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First Look: Airdrop Filter - When Less Aims to be More

Mar 9, 2022
by Henry Quinney  


Airdrop is a small brand from the UK. Based in the 'Steel City,' and with the Peak District right on their doorstep, it's no surprise that the local scene is a hotbed of riding talent. The riding areas of Sheffield, where Warnecliffe might just be the most notable, are known for their variety, as well as their fun and flowing nature. Yes - you have steep, rough downhill tracks in the area - but there are plenty of places where a mid-travel trail bike will prove to be the most fun.

And that's what Airdrop claim the new Filter is all about - fun. The 27.5" wheeled bike, which has 135mm of rear wheel travel, is made not for muting the trail but rather exaggerating rider input. Airdrop want the bike to feel "sharper, more responsive and more direct" than a bigger bike but still able to withstand torrents of abuse and hard riding. The Filter looks to be short travel because it has an eye for thrashing, not for efficiency.
Airdrop Filter Details
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Travel: 135 (r) / 150mm (f)
• Alloy Frame
• 65° head angle
• Chainstay length: 430mm
• Reach: 425, 455, 475, 500mm
• Builds from £3099 - £4099
airdropbikes.com


photo

That said, Airdrop claim they have no real interest in trying to make their bikes fit into small categories. Rather, they're just trying to make the bikes they want to ride. In some ways, this is the advantage of being a small company, and at 3 members and a shop dog, Airdrop is small, but reaching consensus on what to do next must be far easier than when you're a brand of 100 or more individuals. So call this short-to-mid-travel trail focussed lightweight enduro all-mountain fun shred-machine whatever you want, or perhaps just forego the description entirely and draw your own conclusions of what happens when you mix aggressive geometry and slightly less travel on a 27.5" chassis.

photo



Frame Details

The alloy frame uses a 6061-T6 alloy that shares much of the same design cues as the Edit V4, the brand's 155mm bike. It feels like Airdrop doesn't have light weight as the highest of their priorities. This will suit some, while potentially alienating those that want their trail bike to be as light as possible. That said, there will probably be great swathes of riders who are encouraged by a 135mm bike that is "engineered like an all-mountain bike" and built to be ridden with little sympathy. This theme continues with the external cable routing and chain guide tabs.

photo

The bike is designed around a 150mm fork and uses a trunnion-mount shock. It's interesting to see the stock build's using a Pike. You could of course use the slightly stiffer Lyrik, also at 150mm of travel, and the effect would largely be the same, save for a slight difference in axle to crown height.

The frame is somewhat angular, with an industrial flavour, and looks purposeful. Continuing with the same feel is the recessed bolt that is housed within the frame that the lower shock bolt screws into. Simple but effective. Airdrop says that there is an emphasis on simplicity when it comes to maintenance, with no special tools or obscure bearings used. Also, they say they'll have any spare part available at any time should you have a mishap.

The frame will be available in both raw and a powder-coated matt grey.



Geometry

photo

The Filter has a 65-degree head angle, which is combined with an effective seat tube angle of around 78-degrees, depending on the saddle height. Handily, the geometry chart lists three different height options, as well as the actual angle. The seat tube length is either 400, 425, 450 or 480mm depending on the on the size. This isn't particularly short, but for a size large, 450mm is relatively middle of the road for this style of bike.

photo

The reach of 475mm for a size large is "longish but not too long," which is combined with the head angle that's "slackish but not too slack." Shakespeare's people, after all. Joking aside, it does represent a bike that seems to be more about balance than anything else. Airdrop recommends their customers "buy the bike with the reach that’s right for you and don’t worry about standover; all sizes of the Filter are low, and you can slam a long dropper-post in any of them - or run it sky-high if you like." The reach numbers are ample but not outrageous and should pair up to the 430mm chainstays nicely.



Suspension Design

The frame uses a four-bar linkage, with a seat stay that seems to chase the linkage to the shock. The bike uses piggy-back shocks across all models. In fact, only the entry level Luxe model goes without an Ultimate level Super Deluxe, and there are plenty of yet more expensive options in the frame only package, too.

photo

Talking to James Crossland, Airdrops designer, and resident dog-walker, he explains, "The Filter has a progressive leverage curve with a progression rate increase of 21%, starting out at 2.65 and finishing at 2.14. Across the whole curve an average leverage ratio of 2.45. The Filters 21% progression is more than you would typically see from a 135mm platform".

