KC is a staffer at Vertigo Bikes in Queenstown, our New Zealand distributor, and the latest to build a custom Edit v3.
What can we say about KC? he’s a quiet, laid back, all round nice guy, hailing from Portland, Oregon, USA. This is his second season at Vertigo, where Andy was fortunate enough to work with him last year.
KC has two sides to his bike riding. There’s the chilled out, cruising KC; having a chat on the climbs and then laughing and making some sort of noises on the way down. Then there's the serious, Strava KOM hunting, gap finding, hucking KC. KC’s calves make up 80% of his body mass, the amount of power he can put down on the steepest climb, at any moment is incredible. On the way down he will be finding little gaps (or not so little gaps) that probably shouldn’t be jumped in the first place. He'll just send them with no regard for his own body, most of the time they work out, sometimes they don’t. He will give everything a go, and normally be pretty good at it, be it riding a super gnarly DH line, sending some of the biggest public jumps in the world and even taking out fastest time of the day at a local XC race, all on his Edit v3 of course.
Height: 178cm / 5'10"
Weight: 84kg / 185lb
Years Riding: 10 years
Riding Background: Started out riding dirt jumps, rode DH for a few years then moved to trail riding with dirt jumps
Riding Style: I just try to jump everything I can, the less time my tires are on the ground the better.
I’ve been swapping between two tire brand setups, I have the Goodyears on it but have been spending time with Maxxis Assegais front and rear as well. The Goodyears roll faster, have a stronger casing, and are the better all-round tire. The Maxxis setup is all about maximum grip, roll speed is slower, the casing isn’t as solid under heavy cornering, but the grip the tires give you is immense.
I initially ran the Fox 36 because it was familiar and went with the Kashima theme. I’ve always been a fan of the adjustability and progressiveness of air sprung suspension for big hits. I got a chance to have a pre-release Coil Z1 back in September, I’ve been using it at 170mm travel, mainly in the bike park where the coil picks up the chatter and brake bumps noticeably better than the air fork.
My thinking behind my fork choice also applies to my shocks. The Float X2 is incredibly adjustable, great for when you’re riding steep tech one day and massive jumps the next. The Super Deluxe is definitely more sensitive, is easy to setup and maintain, my preferred shock for smashing park laps.
Fox 36: 78psi, 4 volume spacers. LSC9, HSC18, LSR8, HSR5
Bomber Z1 Coil: Extra-firm spring with 5 turns of preload. Rebound 11.
Super Deluxe Coil: 500lb spring. LSC6, Rebound 10.
Everything is pretty standard, my bars are rolled forward a bit and cut to 770mm. I think unless you are a very tall person, extra wide bars are overrated.
I ran X01 12 speed on my two previous bikes with no issues, solid reliable shifting. Decided to try Hope Evo cranks and chainring and they’ve been awesome.
Chain Device - Yay or Nay?
I usually run a top guide and bash guard, decided to try no top guide on this build just to see how well the chain stays on by itself. Dropped 1 chain when I thought I’d be cool and pedal through a rock garden, besides that no issues.
Code RSC brakes have been solid no complaints, since the photos were taken I've put a 200 rotor on the back because Queenstown trails are quite steep.
Flats or Clips?
Flats, I would run clips if I decided to race more due to never losing your foot position through rough sections of trail.
Dropper & Saddle
I'd never tired a BikeYoke post before. Such a solid post, no issues and light activation. The Specialized power saddle has been a massive improvement over previous saddles, highly recommended for guys and gals.
Tyre Inserts - Yay or Nay?
I will throw a Cushcore insert in the rear if I’m planning on riding fast rocky trails, besides that I don't run them. They have their place and are very useful in saving your rim and keeping your tire on.
Anything You Would Change?
Would like to try carbon bars again, you definitely get more vibration through the aluminium bike and bars , I’d like to see if some carbon bars will make a noticeable difference.
Hope Evo cranks - They’ve been bombproof, I prefer them over the carbon SRAM cranks I’ve ran in the past.
Sensus Lite 2.1 grips - Extremely comfortable, thin grip. They’re especially good if you don’t ride with gloves.
Santa Cruz Reserve wheels - Best Rims I’ve ever ridden. Nice and stiff, rarely have to true or tension them, and a lifetime warranty. Definitely one of those expensive upgrades that I think are worth the hole in your wallet.
Chris King Headset - Chris King components are always special for me because they’re based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Incredibly solid components, built using some of the best manufacturing and materials in the industry.
Any Secrets or Setup Tips?
Take the time to get your suspension set up properly; it can make a world of difference.
How Does It Compare To Your Previous Bike?
My previous bike was a 2019 Santa Cruz Nomad. I really enjoyed that bike. I would say the Edit isn't a better or worse bike, just different. The Nomad was more fun on the jumps due to having a shorter chainstay and reach. The Edit has a better suspension platform for my riding style. The Edit’s geometry is better for pedalling due to the steep seat tube angle, something that was really annoying on the Nomad. It's also nice not having to cross my fingers every time I crash, hoping that I don't crack the carbon frame, which I’ve done 4 times over the past 2 years with my SB6 and Nomad. Biggest thing for me was being able to pick and choose exactly what parts I wanted on the bike, which the Airdrop boys made extremely easy. Easy to say I’m stoked on the bike.
Photography: Thanks to Callum Wood for the photos. Check out Callum's Instagram feed @cwoodphoto
Ed is the owner of Airdrop Bikes. A former web and graphic designer, he sacked off his job one day and decided to start up a bike brand.
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