Since we launched the new Edit v3 we've had a lot of good questions coming through email and social media. We thought we should take a stab at providing some good answers.
Since the launch, practically all we've been able to do is answer emails and social media questions, handle custom build quotes and take preorders. We've done our best to get back to everybody. We've got plans for a series of posts to get into the details of the geometry, sizing and development of the v3 - there's a lot to talk about - and we'll roll those out as soon as we get a chance! But for now, there are a few common questions that the press info doesn't address so we thought it would be helpful to put a bit of effort into answering those FAQs.
The v3 looks a lot like my v2 - what's changed?
I guess that depends on your perspective. Having lived & breathed the Edit v3's development for the last two years I can assure you pretty much everything has changed. They do have a similar silhouette and the layout is still the same but look past that, and it's all new; the Edit v3 was a ground-up redesign. We'll get into more detail later but for now let's just say this: New geometry, new sizing, new kinematics, new tube set, new colours, new finishes, new frame and shock options and new full bikes.
So it's just a longer, lower, slacker v2?
Slacker? Yes: the head angle on the v3 is 64.5° versus 65.7° on the v2. If you're in the short fork-offset club (you can run a normal offset fork if you want to) then you're going to get the benefits of the extra slackness without any downsides.
Lower? Yes: the BB drop is -12mm whereas it was -8mm before. And if you're thinking of standover clearance, that's also a fair bit lower.
Longer? It depends: in terms of reach, the small has actually got shorter (425mm), the Medium is very similar (450mm), the Large has got longer (475mm) and of course we've added and X-Large (500mm). We put a lot of time into reworking the sizing for the v3 to make sure frames are well suited to riders at every size, and to make sure everyone can take advantage of the latest longer-drop seat posts.
The Edit v3 has been a long time coming. What took you so long?
These things do take time; the Edit v3 project will have been about two years from start to finish. But in all honesty, two years isn't that long for a ground-up redesign. To deliver a product that meets our expectations in terms or performance and reliability requires a really thorough development process. You can't cut corners just to get there faster.
We started by defining the standards (27.5, boost, metric, short offset) and clearances which effectively gave us a space to work within, then moved onto kinematics and pivot locations (all new). Only then could we get into 2D design work, followed by 3D for the CNC components and later, engineering drawings. The prototyping phase went through rapid 3D printed parts in the UK and a couple of rounds of prototype frames. After that we moved into rider testing, fatigue testing, ISO certification followed by production samples and after all of that, production was 4 months.
It's a long process but if you don't dot all your I's and cross all your T's you will end up with something that's a compromise in design or execution. And that's not what Airdrop is all about.
It's alloy again? I was expecting carbon!
Alloy has had a tough time over the last ten years. It's been flying economy while the business class seats were reserved for carbon. The big brands have pushed carbon-only options on their high-end models, with alloy being marketed as a cheaper alternative. There hasn't been a lot of love for alloy but times are changing and we believe there's a place for high-end, high-quality alloy bikes.
For a start it's a material we have experience working with and feel like we can get the best from. Call me old fashioned, but to me bikes should be made out of metal and I'm of the opinion that aluminium is the best material for the job.
A quality alloy frame requires real craftsmanship to put together - probably more so than carbon - harmoniously bringing together different production processes. Beautifully machined CNC parts, extruded tubes and hydroformed tubes are mitred, jigged up and aligned before a master welder lays down a series of uniform beads to put it all together. The taiwanese are the best in the world at this, hands down. And we're lucky to have a great relationship with a great factory.
Why isn't it a 29er?
29" wheels (much like extreme geometry) are flattering and more forgiving; they offer increased margin for error. You can go that bit quicker, get off line and get away with more mistakes. Because of all that they require less precise riding and to me at least, that's less rewarding and less fun. I want my bike to have some life in it, to move around a bit and allow me to get out of shape. Not steam-roll down the hill with minimal rider input.
If you're riding against the clock then for sure 29 makes sense but that wasn't our priority for the v3. Any new bike for us at Airdrop is a big deal; it requires a massive level of commitment and it's a tonne of work - it has to be a bike we want to ride. The Edit v3 is that bike.
Why has the Frame-only option gone up in price?
There are a few factors in play here but mainly it's because we've put a lot of emphasis on increasing quality and refining all the details. The cost of a frame is always a result of our design decisions; we never work to a price point which would force us to compromise on the design. The price at the end of the process is a result of what we believe to be the right decision decisions. The v3 was always going to cost a bit more, because it's a much better frame. In short:
Toptube is now hyrdoformed not extruded
Seatstays have a new bend profile for better heel clearance
Custom CNC bolt-on cable guides for much better routing
Double-pass smooth welds on front triangle
All-new rocker requires increased machine time
New CNC rocker pivot mount is cleaner and no longer traps mud
New CNC chain stay yoke eliminates the loamshelf
Extra pair of bearings for trunnion mount shock means better small-bump
New frame finishes; uniform brushing for raw and matte powder coat looks better, is more hard wearing and uses fewer VOCs
Extra tooling required to add an X-Large size
When we originally launched the v2, pricing was set at £799 and at that time £1 got us $1.46. Although sterling plummeted in the two year life of the Edit v2 we chose to hold the price and take a hit on the margin. By the time we ordered the Edit v3, £1 only got us $1.30. Multiply that out over 120 frames and it's a big chunk of extra cash for us to find up front. As a result the frame-only price is now £999 but we think this is still the best price on a frame of this quality by a long way.
