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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,
I've been a frequent visitor in recent history to this forum as I got ideas for my new 29er. After a short period of deliberation I decided on James at Black Sheep to build my frame. The wait was a true 5 weeks, and I am completely satisfied with the quality of his work and communication. This is the first unicrown ti fork I've seen and it is beautiful. As for the ride, I'll take a short one on dirt roads later, but I've got a compression fracture of my T-4 so no hardcore for a few more weeks. I weighed the frame and fork on a friends digital scale, the frame was 1682g's with EBB, the fork 628g's. I chose the following for components:

-Wheels- Maxxis Igniter tires, Swiss DT hubs, DT Supercomp spokes and Stans rims with Chris King 20t cog.
- Cranks- White Industries ENO, 180mm, 34t.
-Bottom Bracket- Phil Wood ti (actually this isn't on the bike yet, I calculated too narrow, the excellent customer service at PW is taking care of me).
-Pedals- Xpedo ti/ti.
-Brakes- XTR discs with XT levers.
-Seatpost- Aerolite ti, I had one around and I love it, you can find them on eBay for $50.
-Seat- WTB Rocket V off my last SS.
-Stem- Ritchey WCS, 90mm.
-Bars- Old School Scott AT-2LF. 185grams of familiar comfort.
-Headset- Cane Creek S-2.

As you can tell, I indulged... but I'll ride this bike for years so I look at it as a long term investment. I'll post an overall weight tonite after I drop by my LBS and offer a real ride report as soon as I've got enough miles under my belt. Thanks everyone for posting such good questions and answers, I was able to find virtually every answer I sought.

Regards,
Wardo
 

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Alaska Turner Mafia
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That's delicious

I love this package! And that fork is beautiful, what a clever idea to put Breezer-style dropouts on the end of the fork legs. Looks like it's going to provide years of pleasure.

Give us your ride impressions of the fork after you've had it a while. Very nice.

Rando
 

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Wow!

That is one of the cleanest looking bikes I have ever seen. The fork is sweet. enjoy it.
it looks like you have a replaceable piece in the rear dropout... replaceable w/der hanger if you want to later?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
bikecop said:
That is one of the cleanest looking bikes I have ever seen. The fork is sweet. enjoy it.
it looks like you have a replaceable piece in the rear dropout... replaceable w/der hanger if you want to later?
BC,
Yes, the Paragon (I think it is a Paragon, but I could easily be mistaken.) dropout is set up so you can just screw a hangar on it, and although I don't have any of the cable guides I love the option to make it a geared bike down the road.

Wardo
 

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I shouldn't envy that bike...

I shouldn't envy that bike, as mine looks almost identical -- but I do! And as far as the frame goes, it is virtually identical to mine. James made me a Ti segmented fork, and I love it and have nothing but praise for it -- but that unicrown fork looks awesome. I ran into James a couple of weeks ago while out riding and he was telling me about it and his hopes (dependent upon Ti tubing manufacturers) to lighten-up future models even more -- perhaps down to a 1 lb fork.

wardo78 said:
This is the first unicrown ti fork I've seen and it is beautiful.
If I understood what he told me correctly (I was a bit loony as I was well into a long ride and we were grinding up the 16% grade on the back side of Rist Canyon west of Fort Collins), but it seems we'll be seeing more of those "Breezer-style" front drop-outs on forks. He made them "one-off" for my fork, but they're apparently now being manufactured by a third party...

I hope you quickly get your back in shape and have some great rides this summer...
 

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That big hill...

PeT said:
(I was a bit loony as I was well into a long ride and we were grinding up the 16% grade on the back side of Rist Canyon west of Fort Collins...
Hey I did that ride Saturday!

That hill use to be called "Old Ford Hill" because the old Fords had to back up the thing so they didn't flood.

Are you in Fort Collins a lot? We should hook up for a ride sometime.

Brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for the nice comments, Jim does fine work. I weighed the bike and it comes in at 19 lbs exactly. As for the ride... as I am prone to doing, I disregarded my bodies mutterings and went for a 8 mile ride on single track. Not long, but enough of a ride to get a feel for things. Everything worked flawlessly, just a few adjustments required. The fork felt great, the frame compliant but rigid where needed. As my first 29er, I immediately felt the traction benefits in climbing, and my sore back noticed that the wheels rolled over roots and rocks in a smoother fashion. All-in-all a great first ride. My descending was cautious, and my climbing lame... but I had allot of FUN! I'll follow up when I can really sample what this 29er is capable of....

Regards,
Wardo
 

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That bike is beautiful!

I've got an only slightly off topic question regarding forks. I like the look of both the segmented forks and now this unicrown fork as well. Can someone explain the advantages or ride characteristics of a strut? fork like on the Black Sheep web site?

Thanks, and congrats again on that beauty!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ride Update

Since my back has taken a turn for the better in the last week I've put some serious miles in on this fantastic frame/fork combo. Since everything is different from my old 26er I can't make any controlled comparisons as to where the real improvements are, but improved it is! On Sunday I went on an epic with 5 other guys, all very strong riders, after a long layoff myself and held my own all day long. Since descending is where I am strongest, I usually expect to be relatively quick there, and this bike did not dissapoint! One of the guys is an accomplished expert racer on an Ellsworth Truth, and after one long semi-technical descent said he couldn't get near me. The wheels just rollover stuff that I used to get knocked off line by, the forks smooth out the little stuff, and for some reason I don't understand, the bike hops better than anything I've ever ridden. Don't like your line? Hop the bike over to the other side of the trail... don't want to deal with the water bar? Hop it.... This bike spends as much time in the air while descending as it does on the ground. For climbing James got it spot on, it is rigid and all the power gets to where it belongs. The big contact patch means that when the power gets there it gets transferred into forward motion. I climbed stuff I never made in years of trying on my 26er SS the first day. Am I satisfied? Hell yea! Am I a 29er convert? What do you think? I've owned some really nice bikes but this is by far the best, thanks to this forum and James from Black Sheep I've got my dream ride.

Regards,
Wardo
 

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Black Sheep in balance...

wardo78 said:
The wheels just rollover stuff that I used to get knocked off line by, the forks smooth out the little stuff, and for some reason I don't understand, the bike hops better than anything I've ever ridden.
I second the superior "hop-ability" of the Black Sheep. I'm convinced James has the right fitting matrix and builds a supremely balanced bike. Despite having a boat anchor of a Rohloff hub, I find myself just launching into the air to get over obstacles and change lines at will -- a technique not in my repertoire in the past.

In contrast to Wardo, descending is not my strength, and my Black Sheep has made me at least competent because it tracks so well. But climbing is my strength and the Black Sheep has even helped there -- I now clean technical steeps that were previously un-rideable (by me) -- no weird positions on the saddle are required to keep the front end down, superior slow-speed maneuverability, and all the traction I need (nanoraptor). This past weekend I was in Steamboat Springs and found that I was inadvertently riding up the down routes on Emerald Mountain -- I never could have kept my line on the old 26er Moots on those steep, rooty, and rocky trails. As a matter of fact, the last time I was there I was off the bike (the YBB) all the time.

Yeah, the big wheels are great, but the frame and fork by James of Black Sheep is what really makes it work... I know these are just testimonials and are worth the ether they're written on -- but now there are at least two of them floating around out there!
 
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