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  1. #1
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    Black Sheep does quality work; patience is our part of the deal

    I've read the post concerning Black sheep Bikes and communication, and because I understand the frustration expressed but know James does quality work, I have a question. How much is patience our part of the deal we have with a builder?

    Black Sheep Bikes and James do excellent work and can be counted on do go above and beyond to satisfy customers.

    My sense is that with the move to a new shop and the flood of orders that resulted from NAHBS, BS is balancing how much communication can be done in a day if the product produced is going to be quality.

    Personally, I've had James do three frames, and each was on-time within a week. The uniqueness of each frame can only be accomplished by an independent frame builder. The result is a frame that would be hard to ever part with.

    I have to mention that the quality of his work is matched by a high degree of integrity.
    For that reason, after searching wide to find who might be the best person to bring to the University of Iowa to do a week-long workshop in our frame building courses, we chose James.

    I'm not aware of a frame builder who at times does not struggle to balance producing with picking up the phone.

  2. #2
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    this is more the difference between TI and steel

    As a BS owner and very very very happy one at that, I can reply.

    TI, even today has crappy lead in times that is part of the problem. Also, the Black Sheep can be a little late, but the frames are *****in. Compare Vanilla Cycles or Richard Sachs.

    Now, compare this to steel, every steel frame I have ever ordered has come in on time, except for Trailmaster no. 5 which was alot late, but ahem, that was 1980 when everyone, except Tom Ritchey, did not know what was going on. Try Rock Lobster or any excellent steel bike frame builder and you will the time frame is reasonable.

    VTW

  3. #3
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    I am a very happy customer as well as I said in the other post, but this a REVIEW site and as such is one thing that keeps builders honest and aware of their strengths/shortcomings from the customer's perspective.

    Patience IS part of the deal, but you may seem to be missing that the other end has to be honored as well or its not a deal. There a lot of details that others (and myself) aren't posting about their experiences - no reason to put everything out there when we don't know the whole story and people read into everything.

    The other post started as a "is this normal?" post that then migrated to a "this was my experience, hope yours is better if you go down this road" post. I don't think there's any harm in that and honestly I see there is some benefit to BS by seeing this stuff out there. They've been told in person, but when that stops helping, this is the next best alternative. I will always recommend them but because of my experience my recommendation will always have qualifiers that are aimed in helping the prospective customer get what they want. That is very different from not recommending them. Feel free to PM me if anyone would like to discuss off forums.

  4. #4
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    I agree gravelrd - I was there to get the final details nailed down and pick my bike up in person last month and it was ready to ride the same day I got there, which was around the same schedule Todd had originally quoted me when I put my deposit in.

    It's easy to get wound up about timing when you've got thousands of dollars invested and been waiting for your bike for months, which is unavoidable even if they are on time down to the minute, and they can't always be that for this kind of product. Being patient is easier said than done, and when you get impatient, this tends to compound itself in your head, and probably isn't that helpful in allowing them time to build bikes (or motivationally) either.

    This is a small, small shop, building world class one of a kind art bikes that vary in time considerably from project to project, trying to satisfy as much demand as they can and expanding very slowly and carefully to do that with integrity and quality. It behooves potential buyers to stay on top of the details to make sure all the right parts are specified and there on time (as opposed to, say, picking spokes that require nipples that won't fit your wheels, or ordering your own fork and shifter and having them not show up on time... ), and to establish a schedule, and check on it, but not bug them overly much.

    Like I said in my build report thread, I also highly recommend going there in person to get your bike - you'll get a lot more out of the whole experience, or at least I did.

  5. #5
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    I'm leaving this one alone as the details of my experience make it sound worse than it is, but I think its fair to say you had a different experience as many others have had as well on both ends of the spectrum. Remember you ordered yours after me and got it before (well, I guess not technically )!

    I will say that "bugging them overly much" was the only thing that worked in my instance. If I hadn't been a jerk who knows if I'd still be waiting. That being said I'd buy another bike and use your advice, going there seems to be the ticket and I'd love to see the place.

