Climbing: On long and challenging climbs, you’re going
to feel the wheel weight of the 36er; there’s no way around
it. Still, those big hoops find their way up and over almost
anything, making technical climbs a blast on this bike. As long
as you have the legs, the large-diameter wheels can annihilate
some of the most technical climbs. We impressed
ourselves on some of the short and steep
sections we typically struggle with on
more conventional trailbikes.
Cornering: Thirty-six-inch wheels
have so much rotational momentum that it changes the way you
ride the bike. Lean this bike over
at any kind of speed and those
big wheels almost fight you to
come back to upright. This
bike is the ultimate in stability, so rather than tiptoeing
through turns, it likes to
rail them. Black Sheep has
done its homework developing a steering geometry that
harnesses the 36er wheels
and completely throws
nimbleness out the window.
While the bike doesn’t necessarily love tight switchbacks,
it’s not afraid to make its way
through tight and technical turns
with the right technique.
Descending: Once the wheels
are up to speed, this bike feels like a
freight train. While there’s no suspension
travel to speak of, the titanium tubes and
truss-rod fork give this bike a supple feel, even when the
wheels are mobbing over rocks and roots. The big-diameter
rims simply don’t hang up on obstacles, making this one of the
fastest fully rigid descenders we’ve ever been on.
Big and long:
There’s no way
around a long
wheelbase and long
building a 36er.
The Sheep’s stays
are a whopping 21
inches, and the bike
itself is nearly 7 feet
Bleakley and his
crew have figured
out a geometry that
keeps it rideable.