Andy's the new guy at Airdrop Bikes, and true to the spirit of our 'built to order' ethos, he's put together a highly customised Edit v3 for himself.
When Andy was still in Queenstown he wanted to buy an Edit v3, but it didn't happen for one reason or another. Fast forward 6 months and he's back in the UK, he's moved to Sheffield and he's working here full time. So he's finally managed to get his own bike together, exactly the way he wants it. Which is really what we want for every customer too. Andy's spec is a bit out of the ordinary, with some parts that are new to us, so it's definitely worth taking a closer look.
Andy recently joined the Airdrop team, having come back from a few seasons in Queenstown and Whistler. Just in case you missed it, we did a little Q&A with Andy in our Three Man Brand blog last month. That's got a lot more detail about Andy's background but here's the short version:
Age: 28 years young
Height: 182cm or 6'
Weight: 75kg or 11st 8lb
Years Riding: 18 years
Riding Background: I grew up riding dirt jumps, then Earthed came out in 2003 and that got me into DH, so I would just ride DH on my dirt jump bike until I saved up enough for a full suspension bike.
Riding Style: The steeper, faster and rougher the better really.
Shimano Saint or Deity T-Mac (depending on what I'm feeling)
SRAM X01 Eagle
MRP SXG Alloy ISCG05
Tyre Choice And Pressures
I’ve been playing around with tyres a lot recently, riding a few different brands and tyre compounds. Before that I was just stuck in the Maxxis rut of the DHF/DHR2 combo and I didn’t actually realise how much of a difference a different tyre can make. For this build I’ve gone for the WTB Verdict up front, it’s pretty much a cut down spike, which gives me plenty of grip in the soft Wharncliffe dirt. On the rear I’ve got the Judge, which is a fairly aggressive tyre for the rear of a trail bike, it’s pretty slow rolling on the climbs, but that doesn’t bother me as it has plenty of grip for the downs. I haven’t quite figured what pressures to run yet but generally 25/26psi up front tends to give me enough support for cornering. Out back the Judge has a bit of a shorter, stiffer sidewall, meaning it shouldn’t fold over or roll around as much as some other tyres so I’m hoping to get away with around 28/29psi in the rear, we’ll see how that goes!
So on this bike, as you can probably tell from the build, I’ve gone for things that I’ve always wanted to try out for myself in the long term after riding them briefly on other people's bikes. The Formula fork was a big one; I had a Lyrik on my previous bike and a 36 prior to that; two forks that you can’t really fault. Plenty of support, plenty of adjustability and great reliability.
I just wanted something a bit different for this bike plus I love the little details of the compression dials, they feel like quality Italian engineering. So when I found out that Mojo were bringing Formula suspension in to the UK, a quick email to Chris and the order was in. I’ve gone for the S version, with just the one air chamber and a coil sprung negative. 170mm travel, just to raise my front end up a little bit. Dentist purple lowers (of course!) and a little bit of Mojo magic going on inside. (yes we can offer this on customer builds too).
Originally my plan was to go for the Super Deluxe Coil, but that would have meant waiting a little while for one to come in to stock. So I’ve gone for the Super Deluxe Ultimate air for now and after the first ride I’m impressed.
I haven’t had an air shock for a while now where I haven’t had to play around with the insides to get it to do what I’d like it to do, but straight out the box the Super Deluxe isn’t far off. After only one ride, running completely standard settings it felt good, I’m going to play around with a few things over the next few months and see if I can make it even better.
Nothing special going on with my suspension set up at the moment, because I’m running a fork and shock I’ve not ridden before - it’s all new to me. For the first ride I just set the fork up with the recommended pressure for my weight +5 psi, 3 clicks of low speed compression and the rebound on the faster side of things, just to help the front end sit up a little and they felt pretty good off the bat, didn’t need to make any major changes. Going forward I would maybe add a volume spacer but anything else would just be for the sake of change. The Formula fork also has different compression valves called CTS Valves that you can remove from the top of the damper and change for a different tune, without having to take the fork apart, I’m running the stock standard gold one at the moment, which felt all good at low and medium speeds just maybe lacking that high speed support for the bigger hits. I’m looking forward to playing around with the different colour valves and seeing if I can actually notice a difference. Out back I’ve set the Super Deluxe up with 170psi, giving me 30% sag, I’m running 2 volume tokens, 2 clicks of low speed compression and rebound 1 click from fully open. I’m hoping to get my hands on one of these MegNeg air cans soon, hopefully the increased negative volume will help with achieving that coil like small bump sensitivity, but with plenty of mid-stroke support and I might even have to get rid of the volume tokens to use full travel! I’m looking forward to playing around with that.
Gone all in on the Burgtec goodness for this one, I like that they’re only the other side of the Peak District from us. Burgtec 38mm rise bar to get my front end up a bit, I go between riding my trail bike and dh bike quite a bit, so I try to keep bar height fairly similar between the two bikes so it doesn’t take me too long to get used to either bike after switching plus the higher front end also helps to keep your weight in the right place when riding steeper stuff. 35mm Burgtec Enduro Stem to hold the bars in place sandwiched between 2x 5mm spacers either side, so if I want to go a bit higher or lower I’ve got that option.
I’m still playing around with brake lever position. In the past I’ve run the bite point quite far out, just for a bit of leeway if the bite point ever decided to change spontaneously. But the Hayes have such a brick-wall like bite point I am running it a bit closer than on previous brakes. I’m not a glove fan, so grips are real important to me, I’ve been running the ODI Longnecks for a few years now on all my bikes, love them! Shout out to Pang for the intro to those! And they have a flange, so when you’re climbing that’s something nice to play with to take your mind off the monotony of climbing. Also they still have plenty grip when riding in the rain or when you get sweaty palms.
