again
a late night break - as required by Judd
the fork, the fit... prior to welding
James hard at work
still hard at work
the faith fork - finished
The Racks

the rear rack, the beginning
the rear rack
the front rack, the beginning
again
Todd hard at work
Todd still hard at work
James working on the rear rack
another view
the finished rear rack
cool, huh
definitely cool
all assembled
The Finish

Paul's tape job
the sheep
Black Sheep reigns
like
motorcycle boy reigns
the head tube badge
Paul hard at work
#1 and #4
James working on...something
Todd working on... something
the dudes working on grip tape

Fatty for Fatty - The Serial 'Number'

Black Sheep

The Black Sheep Snow Roller



a view
a view in 'the office'
a view in the snow
the Clark Bar
the rear
the rear rack
the front rack
the Snow Roller
the graphics


the snow, the bike, the Black Sheep Snow Roller
A few final thoughts - Back of the Pack Style:
Someone said a picture is worth a thousand words - so since I attached 100 pics I guess you could say that I've gone overboard on this posting.

I'll wrap it up with the usual.

Why sheep #4:
  1. Can't have sheep #5 until you have sheep #4
  2. Can't go snowbikepacking unless you have a snow bike
  3. Investing in titanium is a smart retirement strategy
  4. Why the hell not?
How can The Judd afford so many sheep:
  1. No wife(s), no kids, no pets, no problems
  2. Why save for retirement. A 401k and pension should be enough. Enron was just a one time thing
  3. If you have a secret trustfund, a trustfund the parents don't even know about, why not spend it on a sheep. 
  4. When you have 5 sugar mamas you can get creative with the 'allowance'
  5. The end of the world is 1 year away, start charging those credit cards. Because it just won't matter after Dec 21, 2112
Quote of the trip:
"you can't rush art"
2nd Quote of the trip:
“who’s Art” 
Lessons learned:
  1. If you want a sheep, better get in line. And the line ain't gettin' any shorter.
  2. 29ers are cool, fat bikes / snow bikes are cool, but 36ers are the answer. I just don't know what the question is.  
  3. Don't forget your spot beacon - if your traveling the I-25 route between Denver and Albuquerque in the winter months. Because The Family wants to know where The Judd is, and Texting & Driving is DANGEROUS in winter weather. (Not so dangerous in the nice Colorado summers. Yeah right.)
  4. If the snow is melting & the roads are clear, I-25 may still be closed.
  5. During the commute to / from Black Sheep World Headquarters I can listen to Nine Inch Nails / The Four of us are Dying 131 times. No Joke.

3 comments:

  1. Ok this is your coolest post of the year! And considering your adventures this year that says a lot. Effing awesome that you got to watch the entire build for that bike! I am jealous of the snow bike in your arsenal now as well - not sure if the Nordic ski area on top of Sandia is your goal, but that is a sweet network up there.

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  2. Hey Matt. Yeah. It was one awesome weekend. Just mind-boggling to watch raw tubes turn into such cool bike. The trails up around Sandia Crest are definitely the destination - when riding from home. I hope to get out there soon once the holiday stuff winds down.

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  3. Belatedly, but congratulations! I love it!
    I have a long way to catch up with you with my two sheep, but I'll sure keep on trying.

    Cheers!!!

    Guy

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