Your Fully Customizable Dream Build? Introducing Sherpa Custom Mountain Bikes (Ep.39)

What if you could buy a bike without immediately looking to swap out a bunch of the stock parts? And what if this dream build of yours was competitively priced? Sherpa Custom Mountain Bikes is a brand-new company that allows you to customize every part and color of your new bike, with over 1,000,000 combinations to choose from; their “photorealistic 3D dream builder” provides life-like graphics that allow you to scrutinize every detail of your custom build (see below for a video of it); and they’re also offering a lifetime warranty on their frames and rims. Sound too good to be true? We sat down with the founders of Sherpa to question them about this intriguing and ambitious new venture.



  • What is the concept of Sherpa (5:19)
  • Sherpa’s 3D Bike Builder (9:23)
  • Market Research (13:32)
  • Component Options (17:41)
  • When can people start ordering (21:29)
  • Supply chain (23:11)
  • Sherpa’s 1st bike: the Everest (30:42)
  • Wheel sizes (34:52)
  • Riding in Crested Butte (35:32)
  • Future plans? (37:41)
  • Closing Thoughts (40:22)
Sherpa Custom Mountain Bikes founders, Tad & Brad go on Blister's Bikes & Big Ideas podcast to discuss how and why they *just* launched the brand, their unique custom process and "photorealistic 3D dream builder" and more
Sherpa Custom Mountain Bikes founders, Tad and Brad Stookey, in Blister HQ, Elevation Hotel, Crested Butte, CO.

8 comments on “Your Fully Customizable Dream Build? Introducing Sherpa Custom Mountain Bikes (Ep.39)”

  1. It’s an interesting concept, but who wants a custom build on an open-mold frame? I think the customer who wants a fully blinged out, matchy matchy dentist build is engrossed in biking enough to want the frame itself to stand out as well (see: yeti, SC, etc).

    Modern bikes have shown that geometry is everything, so going after a more premium consumer with a meh open mold frame seems like a risky move. Parts can always be upgraded, but the geometry can’t be.

    Website currently lists gx build at 4800 (which might change, I know), so the value that one might expect from an open mold frame isn’t really there either. If the pricing is 1100 for the frame, you’re getting shafted on the build kit (3700 for GX, open mold carbon wheels, and a Yari-probably because of such low volumes), and at that point you might as well buy whatever frame suits your fancy and build it up yourself for a bit more $$$

  2. I am going to have to agree with Rick on this one, with their price for a frame of $1100, they are over charging for their GX build at $4800. As a comparison, GG Smash Rally build is about the same price, with some nicer components, a US made frame, and features which allow the geo of the bike to vary. $4800 is a very tough price point to be in, as there is some VERY stiff competition in that space.

    Furthermore, the only reason why I listened to this podcast, is because I recognized the frame from some AliExpress ads I’ve seen around, and yes I did double check…

    Lastly, while the customizer/visualization tool seems interesting is that something that most mountain bikers really want, or are craving? I could be wrong, but I got the impression there was a disconnect between what the Sherpa guys were advocating for, and the people I know who ride actually want.

    In summary: I am highly skeptical of their claims, but would love to be proven wrong…

  3. Would love to see more progressive geo. And having clearance for only a 2.3 29er in the rear is a big limitation – myself and my riding buddies are all on 29ers and use 2.4-2.6 tires out back.

  4. I tend to agree with the others so far on the thread. Seems like the geo is dated and the the max 2.3 tire for a 29 made me raise my eyebrows.

    I just don’t get the point of this company to be totally honest. It seems to me the have it all backwards. A slick online bike building tool is a nice add on but to me that would seem to be a nice bonus not something you build a brand around. I guess time will tell.

  5. I think Jadey’s closing sentence (right above me) is perhaps the most important one: “I guess time will tell.”

    Couple of things:

    Sherpa is brand new, but they have a clear vision of why they started the way they have, and where they intend to go — see 37:41 of the conversation where Brad spells this out.

    So judging them on where they are a few days after launch seems to maybe mistake the starting line for the finish line?

