Airdrop Bikes Edit 2016 Mountain Bike Review

Airdrop Bikes Edit 2016

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Airdrop Bikes 30,847

At A Glance

Airdrop Bikes are another little piece of engineering beauty to come from the Steel City of Sheffield, England. Designed, tested, built and shredded around the local trails. From the off, these guys have got a strong heritage. Having been around since 2015, they are most definitely new kids on the block, but their genuine independent status and clear passion for the product and the sport means they’ve cut no corners in the production and development of their first frame to the market, the Edit.

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First impressions of the Edit, out of the box were good, the vibrant orange colourway, with the striking almost agricultural (in a good way) shock linkage cutting through it. It's not that it looks heavy; it just looks solidly built. The Edit looks like a bike that’s going to take all the abuse you can throw at it and come out the other side, with you grinning from ear to ear.

The edit uses a four bar linkage set up which is also referred to as ‘Horst Link’ named after its designer Horst Leitner. The four bar design is wholly independent and features a chainstay pivot located in front of the rear wheel dropout (the Horst Link), a pivot just behind the bottom bracket, and one at the top of the seat stay which is connected to a shock linkage. This aims to provide an ‘active’ plush ride and reduce feedback from braking.

I’m not going to talk too much about the build kit on the Edit I rode, for a few reasons. Firstly, I know after speaking with Ed at Airdrop HQ, there are going to be some changes and positive tweaks to the Edit Pro build that I was on. However, most importantly, one of the advantages of being a small independent mountain bike manufacturer is that small production runs mean that the personal touch is key.

Airdrop sells the Sport, Trail, Pro and Coil packages with their bikes, as well as fork and shock options from the factory. These are all solid builds, ready to take on whatever you can throw at them out of the box, but the crowning option from Airdrop is the custom build option. Not something that larger more mass-produced manufacturers can offer straight from the warehouse. You can build your dream bike from day one.

On The Trail

As I mentioned, I was on the Edit Pro build, supported by Rockshox RCT3 Pike up front and a Monarch Plus, RC3 Debonair shock at the rear. 160mm front and 150mm rear travel. This is a tried and tested set up, and worked a charm in conjunction with the 20-year-old (read classic and efficient, not dated) Horst link design. I never bothered with the climb switch on the shock as the Horst link held its own on the climbs while maintaining a comfortable descent at speed and a solid base in the bigger stuff.

Running SRAM GX drive chain, Guide R brakes, and powered round by the RaceFace Turbine crank, the transmission was seamless. Taking advantage of another Sheffield company, the Joystick cockpit was solid, comfortable, and it's always nice to have something good to stare at on the gruelling climbs when your head's down.

First ride out after setting up the bike was on my local (almost) from the door trails. The initial drawn out fire road climb felt pleasantly comfortable, and the bike, for all its hardcore looks, felt pleasantly at home. As soon as I turned it around, though, it did exactly what it looked like it wanted to from the off. With aggressive geometry, the Edit strikes a solid balance between straight on ploughing through rough and tech alike, with a nimble dexterity in the air and on the back wheel when it came to the more playful, jumpy areas of the track. This is in part down to a healthy balance of slacked out steering at 66 degrees and a relatively tight back end at 435mm.

The seemingly stiff nature of the frame and build leant itself to confident attacking in the corners, and it felt like you could push it right to the edge. The bike has a healthy reach too, with a 640mm effective top tube, which gives you plenty of room to manoeuvre on and in the bike when it all gets a bit wild. That said, the wild and the steep elements of the trail did prove the undoing of me on the Large frame, as I’ve said, all (well nearly all) of the numbers added up, but unfortunately I found the top tube to be just that bit too high. With a high standover, it's hard to have a full range of body movement and twist, with knees easily bashing against the frame. The trend for lower slung geometry allows for a full range of body language to be expressed, something the Edit would benefit from. It would also enable riders to size-up more easily.

I’m totally fine if you're to turn around and tell me I have short legs, and that will be accepted, but after speaking with Airdrop, the new revisions have addressed this element of the geometry which I am sure will create an even more playful machine.

All in, this is an excellent bike through and through, especially for the price. The Pro build I was sent was great, not much on there you’d want to change, from the desirable cockpit to the reliable SRAM drive chain. Although the lack of internal routing does leave you wanting a more stealthy option with potential for more drop, this is something Airdrop have informed me will be standard on future models.

Overall

If you’re looking for something a bit different, that will push on through the rough and play on the rest, and is home-grown (if you're lucky enough to live in the UK) then look no further. The Edit is a bike with styles for miles and a price tag that’ll leave you with change for an après ride beer and a pork pie.

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This review was in Issue 45 of IMB.

For more information visit Airdrop Bikes

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By Ben Gerrish
Ben Gerrish is a passionate photographer and videographer with a profound love of all things two wheeled. Whether it is riding a BMX around town or rallying an enduro bike down a steep chute in the Lake District he'll always have a smile on his face!

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