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Bike Check: Craig Evans' Airdrop Edit V5

Apr 3, 2024
by Jessie-May Morgan  

While the Airdrop Slacker downhill bike will be Craig Evans' ride for the 2024 edition of Red Bull Hardline, the 2017 winner cuts about on something a little smaller, and rather more jib-worthy day-to-day. Craig and James from Airdrop were in the Tweed Valley last weekend, dropping off a highly anticipated Edit V5 for review, before heading out to sample a smattering of local trails.

Happily, Craig took the time to walk us around his setup. Before we dig into the details, here's a fun edit of Craig's weekend featuring some enviable cornering skills. It's hard to believe he's just three weeks post carpal tunnel surgery, isn't it? The title of said edit is "Golfin isnae pish." Golfin, because the local hill is fondly referred to as the "Golfy", and "isnae pish" being a Scottish way of saying that something is actually quite good, like.

The V5 is available in an MX or a 27.5" configuration. It's a fairly big deal to see a 29" wheel on an Airdrop, and probably the most notable update the bike has seen since its inception in 2016. The Sheffield-based brand holds the 27.5" wheel in very high regard; indeed, their latest downhill bike, the Slacker, is a full 27.5" affair. Thus, it's no surprise to see them continue to offer the Edit with 27.5" wheels, though Craig Evans is currently riding the MX configuration.

The frame is a 6061-T6 tubeset with multiple machined parts and a one-piece rocker. Cable routing is external, save for the dropper post that gets a stealth line up into the seat tube. It's still a Horst link platform designed around a coil shock, and the pivot bearing axles are steel. It's no featherweight, at a claimed frame weight of 3.75 kg (8.3 lb) in S3, without shock. There are no geometry adjustments on the table.

Craig is 6' 3" tall (190cm) and rides an S3 with a reach of 475mm and a 35mm stem with the 50mm rise bar cut down to 760mm. Craig runs that 50mm rise bar across all his bikes, his Jump Bike to the DH, for consistency. He's gone for 165mm cranks and has plenty of seat post insertion depth to get a 240mm OneUp Dropper in there (shown at half mast). On bike sizing, Craig says, "On paper, I should probably be on an XL [S4] but I can't go around turns on an XL. I'd probably be able to go quicker on an XL but I don't like the feel of it."

Craig's Edit MX runs a 62.5mm stroke Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil, delivering 161mm of rear wheel travel. There is, however, the option to go to 167mm with a 65mm stroke. The bike takes a 160mm or 170mm fork; Craig opts for a 160mm fork, giving the bike a 64° head angle. It's a RockShox Zeb Ultimate with 85 psi and one volume spacer. He prefers the compression damping fairly open, with the rebound "slower than usual."

Bike Details:

Frame: Airdrop Edit MX, Size S3, 475mm reach
Fork: RockShox Zeb Ultimate
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil, 475 lbs/in spring
Wheels: Reserve 30|HD Carbon
Tires: Maxxis Assegai, 29" x 2.5", MaxxGrip, Double Down / Michelin DH22, 27.5" x 2.4"
Inserts: None
Dropper: 240mm OneUp
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC SLV w/ 200mm rotors
Drivetrain: SRAM X0 AXS Transmission
Bars: Burgtec RideWide OD / 50mm rise / 760mm wide
Stem: Burgtec 35mm stem

Craig has reduced his bar width over the years, now at 760mm

On the shock, Craig is running a 475 lbs/in spring with the hydraulic bottom-out adjuster wound to position three. At 88 kgs (194 lb), that gives him around 25% sag. While that's firmer than most, that's actually on the soft side for Craig. He'd normally run a 500 lbs/in spring, but conditions at home have been as wet as they've ever been. Since switching to the softer spring, Craig's found he's ended up winding on quite a lot of compression damping, so plans to go straight back to the 500 lbs/in spring.


Reserve 30|HD Carbon rims are laced to Hope PRO5 hubs. Craig's gone with a Maxxis Assegai up front, with 26/27 psi in a Double Down, with a Michelin DH22 in the rear with around 29 psi. I'll qualify those numbers with Craig's admittance that the gauge on his pump probably doesn't work anymore, and he usually just checks the pressure with his thumb.

This random internet mud guard that shipped from Poland is about as flexible as they come
Double bash guard, for extra protection while jibbing

He's reasonably fussy on brake setup. He likes them to bite quite early, and prefers the rear to bite a little earlier than the front. The only other point of interest would be the double bash. On top of the integrated bashguards that come with a T-Type chainring, Craig also runs an MRP Chain Guide and Bash Guard that sits lower down. This one has played its role well, having been bashed out of shape fairly recently.

In addition to Hardline, Craig will also be racing a handful of UK enduro races this season, including the infamous Ard Rock and some rounds of the Welsh Enduro Series. You can keep up to date with his riding on Instagram @cregskin.

Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
91 articles

  • 44 2
 Wow 475mm reach, 760mm bars for a 6'3" dude. Fork 1mm less travel than the rear. I suspect if he wasn't such a ripper, the PB comment section would be more critical.
  • 7 0
 3/4 helmet too!
  • 24 14
 Basically anybody who is skilled and does not need to ride super scary steeps needs short bikes. The sizing recommended by manufacturers now are 1 size too big for anybody good at corners. They are easier on a straight line or DH tracks but way too long to be loading the front end. Most elite racers use short bars longer stem half to one size shorter frame.
  • 35 16
 @rickyvic: Long bikes feel good for bad riders
  • 6 1
 @rickyvic: Nah it's more preference. I just sized up for the first time in awhile and I love the way my new bike corners. Granted, I'm a cusp size and stuck to one of the smaller larges at ~470 mm reach. And there are plenty of pros that ride larger bikes.
  • 9 2
 Admittedly I have spent a fair bit of time on a bmx bike, but I have never understood the long plow bikes unless you’re racing or riding the gnarliest terrain imaginable. Riding smaller, more playful bikes are just so much more fun. This guy clearly gets it too.
  • 4 0
 I'm 185cm (6'1") and I ride full 29er with a 467mm reach and 780mm bar. After changing the fork travel from 160mm to 170mm and the stem and handlebar, the reach is approximately 460mm. I love it but I must admit that I haven't ridden anything with a reach of 480-490mm.
  • 5 4
 @oswaldini: I'm 186cm with a 91cm inseam. Try a 480-500mm reach bike and you won't be able to go back, trust me.
  • 4 0
 @rickyvic: I'm guessing Craig rides steeper things than most people on that short bike too. You know people used to ride the north shore on really small bikes yeah?
  • 2 0
 @Linc: lol. Where did you come up this gem?
  • 4 1
 @rickyvic: Long bikes corner just fine as long as you lean the bike enough.
  • 4 11
flag Jordmackay (Apr 4, 2024 at 4:17) (Below Threshold)
 c*nts the same height as me and I wouldn't ride this set up if someone paid me haha. 475 reach wtf I ride a 510. 27psi in the front tyre too? 760 bars? f*ck me
  • 2 1
 @rickyvic: a lot to do with our trails we have here also which are usually steep and tight with lots of turns to make up for the lack of elevation so you want something responsive, you’re never going in a straight line long enough or fast enough to need anything longer.
  • 3 0
 @rickyvic: The thing with bikes that are too long, is that they become too hard to control. My arms start to loose range of motion. They are too often on the extended position and the bike just pulls me down the hill. To compensate for the too long reach...I have to use an excessively short stem. Combine the super short stem and slack front end...the bike becomes really difficult to handle. This is probably why enduro riders size down now. The long and slack bikes are more difficult to get around turns vs a slack...but shorter bike. The "medium" Knolly Chilcotin has a reach of 480mm. I ride mediums across most brands...there is no way I can ride a bike with a 480mm reach.
  • 4 1
 @Linc: "Long bikes feel good for bad riders"

Another way of thinking about it is long bikes feel safe for pushing your limits. Riding steeps/chutes, going super fast and using your bike on the limits of the suspension long bikes tend to give you a bit more room for error and get out of jail free. You can rattle down most things relatively safely even if you get a bit off balance.

By the same logic a DH bike is good for bad riders (a skilled rider can ride everything on a 160mm travel bike or even a hardtail no problem) - but again, the room for error and the get out of jail free is super nice to have.

When I drop into a black or double black trail for the first time I like to do it on my long reach, long travel bike because if I make a mistake I will probably ride it out and I'll get it better next time. On a much shorter bike (travel or reach) I might be OTB and spending the afternoon in the hospital.

Each to their own I guess.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I can nose turn my long bike on switchbacks and get around just fine.
  • 3 0
 @tom666: idk, i think it is a bit of a false sense of security.. you become more of a passenger on a longer bike, and to me that does not feel very safe.. yes, harder to go off balance, but if you do, then it is harder to correct or bail
  • 1 1
 @rickyvic: A short bike is fantastic on the steeps. Long bikes are better for high speed straight lining. Short bikes are easier to find a center balance on steeps.
  • 2 1
 @burt-reynolds: this all comes back to rider skill. There’s a point where long bikes are slower and harder to ride on most forms of terrain. Many riders won’t reach that point ever, some will after a few years. Some are there already.
  • 1 0
 @Linc: That’s basically what I said.
  • 2 0
 @Linc: exactly that's why they are popular and also why people buy SUVs these days
  • 31 2
 Maxxis DH22 eh?
  • 1 0
 What a combo for that riding area!
  • 21 0
 That is the absolute dream. The bike, the riding style, all of it. I want it all.
  • 16 0
 Extra points for external cable routing. It's not a mandatory, but like a threaded BB, it will be a tiebreaker feature when I'm in the market again.
  • 10 0
 That random internet mudguard is legit, from Visionvelo. Just got one for my Zeb. Reasonably priced, fast shipping, quality.
  • 1 0
 Same here - I have one, too. Can highly recommend!
  • 1 0
 Got a big stick in mine the other day and it was totally fine. Glad I got one, so muddy this spring.
  • 1 0
 Does the Visionvelo fender rattle at all? I'm super sensitive to rattling noise.
  • 2 0
 @blang11: No it does not. I’ve got one on a Lyrik and a Zeb, both are quiet.
  • 2 0
 came here for the same comment, have one for my Ohlins DH38 and it's an overall great product. Btw. there's a Mezzer version in the works fyi Smile
  • 1 0
 I was chatting with VisionVelo within the last 12 hours and they said a new version of the ZEB fender is about to hit the site. The product has already been made. Used to offer three length options, now offering four.
  • 9 0
 "Craig runs that 50mm rise bar across all his bikes, BMX to DH, for consistency"

