A few weeks back, Al came over to Sheffield to demo an Edit and have a chat about a custom bike he wanted to put together. He had a budget to work to, which is not uncommon, but wanted to change things around a little bit. And he has a special request; he wanted to do something to honour his favourite rider: the late, great Stevie Smith. This is The Chainsaw Bike.
Who Was Stevie Smith?
Stevie Smith was a hero to a lot of riders. I first became aware of Stevie from his segment in Seasons. If you haven't seen it, give it a watch on Vimeo. The humble, determined and ferociously fast kid in that video went on to become DH World Champion and a giant of the sport, but he never seemed to change personally. Stevie died tragically in 2016. Pinkbike has a fantastic tribute article entitled Long Live Chainsaw.
All our bikes are built to order, and we very often build custom bikes for people. Most people start with one of our standard builds; either the Edit Trail or Edit Pro, and change things around a little bit. Al demoed the Edit Trail and was super happy with it, but wanted to change up the wheelset so we swapped out the standard wheels for a Hope Tech Pro 4 Enduro wheelset, and added a Hope dropper seat clamp to go with them.
The new Truvativ Descendant range has some lovely components for all-mountain and enduro bikes, so we went with the new Descendant 40mm stem. Before he passed away, Stevie had developed a signature handlebar and Truvativ went ahead with it (with permission from Stevie's family). They're not in the UK yet but we managed to source a set from Germany and those bars became the inspiration for Al's custom decals.
We're a bit different in that we produce all our decals in-house. That means we can produce custom decals for any customer that wants to personalise their bike, for a small charge. The first step was to develop the graphics in software, and get Al's approval.
Once the design is finalised, we cut the decals on our plotter, and then the painstaking process of "weeding" began. This is where decals can get really time consuming, but it's worth putting the effort in. And this is one of the ways in which an Airdrop bike is different to anything you can buy off-the-peg: the amount of time we spend on each bike and the amount of work that's done by hand.
The Finished Bike
All our bikes are different, but some are also a bit special. So before boxing it up and sending it off to Al, we had to get some photos. So we jumped in the van and took it out to Burbage in the Peak District on what was possibly the coldest and windiest day this year. But hopefully you'll agree, it was worth it...
For those of you wondering about the details of the build kit, here is is in full:
Airdrop Edit, Medium, Grey
Rockshox Yari RC Solo Air 160mm
Rockshox Monarch RT3 Debonair, MM Tune
Cane Creek 40 Series ZS44/55
Rockshox Maxle 12x142mm
Rockshox Reverb B1 125mm
Hope Dropper Seat Clamp, 34.9mm
SRAM GX 1x11
SRAM GX 1x11 with Matchmaker Clamp
SRAM XG-1150 10-42
SRAM GX1200 32t
Truvativ GXP Team threaded 73mm
SRAM Guide R
35 Bikes Classic Wave 180mm
Hope Tech Pro 4 Enduro
Effeto Mariposa tape with Caffelatex sealant
Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.3 EXO/TR
Truvativ Descendant 40mm
Truvativ Descendant Stevie Smith CoLab
We'd like to say thanks to Al for trusting us with this project. It was a lot of effort to get everything just right, but the result justifies the work. If you have an idea for a custom bike, why not contact us.
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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