The man behind Blackjack Bikes, Jack Neilsen, and I, go way back to the 90’s. I met Jack at the 24 Hours of Nine Mile up in Wausau. Jack was recovering from a broken collar bone and was helping out as the pit crew for a solo 24 hour racer. Jack followed the BMX pathway to mountain bikes and is tight with all of the fast dudes from Team Wisconsin and the Treadheads here in SE Wisco. We have a mutual amigo and we both recently ended up at Butch’s garage for a ribbon cutting shindig, where I got the opportunity to see one of his new carbon Blackjack fat bikes. Jack just recently started his new company and is importing open mold, Fat and 29’r frames, forks and rims .
My fat-bike dance card has recently been punched with open mold. carbon. I’ve ridden fat and B+ bikes from Heller and my mental test ride glossary is literally, haunted by the traction sweet chewiness, that I experienced while testing the proprietary carbon masterpiece from Borealis called the Crestone. That made me start to think……I wondered, how an open mold carbon fat-bike with imported carbon rims, would compare with name brand, carbon bikes from companies with proprietary molded carbon fat-bikes like Borealis, Salsa, Trek, Specialized or 9:Zero:7?
So I talked to Jack and we made plans to build a Project Bike that we’ll get to Demo this Summer and report back with how things panned out. The bike is so fresh, that the name was only worked out the day before we received it. Jack decided on the name Fate, which folds in nicely with the ever popular, ‘game of chance’ theme. Let’s get into the details of what we’re going to test, with some of the build soecifications.
We start out with an open mold carbon frame and fork. The frames come in raw and then are painted any dang color that you desire. Our test bike is red, like the ace of hearts, With fat-bike builds, the wheels are every bit as important to the build, as the frame and fork. Blackjack supplied us their BJ 100mm wide carbon rims laced to Sun Ringle hubs. The drive train is Sram GX 1×11 and just about every other component (including brakes) is from FSA. I’m pretty stoked to test the FSA bits, because I haven’t had much of an opportunity to ride them in the past.
Frame – Black Jack Medium
Fork – Black Jack
Wheels – BJ carbon rims with SUN hubs & Wheelsmith spokes
Bar – FSA SLK – Carbon
Stem – SLK Stem – Carbon
Seatpost – SLK Seatpost – Carbon
Saddle – WTB
Grips – FSA Gravity
Headset – FSA
Brake Calipers – FSA AfterBurner
Brake Lavers – FSA AfterBurner
Rotors – FSA 6 Bolt
Shifter- SRAM GX
Rear derailleur – SRAM GX 1X11
Cassette – SRAM GX 1X11
Crank – FSA Comet FAT 1x32T
Chain – FSA 11 Speed
Tires Husker du (Tubeless)
Even though, this is our first look at the Fate, I’ve already taken this bike to some of my favorite Wisconsin Trails. I hit Nine Mile and Standing Rocks and I’ve been rolling Kettle and Canrock, closer to home. Our test bike tipped the scales at 25lbs 10 oz. with pedals and a bottle cage, when we weighed it on our Park Tools scale. I look forward to tearing up a lot more, sunny, summer, singletrack and seeing what Fate has in store for us!
Stay tuned for the full review in a month or so. Adios Amigos!