    For what it's worth, I set a PB on my local fav trail on the 36er today!! Was trying to keep within 5% of my 29er best time and beat it by 8% instead. This thing is awesome!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Indeed Matt, totally agreed, different experiences of course make for different thoughts on some of these things - but yours came out pretty well in the end too I think. Re: beating the 29er time significantly, this is interesting - seems what they say about the 36ers being surprisingly fast may be true!

  7. #7
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    Agree 100%.

    I've always heard 10% slower...
    The really interesting thing is that's a front suspended 29er vs a rigid 36er on VERY rooty terrain albeit generally flat (75ft/mi). I'm not saying my arms and hands aren't sore but I'd have never expected to beat that time at the same effort level in the same (if not worse) shape.

    Oh, and NO headset issues today after trying to beat the crap out of it. Also adjusted the HACS which took a good 10 seconds, so much easier than my EBB in the 29er and no creaking whatsoever.

  8. #8
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    Ah, but that approach angle thing is probably huge for things like that - as someone here pointed out, it won't help with cushioning a drop, but when it comes to rolling over stuff like rocks and roots, the 36er wheels probably rule. Awesome. With ride time on such a machine, whatever delivery stress there was hopefully fades into the distance... perhaps I'll have them build me a FS 36er next time...

  9. #9
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    What delivery stress?

    And don't think I haven't dreamt about flex plates and custom Kilo forks Someone here has posted thoughts on building his own FS 36er (may have been the guy building a tandem?) but not sure they've looked at it in detail yet.

    When I was talking to builders they ALL said no need for any suspension (must live in areas w/o roots and rocks). I could see not needing rear with the long chain and seats stays, although that would be the easy one to fabricate. Front suspension would be difficult or very expensive. An Actiontec style fork was what I had in mind as it would be easier than having White Bros or someone make a custom fork that would be in the thousands alone but builders said it wouldnt be strong enough and would increase your HT angle/decrease standover/etc. But still.....

  10. #10
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    Actiontec = no go

    Hey Mbeard -

    Just FYI, the reason nobody wants to do an Actiontec setup is that even for a 29er, they tend to need constant rebuilds due to the fairly small surface area in contact between the bearings and the piston splines. With 29ers, I've seen the shock unit have to be rebuilt at least once a season by Russ with larger bearings to eliminate the fore/aft and rotational play (VERY disconcerting, trust me!) With a fork long enough for a 36er wheel, this problem would end up being much, much worse due to the increased leverage.

    A Cannondale headshock unit (needle bearings!) would do the trick, though. I just built one (not for a 36er, though) as a test setup for a customer, and I might do more in the future if it works out well.

    I don't think it makes much sense to do rear suspension for a 36er, but it could certainly be done for enough scratch. A high or low single pivot design would be relatively easy to do.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    What delivery stress?

    And don't think I haven't dreamt about flex plates and custom Kilo forks Someone here has posted thoughts on building his own FS 36er (may have been the guy building a tandem?) but not sure they've looked at it in detail yet.

    When I was talking to builders they ALL said no need for any suspension (must live in areas w/o roots and rocks). I could see not needing rear with the long chain and seats stays, although that would be the easy one to fabricate. Front suspension would be difficult or very expensive. An Actiontec style fork was what I had in mind as it would be easier than having White Bros or someone make a custom fork that would be in the thousands alone but builders said it wouldnt be strong enough and would increase your HT angle/decrease standover/etc. But still.....
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  11. #11
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    Patience AND communication which BS seems to lack any know-how of. I`m slightly disgusted that one needs to stoop down to the pissed-of level to get the BS-crew in gear and am contemplating asking for my deposit back

    Edit: Just got of the phone with James, or, the call got terminated, and he promised me that the frame should be done on september 10th. We`ll see
    Last edited by erol/frost; 09-02-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    Patience AND communication which BS seems to lack any know-how of. I`m slightly disgusted that one needs to stoop down to the pissed-of level to get the BS-crew in gear and am contemplating asking for my deposit back

    Edit: Just got of the phone with James, or, the call got terminated, and he promised me that the frame should be done on september 10th. We`ll see
    Hang in there, when you get it, you'll be pleased (whenever that is).
    Small consolation for the stress but it is what it is at this point anyways right?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Hey Mbeard -

    Just FYI, the reason nobody wants to do an Actiontec setup is that even for a 29er, they tend to need constant rebuilds due to the fairly small surface area in contact between the bearings and the piston splines. With a fork long enough for a 36er wheel, this problem would end up being much, much worse due to the increased leverage.

