NAHBS 2013: Black Sheep Bikes

Black Sheep does it again with two NAHBS awards

Colorado-based builder Black Sheep Bikes certainly stand out from the crowd with their incredibly curvaceous titanium creations. Black Sheep brought their A-game yet again this year, winning not one, but two NAHBS awards: one for “best tandem” and another for “best titanium construction”.


Black Sheep’s winning tandem was a fitting tribute to the company’s work with bent titanium tubing. From tip to tail, only the head tube, bottom bracket shells, seatposts, and boom tube were straight. Otherwise, every other part bore some sort of curve.

Especially noteworthy is the way the captain’s top tube curves four times from the head tube back to the stoker’s bottom bracket and how the seat stays follow a graceful S-bend from the rear dropouts to the down tube. Additional curved struts reinforce the extended seat tubes, too, and Black Sheep have even figured out a novel solution for independently adjusting the stoker handlebar height relative to the captain’s saddle.

And then there’s Black Sheep’s trademark truss-style fork. And the custom titanium backswept handlebars. And did we mention that it was a tandem snow bike? Ok, we’ll stop now.

Black sheep built this snow bike around 45nrth’s massive 4
James Huang/Future Publishing

Black Sheep built this snow bike around 45NRTH’s massive 4″ wide Escalator tires

The other award-winner was a bike commissioned by University of Iowa, which will be permanently at its Museum of Art in Iowa City. According to Black Sheep, this bike showcases the best of what the company has to offer, including integrated front and rear tubular titanium racks, curved main frame tubing, a truss-style fork, and, of course, fat bike wheels and tires. To top it off, Black Sheep dressed it up with a selectively masked and media blasted finish that should last for an eternity.

Though it didn’t win an award, Black Sheep also debuted a new full-suspension snow bike with 90mm of travel front and rear. The fork is based on the company’s usual truss model but with the entire structure floating on a pair of aluminum linkages and a Fox Float RP23 shock. Meanwhile, the rear end pivots about a flat chainstay plate and drives another Fox Float RP23 with a seat tube-mounted aluminum link.


Want more? Click through the image gallery for a closer look at the booth – and make sure to have a napkin handy.