New Bike day and first ride: Bird Aether 9c
Seems like on the AM9 it brings it down from 49%.Posted 2 months ago
Posted 2 months ago
However there’s some significant creaking coming from somewhere around the pivot areas which I’m not happy about and haven’t had time to try and diagnose yet. Think I’ll contact Bird direct to see if they’ve got any ideas or heard of it elsewhere
I also had this on my 9C after a ride or 2 – The larger diameter collet bolt wasn’t torqued up enough. I’ve done it up to spec and it seems to have gone away for now, but I haven’t ridden it enough to know if it’s just going to come loose again.Posted 2 months ago
Ah nice one good info flatpack. However, and excuse my ignorance, which bolt do you mean? I will check them all and grease pivots etc anywayPosted 2 months ago
AFAIR the largest collet is on the chainstay pivot.Posted 2 months ago
Yeah the chainstay pivot, just above the BB. The one you have to take the cranks off to get to!Posted 2 months ago
Cheers. Just took the cranks off and checked the various pivots. All very dry and graunchy on the way out so cleaned and greased them. Torqued back up hopefully this will have sorted it. The BB shells weren’t torqued in fully either.Posted 2 months ago
This bike is on my radar but it would be very upsetting it creaked constantly. Current bike has been silent for over 3 years with no grief whatsoever. I can’t go back to something that sounds like a haunted staircase.
Very interested to hear ongoing reports after these things have had some abuse in crap weather.Posted 2 months ago
Indeed. I’m hoping this will sort it for a good while now. The only time my old Spitfire got creaky was when the pivot bearings were overdue replacement, entirely my fault.Posted 2 months ago
I’ve had my Aether 9C built up for about 2 weeks now. I’ve got about 120 km and about 3800m of climb/ascent. Enough to get a decent flavour, but not enough to become intimately acquainted.
Build as per pic.
Frame only from Bird, donor forks from the hardtail, but mostly an internet acquired build where bits were cheapest. I saw the writing on the wall for component supply in January and acted then to get exactly what I wanted.
Standout features – Float X2 – for me, far and away better than the DPX2 on my previous bike – but it’s difficult to isolate the shock from the frame rate. Which is different too.
Some background – I built a Banshee Prime V2 in 2017 as my ‘tough trail bike’. It’s the bike intended to be used for big days in the hills, away days to uplift venues and generally the more aggro side of riding, it must also be capable of doing the more benign riding like local lock-down woods. It did all of these things but excelled at the lairy end at the cost of feeling dull and unrewarding on the easier stuff. I used it less and less and wasn’t happy with it in the middle ground either.
Part of this I feel was its weight (34.5lbs) and part of it was, I think, suspension rate. Geometry was also markedly different from my bleeding edge new-skool LLS hardtail, which I love. I’m a paid up member of new skool geometry and thinking and decided that change was required.
I needed a bike to match the brief above, but that felt livelier and was more rewarding to be ridden on the daily drives. There wasn’t much about with the geometry that I wanted that wasn’t ‘punch-you-in-the-cock-expensive’, but I hadn’t really registered the release of the 9c because it came a bit too early in my considerations. I tested a friends V2 SC Hightower almost back to back with another friends Aether 9 very shortly after release of the alu version and could tell very little difference between the two, so bought the cheapest, which allowed me to spec some fox aftermarket instead of Rockshox.
I’m a reluctant home mechanic. Reluctant insofar as I’m reluctant to have only the acceptable minimum for a passable job to be undertaken at a shop, even by a decent mechanic, when I have the luxury of time and vested interest on my side. This means that before I built it, I applied the invisiframe gloss kit to the frame (the finish matches the invisiframe perfectly) and stripped and packed all of the bearing pivots before I even waved any components at it.
Bearings seats were clearly greased, but as with most mass manufacture bearings, there was plenty of void space for extra grease in the bearings themselves. I took the opportunity to get as much sticky thick stuff as I could in there. The pivot collet bolts appear decent and there was threadlock everywhere there was meant to be. Tech documents say ‘grease everything’ but not everything was – notably collets. I have some reservations about the whole system developing creaks, but time will tell.