    I personally am going to be interested to see how many people are stoked enough by the customization process to order now, vs. how many people first want to see the exact geo they’re looking for. While the most particular of bike dorks (and that’s not a derogatory term around here) may hold off till they see the exact numbers they want … the bike industry sells zillions of bikes to people (lots of who truly love mountain biking, I believe) who don’t have their favorite head tube and seat tube angles tatooed on their forearms. So Sherpa is going to evolve and expand … but the market / their market may already exist today for what they are offering today. Again, time will tell — as will the number of orders they receive in the near term.

    One last huge factor: how well does the current Sherpa Everest actually ride?

    We’ve heard some very positive initial reports. But of course, we do our own testing, and we publish our own conclusions. We’re supposed to be getting on an Everest in the coming weeks, and then we’ll do what we always do: publish our honest, in-depth review of Sherpa’s first bike.

  6. Jonathan,
    I toned it down quite a bit on my initial comment I made about this podcast, but when I listened to it I was pretty unimpressed by the claims that they were making. Based the language/verbage they were using, it was pretty apparent that both of them are not serious about riding, but instead were more focused on ways to up-charge an ODM frame purchased from Asia, hence the configuration tool. What concerns me is that the quality on products like this can vary wildly, and without proper QC being put in place you risk not only having customers that are upset that their frame brakes, but injury. For example, in all their marketing material these bikes are running RS Zeb forks, bumped up to 160~170mm of travel, on a frame that was design only to support a 150mm – so its an accident waiting to happen. Overall, I feel that I can trust the content that I ingest from Blister, but when you create content like this podcast, and don’t push back hard on the marketing claims by brands, it devalues the Blister brand and what makes it so good/unique about gear sites.

  7. I purchased one of these frames directly from the manufacturer a couple of months ago. I’m running factory suspension with 140 rear, 150 front on 29″ tires. The 2.3″ clearance is not true. I’m running 2.6’s on mine and they fit just fine without any rubbing anywhere. I’ve ridden Knolly, Santa Cruz and quite a few other “big” names carbon frames and I feel just as confident on this as I did on any of the others. I don’t agree with any of you with regards to the geometry being an “issue” at all. This industry is great about selling the latest and greatest in an attempt to up sales when the truth is your average rider just wants a bike they can ride. Too many people are caught up in this hype and forget that it’s not the bike, it’s the rider. To a certain extent, I’ll admit. Not many people would prefer an XC bike at Whistler, or a DH bike on an XC course…right? If you don’t earn your living on the trails and you’re worried about a couple of degrees in your head tube, you should probably take some classes and become a better rider. As far as durability is concerned, all carbon frames break eventually. My 2020 Pivot rear triangle cracked last week. I had a GT Force that cracked as well. That’s what the warranty is for. Sherpa offers one. Evolve offers one. The manufacturer offers one…and they’re all the same frame. I know $4800 isn’t a small chunk of change, but guess what…it’s a free country and no one is forcing you to buy it. For someone like me who is tough on their bikes, the warranty is everything and I know for a fact that some of the big names are assholes with their warranties. I can’t find numbers on claims for this particular bike, but I can tell you that the company is very responsive and stands behind their product. I had several email exchanges before purchasing, and after. Also, the manufacturer DOES have a qc process. A little investigation would show you what they put their frames through before they go to market. Just like any of the big brands. Yes, they have a video that outlines, and shows, the process. As for the price, I think this is going to vary from buyer to buyer. I routinely sell “custom” bikes and it takes a while because, again, your average rider just wants something to ride. Most people don’t care about fancy color schemes and name brands. They just want to hit the trails with their buddies.
    With all that said, no, I don’t think this is the “best bike ever,” but I would gladly put this up against any other bike on the market. These arguments are like listening to pro athletes complaining about money and fame, forgetting why they played the game in the first place. This isn’t a popularity contest. It’s not a fashion statement and I promise you that your Yeti isn’t going to keep you from eating dirt once in a while.

  8. What a silly company. If you want something custom and actually good you would buy something like a nicolai. I’m not even sure ted and brad understand bikes that deeply.

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