    A Cannondale headshock unit (needle bearings!) would do the trick, though. I just built one (not for a 36er, though) as a test setup for a customer, and I might do more in the future if it works out well.

    -Walt
    I'm sure the wheel weight doesn't help either. Cutting that down would make for a more forgiving front end in general I'd think. I've seen a little more headset play after another bumpy ride yesterday with everything torqued down considerably and I definitely need to work on my hand/arm strength for endurance ST rides with a rigid fork so I may legitimately look into front sus at some point.

    I guess I should have said Actiontec-style. I completely forgot about the Headshok. I'll be interested to hear how your build holds up and to see if you ever do a 36er setup like that (I'd be a happy beta-tester, hint hint, wouldn't mind different forks for different moods ).

    How do you think the extra height in the fork would affect handling? Can you correct that somewhat with altering the trail built into the fork to account for a slightly slacker HTA?

  14. #14
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    great ride
    Last edited by gosoulride; 09-16-2011 at 10:11 AM.

  15. #15
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    Not a retrofit

    The headshock requires a totally different steerer/headtube/headset, so this would not be a retrofittable fork for any current frame, except *maybe* a 44mm ID setup (and I'd have to think about whether even that would work).

    So the head tube angle question is irrelevant - you'd need this to be a full frame/fork build from the ground up to make it work for a 36er.

    If the HS works out well, I may very well build myself one (I have wanted a 36er of my own for quite a while!) next year. Keep an eye on the blog, I'll post about it if I do it.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    I'm sure the wheel weight doesn't help either. Cutting that down would make for a more forgiving front end in general I'd think. I've seen a little more headset play after another bumpy ride yesterday with everything torqued down considerably and I definitely need to work on my hand/arm strength for endurance ST rides with a rigid fork so I may legitimately look into front sus at some point.

    I guess I should have said Actiontec-style. I completely forgot about the Headshok. I'll be interested to hear how your build holds up and to see if you ever do a 36er setup like that (I'd be a happy beta-tester, hint hint, wouldn't mind different forks for different moods ).

    How do you think the extra height in the fork would affect handling? Can you correct that somewhat with altering the trail built into the fork to account for a slightly slacker HTA?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gosoulride View Post
    Wish I had fully understood this when I paid such a premium for this idea that is still materializing
    Thanks for speaking up
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  17. #17
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    Um, yeah, that's a heck of a first post. It's interesting that folks report such dramatically different experiences though - some have ordered bikes, even several bikes over time, and never had an issue with lateness or anything else, and I myself never experienced them as anything but responsive and up front - it's not my job to defend these guys, but they answered or returned my calls and emails, usually very promptly, and I tried not to abuse them. And the bike they built for me was a masterpiece - notwithstanding my very unusual, difficult and time consuming requests.

    I can't imagine James or Todd having told anyone they'd have lead time of less than 5 or 6 months at any time in the recent past, but we have folks reporting here that the the BS guys said 3 months (and in another thread one guy said 6 weeks!), which is crazy and anyone who's ever read anything about them would know is utterly impossible at least in recent years. And then to reportedly deliver a bike that broke shortly after arrival, already months late, and not promptly repair it? This simply does not sound like the James I got to know at all (and not only did I work with him on building my own fairly unique bike, I have watched him and the rest of the staff there work in person, for days, not minutes) - this suggests missing pieces of story to me, at the very least.

  18. #18
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    congrats on your experience. Sweet bike
    Last edited by gosoulride; 09-14-2011 at 06:15 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF View Post
    Um, yeah, that's a heck of a first post. It's interesting that folks report such dramatically different experiences though - some have ordered bikes, even several bikes over time, and never had an issue with lateness or anything else, and I myself never experienced them as anything but responsive and up front - it's not my job to defend these guys, but they answered or returned my calls and emails, usually very promptly, and I tried not to abuse them. And the bike they built for me was a masterpiece - notwithstanding my very unusual, difficult and time consuming requests.