Still using old fashioned cables for now, until I find a buyer for a kidney but at the moment X01 Eagle gets the job done well, with plenty of range to get me to the top of the hill without having to breathe to hard. I’ve never had 12 speed before, so having the big 50t up back means I’m able to run a 34t chainring, making that top speed down the hill after riding even higher now!
I’ve never been very imaginative when it comes to cranks, I’ve always just gone stock standard, so usually some sort of SRAM Crank, this time though I broadened my horizons a little and went with the DMR Axe in 170mm with the 34t DMR Blade chainring.
The crank arms have a really nice shape to them with some really nice laser etching, they have a 30mm axle, so they’re plenty stiff enough, they also have a protective coat on them, so when the inevitable crank arm rub comes they’ll still look good.
Chain Device- Yay or nay?
Yay. I’m a fan of chain guides, especially ones that work well, are easy to set up without rubbing and silent. The SXG from MRP does all those things well and has the added bonus of a bashguard for when I inevitably do hit my chain and chainring off a rock.
I’ve gone for something a bit different on this build, a friend had these brakes on his bike, after feeling his I had to get some to see how they go.
They were fairly easy to set up, when I trimmed the hose a load of fluid leaked from the lever, I had to do a full bleed to get them set up, but it was a straight forward task. Now they feel mint, the lever has such a light action to it, with such a solid feel and now that they have bedded in they seem to have plenty slowing down power. So far so good with the Hayes!
Flats Or Clips?
Can I have both? I do have a bit of a bias towards to clips, I used to do a fair bit of racing so would always use them for that, I feel like I can ride faster and more confidently when I don’t have to worry about readjusting my foot on the pedal or worry about blowing a foot off in a rough section and when you’re racing I guess that’s what matters. Nowadays I would say I have a 60/40 split in favour of being clipped in, flats are more fun, for sure, you can hit turns harder and with way more confidence, you just feel like you have a little more freedom to move around on the bike and get a bit looser. And if you ride clips all the time you get lazy in your riding and just lift your feet to lift the rear wheel or to bunnyhop, whereas on flats you have to use the proper technique. I would definitely recommend to anyone that has ridden clips for a long time to give flats a go, it will make you a better bike rider over time.
Dropper and Saddle
I’ve not had a Reverb for a long time, I think the last one I had was an externally routed one. I was one of the unlucky ones a while back who had to keep rebuilding their Reverb every few months to keep it solid and that just kind of put me off them. Since then I’ve had a KS Lev, Fox Transfer and a Bike Yoke Revive, all of which were trouble free over the time I had them. I thought it was time to give the Reverb another try, when they brought this new version out with it’s lighter action, vent valve and the shifter style lever I was keen to give it a go, so on the new bike it went, I’m a fan at the moment, we’ll see how it goes. 175mm length is perfect for me, I can run the post almost completely slammed in the frame and it still goes up high enough for me to get my legs round when pedalling. Saddle is the WTB Volt, a classic, it’s a comfy place to sit, good enough for me.
Tyre inserts Yay or Nay?
I’m not sure about tyre inserts yet, I have been running a Cushcore in the back of my DH bike for a good while now and I thought it was great, mainly for it’s damping properties more than anything. Without one your back end feels quite lively, then insert a Cushcore and it all of a sudden makes it feel dead, which in some riding situations on certain trails is just what you need, but for most of my riding I enjoy the back end to feel lively and responsive. However, the Cushcore is good at giving the tyre a bit more stability on hard pack trails when really pushing in to turns, Maybe if I rode bike parks and trail centre stuff every day then I would consider it for my Edit, but for now I’m going to stick with good old air and sealant. Never say never though.
Anything you would change?
At the moment I’ve got this built up exactly how I would like it, maybe one day i’ll have an AXS drivetrain and seatpost with just 2 cables up front, but for now those two extra cables aren’t going to lose me any sleep.
That’s a tough one, I’d have to say the Hayes brakes at the moment, the lever feel is just solid and there’s plenty of stopping power there for when I do enter corners too fast on trails I don’t know, which at the moment is a lot!
Any Secrets Or Setup Tips?
Not really, I think being super fussy over setup or thinking if you run a certain product, it’s going to improve your bike riding skills, just run what you’ve got and have a good time! I do like a quiet bike though, there’s nothing better than cruising down a trail listening to the sound of your own tyres on the dirt. Luckily with clutch derailleurs and Slapper tape chain slap is a thing of the past now so that’s not too hard to achieve on the Edit.
How Does it compare to your previous bike?
My previous bike was a 2018 Specialized Enduro, it was the alloy version, so no flashy lunchbox in the downtube or anything, but it was good, I didn’t have any beef with it, I managed to get a tune on the monarch shock so it would work well for me on that bike. I had it built up how I wanted my bike to be at that time, so Lyrik RC2 fork, Saint brakes, XT Drivetrain and DT Swiss Wheelset, all good stuff and all stuff I wouldn’t hesitate to run again. Something I have noticed immediately between the Specialized and my Edit though, the climbing position on the Edit is just comfy, on the Specialized when things started to go up you had to push your weight down over the front to keep the front wheel from lifting, but with the steeper seat angle on the Edit you can just kind of sit there and spin away.
Andy could have been a World Cup mechanic but he knows working at Airdrop is better.
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