Build went fine. There was some confusion about the 37mm size seatclamp. Not many about, and Bird sell the slightly smaller hope 36.4mm, which fits in Q/R model, but not the fixed bolt one, which whilst notionally the same size, doesn’t. Don’t do what I did and buy a 36.4mm seatclamp from another brand because it won’t fit. Also, there is very little space indeed for a chain guide. I needed to modify my Funn Zippa and also space it out. – not uncommon for bikes with a pivot behind/above the BB, but worth bearing in mind.
This is an ML and I am 182cm. Bird say I should be on and L and I can see I would be able to easily ride both, but I’m choosing a touch smaller for jibby, tight natural singletrack in the south west and a slightly easier bike to move about, hopefully combatting the naturally vaguer feeling of a full bouncer.
This is my first carbon bike of any kind. Holding the frame in its wrapper felt like I was unwrapping a Fisher Price kids toy, but as soon as I built and rode it, I completely forgot about it.
It’s a fairly aggro build and comes in at 33.5 lbs with decent rubber. It would be a 1lb lighter again just by putting on a Pike and a non-piggy back air shock on it. I’m running Zee Brakes and aluminium rimmed wheels, so you could probably save another 0.5lbs just shifting to modern 4 pots and carbon rims and if you dropped the tyre size you’d probably get another 0.5 to 0.75lbs back again. A build like that would make a lovely lighter weight trail build, but at 92kgs, I’ll keep it the way I have it.
Direction changes are particularly prompt, because its stiffer than the Banshee and its response doesn’t appear to lag as much. It climbs very nearly as nicely as my Ti hardtail, but has better traction (obviously) and there appears to be very little concession to the gods of compromise for packing 130mm of rear wheel travel. This akin to discovering new laws of physics for an old trail hacker like me. I think the suspension kinematic is responsible for this.
I’m a competent, decently fast trail rider, but I’m no pro racer and nor am I landing massive jumps. In general, I like fork/shock rates that are only a bit progressive. One of the reasons I bought the X2 was because I was concerned that too much progressivity in the frame would limit what I wanted from the bike and I could dial some of it out with the shock. To date I’ve settled on 1 spacer out of 4 in the air spring. I have an inkling that 2 will be better, but I’m currently watching how it behaves, since I’ve not had a chance to boost it over the larger of the obstacles that I’m comfortable with yet.
It’s certainly not quite as an implacable a descender in fearful chunder as the Banshee Prime was, but it’s only a small difference (mitigated by the X2 I think) and the pay-off for general pedalling about, trying to climb janky ascents that shouldn’t be possible and stuffing it into tight turns is worth it, and it still accelerates nicely off the back slopes of drops and doubles and always seem to have a little something for what’s coming next. It’s a really well considered bike and seems to represent the current apex of Bird’s learning and design evolution – the suspension and geometry really mesh together seamlessly. I’m really pleased that its not dull or soggy but appears to have given up only a little on the slightly rougher side of things. I’m happily using it in the local trail network and enjoying it. If I was still on the Prime it would be a bit sluggish and ponderous and I would be…well…a bit bored.
This is the aggro trail bike I wanted in 2017.Posted 2 months ago
Good write-up. It’s nice to hear reports from owners rather than bike-testers.
Got to ask: any negatives?Posted 2 months ago
Double post.Posted 2 months ago
Theres virtually nothing written about these, so I figure if someone else can benefit from my experience, why not? I would have valued anything I could find beyond the marketing blurb when I was researching.
The OP has highlighted cable movement under the BB. That has already slightly worn the exit holes, so I need to stabilise that.
The chainstay protector was stuck on with some double sided tape that peeled off almost immediately on the first ride and required gluing back on.