    I can't imagine James or Todd having told anyone they'd have lead time of less than 5 or 6 months at any time in the recent past, but we have folks reporting here that the the BS guys said 3 months (and in another thread one guy said 6 weeks!), which is crazy and anyone who's ever read anything about them would know is utterly impossible at least in recent years. And then to reportedly deliver a bike that broke shortly after arrival, already months late, and not promptly repair it? This simply does not sound like the James I got to know at all (and not only did I work with him on building my own fairly unique bike, I have watched him and the rest of the staff there work in person, for days, not minutes) - this suggests missing pieces of story to me, at the very least.
    Yeah we could argue validity of any of these posts but in the end I think it's fair to not discount anyone's experience because yours is different. It's just as good for people to hear your story as it is poor experiences. I'm not trying to sway anyone away from BS (actually trying to sway people towards them) but letting them know what they may OR may not get themselves into as a result.

    Also remember that BS makes their own bed. I'm sure there are a few crazy customers out there, but I can think of very few ways for a 5 month build to turn into 9 due to the customer. Unless unreturned calls, email, missing parts, etc are all figments of my imagination (or I'm a complete liar)...

    BTW, a 4 hour ride turned into 6 today after stopping 6+ times (lost count) to discuss the bike. Still nobody has requested a ride...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    The headshock requires a totally different steerer/headtube/headset, so this would not be a retrofittable fork for any current frame, except *maybe* a 44mm ID setup (and I'd have to think about whether even that would work).

    So the head tube angle question is irrelevant - you'd need this to be a full frame/fork build from the ground up to make it work for a 36er.

    If the HS works out well, I may very well build myself one (I have wanted a 36er of my own for quite a while!) next year. Keep an eye on the blog, I'll post about it if I do it.

    -Walt
    Ahhhhh, didn't realize it was proprietary.

    Well then, how many 36ers does one man need... one rigid and one full sus?

    Look forward to seeing it pop up on your blog at some point.

  21. #21
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    Interesting. That is indeed a very, very ugly picture soulride, I'm just flagging we don't know all the facts (are you riding DH and weigh 280? ), and your desire not to go into too much detail seems reasonable. Could be they're just adapting better over time to dramatically increased demand (better prediction of wait time), etc., or who knows, and hopefully we never experience anything like what you report. Most importantly, I hope your bike is back in action soon! If my experience with James is any indication, he will make it right.

  22. #22
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    best of luck
    Last edited by gosoulride; 09-05-2011 at 11:22 PM.

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    I own a number of custom bikes, albeit road and cyclocross.

    My bikes are made by:

    Derek Bailey / Chris DeKerf
    Doug Curtiss
    Dario Pegoretti
    Carl Strong
    Randy Cunningham

    I very much enjoy all of the bikes, but of that list of builders the only one I own multiples of are those from Carl Strong.

    Frame building is a business. It isn't alchemy or black magic. There is art involved, and there is science involved, but it is a business and the reality is that there is no excuse for anyone who wishes to remain in business to allow for deadlines or promises to slide. If the business is the subject of threads like this one, "the product is great, you just have to be patient" - in my view that is not excusable.

    Carl Strong is a perfect example of how the business should be run.

    You place your order after extensive consultation with Carl about what you want. You finalize and sign off on the design, At that point you are told when the frame will be finished and ready to ship to you.

    I own 4 frames made by Carl and the only one that missed the deadline ( by 2 weeks ) was due to Spectrum Powdercoaters getting backed up with special orders for NAHBS.

    It's a business and you are the customer. Being forced to wait without any word, or missed or sliding timelines is not OK.

  24. #24
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    yeauh.
    Last edited by gosoulride; 09-14-2011 at 06:16 PM.

  25. #25
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    Amen TMB
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  26. #26
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    BS gets way too many accolades in my opinion just because of the progressive look of the frames and how pretty they look visually. My personal experience was a disaster and when I finally got my bike it was shoddy work and did not hold up to everyday riding.

