What if you could build your dream mountain bike while chilling at your computer? Imagine clicking on thousands of high-quality component options while rotating and zooming in on each product, similar to the insane levels of detail allowed when building and customizing sick whips in Gran Turismo 6. Select almost every component, choose from different grades of equipment, pick between a variety of colors, and switch between a whole range of styles and sizes: all on your glowing screen.
That’s just what Bradley Stookey, one half of the father-and-son team that founded Sherpa MTB, wanted to do in 2018 after he imagined developing a 3D platform that would allow you detailed customization of your own bike, that would then be assembled and shipped out to you. Just launched this week after more than two tough years of development, Sherpa MTB—which is based out of Austin, TX—uses a proprietary 3D-builder program based on the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a robust software-development environment used to construct popular video games like Fortnite, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and The Outer Worlds.
To get started, all you have to do is click on the “3D Dream Build” link on the website and create a login. (At launch the configurator will only be online from 2 to 10 p.m. CST until demand is assessed, and be aware it’s a tiny bit buggy as of press time.) Then you first select your frame, a customized carbon full-suspension frame. Though there’s only one bike you can build right now, an enduro bike called the Everest, the company hopes to have six custom frames ready to go that will range from cross-country all the way to downhill.
The other, current, custom element available are the carbon rims which come in 27.5- or 29-inch sizes—and those who want a “mullet” build, or one with a smaller back wheel, can be accommodated. You also get a choice between 170mm or 180mm travel for the suspension for the first bikes—a 150mm option will come later.
“It will all load into the frame and then you’ll go step by step,” says Bradley. “The process can be stopped or started at any point.” The rest of the components are top-of-the-line, off-the-shelf—Maxxis, RockShox, SRAM, Truvativ, Spank Industries, Chris King, Wolf Tooth, etc.—all familiar, quality brands, with more to be added as they expand the lines in the future. “Everything else is assembled in-house like our full wheelset builds, which you could technically call custom because we offer all kinds of different hubs.”
And you can really budget based off of what’s important to you, says Bradley. The base build price will start at $5,200 and can easily rocket up over $10k depending on how spendy you’re feeling (carbon cranks, anyone?). After you complete your bike—constructed out of millions of component options, says dad Tad Stookey—the bike specs will be shared with the warehouse, the frame is painted on the spot, and “then one of the guys in our shop will actually build it,” says Bradley. Turn-around time is estimated at eight weeks.
In the future, if you need help on figuring the nitty-gritty details of which parts will fit your riding style and terrain, the team is building a solution on the site called the Sherpa Hub. “It [will be filled with] articles… discussing things that really require a more in-depth explanation as to why you may like this, or you may like that,” says Bradley. “[Do you need] a coil or air for your rear shock, is a 2.3 tire right for you or a 2.8?”
No Fuss Delivery
When your bike is delivered, it won’t just be dumped on your front porch, a concierge service called Kitzuma will deliver the bikes to the customers by van, fully assembled. “The person delivering is a technician and they will be able to make any type of adjustment that needs to be made to the derailleur or, maybe to the shock compression; whatever it may need, they can do that right there,” says Stookey.
Your Everest will be ready to shred out of your door, and it’s all included in the price.