Airdrop Edit V3 Review - what's it like to ride?
First things first. This isn't a review made to make these bikes sound better than they are just so we might sell a few more. We aren't in the business of doing that. We like to sell products we believe in and work with people who are a pleasure to do business with. We dont want to take over the world, we are just a little shop doing the best we can with what we have and we love every minute of it.
I have been personally riding an Airdrop Edit for over two years now. Before that I have had all sorts of different trail bikes, some good and some bad. Because I work in this awesome industry I get to try out loads of different things, I enjoy doing this, its great to know what is out there so you can pass on your experience and knowledge to customers to help better understand them and what they want.
I also have a lot of respect for people who truly specialise in what they do and dont spread themselves too thin just to make a quick dollar. If its worth doing its worth doing right and you only get one chance at it, so do it to the best of your ability and dont care what other people are doing or what they think as you can't please everyone.
Thats what drew me to Airdrop Bikes.
Fast forward a few months and I got hold of one the Edit V2 frames to try out. I loved it straight away, everything about it, it just felt right. I ran this bike for over a year with not a single problem and was excited to ride it every time I got it out.
I knew there was a new Edit in the works, I got a few details here and there and new if it was anything like my V2 then I had to have one.
Dealing with the guys at Airdrop is always a pleasure and I love that you are dealing direct with the guys (at the time there were only two of them) who design the bikes, who build the bikes, who pack and send the bikes and who get out and ride the bikes. They are also super focussed on the customer, wanting to make sure the whole experience of buying an Airdrop is as fun and exciting as possible.
After much back and forward with James at Airdrop about the V3, deciding on colour, decals etc (the best bit), we got one underway to NZ for me to try out.
What sort of bike is the Edit V3 in a nutshell?
All Airdrop bikes are built around 27.5 wheels, with the Edit V3 sporting 155mm travel, so a dam fine aggressive trail bike. They are built from 6061-T6 Aluminium and built for abuse! There is of course the ongoing debate about 27 vs 29 and both are good it just depends off your riding style, that's all I am going to say about that :-)
My shiny new Edit V3 in Raw
I decided to keep most of the build kit of my V2 but upgrade my wheels to try out some of the Santa Cruz Reserve rims. This way I could really see the difference in the new design without having to think about getting used to the other components.
The frame turned up rather swiftly thanks to the great service from the Airdrop crew. All work ceased and the build got underway away so I could get out on the trails the next day, new bike froth was high!
Airdrop Edit V3 Geometry
Airdrop Edit V2 Geometry
Holy Seat Tube Angle Batman!
The first thing I noticed was the seat tube angle. It was insanely steep, like nothing I had ever ridden before. It is apparently obvious just looking at the profile of the bike how steep it is, I couldn't get used to the aesthetics to start with. But as soon as you start to pedal it all makes sense and I can't believe all bike companies haven't adopted this (more and more are catching up now). I actually see people on bikes that are a couple years old and feel sorry for them as the riding position looks so uncomfortable, their seated position is so far back behind the BB it just looks plain uncomfortable and a lot more effort to ride.
This seat tube angle does make the bike feel very short, you feel like your knees are going to hit the bars when pedalling (as it is essentially reducing the effective top tube length ETT) So many people have commented on this which is natural, it does feel short in this seated position. But this upright position puts your hips and legs more over your pedals so your power is coming straight down onto your pedals (not pushing slightly forward like on bikes with slacker seat angles) its just so dam comfy, you are no longer slouched over the bike but sitting in a nice upright position which has got to be better for your back and posture (how many seasoned cyclists look like the hunch back of Notre Dam).
So it may feel like a short bike, but it isn't. Bike size is largely based on other figures these days. In my hay day the size of your bike was just based on how long the ETT was and wheelbase. Nowadays top tube numbers dont really mean as much on bikes that are built to be ridden aggressively. Its more about reach, with this being the distance measured from the head tube to a vertical line that runs perpendicular through the center of the bottom bracket shell to the ground. This measurement identifies how long a bike will feel while standing.
Increasing the reach numbers on a bike also has the nice effect of increasing the wheelbase. Adding stability, but you need to be careful with what you do with the chainstay length as you could end up with a right barge if you combine long chain stays with long reach figures.
Anyway, I am going off on a tangent here but it is leading somewhere. The guys at Airdrop are a small company so need to be smart when designing a bike as they cant make quick changes, certainly not as quick as the market can, so they needed to think smart, think a good few years ahead so they bikes they make are going to still be relevant in a few years.
So along comes the Edit V3. Now available in 4 sizes instead of just 3 with the addition of an XL. Things to note straight of the bat from the geo charts:
- Increased reach numbers especially on the large and new XL size
- Increased wheelbase
- Slacker head angle from 66 to 64.5 degrees
- Seat tube angle steepened from 76 to 78.7 degrees
- Effective top tube length decreased as a result
- BB lower
- Shorter seat tube (more standover)
- Chainstay remains the same at 435mm
So how do all these changes measure up on the trail compared to the Edit V2 which I previously had. Well one thing to know about me is I am 5ft10, weigh 70kg's and I ride a medium Edit. If I was trendy or listened to the bike forums I should probably be on a large, or I probably just should be on a large. But I like smaller more playful bikes, they suit my style, I am not someone who just holds on and ploughs down the trail, I like to make use of the natural terrain and pop and float my way down. I also like to jump, like a lot, so I like the manoeuvrability of smaller bikes. This is definitely not the case for everyone. One of my staff KC Till who is the same height of me rides a large as he is a lot more aggressive than me so needs a bigger platform.
Float like a butterfly sting like a bee #goosestyle
Despite the same front fork, cockpit and tyres from my V2, this is a different bike as was going to take some getting used to and lots of hours of tinkering as all new bikes do. Saying that new bike froth does always kick in and there is nothing better than the feeling of doing the first few rides on a new bike.
The Edit V3 is a very easy bike to get on with, there are no quirks or surprises, it just feels solid and fast. I loved the new suspension kinematics along with the addition of the Rock Shox Super Delux Ultimate coil shock, the rear end has so much grip and support without blowing through the travel on the bigger hits. This is something I actually struggled with at first as I like to sit deeper into my travel for my riding style, but that was rectified by dropping a spring rate. Coil shocks on trail bikes are a must and would always be my recommendation to anyone looking at an Edit, definitely worth the weight penalty.
One of the first things I noticed and still love is how you get that "in the bike" feeling with the V3. I put this down to the lower BB and standover and longer wheelbase of the new Edit and its such a great feeling and one that not many bikes have. It is truly confidence inspiring in corners and on steeps and just want to push harder into loamy turns and rail berms hard.
So what does this increased rear end progressiveness and more "in the bike feeling" end up giving you? A bike you can have an absolute riot in all situations. I have owned my V3 for 8 months now and it still brings a grin to my face whenever I get to ride it.
The other great thing about each Airdrop Edit is that everyone is different, when you buy one you are getting a bike built for you, there wont be another one like it. Check out our Airdrop section of the website for some of the different build we have done. Then hit us up and we can help you plan your next bike.