    I depend on this site for product reviews and honest feedback. If I wanted smoke blown up my behind I would read a bike magazine review. I think it behooves us as a community to call people out who operate business this way so our fellow mtbers don't spend their hard earned money on something that may take close to a year to arrive.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokothemonkey View Post
    BS gets way too many accolades in my opinion just because of the progressive look of the frames and how pretty they look visually. My personal experience was a disaster and when I finally got my bike it was shoddy work and did not hold up to everyday riding.

    I depend on this site for product reviews and honest feedback. If I wanted smoke blown up my behind I would read a bike magazine review. I think it behooves us as a community to call people out who operate business this way so our fellow mtbers don't spend their hard earned money on something that may take close to a year to arrive.
    Don't get me wrong, if it takes a year, AND I was clearly told up front that it would take a year - then so be it. That is my decision to make, and if I made the decision then it's on me.

    However, if I am told it will take 10 weeks, and it takes 75 weeks - with little or no communication or explanation - that is not acceptable - at least in my books.

    The bike that took the longest of mine was the Curtlo. The stories about Doug's communication are largely true, he is slowish to respond, although he does do so.

    However, once my bike came up in his queue I was contacted and the communication was solid from there to finish. The finished product is a really nice riding bike and knowing what Doug's style I would order from him again, but I am forewarned.

    The bikes from Carl Strong - whole different world. At the time you place the order you are told when delivery will be, and he meets that promise. My last Strong, I was told at the outset that it would be 14 weeks, finished.

    I received the finished bike in exactly 14 weeks.

    That is how the business should be run. And the fact that a frame is made out of Ti is not an excuse, or reason, for unexplained delays. There are many Ti builders out there.

  28. #28
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    True, there are plenty of builders out there, including some at very low cost (like Carver) and others with short schedules. If all you want is custom tubing lengths in straight tubes, Ti or otherwise, you have a lot of choices.

    I picked BS in part because I felt like I connected with Todd and James, in part because I appreciate their unique combination of function and aesthetic, and in part because after talking to a few others before selecting BS, I found there are very few who will push the envelope and experiment like James will.

    Take the ZAMer, or take my own bike for example. See many custom Ti FS 29ers out there? Not too many. And with 4" travel? Fewer still. And a 27" standover? I've never seen one other than from BS. With a suspended Ti rack? Never seen another one before my own. But James was willing and able to do it, and produced a bike that weighs over 10 lbs less than the closest comparable production bike (and those bikes have 26" wheels!).

    And he delivered it, on time, and allowed me to hang out in his workshop for 4 days while they finished up and to try parts from his own personal bikes while he built me something unique. I know some others report different experiences, but my bike was something that very few other builders would even attempt, let alone with me there in their hair while they worked for days at a time.

    The BS guys are not only genuinely cool, but produce amazing, unique work-of-art bikes very unlike what is coming out of the vast majority of other builders, and if that's what you're looking for, your choices are a lot more limited than you make them out to be, and producing such bikes is probably not quite as time-predictable as your basic cut-and-weld either.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toomanybikes View Post
    Don't get me wrong, if it takes a year, AND I was clearly told up front that it would take a year - then so be it. That is my decision to make, and if I made the decision then it's on me.

    However, if I am told it will take 10 weeks, and it takes 75 weeks - with little or no communication or explanation - that is not acceptable - at least in my books.

    The bike that took the longest of mine was the Curtlo. The stories about Doug's communication are largely true, he is slowish to respond, although he does do so.

    However, once my bike came up in his queue I was contacted and the communication was solid from there to finish. The finished product is a really nice riding bike and knowing what Doug's style I would order from him again, but I am forewarned.

    The bikes from Carl Strong - whole different world. At the time you place the order you are told when delivery will be, and he meets that promise. My last Strong, I was told at the outset that it would be 14 weeks, finished.

    I received the finished bike in exactly 14 weeks.