The chainstay BB pivot yoke is a bit of a mud shelf, but again, hardly earth shattering stuff for a bike of this design.
No much else so far. Its early days yet.Posted 2 months ago
‘Professional’ bike reviews all sound the same these days, I find them only useful if they find a real duffer or if you’re not so sure when scrutancising a spec list and geometry table.
I love your build @Scienceofficer. A bit chunkier than mine but a similar ethos. Looks like you’ll be riding some trails I know too, for which I’m sure it will be perfect.
Checking again the Bird spec sheet they state the ISCG tabs are set back by 1mm. Like this it is simple to adjust further outward with a couple of washers. Spacing the other way wouldn’t be so easy, so it looks like a wise but not well publicised feature.
I’ve been getting on well now with the DPX2 and no spacers. Starting to ride harder and find the boundries of the Pike fork… I have added some LSC and think I’ll add a second token too. The bike has felt almost limitless so far. It’s seriously impressed me on the tech climbs now that I’m becoming used to the low BB, clearing stuff I didn’t think likely time and time again.
For me at the moment the only negatives are that:Posted 2 months ago
my main bearing is already shot… not sure why. Maybe it’s just bad luck.
cable routing under BB isn’t so neat. A large loop of slack is needed to allow for full compression, and that does add friction to the shift.
I should hopefully have a 9a build and ride report to contribute in the next couple weeks, have a ccdb air for the rear rather than a fox or rockshox option, and Formula Selva forks. Hopeing the double barrel plays nice with the leverage curve (has come tuned from j-tech so should be in the right region)
Coming off a 2014 Knolly warden excited to try a modern 29er!Posted 2 months ago
There are indeed a load of bullshit pro reviews around these days which are just spec lists – they dont provide anything useful about the character of the bike at all.
The bearings in mine were EZO – decent Japanese bearings, but not max complement. If yours are the same, you’ve either got a duff one of something else that feels like a bearing failure is up.
Either way, let us know!
I did have quite a few pedal strikes actually, with the 140mm fork. Not so much to be infuriating, but certainly less so now the 150mm air spring is on. I have noticed I’m making tech climbs better and have completed one particularly tricky set of anaerobic stairs with 90° turn followed by two suitcase sized rock hops and a final short but max effort slope that has always eluded completion in one move.
I’m especially delighted by this aspect of the bike, because I really enjoy the ‘I don’t know if I can get a bike up that’ aspect of technical climbing.Posted 2 months ago
I find bike reviews by journalists to be pretty useless. They ride and review a £10k carbon superbike on Monday and then something a fifth of the price a few days later. Of course their opinion is going to be swayed.
Also, they are often ex racers or pro’s so their idea of what a bike needs is fairly different to a 40 something fat bloke who minces around the red routes on the weekend.
Real world reviews from people who own the bikes are far more useful.Posted 2 months ago
@scienceofficer – where in the South West are you based / what trails are you riding on it?
I’m on an Aether 7 currently and plan to keep it at least a year more – but I keep looking at the gloss black A9c and wondering if that might be my next full suss bike. So far I’ve found 29ers a bit dull to ride (but fast) – but it sounds like the A9 is usefully poppy and fun.
Edit – on the collets / bearing front I’ve had no dramas with either the Aeris 145 I had or the Aether. The only time I had some creaking was after jet washing the Aeris – which isn’t something I usually do. It was the main pivot but I just popped the cranks and chainstays off and gave it a clean / grease and it didn’t ever creak again.Posted 2 months ago
Good to know about the collets Joe.
I’m outside Weston-super-Mare. So far I’ve punted it around Worlebury woods, plenty of the Mendip stealth network and the Quantocks.
This morning it even rolled around Ashton Court with my daughter.Posted 2 months ago
but it sounds like the A9 is usefully poppy and fun.
For me yes, but I’m tallish, strongish, and happen to think that ‘throwing shapes’ is good fun.