With a 32t chainring and in the largest 52t cog, the Filter's anti-squat percentage is around 106%. Going through the cassette, you do see the value reducing slightly, and in a 32/24t, it's around 90%. Airdrop claims they do this to give the bike an active and yet supported feel. They explain their thinking as "The option to use a climb switch should be utilized and by factoring this in it allows us to make a frame that remains a little more active and can deliver more grip while climbing." Essentially, they want a bike that tracks well over chunkier terrain, and to do that might mean there is an element of bob on smooth surfaces, such as roads, at which time you should reach for the switch if it bothers you. Typically, I think this is how a lot of riders use their switches, and I see it as no bad thing to have a design that leans into that.



Build Options

Airdrop offers three full build options. There are two frame colours with the choice of eight decal colours. All frames include a seat clamp and axle.

The frame only option can be purchased without a shock or with one of four different choices, including options from Rockshox, Cane Creek or EXT.

photo

Filter Luxe - £3099

Rear Shock - Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+
Fork - RockShox Pike RC 150mm
Drivetrain - SRAM GX Eagle 1x12
Brakes - SRAM G2 RS
Seatpost - OneUp v2 Dropper
Bar & Stem - Burgtec Ridewide / Enduro Mk3
Wheels - WTB Proterra Tough i30
Tires - WTB Vigilante 2.4 High Grip / Fast Rolling

photo

Filter Deluxe - £3599

Rear Shock - RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork - RockShox Pike Ultimate 150mm
Drivetrain - SRAM GX Eagle 1x12
Brakes - SRAM G2 Ultimate
Seatpost - RockShox Reverb Stealth 1x
Bar & Stem - Burgtec Ridewide / Enduro Mk3
Wheels - WTB Proterra Tough i30
Tires - WTB Vigilante 2.4 High Grip / Fast Rolling

photo

Filter Works

Rear Shock - RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork - RockShox Pike Ultimate 150mm
Drivetrain - SRAM X01 Eagle 1x12
Brakes - SRAM G2 Ultimate
Seatpost - RockShox Reverb Stealth 1x
Bar & Stem - Burgtec Ridewide / Enduro Mk3
Wheels - Hope Pro 4 / DT Swiss XM481 built in-house
Tires - Michelin Wild AM Competition



photo

For more information please visit Airdrop's website. Orders placed now will have a lead time of around 3 or 4 weeks.

Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
348 articles

124 Comments
  • 138 1
 Heck ya! stoked to see another full 27.5 mid travel bike released...looks good!
  • 33 5
 what the people really want!
  • 16 0
 yup. looks like a tidy little ripper.
  • 6 0
 And available in XL nice.
  • 1 0
 Can’t get Airdrop in North America though.
  • 22 0
 @5afety3rd: Not right now but we're working to make it happen. It's a big market for a 3-man brand to serve and we do try to do things right.
  • 22 0
 @AirdropBikes: Just air drop them for us.
  • 3 0
 @AirdropBikes: great to hear! I inquired about an Edit from you guys before the pandemic!
  • 82 2
 All the cool kids know 27.5 is where it's at...
  • 14 0
 got myself a v3 5010 sized smaller than what I normally ride last summer, damn I love it!
  • 8 1
 @bikefuturist: I have two of the same bikes...size L and XL...the size L is so much more poppy and flicky and twitchy and...fun! It's "smaller" than what my size is "supposed" to ride but I've always preferred smaller frames. Better to throw around Smile
  • 58 3
 Looks like a fun jib bike
  • 28 0
 Agreed! Looks like something you can thrash, and will perform, but you don't feel bad about when it gets a few battle scars.
  • 51 1
 Cheers to any bike manufacturer who currently makes a bike with aluminum and 27.5 wheels
  • 3 1
 Ventana if you want USA made Wink

