Testing on the White Rim TrailOver the course of the last month, I’ve had the chance to ride the Sherpa on a variety of surfaces with and without a full load. In both scenarios the bike handled beautifully and delivered on its design promise. The plus-sized tires have just enough additional meat to add traction without feeling sluggish or lethargic. Steering inputs require far less effort than a full fat-tired bike, and the tires overcome obstacles as well as any 29er of the same effective outer diameter. Although it took some time to get dialed in against the optimal tire pressure, the front and rear suspension components suit the platform and allow for aggressive speeds in even the ugliest terrain. It’s a bizarre feeling to launch your bike and camping kit off ledges and burms, but the Sherpa does it with aplomb. The impressively short 445mm chainstay length certainly adds to the bike’s swift and responsive handling. The real test for the Sherpa was to load it with all my gear and head out for a long overnighter. Rolling down the switchbacks at the start of the White Rim Trail, I made a few stops to adjust my suspension to accommodate the weight of all the water I had to carry. In all it was a crushing eight liters with three in the frame bag, one secured to the Blackburn cargo cage under the down tube, and four on my back. It was going to be a long 70 mile day, so I tuned the suspension for a nice plush ride knowing I wouldn’t suffer many excessively hard hits. By the eigth hour in the saddle, that compliant ride was worth its weight in cold beers as my back and sit bones suffered little. Despite rolling into camp completely exhausted, I was likely saved from ruin by the kind ride qualities of the Sherpa. The riding position is upright and relaxed making for a comfortable all-day perch.
SpecificationsFrame: Smoothwall Carbon, FORM 7005 Series Custom Hydroformed Rear Triangle, ABC Pivots Rear Shock: Manitou McLeod Custom Valved, Smoothlink Design 95mm Fork: Manitou Magnum 27.5+ 120mm, TPC, Lockout, Rebound, 110x15mm HexLock Axle, Tapered Headset: Cane Creek Fifteen Series Brakes: Shimano M506 Hydraulic, 180mm Cassette: Shimano HG50 11-36T 10 SPD Chain: KMC x10 EcoProtect Anti Rust Crank: Race Face Turbine Cinch Custom 83mm, 38/24t 10 SPD Shifters: Shimano SLX Front Der: Shimano Deore E Mount Rear Der: Shimano XT Shadow Plus Direct Mount Front Hub: SUNRingle SRC Plus, 15×110 Rear Hub: DT Swiss Rims: WTB Scraper 45mm Tires: WTB Trailblazer 27.5+ x 2.8 Tubeless Stem: Race Face Bar: Race Face Saddle: WTB Volt MSRP: $4499 Available: mid-May www.bikes.com
Porcelain Rocket Bags: The custom fitted frame bag from Porcelain Rocket is a nice compliment to the Sherpa and maximizes the useful space in the main frame. The lower aspect of the bag affixes to the bike via the water bottle bolts on the down tube. The frame bag has one large compartment and one thin zippered pocket on the non-drive side.