Bike Check: AirDrop's Prototype Filter 4X Bike

Aug 7, 2022 at 14:23
by Nick Bentley  

UK 4X racer Dan Wagstaff has been riding a very special bike at this year's national 4X series with a unique AirDrop Filter. When Airdrop first conceived the Filter trail bike they sketched out an idea for a do it all short travel bike. At that point they straight away saw the possibility to do a 4X variant. Call it a 4X bike, a Dual bike, a Slopeduro bike, a Jib bike... whatever you want; but something that you could just have fun on. As the project progressed it became clear that Airdrop couldn't really have the trail bike that they really wanted and a genuine 4X bike in the same package; at least not without making compromises. So reluctantly they had to shelve it.

Dan Wagstaff
Age: 28
Hometown: Forest of Dean
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 85Kg
Sponsors: Viris
Instagram: @danwagstaff94
But like all good ideas this one didn't die. It was there hiding in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to present itself when it could come to the fore. Now this wasn't in the form of a 4X race, instead it was apt, as Airdrop are a Sheffield brand through and through, that it was built for Peaty's Steel City race. It's clear that this bike was too good to end up just on the wall so it's ended up with Dan to not only race National Championships on it (in which he came 5th) but also finish out the UK season alongside the 4X Pro Tour round in Val di Sole. It will be amazing to see this bike get the chance to do what it was built for: battling it at the highest levels of 4X racing.

Airdrop Filter 4X
Frame: Airdrop Filter 4X
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork:[/B ]RockShox Pike Ultimate
Hubs: Hope Pro 4
Rims: Hope Fortus 35
Wheels size: 27.5
Tyres: Michelin Wild Enduro 2.4
Chainring: DMR Blade 34t
Cranks: SRAM GX
Pedals: HT X2 Clips
Cassette: SRAM GX DH 7-speed 11-25t cassette
Derailleur: SRAM XO 7 Speed
Shifter: SRAM XO 7 Speed
Brakes: Avid XO Trail brakes
Rotors: SRAM 160mm
Handlebar: Burgtec Ride High Josh Bryceland Signature Alloy handlebar
Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3
Grips: DMR Death Grips
Weight: 14.9kg

The main change from the Filter trail bike (that's available right now) and this prototype 4X version is sizing; this sits right between the currently available small and medium. It's still running a 150mm travel fork out front with 135mm of rear travel with a few extra tweaks made to them.

That's right it's got external cable routing.

The frame design is beautiful, simple and clean. It has standard bearings used in all its pivots and has external cable routing with a threaded bottom bracket to make working on the bike as simple as physically possible.

In its trail bike configuration, the Filter runs 135mm travel out back. That's with a 185x55mm shock. You can get 50mm stroke shocks in the same size which would deliver 122mm travel, and given that for 4X large amounts of rear travel aren't needed, Airdrop thought about going down that route. Coupling that with Rockshox MegNeg air can with higher pressure would be the dream setup. However, in the end due to budget constraints, it was decided to opt for the 185x55mm standard Rockshox Super Deluxe with all of the tokens in it. There is 215psi of air in it and the rebound is set from 8 clicks from its slowest setting.

Fitted up front is a RockShox Pike Ultimate at 150mm. This is to preserve the head-angle and front-end height, but once again with all the tokens fitted in the air chamber to get a bit more progression. There is 97psi in the pikes and the rebound is set to 5 clicks from its slowest position.

For wheels, there is a workhorse set of Hope Fortus 35's running Hope's Pro 4 hubs. Wrapped around the Hope rims are a set of Michelin Wild Enduro 2.4 tyres which are running tubeless. Dan was running 27psi in the front tyre and 30psi in the rear.

It's a full SRAM groupset on Dan's Filter 4x. With SRAM's GX DH groupset installed including the 7-speed cassette and a super nice KMC gold chain.

There's more from SRAM's GX range with a set of its aluminium cranks installed with a DMR Blade 34t chainring mounted. The chain is kept in place by the E*thirteen TRS chain guide with a top guide and lower bash guard. Like all 4X racers it's clip pedals for Dan with a set of HT's X2's fitted here.

Nice little race touches with grip tape added to the SRAM GX shifter for the extra grip when you need it.

Some old brakes are fitted but if they work they work. It's more SRAM here with their Avid X0 Trail brakes being used with a set of SRAM 160mm discs front and rear.

Burgtec provides the bar and stem combo on Dan's bike. For bars there is Burgtec's Ride High Josh Bryceland Signature alloy handlebar cut to 780mm wide with 50mm rise mounted to a Burgtec Enduro MK3 stem and finished off with a set of DMR Deathgrips. The Burgtec parts don't stop there, with the UK brand also providing its Cloud Boost saddle.