I've got an Alpino, and LOVE it. Also, Alliance will make you a 27.5 bike, from titanium, for a good price, and they use ventana linkages and rear ends. Good stuff.
  • 1 0
 MARIN RIFT ZONE 27.5
  • 2 0
 @jostaudt: LOUD NOISES
  • 37 1
 It's about time frames started to look purposeful.
  • 27 0
 absolutely solid build for 3600
  • 23 1
 27.5 is not dead. 27.5 parts are readily available among all the 29 part shortages.
  • 48 0
 To be fair I’m still finding it difficult to get 27.5 cranks, cassettes and chains
  • 4 0
 @alex-young: you had me there for a second....
  • 5 0
 29" tyres? sold out.
27.5" tyres? on sale because of oversupply!
  • 4 1
 @boozed: Also, 27.5 wheels, rims, and tire inserts are available and on sale. Demand is low. Funny to me because most riders on PB hated 29er wheel size just a short while ago. How times have changed. Lol.
  • 20 1
 loved my old Transition Scout
  • 9 1
 I currently have two of the Gen1 Scouts..because they're awesome! ..this bike looks very similar. I'd like to see how it rides in comparison
  • 17 2
 Shame about brexit. Alot good looking brands in uk, but cant really think about buying them.
  • 5 3
 Same here, got hit by import taxes to Belgium, no more ordering from the UK to the continent for me, except via a friend who live in London and can carry some bike parts once a year.
  • 4 1
 @zoobab2: So what did you have to pay? Should only be about 4-5% import duty, no?
  • 13 1
 hell yeah! I've been saying that there needs to be more shorter travel 27.5" wheeled options for those of us who just want to play, this looks awesome and I'd happily add this to my collection if possible Smile
  • 1 0
 Me too, but hopefully people/brands will listen to you!
  • 12 0
 "When less aims to be more" - My girlfriend about me
  • 11 0
 I have no idea if this is a good deal for a bike anymore
  • 9 0
 Yes! Love seeing bolt on dropouts! Allows an aftermarket company to make replaceable parts to lengthen the rear center if you want.
  • 3 0
 though it would be nice if those parts were offered from the source now!
  • 7 0
 Simple and effective! It would be cool if the mtb community was an even 50/50 split between 27.5 and 29er riders. There would be more bikes to choose from. I would like to see more rigs like this being released into the wild.
  • 10 0
 So, where in the XC Enduro Freeride Downcountry category does this fall?
  • 7 0
 Wherever the hell you want it to.
  • 2 0
 Jib
  • 1 0
 ...or Jib Trail.
  • 3 0
 down slope jib duro
  • 2 0
 trail bike...? seems like
  • 2 0
 @maestroman21: Genius. Jibduro needs to become a thing.
  • 7 0
 Love it! 27.5 is finding it's place with the jumpy/jib type bikes, best suited for smooth but steep flow/jump trails. Also, you can't really release a 29er when parts aren't available until 2024+.
  • 9 1
 It's nice to see a new short travel 27.5 bike on the market. I'm still upset they don't make the Cotic Flare anymore, although I didn't buy one so it's a little bit on me.
  • 36 1
 We're upset we don't make the Flare anymore, but when 2 years of sales amounted to considerably less than 100 frames, people aren't buying enough for us to keep making them. This looks like a cool option for 27.5 though, if you want to keep it Sheffield.
  • 7 0
 that routing is absolutely fabulous
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes : can the rear brake be removed without disconnecting the brake line??? Your bikes look really nice. The edit was on my short list when I was new bike shopping but ended up getting a patrol because I live in Washington and it has more travel. I’ve been thinking about doing a cascade 170 link and a 180 fork with an angle set instead of buying a new patrol but I do love that big 56 mil head tube on the new one. But daaang your raw aluminum frames look good. This one is def on my jib bike short list.
  • 5 0
 @Rageingdh: Yes you can remove the rear brake without disconnecting the line. If you route the hose inside the shock mount you'd need to undo the lower shock mount bolt but you can also route it outside and then it's even easier.
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: Can you please explain how to route the brake hose through the shock mount without disconnecting the line?

