Airdrop Bikes, a small Sheffield based brand led by Ed Brazier, has until now had just the one bike in the range: the Airdrop Edit. It’s gone through a couple of iterations since birth, but the full suspension enduro model has been an only child until now.
Today sees the launch of the Airdrop Bitmap, a ‘hardcore hardtail’ with a gestation period more akin to a black alpine salamander than a royal baby. Ed explains:
‘You might think it’s an easy thing to produce an alloy hardtail, but to make one as good as this took us two years of development. We’ve put everything into designing what we think is one of the best hardcore hardtails out there. It’s simple: no bearings and no shock to tune. Just dialled geometry, a strong, stiff frame and a well thought-out spec.’
‘The frame uses our own specification 6061-T6 alloy tubing, which we’ve tuned to get the ride character just how we want. There are gussets in all the right places and a custom CNC chainstay yoke that gives bags of space for a 2.6” tyre with tonnes of mud clearance. The Bitmap has the same CNC dropouts as the Edit, so you’ve got a super stiff bolt-through rear end (boost 148x12mm), a replaceable mech hanger and brake mount designed for a 180mm rotor – no faffing about with spacers.’
As you might expect, the bike is designed with short 420mm chainstays and a slack 65° head-angle. The influence of the new generation of longer dropper posts is in evidence, with low standover heights giving riders the option to choose their size more on the basis of reach than standover. Dropper routing is stealth, but cable routing is external.
There’s room for up to 27.5×2.6in tyres, and the claimed frame weight is 2.3kg for a Medium. Bikes come in a choice of two colours – raw or grey – plus 16 decal options, and three different build options :
- Bitmap Trail – £1,999 – 13.3kg (Medium) – Revelation/Reverb/Level/NX
- Bitmap Pro – £2,399 – 13.1kg (Medium) – Pike/Reverb/Guide/GX
- Bitmap Works – £2,799 – 12.7kg (Large) – Pike/Reverb/Guide/X01
‘We put a huge amount of work into getting the Bitmap’s geometry dialled. A bike that’s designed to be ridden as hard as this, and particularly a hardtail, is all about the angles. The whole idea was to produce a bike that’s fast and fun; like the bikes we used to ride when we were kids, but with everything we’ve learned about progressive geometry and the latest standards rolled in. A hardcore hardtail for the modern era.’
What do you think? Do you look at it and feel a childish delight come over you? Does it make you want to go out and play?