A massive thanks to Dan and to Airdrop for their help putting this together.


  • 108 7
 So basically a really cool fun playful 27.5 bike that the industry are dead set on killing off with 29ers and Mullets! lol
  • 82 26
 No one is trying to kill off anything, if no one is buying them, they stop producing them, simple as that. If people were buying them, they would be in the shops, that is how market works.
  • 129 0
 @gooral: There's still a window for (very) small brands like us. If the whole industry moves out of a segment, that leaves people without an option. We can operate in that space. It's hard, but if it's a bike we want to do, and we can find a few people who want them, we can make it work. Case in point: our next bike will be a 27.5" park oriented DH bike.
  • 8 3
 @AirdropBikes: Dead set! Plenty of folks still on TR500’s. Like the old saying, build it and they will come! Would it be to much to ask for 26” on the 4X?
  • 16 1
 @PB-J: I'd love to do a 26" wheeled full suspension bike. But that would probably be more of a 'slope' type bike and a variant of the Fade DJ we do already. For a ProTour type race bike intended for big jumps and high speed there's a strong(er) argument for 27.5"
  • 4 6
 @AirdropBikes: i race a 160mm enduro 27.5 bike for all the nbritish 4x and protour races and have no issues so would definitely say there is no real demand for 26inch 4x bikes
  • 8 1
 @AirdropBikes: Thank you for keeping the 27.5 bikes alive.
  • 7 6
 @AirdropBikes: 26 will ALLWAYS beat 27 out the gate, an in 4X.. the gate is a lot of winning the race. mini mullet would make this PERFECT!
  • 11 2
 @gooral: chicken egg. how can you say no one buys 26 when 26 isnt an option? because industry
  • 5 0
 @AirdropBikes: thank you for building this and keep doing what you do!
  • 3 0
 @AirdropBikes: Good for you guys. A.) I like seeing these type of bikes still around. B.) Good on you for finding a great market for a small company to fill.
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes: I would buy that as a street/fun/slope bike. I would even put trials parts on it and make a full suspension trilals bike.
  • 3 6
 @naptime: fully disagree with your statement
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes: when will the 27.5 dh bike be on pre order?
  • 4 0
 @DCF: We're working to get them out of the factory now and shooting the launch photos in the next couple of weeks. As soon as that's done, it's Slacker time.
  • 7 0

High rise Burgtec bars (hope they don’t break, ahhh, hahah), external routing “make it easier to work on”, 27.5 because that’s how to party.

WTF is the industry (and PB) thinking?

Mullet is no more playful than a full 29er, stoopid rabbit.
  • 4 1
 @gooral: that’s what people said about crossovers vs fun sports sedans/hatchbacks/wagons and now everyone drives the same basic design around and it’s BORING
  • 2 0
 @AirdropBikes: when is US distribution a thing? Reached out a few times over the last couple years.
  • 5 0
 @5afety3rd: Drive a wagon and ride 27.5, only way to roll
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: your case in point is the perfect answer for a lot of us out here!!! Thanks !
  • 1 0
 @AirdropBikes: Fair play, loving your work ether way! Keep at it!!
  • 4 0
 @AirdropBikes: 4x is a very niche market now. In the UK its only national races. I use my intense tazer ht with 26 chris king wheels, as well as my 27.5 v2 SC bronson depending on the track condions. Bikes get hit so hard its better just to go to the second hand market for parts. Maybe a 27.5 hardtail would also be great as a new race bike.
  • 3 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: you’re right of course. This isn’t necessarily a production thing, but it is something we wanted to do as a variant of the Filter bike. It’s worked out pretty well so we wanted to share it. And if we get to support 4x just a little bit that’s great too.
  • 1 0
 @bromigo69: My current dream (realistic dream) car is the Genesis G70 Wagon. Rumors are it will eventually make it to the US, but I won't hold my breath.
  • 2 1
 @drjonnywonderboy: I just built up a small, 27.5 Nukeproof Scout frame with a 130mm fork for our local Dual Slalom races here in Bentonville. For our course it's perfect
  • 2 0
 @gooral: false, don't pretend that marketing doesn't exist and that it wasn't extremely successful on masses of first time COVID MTB buyers
  • 4 1
 @kernowding10: ask any BMX'er why they THRASH any 4xer oot the gate.....
  • 2 2
 @naptime: strongly disagree with you there... i think you'll find the gate has little to do with what bike your on within good reason. i have out gated many bmxers on my 27.5 160mm enduro bike that also has a coil rear shock....
  • 2 0
 You’re da man!! I mean ugh ughum
May I take your coat sir?@AirdropBikes:
  • 1 0
 @gooral: most of the people I ride with ride full 27.5
  • 4 0
 @kernowding10: most tracks aren't really rough or big enough for any benefit from the bigger wheels (don't even get me started how crap the tracks are now compared to 15 years ago!) The only benefit is grip. Let's not forget the most important part of the race is the gate start and smaller wheels provide a quicker start
  • 3 1
 @naptime: spot on the money, anyone negative on this comment needs to be educated
  • 1 0
 @bromigo69: i drive a wagon and have all wheel sizes.
  • 2 2
 @ginge4: your comments are very naive to think that smaller wheels make that much difference in the gate at all. the level of training and ability to gate with the correct technique are the biggest factor....
  • 5 1
 @kernowding10: it's simple and undeniable science. Same torque through less mass of the smaller, lighter, stiffer wheel WILL accelerate faster.
All the time
Every time
  • 3 2
 I don’t feel like the bigger wheel size has held me back on the gate at all And once the wheels are rolling then it ain’t hanging around