Seems like to avoid disconnecting, you would need to be able to fit either the lever or caliper through the shock mount hole (is it possible??), or just route it outside the shock mount...
  • 8 3
 Let's just take a moment here. There is a 27.5" wheel bike with sensible geometry, looks good and a great price. What more do you want... Ridiculous Mullets for 6k+...really?
  • 7 1
 Looks the tits. 50to1 crew type of bike.
  • 5 0
 27.5 wheels.... 135mm rear travel.... un-ride-able!!!

(jokes)
  • 4 0
 Looks like a ..... 2017 Transition Scout (with 10mm more front and back)! Which is great
  • 2 0
 Yep, I have a '15 and '17 Scout. My thought too....I guess I'm attracted to a small category!
  • 1 0
 Currently on a 2018 scout, I love it but for the pedal strikes so I'd love to test one of these
  • 2 0
 @naptime: I know that feeling all too well. I'm planning on upgrading the fork to 150mm, hopefully that helps a little.
  • 1 0
 @redshift: I'm on a 140, from my last hard tail. I fitted a 10mm fork crown race (reverse angle spacer) to make it kinda 150 :'D but I'm thinking of a 160!! I've read in the Scout forums that 160 is perfect for it..
  • 1 0
 @naptime: Reduce your cranks if you can..I was always 175 and when I got my first Scout as I was nailing lots of roots/rocks on trails I knew really well. Went to 170 and it made big difference!
  • 1 0
 @naptime: I've got two Scouts..size L is a 150 fork, the XL is 160(on accident). I rode both bikes on the same trails last week and the XL front end kept wafting out on turns, lifting on pinch climbs....I thought I had both forks at 150 then after measuring(again), realized the handling issues are probably the fork...and the extra frame length may add to it. These are both Gen 1 Scouts too
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: allready on 170 6ft in me boots so not going any shorter, especially on a trail bike.

Interesting on the 160 fork, cheers
  • 3 0
 They must have had a camera in my brain when designing this thing! Except the trunnion mount shock, but clearly that's on me for not being specific enough in my daydream.
  • 4 0
 Seriously a bike for the people! This thing has raddness written all over it. UK brands for the win...!!
  • 1 0
 I'm a little confused here, according to this article and others posted by pinkbike pikes and lyriks have different A to C but according to the sram service manual they have the same. Do they have the same A to C or not?

