A ride, recently: Getting by.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    A ride, recently: Getting by.


    With a little help from our friends.

















































  2. #2
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    Excellent photos! That Black Sheep.....Oh my.

  3. #3
    TT.
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    stunning landscapes as usual! must've been just like "riding on a cloud"

  4. #4
    roots, rocks, rhythm
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    very nice!
    thanks!!
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  5. #5
    Thingamejigger
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post

    Did you try this bike, Mike, Blacksheep?? Would be interested to hear your thoughts on such a looooooong wheelbase.

    There was a certain salsa rider that was effectively saying this was almost the silver built for snow riding, but we know what sponsored riders will say or those that have been given something for free.

    Looks like the whole rear can come off?

  6. #6
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    Interesting Black Sheep for sure. Looks to me like the back end can be swapped for one with 'normal' length chainstays.

    I'd also be interested to hear how it handles the deep snow.

  7. #7
    Thingamejigger
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    ....back end can be swapped for one with 'normal' length chainstays.
    This hadn't occurred to me, that would be a nice touch, I was thinking transportation. My friend has a Big Fat Dummy, and although this is shorter, his is a two man lift onto the rack on the back of his VW Transporter, and it hangs out either side.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    Interesting Black Sheep for sure. Looks to me like the back end can be swapped for one with 'normal' length chainstays.

    I'd also be interested to hear how it handles the deep snow.

    Correct. He's had the bike since 2014 but the chainstay cracked a ~year ago and he was "longtail curious" so he had James create 2 replacement rear ends: one long and one normal. Really good idea. Both can fit the rack and the J5 tire.

    I built his wheels this fall and sourced his tires in December. It wasn't until I followed up to make sure everything was working out that I understood what he had.

    I've had a pile of custom snowbikes built over the last 20 years, each building off of the weaknesses of the previous one to become better at holding a line and floating when the snow is deep, soft, and unconsolidated.

    Without writing a novel here, each time I've ponied up the $$$$ for a new chassis it's been mandated by an increase in tire size that wasn't foreseen a few years before. For seemingly ever we had tires as big as 2.5" (Ground Controls -- rare but enough out there that you could chase down a few a year) but then came the 3" Gazza's. Then the 3.5" Remolino's. Then 3.8" Endo's. Then ~4.6" BFL's. Then 4.8" Bud/Lou. Now the 5.2" 2XL.

    With each successive iteration we either dramatically shortened rear center, or at least kept it the same while enabling fit of the new biggest tires. Chainstay lengths went from well over 19" down to a titch over 17". For comparison, this Black Sheep has 25" chainstays.

    Long story short, the owner of the Black Sheep was going to be out of town all of this week and was gracious enough to let me borrow it. I got to compare it against my current Meriwether in the real, honest to goodness soft/crappy snow conditions that we get most of every winter.

    I normalized all four tire pressures down to .5psi with a low pressure Meiser gauge, then rode two ~one hour loops on each bike, including repeating a few of the steeper grunts 3-4x on each bike. .5psi was mandatory given the ~5" of fresh that had fallen overnight atop a ~130" marginally settled base.

    What I learned on that one day was that the reasons that have compelled me to go ever shorter on rear center (chainstay length, basically) through the years are real and quantifiable. The longtail was a liability anytime the trail tipped up, or when in the flats things got punchy. The rear wheel would either sink, or spin, or both, much sooner on the longtail.

    Mom says if I can't say something nice I shouldn't say anything at all. So I'll say that the longtail definitely opens up lots of creative cargo options.

    I'll also say that my preferences are geared largely toward high alpine riding, with deep and very dry snow, and very little traffic. Add moisture to the snow, or traffic to pack it, or grooming, and the differences that are so important to me suddenly mean a lot less. In other words, take this bike out of this exact environment and the conclusions drawn might change.

  9. #9
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    Awesome as usual!

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to mikesee again.
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  10. #10
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    Very nice, Mike. Thank you.

  11. #11
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    Saving the best for last - so many great photos, the night shot is really cool

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