Press Release: Bird Cycleworks
Following in the footsteps of the Aether 9C, the Aether 9AL is the affordable choice for short travel radness.Introducing the Aether 9
When designing the Aether series we set ourselves the goal of delivering the maximum fun on a trail centre ride as we could. As much as we like to think of mountain biking as the expression of our desire to explore the unknown wilderness, the reality for most people’s modern day riding is that we’re riding more and more man-made, and less wilderness trails. To extract the maximum enjoyment from this more groomed environment, we wanted to build something a little wilder than your average short travel 29er.
While many companies market their modern trail and enduro bikes as ‘Well Balanced’ and ‘Quiver Killers’, we prefer to think of the Aethers as a little unhinged or maybe just plain old fun. Bikes built to pump, jump and pop. To attack berms and rock gardens with equal enthusiasm, and most importantly of all, let you still do it after 30km in the saddle.
We’ve combined the best bits of modern enduro-focused geometry, XC efficiency and the oldest trick in the mountain biking book for making a bike ridiculously fun to ride, a compact rear. The 9 aluminium is the latest in the Aether story, with easy climbing, phenomenal downhill capabilities for a 130mm frame and that oh-so fun, confidence inspiring handling that begs to just send every damn thing.Aether 9 Geo
We wanted the Aether 9s to be more than winch and plummet machines - there’s no compensation for travel when it comes to descending, and you can make a perfectly good wincher with 150/160/170mm travel, so we needed something different here. This meant maintaining the room & comfort in the seated position, without creating a huge wheelbase that would hamper performance on tighter trail sections.
For the Aether 9 we start with two key dimensions for handling, seat (77° @ 140mm) and head angle (65° @ 140mm), and added to that 430mm chain stays and a bottom bracket that’s low, but not compromisingly so.
We’ve kept our roomy effective top tubes, and while everything bigger than your smallest is just a size, that does give plenty of space for a comfy seated position even with the shortest of stems and tallest of riders - but raised the stack height further on the L and XL models to allow an easier shift in rider weight distribution more to the front tyre - compensating for the slightly rearward weight distribution that the shorter back end creates.
Large Aether 9 still has plenty of standover and can run a slammed 213mm Bike Yoke post
With steeper seat angles comes other design considerations - the saddle gets right between your legs just when you don’t want it to, but on our 3rd generation frames seat tubes are short, and straight almost the whole way down. We’re careful to balance the insertion length perfectly with the frame size - no point running a fantastically small seat tube if the post can’t be inserted all the way. This careful design means that an ML will perfectly swallow our 200mm dropper without compromising the cable run, and L or XL frames can run the awesome (but lengthy) 213mm Revive; Bike Yoke’s longest drop post fitting all the way in.
These little adaptations for modern riding styles like accommodating super long droppers, balanced seat angles and big standover height as all our Generation 3 frames have, and the addition of a little more stack height, has huge cumulative effects on rider confidence at high speeds and in rough terrain - compensating for the lack of travel and super poppy handling to create a still balanced feeling bike that encourages you to send it over jumps, stick it full bore into rock gardens, and slap turns like no other 130mm bike you’ve ridden.
Kinematics have been tweaked a little too, in order that we get the best balance of pedalling grip for climbing, and punchy pedalling performance for when you're stamping on the pedals mid way through the cassette. This is a bike that's all about going fast everywhere, and the suspension set up reflects that.Built the Bird Way
Like all Birds we assemble every Aether 9 to order at our factory in Consett, UK. We combine multi-award winning customer service with one of the widest ranges of options from any manufacturer. The Aether 9 alone has over 30 billion possible unique specifications, and that’s before we consider the many colours and sizes of components we offer in many of the lines. Of course some might say that’s a few too many, so we only run the choice components from the best known and most respected manufacturers including RockShox, Fox, SRAM, Shimano and RaceFace.
Its not just about the big far-east manufacturing though, as we source manufacturing and branded components right here in the UK including some of our own Bird components, Hope and Unite parts, and all our DT Swiss components are sourced from Switzerland and Poland.
By selecting and manufacturing the very best components, we ensure whichever way you spec your Aether 9 there’s no bad choices. We also understand what has real value on a bike. Simple touches like upgrading shifters to XT on our SLX group sets, or offering our own factory wheel line so you can get hand built wheels with your choice of rims and spokes, as well as brass and aluminium nipples depending on the build style you want - its about doing it right; no compromising anywhere.
Specification options on the Aether 9 reflect its intent. Its impeccable trail manners and friendly climbing characteristics might fool you into thinking we’ve compromised on strength, but we haven’t - the Aether 9 will run up to a 150mm 29er fork, and shares most of the same features that make our reliable AM9 still one of the lightest aluminium 29er enduro bikes around. Whichever PB you’re after, up or down the hill, the Aether 9 has you covered.
Frames start at £1260 (GBP inc. VAT) including RockShox Deluxe Select+ Shock
Sample Specifications for Aether 9a Builds, click to enlarge
Aether 9 aluminium builds start at 28.1 lbs / 12.75 kg (Med frame, XX1, XMC1501, Pike, Deluxe Ultimate, 125mm dropper). Of course you can specify your own choices, but most will be in the 30-32lb range.
Less is more, but also more is more.
Plenty of room for a view
The Aether 9 has less travel than its bigger brother, but we're not skimping on the options. RockShox and Fox builds are available with more being added as stocks allow. Its been a funny old year, and with some parts manufacturers now quoting 2022 delivery dates for critical components, we've secured a good supply of the best parts to keep the bikes rolling out the door in 2021. For more information and to build your Aether 9 today click here
Rider Tomas Kupstys
Photos Ian Linton