YMMV.Posted 2 months ago
I was down at Rowberrow last night in the trail centre bit playing on the Aether 7. Only visited the place for the first time on the weekend and couldn’t wait until this weekend to go and try most of it out properly. Ace fun – the best since the start of lockdown!
I’m happy to throw my bike around and with the longer / slacker Aeris I had to really concentrate on keeping weight forward to get front wheel grip. Went down a size on the Aether and it now feels perfect for me. I’m 5’9 and riding a medium.
I do like a bike to feel pretty lively even on mundane trails. The Aether is pretty much there – although for stuff like Ashton Court I prefer my hardtail Marino 🥰Posted 2 months ago
Thanks for all your notes and posts. I have a medium in green – I’m 172cm and, same as you, I wanted to go smaller rather than bigger for flickability. I demoed both to confirm – Bird make that very easy – and the more I ride mine the more I feel it was the right choice.
What did you do to stabilise the wear around the BB cable guide holes? I’m getting some wear there too and wouldn’t mind nipping that in the bud.
Cheers,Posted 2 weeks ago
So far, I’ve taken the ‘put a sticker under there’ approach and they’re happily wearing their way through the sticker, which happens to be carbon.
It can’t be good for the lines to continuously fret against the frame though, sticker or otherwise.
I need to fashion something to grip the cables as they come out of the mainframe but I’m still stewing on a solution.Posted 2 weeks ago
Cheers. I might try a sticker too.
It needs clamping or wedging. Maybe a rubber washer would do it, but I worry it might get jammed in there. You know the routing better than I do cos you built yours, and I think it’ll be a while before I’ll want to strip mine down – having too much fun riding it 🙂Posted 2 weeks ago
Some possibly useful cable routing grommets available online…Posted 2 weeks ago
I’m following as I’m interested in these as well (would be considering running a 130mm fork)…
Re: the cable holes/wearing – how about something like hot glue (the sticks that melt and dribble off the table onto your thigh when you’re stopping the smallest child stick a rod up their nose. That stuff)?
Might be permanent enough to hold, but pretty easy to remove when needed.
Shame that something’s needed to sort this. Bird are usually on the ball with this sort of thing (speaking as a twice-bird owner).
RichPosted 1 week ago
I made a stainless sleeve for my asr 5 to stop the cable sawing though.Posted 1 week ago
I went with a Lizard Skins carbon leather (whatever that is) patch, cut to shape. It looks OK so far, but I’ll contact Bird about it too to see what they say.Posted 6 days ago
Anyone got a picture of this? Is it just at the hole at the bottom of the downtube?Posted 5 days ago
That’s right. The cable holes at the bottom of the down tube. It’s the rearward edges, closest to the stays.
I think it wouldn’t happen if the hoses were clamped, because that could keep enough slack below the BB for suspension flex. But they’re free to slide, so flex pulls the hoses out, and the hose stiffness pushes them back in when the suspension returns.
I wouldn’t say it was bad at all. Just not ideal. I think the stickers should sort it.Posted 5 days ago
My Levo had a similar issue on the cable coming out of the chainstay for the mech – I put a small cable tie tightly around it to stop it sliding back into the hole.Posted 5 days ago
Yes, exactly what I did too. A zip tie on the cable keeps the slack where it is needed. It’s a surprisingly long loop of cable required though.Posted 4 days ago
Thanks, both! (and for your build and ride notes too, @the00).
So the zip tie itself didn’t bash or rub against the frame and cause any marking? I guess they’re softish plastic. Sounds like a good option.Posted 4 days ago
@the00 it’s right there in your build notes! I must have not twigged when I first read them (before I got my 9c, to be fair).Posted 4 days ago
The zip tie solution is what Ive settled on too. It doesn’t satisfy my OCD, but at least its functional.Posted 3 days ago
Maybe a zip-tied grommet…
Thanks, all. I love the bike (outstanding value for my full build, and exactly what I wanted) so it’s a niggle I can live with. I appreciate the advice 👍Posted 3 days ago
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