Whenever we do a particularly sweet custom build we always try to make time to run a feature on it. There are a million and one ways to build these bikes and no two are quite the same. We put some cool bikes together. But what's sometimes missing is the insight into why people choose to build their bike in a certain way. So Pang gives us the lowdown on his Edit and what makes it special.
Ex World-cup racing, tofu eating, yoga doing and all round GC, Pang is a bit of a local legend around Queenstown and for good reason. Co-Owner of the infamous Vertigo Bikes in Queenstown NZ and my old boss. Originally hailing from bonnie Scotland now he calls mountain bike Mecca Queenstown home.
Years Riding: 20
Riding Background: DH racing, dirt jumping and general hucking since 18, a few years of those chasing the World Cup circus around.
Riding Style: swift, silent, deep
Pang's Bike Spec
Airdrop Edit v2 in Medium
Black with Magma decals
MRP Ribbon Air
Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 (with Pang's own custom shim stack)
Cane Creek 40 ZS44/56
Deity Copperhead 30mm
Renthal Fatbar 38mm rise, cut to 760mm
KS Lev Integra Carbon
Magura 200mm front, 180mm rear
DT Swiss 240 Straightpull hubs on DT EX471 rims
Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity Verstar Front, Maxxis Minion SS DD 3C Rear
SRAM X1 1x11
SRAM XX1 10-42T
SRAM X01 Gripshift
SRAM Direct Mount 32T
Not needed - too smooth
Tyre Choice and Pressures
I am a total tyre nerd, always have been. I used to hassle pros to sell me their worn Michelin comp 16's and 24's in the late 90's when you couldn't buy any decent DH race tyres. I had two piles 6ft high in my bedroom at home (no joke!). Anyway not much has changed and I still hoard tyres. My current favourite trail bike combo is Schwalbe Magic Mary Vert Star Super Gravity up front for all out business. Then on the rear I like to have a party and run a Schwalbe Rock Razor semi slick, Trail Star compound and Super Gravity once again. New Zealand summers are pretty dry and this combo works real well. In the wetter months I get far too excited to run two Maxxis Shortys, DH casing, Super Tacky compound, must be my Scottish racing heritage - I can never wait to get the spikes on!! I run pretty low pressures, 22psi up front and 24psi rear, but I'm a skinny vegan so can get away with that.
Well, I love to fiddle with suspension, I love learning how things work. I was really intrigued to try something new after years running Rockshox which I am still a massive fan of.
I started hearing good things about the new MRP forks so getting this new Edit frame gave me the chance to try something new so I grabbed a pair of the 160mm Ribbon Air forks.
I have spent years stripping charger dampers, modifying shim stacks trying to get the right feel for me, so it's has been nice to go back to step one with a new fork and learn some new stuff. Still early days but have just been using the stock adjustments and fine tuning them to see if I can get them how I want them before going any further. At the end of the day modifying dampers should be the last thing you do. So far so good and I have been pretty darn impressed at how good I have them feeling just tuning the positive and negative spring rates as they seem to have done a bang up job on the stock damper tune!
This was a tricky one. I have run air shocks front and rear on all my bikes for the last 6-7 years. I just love the feel of air, it suits my riding style. I am not an aggressive rider, I'm pretty light and always considered myself pretty smooth. I tend to hop my way down the trail! I so badly wanted to run a coil shock on this bike, new generation coils on trail bikes seem to be all the rage. I started with a Rockshox Vivid, which I initially liked, then got the chance to get a Fox DHX2 coil with climb switch which I though was going to be the holy grail. I struggled with set up with the coil. I tried multiple spring rates, played around with all the usual nobs and dials and ifp pressure. Just couldn't get the ride height right for how I like to ride. I have always liked to run more sag than usual on the rear, about 40% on most bikes I have owned. I like to ride deep into the travel and use the suspension a lot to help weight & un-weight down the trail. Like I said I bounce and hop constantly. I couldn't get this feeling with the coil. I put a Rockshock Monarch Plus on which I have a massive love for, they are a great little shock, it instantly transformed the bike to suit my riding style. The playfulness was back and I was bunny rabbiting my way down the trails once again.
Touched on the this a bit already for how I set up my rear shock. It might be something to do with the type of riding we have Queenstown, but I like a soft rear and stiff front. Just makes it good in the steeps. I'm not too fussed on small bump sensitivity; I like a front fork that never bottoms out and stays sat up high in its travel under braking on the steep and rough stuff. So confidence inspiring. I love hucking small natural doubles and launching into roots and rough stuff looking for natural backsides. I like my fork to be there for me and take the hits.
High high high. Always has been. Old school maybe? Nothing but Renthal Fatbars for me, I love the sweep on them, always run the 38mm rise ones too. Once again for confidence in the steeps. Cut them down to 760mm. Perfect width for me.
Grips: there is always one choice, ODI longneck lockons. Just try them and you will see.
Got a 30mm stem on the Edit, just cause I am not a fan of overly long bikes and this medium frame is longer than I am used to so went slightly shorter on the stem to compensate. Feels perfect, bike is a great size! Great balance of stability but still playful as hell! I'm not for all these excessive geometry bikes, I feel people convince themselves it's faster and are just compensating for lack of riding ability (oh, controversial). Take a good rider and put them on a small playful hardtail and they will still pull most people's pants down on any track.
Run of the mill SRAM 11 speed. Got an XX1 cassette cause it's super light. Descendant cranks. Just cause I thought they looked sick.
Those of you with a keen eye for detail might have noticed I run a grip shift. I initially did this because I got RSI from working on bikes and using a trigger shifter made it worse. So started using grip shift and have never looked back, so smooth and nothing to break! Don't diss it 'til you have tried it! They have come along way since the 90's!
Magura MT5's on here. I got some of the MT7's on my DH bike and they were a game changer for me. So much power! It actually changes the way you can ride! Had to have some on the bike as I got so used to the power nothing else would suffice.
They are a labour of love and they are not as easy to get a good bleed compared to a Shimano or SRAM but once you nail it you don't have to touch them and the power and confidence they provide more than makes up for the toil of the bleed process haha.
Flats Or Clips?
Flats for life. Tried clips a few times, prob did one DH race on them, just isn't for me. I like to move my feet a lot on the pedals adjusting and shifting, no idea why. I don't even like 5:10 shoes, too grippy. I just can't jump in clips and if I can't jump I'm not having fun on my bike.
Dropper and Saddle
KS lev Integra Carbon....why not, it's noticibly lighter! As for the saddle, SDG Bel Air's are GGC (Goose Gooch Compatible).
Anything you would change?
Got a custom vinyl wrap in the pipeline... watch this space!
ODI longnecks for the win!
Any Secrets Or Setup Tips?
Lots of secrets and they are going to stay that way haha. Lots of tip setups, but at the end of the day do what feels right for your riding style and don't stress about the having the latest and greatest gear or geometry. We were all riding just as fast 15 years ago on under damped, steep head angled, 26 inch wheeled Huck machines. If you're not riding well, it's probably you and not your equipment!
Photography: Thanks to Callum Wood for the photos. Check out Callum's Instagram feed @cwoodphoto