    That is how the business should be run. And the fact that a frame is made out of Ti is not an excuse, or reason, for unexplained delays. There are many Ti builders out there.
    I think we are on the same page here. I didn't mean to insinuate that anything that takes up to a year is a bad deal. I think it boils down to communication and meeting expectations.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokothemonkey View Post
    I think it boils down to communication and meeting expectations.
    True for every product ever sold

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    I read this thread with real sadness and surprise. I Have had nothing but good experiences with BS. My bike is utterly beautiful (IMO), superbly put together and only a week or so late. They communicated and were friendly and very helpful. The bad stories I read here doesn't sound like the BS I know?
    If you want to read an amazing tale of customer service read the "SSWC2010: the ultimate adventure" on the website Back of the Pack Racing

  32. #32
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    Still sitting around twiddling my thumbs for a frame made to my specs and closing in fast on a year of waiting. Promised March 1st 2011 delivery without hesitation.

    Yeah, I`m annoyed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    Still sitting around twiddling my thumbs for a frame made to my specs and closing in fast on a year of waiting. Promised March 1st 2011 delivery without hesitation.

    Yeah, I`m annoyed.
    Bummer, but it looks like you should have it next week? Hope they keep their word (I know I know), its everything you hoped it would be and you can get to riding it soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    Bummer, but it looks like you should have it next week? Hope they keep their word (I know I know), its everything you hoped it would be and you can get to riding it soon.
    I take it you saw my post over at their Facebook page? We`ll see. Right now I feel like selling it on the Serotta boards when I get it and order a Moots or Seven which I contemplated during the planning process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    I take it you saw my post over at their Facebook page? We`ll see. Right now I feel like selling it on the Serotta boards when I get it and order a Moots or Seven which I contemplated during the planning process.

    Thats what I did. I already put a deposit down on Lynskey.

    I'm just waiting on a warranty issue on seatpost and bars. Customer service sucks!!!! I couldn't imagine dropping alot of cash at BS on a frame.

  36. #36
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    BS Lost another customer

    What a shame. I was ready to drop some serious cash on a frame from BS and got the run around as well. It's really too bad since a BS bike was number one on my list and had been a dream that I was some day going to full fill.
    The lack of correspondance by the the front office (be it only one man) is very poor. It's a shame that this is seriously putting a lot of people off.

    Now I'm starting my search for another custom Ti builder...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    I take it you saw my post over at their Facebook page? We`ll see. Right now I feel like selling it on the Serotta boards when I get it and order a Moots or Seven which I contemplated during the planning process.
    Any luck?

  38. #38
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    I finally got my parts. They are forsale. All brand new never installed. Send me a message if interested. CHEAP!!!!!!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    Any luck?
    Missed the Fedex man twice for the second day running. Will have it delivered to work tomorrow. So, fingers crossed, will have some pics to show this time tomorrow.
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  40. #40
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    I love the Serotta fourm. I already got 5 hits to sell all my BS goodies. I hope you guys have good luck.

  41. #41
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    great communication and on-time!

    my experience with James has been stellar. he (or todd) picked up the phone every time i called and patiently answered by stupid questions and/or soothed my anxiety. he slotted a delivery date for the 2nd week of december (frame and post) and i'll be receiving it on wednesday!

    i don't know what the circumstances were for some of the negative experiences on this thread, but i wouldn't hesitate to order another bike from or recommend Black Sheep.

  42. #42
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    Here it is. With the fork that I ordered in 2010 that I was told would take six weeks and ended up taking half a year. Still, I jumped in on a frame too.







    More or less what I wanted delivered nine months later than quoted on the invoice of my deposit. So instead of three months a full year. Two deadlines which I was told where solid where missed. I tried to give the BS-crew as much space and as little pressure/stress as possible by not being in their face/hair/phone every week and simply told James that I would be happy to have it by spring 2011. No problems. I thought that my relatively speaking simple frame, just two slightly bent seat stays, compared to the much more elaborate frames they usually do would fly trough the BS fabrications pipeline. Little did I know that as someone said in a another thread that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".
    Only when I phoned James this autumn and irritated told him that I either want a frame with a tracking number or my deposit back did I see progress. I am frankly disgusted that I have to stoop down to this level of communicating to get things in gear. Aren`t these people professionals? I know about the move of workshop, somebody on these boards told me. Why didn`t the BS-guys communicate that themselves via their sub-standard website? Communication is severly lacking for a builder charging those numbers.