Would be Interesting to try a mini millet set up to see how that reacts
  • 2 0
 @kernowding10: I get you but there is a difference and gate starts are the most important part of any race, more so these days with limited passing places on tracks these days. Just need to look at BMX and oversize 20 wheels, Mike day tried them years and years ago and a few others, while overall faster they always went back to standard 20 inch wheels purely for the gate start
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: Fair, I cant say shit I ride both
  • 1 1
 @naptime: because when 26" was an option everyone stopped buying them. Hence the industry stopped making them...

But please keep acting like there is some big conspiracy "by the industry" to controll what u ride.
  • 1 1
 @stiingya: that's strange cos I've never had a problem getting hold of tyres or wheels, rims etc..... Who said anything about a conspiracy? We're talking aboot gated racing here.
  • 1 1
 @naptime: YOU said. Per above. I'm paraphrasing cause I'm not going to waste time looking. But you said something about how can you say nobody buys 26" when there is no 26 to buy and that it was the industries fault. Er something like that. And my point is that "back in the day" there was more 26" on the sales floor then 29 OR 27.5 and nobody was buying the 26. Shops, dealers, manufacturers, suppliers, etc. etc. were all left with 26" stock sitting around collecting dust that they had to mark down to get rid of because everyone was buying bigger wheels. That is not "the industry" killing 26". That is NO CONSUMER DEMAND that killed off 26. (well made it a niche market cause it's not like you can't still buy enough 26 to get by if that's the hill you want to die on)
  • 1 1
 @stiingya: OK find me a brand that offers a new set of 160mm 26" forks to buy......... I won't hold my breath.......
  • 1 1
 @naptime: I said you can still buy enough 26 to get by and that it was niche. I didn't say you can buy anything you want NEW or that the niche was long travel trail bikes?

You want 26" DJ you can buy new forks all day long. Because that's the only place CONSUMER DEMAND has always been... But lets face it, even there the demand is not comparitivly high.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: so I CAN buy new 26" forks even though nobody makes, stocks or sells them due to consumer demand.... err whut??

time for a nap
  • 1 0
 @naptime: Yes please go to bed cause your making zero sense.

You complained that the industry killed off 26". I've clearly made the point that it was lack of consumer demand that has reduced 26" to a niche market.
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: "You complained that the industry killed off 26". I've clearly made the point that it was lack of consumer demand that has reduced 26" to a niche market."

"You want 26" DJ you can buy new forks all day long. Because that's the only place CONSUMER DEMAND has always been... But lets face it, even there the demand is not comparitivly high."

so I can but, I can't errrr whut

  • 2 0
 @gooral: believing a lie
  • 2 1
 @naptime: Keep working on your ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ's maybe you'll gain some reading comprehension eventually... Smile
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: an realise whut? that your point means nothing to this conversation........................
like I said zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • 2 1
 @naptime: At this point your only conversing with your self.

NO WONDER YOU KEEP FALLING ASLEEP... you got nothing interesting to say!! Smile
  • 2 1
 @stiingya: "At this point your only conversing with your self"
Says the guy in a REPLY...... an you question my reading ability......?

  • 1 1
 @naptime: Yes, I do question your reading ability. I also question your ability to discern what a conversation is...
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: I just upvoted you guys's last few comments because this is a good conversation
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: then your a f*cking retard
Please tell me what anything you've said has to do with gated racing or this bike?
My recent user name change is because of this very bullshit, PB is boring, MTB is boring and YOU, are boring
  • 1 2
 @naptime: Um...? Yea, you still don't make any sense and your personal attacks are childish and irrelevant.

YOU said this => "chicken egg. how can you say no one buys 26 when 26 isnt an option? because industry"

And I've responded multiple times that this is BS because back when 26" had as much floor space as the other sizes nobody was buying it. Done. That's not because of the industry. That's because of the lack of customers for the product.

