October 10, 2019
Madeira is definitely on the list. One of these days I'll get out there to ride myself, but for now I'll have to settle for sending a bike out with a friend. An EWS round is a big week for the photographers - not only do they have to cover the whole race under their own steam but also recce the course in advance, all with a tonne of photo equipment. Duncan's a 29er convert and in the past couple of years he's been running carbon Trek and Specialized, so I was super keen to see how he would get on with the alloy Edit v3 (and secretly confident he'd love it).
Shooting the EWS is a dream job; days riding bicycles working with the world's fastest racers in some of the most beautiful locations. Yet on the flip side it can be demanding on both body and equipment... a combination of challenging trails, 4 seasons of weather conditions and striving to document every minor detail that is racing bikes. 9 years of working on the bike circuit, 4 of those on the EWS and the equipment list has refined itself over and over.
This year, for the Madeira round of the EWS, a string of circumstances meant I was without a bike with a 36 hour turnaround from having been out of the country for a few weeks. The Edit v3 had just landed on UK soil and the gents in Sheffield were kind enough to let me have the first descents on a fresh demo model.
I was curious as to how a complete bicycle costing less than the frames of many of my colleagues would fit the bill. Picking the bike up and packing it to fly same day there were design touches that were a welcome sight to those who frequent flights with bikes. A sensible length outer cable attaching the rear derailleur to the frame meant it could be tucked safely out of harm's way once removed, something I'd not had for the past few bikes which strive to have the least possible cable on show which in some circumstances means having to detach the inner cable and retune gears upon arrival. Once packed away bike bag and bike with pedals sat happily at the 23kg mark and were set to make their mark on Madeira soil.
Rising from the sea the summit of Madeira sits at roughly 1860m. At 50x20kms this island is jam packed with a variety of trails ranging from alpine, rocky and exposed to deep loam in the jungle. The first lap on the Edit took in all of this! Thanks to Freeride Madeira and the tourism board we were greeted with a courtesy shuttle lap of the island. One big descent from 1700m right to the seaside in Funchal. It had been a long time since I had ridden 27.5" wheels yet not for a moment on this first lap or the remainder of the week did that become a cause for thought. High traffic, high speed and technical trails came in abundance and after some suspension tweaking the Edit was thriving on the gravity fed route. The stock burly set up coped fine with continuous descents with over 1000m of drop.
The polished aluminium frame attracted a fair amount of attention amongst the sea of carbon squid machines and had me plain sailing through the weekend's stages to enjoy a poncha by the sea.
Duncan is an action and adventure sports photographer based in Sheffield. Although you wouldn't know it - he's almost always off somewhere shooting bikes. In my opinion, he's one of the very best MTB photographers out there. Check out his work here:
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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