    Have this experience made me second-guess my choice of builder? You bet. Seven, Moots and a couple of others, even a steel guy like Teesdale tempted me before I made my choice.

    And as somebody up there said, there are a lot of builders doing Ti. Go with them instead. I can`t recommend BlackSheep.
    Last edited by erol/frost; 12-12-2011 at 03:08 PM.
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  43. #43
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    Wow what a great looking bike. That is something very special. Give us a ride Report when you get it rolling.



    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    Here it is. With the fork that I ordered in 2010 that I was told would take six weeks and ended up taking half a year. Still, I jumped in on a frame too.







    More or less what I wanted delivered nine months later than quoted on the invoice of my deposit. So instead of three months a full year. Two deadlines which I was told where solid where missed. I tried to give the BS-crew as much space and as little pressure/stress as possible by not being in their face/hair/phone every week and simply told James that I would be happy to have it by spring 2011. No problems. I thought that my relatively speaking simple frame, just two slightly bent seat stays, compared to the much more elaborate frames they usually do would fly trough the BS fabrications pipeline. Little did I know that as someone said in a another thread that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".
    Only when I phoned James this autumn and irritated told him that I either want a frame with a tracking number or my deposit back did I see progress. I am frankly disgusted that I have to stoop down to this level of communicating to get things in gear. Aren`t these people professionals? I know about the move of workshop, somebody on these boards told me. Why didn`t the BS-guys communicate that themselves via their sub-standard website? Communication is severly lacking for a builder charging those numbers.

    Have this experience made me second-guess my choice of builder? You bet. Seven, Moots and a couple of others, even a steel guy like Teesdale tempted me before I made my choice.

    And as somebody up there said, there are a lot of builders doing Ti. Go with them instead. I can`t recommend BlackSheep.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricone View Post
    Wow what a great looking bike. That is something very special. Give us a ride Report when you get it rolling.
    Thank you, I wanted it as simple and timeless as possible. BS does a lot of work that is very elaborate and curved and I wanted this as straight, pure and distilled as possible. Lots of other things get prioritized so I haven`t had any time to build it any further yet. Ordered some parts though from CRC and must sort some new tires. Looking at Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25s, coming from Continental GP 4000s 23s.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    Here it is. With the fork that I ordered in 2010 that I was told would take six weeks and ended up taking half a year. Still, I jumped in on a frame too.







    More or less what I wanted delivered nine months later than quoted on the invoice of my deposit. So instead of three months a full year. Two deadlines which I was told where solid where missed. I tried to give the BS-crew as much space and as little pressure/stress as possible by not being in their face/hair/phone every week and simply told James that I would be happy to have it by spring 2011. No problems. I thought that my relatively speaking simple frame, just two slightly bent seat stays, compared to the much more elaborate frames they usually do would fly trough the BS fabrications pipeline. Little did I know that as someone said in a another thread that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".
    Only when I phoned James this autumn and irritated told him that I either want a frame with a tracking number or my deposit back did I see progress. I am frankly disgusted that I have to stoop down to this level of communicating to get things in gear. Aren`t these people professionals? I know about the move of workshop, somebody on these boards told me. Why didn`t the BS-guys communicate that themselves via their sub-standard website? Communication is severly lacking for a builder charging those numbers.

    Have this experience made me second-guess my choice of builder? You bet. Seven, Moots and a couple of others, even a steel guy like Teesdale tempted me before I made my choice.

    And as somebody up there said, there are a lot of builders doing Ti. Go with them instead. I can`t recommend BlackSheep.
    Good to see you finally got your bike and can focus on the future. I am in same boat, after a bunch of complaining and *****ing to them I finally got my bike.

    I would never recommend James or his crew to anyone looking for a new bike, they are too unreliable in my opinion.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokothemonkey View Post
    Good to see you finally got your bike and can focus on the future. I am in same boat, after a bunch of complaining and *****ing to them I finally got my bike.

