April 19, 2017
All Airdrop bikes are built to order in our Sheffield workshop. It's a bit different but it works for us, and it enables us to produce some unique bikes. In our latest video we take a closer look at the build process behind The Hope Bike, a one-off bike built for our Golden Hour video project.
Most bike brands have their bikes fully assembled in the factory and shipped complete. That way, all they have to do is sell you a bike-in-a-box. It's a cost effective way to do things, and it makes sense if you're shifting large numbers of identical bikes. But what if you want different bars, or you don't like the tyres? A really good bike shop would help you out (at their own expense) but for most people it's a case of buying the bike and immediately looking at what needs to be upgraded.
That doesn't make any sense to us. All our bikes are assembled to order here in our workshop. It means there are no wasted parts, no compromises and you can get exactly the bike you want, set up just for you. It also means we can produce some pretty special bikes, and The Hope Bike is just one example of what we can do.
In case you're wondering, it's a Medium Edit v1 in grey with black decals (we built it in the Autumn). The drivetrain is SRAM GX 1x11, the rear shock is the new DBcoil IL from Cane Creek and the forks are Rockshox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160. The wheels are Hopetech Pro 4 Enduro as featured on our Trail and Pro builds, with Hopetech 3 E4 brakes, AM stem, cranks, seat clamp and grips. If you'd like a bike like this we could build one for you no problem at all for around £3600, but the beauty of the built-to-order model is we could make any changes you like to the spec or budget. If you want to discuss a custom bike project, just contact us and we'll take it from there.
|Frame:||Airdrop Edit v1, size medium|
|Colour:||Grey with black decals|
|Forks:||Rockshox Pike RCT3 27.5" Solo Air 160|
|Rear Shock:||Cane Creek DBcoil IL with Valt Lightweight Spring|
|Headset:||Cane Creek 40 series ZS44/ZS55|
|Stem:||Hopetech AM, 35mm|
|Handlebars:||Joystick Binary Carbon, 31.8mm clamp, 800mm wide, 20mm rise|
|Seatpost:||Rockshox Reverb B1|
|Brakes:||Hopetech 3 E4|
|Rotors:||Hopetech Floating Rotors, 180mm|
|Wheels:||Hopetech Pro 4 Enduro|
|Tyres:||Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.3"|
|Rear Derailleur:||SRAM GX 1x11|
|Cassette:||SRAM XG-1150 10-42t|
|Shifter:||SRAM GX 1x11|
|Cranks:||Hopetech Crankset with Spiderless Retainer Ring, 32t|
|Pedals:||Hopetech F20 & Shimano XT Trail|
|Bottom Bracket:||Hopetech Stainless 30mm (threaded)|
We make all our own bike decals in house. Again, that's a bit unusual but it means we can offer 12 different decal options and they're fully replaceable. If you want to change the look of your bike or just freshen it up, get yourself a new set and it's job done. We can also produce fork and shock decals to get everything co-ordinated.
There's no substitute for doing things by hand. We put a lot of time and attention into getting the decals just right. The Hope Bike featured the v1 decal kit but we've developed a new v2 decal kit for the latest bikes. Of course it's backwards compatible for Edit v1 owners.
The new Cane Creek DBcoil IL rear shock is a lovely bit of kit. You have to see it up close to really appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making these. Made entirely in the US, raw alloy billets roll into one end of the factory and super-plush shocks roll out the other. And working with Cane Creek is a real pleasure. Just like Hope Technology they've got their heads in the right place: everything is about quality product and service.
This image pretty much speaks for itself. Years in the making, the Hopetech crankset was only released when they knew it was completely dialled. And it shows. It's the perfect complement to the Edit's no-nonsense design and bombproof construction.
All the best companies started off in someone's garage, right? Airdrop is no different. We've moved into a new space now (more on that later) but the first 100 Airdrop Bikes were build in this small space - a converted garage. OK we put a lot of effort into making it a professional work space, but it's still only about 5m long and 3m wide. Not that it stopped us producing some nice bikes, and The Hope Bike is a great example of that.
Some people might be turned off by the idea of a one-man-brand, preferring to buy from a 'bigger' company. And that's OK. But what we've found is that a lot of people are really into the connection you can get from working with a small company to build a bike that's unique to you; actually speaking to the person that will build your bike. And if The Hope Bike - and the Golden Hour video we made with it - teaches us anything, it's that the Airdrop Edit can definitely compete with the big boys when it comes to looks, quality and performance. Wth a little help from our friends at Cane Creek and Hope Technology.
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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