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Airdrop Edit V3 - Long Term Review

Updated: May 20

I thought it would be interesting to do a long term review on this bike, my Airdrop Edit V3.  It's been just over a year since getting this bike built up. 

It was built up in late Autumn and was ridden through what was to be a mild winter in Queenstown, which meant a lot more riding time, probably getting out on average 2-3 times per week in the mud.  It has then endured a full summer of riding, doing all the usual good stuff, bike park laps, lots of big pedals and jump sessions up dream track.






WHAT HAVE I CHANGED SINCE FIRST BUILDING IT


I love trying new stuff, I am addicted to it.  Winter saw the spec staying the same as the initial build which you can see in my ride review in a previous blog.  

One thing I did try, just because I had it lying around, was to put a 5mm reach adjust headset in.  I was just really interested how changing just that one measurement on my bike would affect the way it feels.

I was genuinely blown away with what difference 5mm made to the character of the bike.  It made it feel so much longer and less playful.  I found it more effort to manual and harder to pick up and put where I wanted it.  But it also felt like I was more centered in the bike and it felt more composed on rougher sections of trail and on the steep stuff.  I stuck with it and after a few weeks I really started to enjoy it and I haven't looked back since.  


After a couple of summers riding on the MRP Ribbon Air fork which I loved, it was time for a change and I decided to get one of the new Rock Shox Lyrik Ultimates.  I love Rock Shox stuff and haven't tried any of the new forks so was keen to give them a whirl.  Maybe lacking the support of the MRP but the small bump sensitivity of the Lyrik is hard not to love.  


I also switched to Rock Shox Super Deluxe Ultimate Air rear shock from the coil version which I had been running since getting the bike.  I have been through a love hate relationship with it.  Once spoiled with the feel of coil it is hard to go back to air.  But the air does win when it comes to both jumping the bike and also riding fast trails with lots of deep compressions when you are riding quite aggressive.  The progressiveness is quite nice and confidence inspiring.  I have been switching between them both ever since really.  


Apart from the fork and shock the rest of the bike has remained the same.





ANY NIGGLES WITH THE FRAME

The only thing that has been a niggle early on was the rear shock trunnion bolts coming loose, but this is a problem with trunnion mounts in general I find, not specifically to this frame.  We see lots of brands come through the shop that have trunnion mount shocks that suffer from the same problem.  You just have to make sure these are loctited from the get go and also keep an eye on them as you can always tell they are coming loose when you are riding like you would with traditional style shock mounting systems (note- the shocks bolts are loctited when coming from Airdrop so shouldn't be a problem but I was taking my shock out frequently to try different spring rates and wasn't allowing the loctite to set properly).


BEARING LIFE

Six months in I had to replace the main bearing in the rocker plates as it developed some play.  Nothing out of the ordinary and they are a very standard bearing size so they are cheap and easy to replace.  Been trouble free since.  

I recently decided to do a full rear end strip down which was just a little over a year after getting the bike.  Apart from replacing the rocker bearing I haven't touched anything else as it never called for it.

Upon doing the strip down and taking every piece apart, cleaning and checking the bearings, the only ones I decided to replace were the bearings near the bottom bracket.  They weren't even that bad, just a bit notchy like bearings tend to get over time.  I just thought I may as well replace them as I have it all apart.  The rest of the bearings felt great and I just picked the seals and packed fresh grease in them.





PAINT AND FINISH QUALITY

I have the raw finish front triangle with the standard matt black powder coated rear triangle.  I was pretty chuffed as to how good the bike looks after a year of abuse.  The lacquered raw finish looks as good as the day I got it and the rear end just has some little scuffs and scratches from general riding/transporting/crashes.  Top marks.


EASE OF SERVICING

I have worked on some over complicated bikes over the years and the Edit is one the more pleasant bikes to work on.  Pivots are easy to access, simple to take apart, good size pivot bolts with no chance of rounding them out, just well thought out and effective.  If you get lost while stripping the rear end then you can jump on the Airdrop website and there are super handy tech documents with exploded diagrams, bearings numbers, orientation of spacers used and torque settings.  Cheers guys.  It took me less than an hour to strip it, clean it and put it all back together.  





AM I STILL IN LOVE

I have to say, I have grown to love this bike more and more as time has gone on.  I feel like you only really get to the heart of a bike and get truly comfortable on it after a good 3-4 months of riding it.  Once you get to this comfort level, this is when you really start to see what it can do and when you can really start to use it as a tool to progress your own riding.  


When I did my initial review I had only owned and ridden the bike for a few weeks.  So the honeymoon phase was still going on.  A phase that every bike owner knows about.  A brand new bike is always the best bike you have ever ridden for those first few rides.  

Then as time goes on you start to pick holes in it and start to change and tinker with it to get it to feel as comfortable as you felt on the bike you replaced it with.  Sound familiar.


I am now in the phase where I have owned it for a year and it now feels like an extension of my body.  I love it so much, it still gets me excited everytime I pick it up.  


Being an alloy bike with an intended purpose of going fast, going big and lasting the abuse, it was never going to build up as a light weight full carbon $12000 machine.  My bike weighs about 34-35lbs depending on what shock I have on it.  That is with full on DH casing tyres.  I could get the weight down a few pounds by changing tyres and doing a few other things but it would compromise the way I want it to descend.  I would rather take 5 minutes more to get to the top and be able to confidently shred and shralp my way to the bottom knowing my bike has got my back when the going gets wild. 

I feel like people still use weight as the main factor in deciphering whether a bike is a good bike or not.  This thinking is from the 90’s, not 2020.  With the way bikes are designed now and how well they pedal and the abuse they can take we are riding gnarlier and steeper trails than ever before.  I don't want a 25lb bike in this terrain.  It is unnerving, scary and down right dangerous.  Give me a bike that oozes control, confidence, feels planted and has oodles of grip and you see if you can wipe the smile of my face.  That is exactly what the Edit V3 gives me.  It's got my full trust and allows me to focus purely on the task at hand.  





STRENGTHS

  • PEDALLING POSITION WITH THE STEEP SEAT ANGLE

  • CORNERS LIKE ITS ON RAILS

  • ITS BORN TO BE IN THE AIR

  • PROGRESSIVE SUSPENSION CURVE

  • RELIABLE AND BURLY CONSTRUCTION

  • EXCELLENT BACK UP AND CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM THE GUYS AT AIRDROP

  • PROGRESIVE MODERN GEOMETRY

  • LOW STANDOVER

  • SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM THE NORM

  • FRAME COLOUR OPTIONS AND CUSTOMISABLE DECALS


WEAKNESSES

  • THEY SELL OUT SO FAST

  • TOO MANY STRENGTHS







CONCLUSION

Every time I get a new bike it is the best bike I have ever owned, which is how it always should be.  The Edit V3 definitely takes that title for me at the moment.  It has been a joy to get to know it and ride it over the last year.  It has never let me down which has meant I have never had to miss a ride.  

It progressive and modern geometry numbers along with well thought out suspension kinematics give it an aggressive attitude which just begs to be ridden harder and faster.  It truly is a confidence inspiring machine which will keep you smiling for years.  Which is important to a lot of people in this sustainability and environmentally aware day and age.  




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