The bike world is constantly evolving and the process by which we acquire our steeds is something that is changing too. In recent years the emergence of brands like Canyon and YT have cut out the distributor and shop to offer some amazing bikes for equally incredible prices at the click of a mouse. Solid bikes recently announced they too are going the direct sales route and we could well see this trend emerging more and more in the future. If you are a rider then you will want to see this develop, not as much as a shop owner but then a balance will be struck overall. You can’t take your bike back to Europe to get the wheel straightened or brakes bled!
Once you know what you are looking for the cost of a new bike has a big impact on the direction in which you’re drawn. Next on the list is the parts that bike comes with and any upgrades you might make.
Many bikes that come through the doors here at Dirt get some pre test treatment. I’m not talking a grease down and Shiatsu but a definite aligning of certain numbers that make the bike equation add up and in the main this is stem, bars and tyres. The first getting shorter, the next wider and the last being down to personal preference. Either way there are normally things to change when a bike is unboxed, Bird Cycleworks have taken the important stuff and made it customisable, they call is semi-custom, which it is. You can select the parts you want, albeit from a short list, and spec the bike just how you want it.
So who are Bird Cycleworks?
Having met after a call out on their Facebook page by founder Ben Pinnick they raised the money, got the bikes and parts, and are now running a bike company from the UK, not a bad idea if you are bored sat at work right now! The team consists of Ben Pinnick, Dan Hodge is the head engineer and Dave Cutts is Finance Director. They started out in April 2013 and after sourcing a manufacturer at Eurobike they raised £45K through an equity crowd fund and got the Zero frames into production. Once that was up and running it was time to look at full suspension and that’s where they are now.
Meet the Bird Aeris, after starting out with the Zero hardtail the guys always knew they wanted to make a full suspension bike and this is targeted at the privateer Enduro racer, that and anyone else who just want’s to bomb around the woods on a weekend. All the Bird frames are made in Taiwan, then sent to the UK to be assembled and fitted with whichever parts are required before being shipped out to the customer. There are over The frame has been developed by adapting an existing prototype they saw at a bike show and then getting into some 3D modelling to check what worked and what didn’t. After modelling some of the best other bikes on the market the guys pulled together their final design and got a new prototype made up.
The top tube joins the seat tube at the same point so the top tube mounted swing link performs equally on each size – Ben Pinnick
Sizing has been taken care of by Bird too, so often bikes come in just three sizes. Some brands produce XL bikes but it’s not the norm, Bird are going to produce 5 different sizes and each geometry is based around a 35mm stem. The various sizes have been worked on to allow the suspension to perform the same across all dimensions. All of Bird’s bikes come with a lifetime warranty that is transferable between owners and they are rolling out a demo fleet across UK trail centres in early 2015. This is sounding good so far!
Numbers and info
Here’s the geometry chart and some details from the guys at Bird about the features of the frame and what they are aiming for.
140/150mm 6061 T6 alu frameset – Horst Link (4 bar) design.
- ISCG 05
- Tapered Headtube
- Low Bottom bracket, long geometry designed around 35mm stem
- Reverb Stealth routed, only the base model doesn’t have the stealth Reverb. It will be offered in all 3 lengths dependent on frame size
- Asymmetric rear end
- Very low TT for improved stand over/chuckability, shock position is constant across the range
- low leverage ratio, gently falling rate into sag point, nicely progressive therein
- Good anti-squat so pedals really well even with shock in ‘open’
- Frame weight 7 lbs no shock for a Large
- Enduro Max bearings in every pivot
- Totally custom designed by Bird
- 140 mode has slightly steeper Head angle, higher Bottom Bracket when sagged, more small bump compliance
- 150 mode has more progression, is harder to bottom, lower BB & slacker angles
- All our normal customisation, as well as the addition of a choice of Blackspire Twenty, Der Guide and TrailX guides
- 1×11 will come in 2015, probably in the guise of SRAM X1 paired with RaceFace cranks
Frameset will be £850 inc. XFusion 02 RCX shock, axle and seat clamp.
All shock options will be available on all frames. Top end will be with Cane Creek DB Air CS at £1115.
Bikes start at £1550 and the full breakdown can be found below:
So there you have it, a UK based company producing bikes that you can pick what you want on. Not a bad idea! We are yet to ride one but will be doing soon and we’ll let you know if the numbers add up to a good riding bike. The team will be at all the UK Gravity Enduro events in 2015 and if you are a Bird owner will be offering free race support at the UKGE.
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