link to the service manual here:
www.sram.com/globalassets/document-hierarchy/service-manuals/rockshox/front-suspension/gen.0000000006216-rev-a-2021-fs-oil-air-coil-token-spec-english.pdf
  • 1 0
 Lovely looking bit of kit..my friend has one of these bikes which I’ve had a shot on the trails at Innerleithen and one of the best bikes I’ve been on for throwing about..it’s definitely a fun piece of kit on the trails and looks lovely..
  • 4 0
 Looks like an aluminum Optic with 27.5" tires. Nice looking bike.
  • 3 0
 indeed. I love my Optic, so i reckon this would be a blast!
  • 4 0
 This looks very similar to my Banshee Spitfire V3, which I love.
  • 4 0
 £3500 for the Filter Deluxe spec seems like very good value right now
  • 3 0
 For sale:
1 x lung
1 x liver
Decent condition, can deliver. Cash sale only
  • 9 0
 I think you mean kidney, you only have one liver, and it's essential for beer consumption.
  • 3 0
 I wish they would sell these in the U.S. Would definitely look at one of these for my next rig.
  • 2 3
 Is this interests you, then look at Guerrilla Gravity's Shred Dogg
  • 14 0
 We definitely want to get US shipping up and running. Hoping to have it dialled by the Summer - for frames at least.
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: any plans to get shipping to Canada as well?
  • 4 0
 @norcorider-13: yeah for sure.
  • 4 3
 If it doesn't filter out the trail chatter and since it's not a 29er nor a cutting edge modern geo, shouldn't it be called... No filter?
  • 2 0
 Humidifier
  • 2 0
 Airdrop #LiveAuthentic
  • 4 1
 It’s a four bar, generation 1.5 Kona process 134. Awesome !
  • 1 0
 Beat me to it. Other than the horst linkage, the rest of it is identical.
  • 3 0
 Aluminium bike made is Steel City :-)
  • 3 0
 i swear to god if someone makes ajoke about it being 27.5
  • 3 0
 It's a grower, not a show-er
  • 2 0
 coming from a long travel hardtail, these 5-incher's (especially this one) are looking perrrrrrrrfect!
  • 2 0
 I would order one today if you could get them in the US!
  • 4 0
 Working on it! Hoping to have US shipping in place by the Summer, for frames at least.
  • 1 0
 Just wish the seat tube was a little shorter. I can run a 210 dropper if the seat tube was just 10mm shorter.
  • 2 0
 You can run a 210 Oneup shimmed to 200 if that's what is holding you back.
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: I do love that feature of oneup dropper posts. (and many others) but I'm a long legged 5'11" person. Most companies are offering lower seat tubes on all sizes. There's no downside.
  • 2 1
 Why isn't this bike perfectly suited to my wants? Gonna have to pass on this one.
  • 1 0
 A sight for sore eyes. I hope they also make a 150mm travel version by the time US shipping is in effect.
  • 3 0
 @AirdropBikes: And with coil, oh my that’s looking lovely. You guys are after my heart!
  • 3 1
 Yinz know there’s only one Steel City and it ain’t in the UK n’at
  • 2 0
 furreal
  • 1 0
 This sure looks like my 5-yr-old transition patrol, with slightly less rear travel...
  • 2 0
 Really really diggin the look of this one
  • 1 0
 Ah, I've only just managed to talk myself out of upgrading my Edit V2 to the V4...here we go again
  • 1 0
 weight? Looks like a deadly jib bike, if it's not 17 kg lol
  • 16 0
 Full builds are 14.1kg - 14.4kg for a size large.
  • 1 1
 @AirdropBikes: I like the look of this bike, but you only have reach listed. What's the effect of top tube of your size range? I would like to know how they fit seated.
  • 4 0
 @bikeryder85: We don't generally use ETT because it can be misleading. So I don't have those numbers to hand but if you drop us a message, happy to figure it out and let you know.
  • 1 1
 @AirdropBikes: what is misleading about ett? Why are the seat angle at different height boxes in your geo description empty? So great to see that you have them, but then they are not filled in...
I guess what people really need to know is reach, stack, chainstay and a table/graph of horizontal saddle offset from bracket at a few heights.
  • 3 0
 @ak-77: ETT perhaps I should have said that ETT is easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. The geo chart in the article is complete - if I’ve missed those details somewhere on the website I’ll get that fixed.
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes: Ah, yes I see it is filled in in the article. So the angle mentioned in the 'seat angle' Is the actual angle? Awesome. Beautiful bike BTW. I like big wheels so I would not consider this bike, but if you decide to make a 29er version it will go high on my list!
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: i can see that...could just as easily misconstrue reach and stack if not properly understood. I appreciate the offering it separately. Not trying to bash on you guys...looks like a good product...just a general frustration with the industry focussing on reach and nothing else. I do wish you guys the best of luck...not enough 27.5 trail bikes out there!
  • 2 0
 @bikeryder85: It's a tricky one to balance. We could supply all the info but the concern is that might make things less clear for people looking for a quick overview as they browse on their phone. As a rule we tend to side with simple//clear over detailed/complex. But maybe we should do both: simple on the product page with full detail available for those that want it. Good to have that conversation, thanks.
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes: no problem...i really appreciate how receptive you guys have been and how willing you are to discuss. Big plus for you as a brand imho.
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: i should also add a big kudos for having the seat angle at different heights, that is fantastic. More companies need to list that!
  • 1 0
 I'll put it on my list of interesting and fun bikes.
  • 1 0
 Where is the htt lenght? Did i miss it in the geo chart?
  • 1 0
 Looks like my old Norco Range 2017
  • 2 0
 jibcountry
  • 2 1
 @AirdropBikes that is a nice bike.
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 1 0
 I would immediately switch the current enduro to this frame set
  • 1 0
 Sometimes you need to filter what people airdrop
  • 6 6
 airdrop? incoming apple lawsuit in 3..2...1....
  • 2 0
 The corners are round too...
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