The Outdoor City Weekender is Sheffield's annual festival of all things outdoor. This year sees the inaugural Howard Street Dual, a head-to-head mtb race right in the City Centre. It's a mate's race, done the Sheffield way. So we though we'd build something a bit special to mark the occasion.
So what do you do when you've got your own bike brand, you get invited to a dual race, but you've only got a 150mm enduro bike in your lineup? Get creative, that's what. So we raided the parts bin, voided the warranty on some stuff, and this is the result... The one-off, never to be repeated Edit Dual.
The Howard Street Dual is just a bit of fun really. It's the sort of thing that can only happen where you've got a really strong local scene, someone with a bit of vision, awesome people who are willing (and able) to organise stuff and a city council that's got it's head in the right place. So we're just out to enjoy it and make the most of it. Is the Edit Dual a good idea? Will it work? No idea. But it'll be fun to find out.
The race is going to be held on a steep pedestrianised street with some concrete, some natural sections, street furniture and hand-built features. To be honest, we've got no idea what the course will be like. Short and fast, and with the local pinners we have here, racing is set to be tight. So the build is our best guess as to what's going to work.
We took a stock Edit v1 frame in size small for maximum standover clearance and the shortest wheelbase to get round tight turns. A wise man once said #26aintdead so we thought we'd give that a go, and broke up an old bike for the wheels and forks: Stan's Arch EX rims on Hopetech Pro 2 Evo hubs, and some 26" Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160's. That's a bit too much travel really, but we need to keep an eye on the geometry, so we packed the forks with bottomless tokens and cranked up the pressure.
Both the forks and the wheels were looking a bit shabby so we de-stickered the rims and pulled off the old 2014 style fork decals, replacing them with a set of 2016 stealth black decals. The frame itself got a set of v2 Edit decals to keep things neat & tidy.
Tyre choice will be a tricky one; low rolling resistance is a must but if the grass is greasy things could get interesting. We thought about a Maxxis Minion SS but opted for the Holy Roller 26x2.4 front and rear in the end. If there's any dirt being brought in for berms & rollers, this'll be a good option.
We normally only stock the kind of 1x11 groupsets you need for trail & enduro type bikes, but there's no need for any climbing gears here. Would it really matter? Probably not. But there was an opportunity to do something a bit different so we wanted to spec the SRAM GX DH 1x7 groupset. They're not currently available, and in any case that would be quite expensive, so we thought we'd try making a ghetto version. And the results are better than expected.
We went with a SRAM PG11-30 cassette from the NX groupset, because most of the sprockets are loose and separated by spacers. So we took off the biggest 3 sprockets, and built a ghetto spacer using 3x 2.5mm Raceface BB spacers. The result is an 8-speed cassette with 11-28 teeth. The rear mech we had was a first-gen X01 1x11 mech out of the parts bin. We swapped over the high-limit screw and the b-tension screw (which is longer) so that we could set the high-limit a long way inboard, and that means you can only shift up to the 28t sprocket, no further. The shorter b-tension screw worked fine because we shortened the chain to 110 teeth. The result exceeds expectations, and it works perfectly.
Originally we used a Raceface Turbine crankset off an older bike, but the non-drive side turned out to be knackered so they got swapped out for a new set of NX cranks. By this point we were fully committed so the bike had to be finished. And since this is a race bike, a chainguide is mandatory so we went with the new, British made Compact Guide from Unite Components, which is here for testing. All-in-all a pretty clean setup, which runs silently and shifts really well.
The rear shock was meant to be a Monarch 200x50, which would shorten the travel rto 130mm without affecting the geometry (too much). But that would be a bit extravagent so we used the Cane Creek DBinline off a demo bike. With the Climb Switch on and the pressure bumped up, it works really well.
Stan's Arch EX rims (destickered) on Hopetech Pro 2 Evo hubs
Maxxis Holy Roller 26x2.4"
SRAM X01 1x11, modified to 1x8
SRAM PG11-30, modified to 1x8 11-28t
SRAM X01 1x11
SRAM NX 32t
SRAM GXP Team
Unite Components ISCG05 Compact Guide
The bike's been shipped off to Brett Penfold who's our man for the race. He's on the road with his stunt display team so he'll be smashing it around the BMX tracks of Glasgow for the next few days. We'll see what he's got to say in the run up to the race.
If you can get to Sheffield for Saturday 18th March, do it. The Howard Street Dual runs from 3pm-7pm and it's right in the city centre. There will be a load of stuff going on besides the race - all the local industry will be there with products on show, and Red Bull are providing the DJs. We'll be there of course, so come and say hi.
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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