    I would never recommend James or his crew to anyone looking for a new bike, they are too unreliable in my opinion.
    Thank you, even though the frame now is slightly "tainted" so to speak by this experience. Yes, I can`t understand why James/BS said all the right words during this whole process and let shine that all is well when it wasn`t. It wasn`t until I harshly told him that needed to see progress or deposit back that he confessed that he was waiting on certain parts/whatnot. He simply didn`t have an answer to why he let shine/fly the all-is-well flag through two blown deadlines when I asked him. I think they are so swamped by the influx of work/new customers that they can`t keep up.

    The friendliest guy you can chat to on a phone? Yes.
    Unreliable? Yes.
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  47. #47
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    BS built a 29" wheel'd tandem with S&S couplings, disk only for a customer of mine. James was told that the couple rides a lot of dirt road 'touring' with a Bob trailer. Tandem gets picked up, complete from BS with 6" Avid BB7 brakes and a BS steel fork. Customer cannot stop the whole bike above 20 mph safely. I asked James if the fork would work with a 185mm or 203mm rotor and he states no way. The rear end is too tight to put a larger rotor.
    Why build a 29" wheel tandem with a wimpy fork?
    He did offer to build a 203mm capable fork for them. The process took over 4 months from the offer to build to when it was installed. Over those 4 months James would tell me an ETA and I would call 5 to 7 days after his time line. Phone call #4 he told me that the fork was at powder coat and would be ready in 2 weeks. Call #5, was 3+ weeks later and he told me that the fork was being tacked up and to be welded within the next few days.
    He must not have liked my statement; "Wow, that is cool! You found a way to powder coat then weld the pieces together. Must save a lot of time." 6 weeks later the new fork was in my hands and did not charge for the new fork, nor wanted the old fork back.
    Every face to face interaction with James is great, smart, funny, open.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

  48. #48
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    Yep. It really is unfortunate that so many custom builders cannot run a business properly - what a complete waste of potential for them and so many potentially happy customers. It is very refreshing when you find one that does - I am currently having another bike built by a different Ti builder and it is a night and day experience. It also helps he lives 45 minutes from my house. I love my BS bike and wouldn't trade it for anything but what a PITA to get it. We're just beating a dead horse but I do hope it A) warns others what to expect (not necessarily to not do business with BS as it CAN be done if you go do it right, wish I learned that first) and B) gets the message to BS in yet another way (although face to face/phone/email should have already been enough).

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by erol/frost View Post
    Here it is.
    Very, very nice. Throw a titanium stem on that bad boy!

    I have dealt with James at Black Sheep on a number of occasions. He's built me a number of titanium stems, seat posts, handlebars and a titanium fork for various projects I have. He's great to work with, though not the best in the communication department. That being said, it never bothered me. Indeed it would benefit both Black Sheep and their customers if there was better dialogue. Though, a year wait on a custom frame isn't all that bad. Again, having a framebuilder call or write periodically and/or respond to inquiries would make the wait for more bearable.

    I took delivery of my titanium Firefly back in late November and highly recommend them. Fantastic communication and a stunning product. Very quick turnaround time (about 4 months), too.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdangerpants View Post
    Very, very nice. Throw a titanium stem on that bad boy!

    I have dealt with James at Black Sheep on a number of occasions. He's built me a number of titanium stems, seat posts, handlebars and a titanium fork for various projects I have. He's great to work with, though not the best in the communication department. That being said, it never bothered me. Indeed it would benefit both Black Sheep and their customers if there was better dialogue. Though, a year wait on a custom frame isn't all that bad. Again, having a framebuilder call or write periodically and/or respond to inquiries would make the wait for more bearable.

    I took delivery of my titanium Firefly back in late November and highly recommend them. Fantastic communication and a stunning product. Very quick turnaround time (about 4 months), too.
    Very nice bike dangerpants! Love the dropouts - very elegant. Is that a Kooka BB? You've got some nice old or NOS parts there. What size tires are you running? Looks like some good built in suspension.

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