Really?! haha on a BMX? no he doesn't. How would that add to consistency? haha funny mental image though.
  • 3 0
 My thoughts exactly. Suspect comment was meant to be on the 760mm width rather than the rise...
  • 5 0
 The 50mm riser is actually called the
“Ride High” series in burgtec’s lineup. Possibly where the consistency comes in to play
  • 6 0
 I have that random polish internet fender on my rfx38. After finding out there really weren’t any great fender options for Ohlins, I stumbled on vision velo. I’m actually super surprised on the quality of it. It snaps on around the fork lowers and the fitment is spot on. Didn’t have high hopes for a 3d printed part but the filament used is crazy flexible while still holding shape.
  • 5 0
 Love my Edit. I have no idea what the reach is or what the dials on my coil do. It just puts you in bonkers situations every ride and smashes through them. Brilliant!
  • 2 0
 @jessiemaymorgan great article! As you mentioned that they dropped of an Edit MX for review. Is there a "First ride", "early look" article in the making? Or do we have to wait for the full blown review in a couple of weeks or month?
  • 4 0
 Would easily get this bike if I was in the market right now. Everything about it makes sense.
  • 4 1
 One of the very few bikes I'd consider buying an riding. Just need a version that's mini mullet friendly
  • 3 0
 I dream of the day when I can order a bike an choose a spec of large front end an a XS chainstay length plez fankooo
  • 6 0
 They're awesome bikes and an awesome company to deal with.
  • 5 1
 On a Burna Boy song. Epic!!! Well done.
  • 6 2
 That has to be the best looking bike out there right now
  • 11 1
 The Madonna would like a word.
  • 2 0
 Looks killer , mind you Craig would make a wheelbarrow look good on the trails.
  • 2 0
 I don’t see the 27.5 edit on their website. Anyone know where to find details?
  • 2 0
 Nvm it’s in the frame only section.
  • 7 5
 Finally a proper size big for someone at this height
  • 8 3
 475mm reach for someone 6'3" is hardly proper he even says so in the article.
  • 10 9
 @alexsin: no it’s proper.
  • 22 0
 There is no proper, there is only preferred fit/sizing.
  • 4 2
 @mammal: Totally. He even says that it's small for him but that's what works for his specific application.
  • 4 2
 6ft 3in and he's on 475 reach!
  • 3 2
 He's pucker on a bike though. Eh
  • 11 0
 Somewhere in between a small and medium Knolly Chilcotin, for those at home.
  • 6 0
 That doesn't seem all that small for him. I'd run a longer stem if it was my bike, but the setup seems to be working for him.
  • 2 0
 A reet nice edit of a reet nice bloke on a reet nice bike.
  • 1 0
 That pedal out of the corner at 1:06 was absolutely mint, love watching Craig ride!
  • 2 0
 bikes? BIKES!!
  • 1 0
 What makes it a V5? I thought the current one was V4
  • 5 0
 I guess technically both the new Edit MX and Edit 27.5 are the v5. But because we're doing two different versions we named them that way rather than "Edit v5"
  • 4 0
 @AirdropBikes: makes sense. I'm just losing track. The MX is mint.
  • 3 1
 Craig Evans is the best
  • 1 0
 nice to see a goofy foot ripper!
  • 1 0
 What drink is he running though, what's in that bottle?
  • 3 0
 Buckfast tonic wine
  • 1 0
 Can’t bloody wait for mine!
  • 2 1
 Is it also a mullet thing that you should size down in an MX bike?
  • 3 1
 Not sure if it's common for most mullet riders, but people looking for an MX are choosing it for maneuverability reasons. It does stand to reason that a shorter reach would help offset the shorter-chainstay imbalance that a lot of manufacturers are still designing into their MX option for some reason. (the smaller rear wheel is enough to gain some maneuverability advantage, no need to drastically shorten the chainstay too and reduce front traction)
  • 2 1
 Nah, just a pro rider thing to size down in general. Some pros anyway.
  • 1 1
 My OCD won't let me see past the mismatched branded tires
  • 1 0
 Chaotic evil
  • 2 3
 wtf is diz songg
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