We love a custom build at Airdrop Bikes, so when Ethan asked us to help him build a bike to race in this year's Scottish Enduro series, we were well up for it. With a mix of Cane Creek suspension and finishing kit from Burgtec and Hope, this is a good one.
It was clear from the start that Ethan had a strong idea of what kind of bike he was after. But he was also open to some suggestions which is great, because it makes the planning process much more of a two-way thing. We don't mind spending a bit of time getting these things right; its one of the best parts of the job. So we spent a couple of weeks batting ideas to-and-fro before Ethan committed to the spec you see here. Hopefully you'll agree that the result is a unique and particularly sweet Edit v2 build.
Airdrop Edit v2 Large
Black with red decals
Cane Creek Helm Air 160mm
Cane Creek DBcoil IL with 500lb Valt Lightweight Spring
Hope Tech ZS44/56 in red
Burgtec Enduro Mk2, 35mm reach 35mm clamp, red
Burgtec Ridewide Alloy, 35mm clamp, 800mm wide
ODI Elite Pro Lock-on
RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm with 1x Remote
Burgtec The Cloud Mk2 with Cromo Rails
Hope Tech 3 v4 in red with Hope SRAM shifter mounts
The heart of the build, and the starting point in many ways, was the suspension. We dabbled with the idea of the new MRP Ribbon fork (which is amazing) but ended up going with the Cane Creek Helm air 160mm up front and the DBcoil IL rear. This is the combo I use on my own bike and I can't get enough of it. The DBcoil IL has our own base tune set and consulting with Ethan, we went for a 500lb Valt lightweight spring.
It was obvious from the start that the bike would be ridden hard for a few races seasons so we knew it would be important for every aspect of the build to be able to handle some abuse. This is where Burgtec comes in. We swear by the Penthouse Flat pedals - they're just the best out there - so they went on straight away. And we wanted to keep things consistent so we also went for the Enduro stem, ride wide alloy bar and The Cloud saddle. All colour coded in red and to match up with the decals of course.
A bike that's built to go fast needs good brakes, and Ethan was keen to keep the British theme going so Hope's Tech 3 V4 brakes were an obvious choice. They're beautifully made, super adjustable, there's phenomenal stopping power and the red and finish ties in perfectly with the Burgtec stuff. Ethan went for 203mm Hope floating rotors front and rear. Black was a good choice - colour matching is good but you can have too much of a good thing, especially when you're running red Pro 4 hubs.
For a coil shock, the DBcoil IL pedals amazingly well, especially with the new SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain. We went with a 32t chainring up front; coupled with the 10-50t Eagle cassette there's a massive spread of gears and smooth, consistent shifting. On burlier builds we tend to spec the Truvativ Descendant crankset over the GX series crank - although there's no real difference other than the graphics it seems to be more appropriate.
We also advised on a chain guide. Although the clutch mechs and narrow/wide chainrings mean you almost never drop a chain any more, in a race situation one dropped chain can ruin a weekend - or even a season if you're at the sharp end. Plus the new MRP 1x chain guide is super minimal and lightweight, so there's no reason not to run one. I've been running this guid on my own bike since the first samples came and since I fitted it, I've never even thought about it again. That's a good thing.
The best part of this custom build process is that every bike is unique. Some people just want a couple of tweaks and others - like Ethan - want the full treatment. But when the bikes are done it's always a pleasure to send them off to their new owners. I think Ethan's pretty stoked on his. I certainly am. Thanks to Ethan for giving us the opportunity to build this one, and good luck for this year's race season.
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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