Air or Coil Shock?
Good question but not one that's always easy to answer. It's a question of personal preference. Both have their pro's and con's so it's not about whether coil is 'better' than air; it's more about what ride characteristics you're looking for. What I can say is that the Edit v3's kinematics are designed to play nice with both air and coil options; it doesn't require a particular shock or tune to prop up it's kinematics. To see both sides of the coin, check out the Edit v3 with Rockshox Super Deluxe Air and the Edit v3 with Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil.
Can I run a 170mm Fork?
The short answer is yes. We fatigue tested the frame with a 170mm fork so in terms of frame durability, there are no issues. Whether you'd want to is a different question. We put a heap of work into the Edit v3's geometry and it's based around a 552mm axle-to-crown fork. If you start jacking up the front end you'll get a slacker head-angle but you'll also throw a lot of the other numbers out - shorter reach, slacker seat-tube, higher BB. The Edit v3 is pretty slack at 64.5° and the modern 160mm forks are more capable than ever, so it's debatable whether 10mm more travel actually makes the bike better.
Do I really need to run a short-offset fork?
No you don't have to. We certainly recommend a 37mm offset fork and if you're looking to buy new forks with an Edit v3 frame then it's a no brainer - get short offset. The performance gains are worth it. But if you already have a nice set of forks with 44-46mm offset they'll fit and work just fine.
NB We'll be covering the benefits of short-offset in a future blog post.
Will the shock from my Edit v2 fit?
I'm afraid not. The Edit v3 uses a 205x60mm metric shock with a trunnion upper mount so both the size and mounting style have changed. But for good reason: this means we can offer the latest and greatest metric shocks such as the Rockshox Super Deluxe Air and Super Deluxe Coil which are a big step up from the previous generation. The update also allowed us to increase the travel to 155mm and tweak the kinematics with all-new pivot locations, so the v3 is more progressive than the v2.
Any plans to offer non-boost dropouts?
It's an understandable question since we went to all the effort of designing removable dropouts. But no, there won't be a non-boost dropout. It's not just a question of whether you can make a wheel fit; it's about the rear-end as a functioning system. Technically the dropouts are the same, but the entire rear-end of the bike has changed.
We designed the Edit v3 around a 52mm chainline, clearance for a 2.6" tyre and a 36t chainring. In order to do that, we increased the width of the chain stay yoke so it's not now possible to run the older 49mm chainline.
So has the #loamshelf gone?
Yes, the loamshelf has gone, #longlivetheloamshelf. It's no secret amongst Edit v1 and v2 owners that the old chainstay yoke struggled to accommodate the newer large volume tyres on 30mm (or wider) rims, and on a muddy day it was prone to a little dirt collection. In fairness I think a lot of bikes struggle with the same issue and UK conditions serve to highlight that. It wasn't ideal but I liked to think of it as one of those little quirks; like living with a classic car.
Anyhow the v3 project was an opportunity to listen to customer feedback and do something about it. We took advantage of the Boost rear end and increased the width of the chainstay yoke so you can now run a 2.6" tyre with more clearance than ever before. We also redesigned the pocketing to minimise flat surfaces where mud might collect. We put in a load of rider testing and can confirm it works well: if you can't clog it up through a winter of Wharncliffe riding, we must have got it right.
That Effective Top Tube Seems Short! Why Not Increase Reach To compensate?
I would question the relevance of ETT. As a dimension it tells you very little and can't be used to accurately measure the seated position on the bike. For us, the ETT is just a result of other, more important geometry decisions.
When laying out geometry our first priority is reach; it's the most important sizing dimension and it determines the fit of the bike when standing. Once that's dialled we can play with the numbers that define handling characteristics ie head-angle, BB drop and seat-angle.
With the Edit v3 we chose to steepen the seat-angle to 74.5° to move your weight bias forward when seated, giving you a more natural seated position for climbing. And that steeper seat angle is what's responsible for the ETT looking short. But remember, the ETT doesn't measure where your saddle is. What's really important is your seated position when climbing and your standing position when descending. If we made the reach longer just to 'improve' ETT it would mess everything else up.
There's More To Come
Hope fully that covers some of the more 'big picture' questions around the Edit v3. We're aware there's a lot more to talk about and we are planning to do some detailed posts in future. That'll allow us to get into the finer points of the geometry, our thoughts on sizing, suspension kinematics and shock tunes and so on. But for now, we're busy. frames are due to land in the UK any day now and we've got more than a few bikes to build...
Preorder Your Edit v3 Now
Yes they're selling fast and we've sold 20% of the first batch of frames before they've even arrived. If you're keen to get an Edit v3 in the next few weeks it's definitely worth getting involved sooner rather than later. (check availability here)