Riders can create made-to-order bikes with the industry’s debut a la carte platform.
Do you have an ultimate dream build in mind for your next mountain bike? Now you can Frankenstein all the parts and not even get your hands dirty. Launched last month, mountain bike company Sherpa MTB specializes in customized setups, effectively game-ifying bike assembly with a digital 3D builder.
To build a bike, riders pick each component from an industry-stocked library. Each part has an average of four to six options from various brands. Nearly 640 color options will be available (riders can even add accents all over the bike, from the seat’s underside to the chain or stem).
In total, the inventory will launch with hundreds of companies and more than 1 million potential builds.
Sherpa MTB: 3D Mountain Bike Builder
The virtual build process starts with frame selection. Sherpa MTB manufactures seven designs across categories including enduro, cross-country, XC race, all-mountain, downhill, and dirt jump/freestyle. (Competitor frames will not be available.)
Next, the shopper selects the rear shock followed by the seat post and clamp, saddle, fork, and headset. Then, they choose the stem spacers, stem, handlebar, grips, brakes, hubs, rims, tires, valve stem, cassette, derailleur, and bottom bracket. To wrap up the build, they pick the crankset, chain, and pedals.
A price summary lives in the upper right-hand corner so creators can track their bill. Each component includes a product summary, color menu, and price.
Not a bike whiz? Don’t worry, the software will not allow folks to choose incompatible parts. And Sherpa MTB will pre-tune shocks based on riders’ body weight.
No live chat function exists, but patrons can submit questions via a form for quick responses. And if riders want a fully customized paint job, they can message Sherpa MTB to arrange the decor.
Just Like a Video Game
“The 3D Builder graphics change in real time rather than there being a lag or a loading bar. Most computer monitors are not yet 8K, so we’re prepared for technology to catch up,” Sherpa MTB founder Bradley Stookey told us.
To create the 3D program, Sherpa MTB worked with 3D Source, which develops photorealistic, interactive product models with 8K resolution. The 3D program operates on Unreal Engine, the same powerhouse that runs Fortnite, one of the most popular video games in history.
“The 3D imagery allows you to rotate the bike. You can also drop it into photos or scenes, like your favorite trail,” said Stookey.
Be aware, though: 8K video requires a strong internet bandwidth.
Sherpa MTB Official Launch
Sherpa MTB will also produce carbon rims and grips. In the future, the brand intends to further expand its manufacturing arm overall.
At first, bikers can anticipate a 6- to 8-week turnaround from the digital build to delivery. But in 2021, the brand told us, orders should take 4 weeks to arrive. Looking ahead, Sherpa MTB also plans to license out its 3D Builder to other bike manufacturers.
At launch, the Everest enduro will be the sole frame available. The design can be customized with 170-180mm fork travel and 27.5- to 29-inch tires or a “mullet setup.” The rear travel is 160 mm. In spring and fall 2021, the brand will debut the remaining six bike frames.
The Sherpa MTB 3D Builder will commence orders at sherpamtb.com in October 2020.