Here's a hint. A "conversation", would be "IF" you were able to refute that point or add to the discussion. It doesn't seem like your capable of that because instead you just keep vomiting garbage...

If this is so boring then just stop replying.

  • 1 1
 @stiingya: go f*ck your self you f*cking prick..... you are boring.... you are offering NOTHING to this conversation about a the bike or gated racing......
You know f*ck ALL about what your chatting shit about
The thread is old an dead.....
But you know what.... you win... youve heard the joke about arguing on the Internet
..... well well done congrats you just won the special Olympics
  • 1 1
 @naptime: LOL... you crack me up, not that anything you say is actually funny or at all intelligent. But just that you keep coming back...

YOU said this => "chicken egg. how can you say no one buys 26 when 26 isnt an option? because industry"

And I've responded with good points. You got nothin...

  • 1 0
 @stiingya: you keep bringing that up,,, yeah I sdaid it and I stand buy it.... SFW?
go ride your XC bike
  • 1 0
 @naptime: Then you stand by being wrong! Smile

I don't have a XC bike right now...?
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: @naptime: you guys talk to each other more than most men talk to their best friends. Move on!
  • 1 0
 @DCF: never stop never stopping
  • 2 0
 @DCF: I'm tryin!
  • 17 1
 This is so good. We need more bikes like this in the world.
  • 2 0
 it's like a new transition bottlerocket (travel wise etc). which is great. With how well 130-150mm travel trails bikes have been in slalom etc, its nice to see him up the travel to 135mm in the rear for better control than a 100mm or less stiffer suspension.
  • 1 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: it's honestly pretty similar to my Scout.
  • 16 0
 Positive comment about desirable bike.
  • 14 0
 Well done airdrop, looks great!
  • 9 0
 Username checks out :-)
  • 16 3
 basically whats 5010 supposed to be
  • 11 0
 Or used to be ..
  • 8 1
 first 4X specific bike in... since.... fooking hell YEARS!! maybe a decade??
Great stuff!! Airdrop have gone very high in my opinion!
needs the ability to run 26 both ends an mini mullet, maybe a flip chip dropout, that would make this bike PERFECT!!
  • 8 10
 no need for 26
  • 4 9
flag kernowding10 (Sep 8, 2022 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
 @naptime: on this bike there is no need for 26
  • 6 0
 @kernowding10: there is no NEED for anything, everything here are first world problems anyway so might as well have 26.
  • 6 0
 shut up and take my money.
  • 6 0
 @TransitionBikeCompany - time for an updated Double, but keep it 26"
  • 2 0
 Well they made the triple, so I guess the next one will be the quadruple?
  • 2 0
 Its great this bike is still at a prototype stage. @AirdropBikes
How difficult is to adding adjustable dropouts and make this bike mini mullet compatible. Dont need to sell the bike like this. Just offering this to the riders that want to have a bit more of acceleration at the gate starts as an option.
I think this will be well received and be probably one of a few companies that can offer this.
  • 2 0
 It’s a good idea. Both the dropouts and the brake mount are interchangeable on this design so in principle, different dropouts for 26” wheels wouldn’t be too difficult. But that alone wouldn’t make it as if the bike had been designed for a 26” rear wheel so it would be a compromised solution.
  • 3 0
 This is a stout fun machine you can abuse on the daily, or reconfigure for trail duties. Neat trick Transition need a new Bandit!
  • 8 0
 and a new bottle rocket
  • 2 0
 @naptime: truth !
  • 1 0
 and a tr500
  • 1 0
 @naptime: the scout is the new bottle rocket.
  • 2 0
 @getschwifty: hhmmm suppressor maybe. My Scout feels a bit dead in the air compared to a bottle rocket. I've thought about mini mullet but bb is WAY to low allready with 27
  • 6 3
 I frakking hate, no I loath 29'er & I will drop dead before I ever buy one. Glad to see there are a few non clown bikes still available.
  • 4 0
 Airdrop bikes are the business. Had an edit for a year now and it’s perfect for what I do.
  • 5 0
 So they made a Banshee Spitfire?!?
  • 2 0
 Drop the travel to 110 or so, put a 240mm dropper and a wideish range cassette on, and this may be the only bike I'd even consider replacing for all the hardtails I've had over the last 15 years.
  • 5 1
 Good timing to drop this right after SC 5010, looks fun providing
  • 1 1
 Nitpicking here, as the definition of external/internal routing can be nitpicky. Yes, the cables are outside, but as soon as you jam them through a frame member and they require disconnection to service or install I consider them internal. You could side mount one of those nice looking guides on the outside of that lower shock mount and it would still look great and be completely accessible.
  • 1 0
 Smaller wheels: lighter , stronger , faster acceleration.
Glad to see something different from Wagon wheel enduros. What's the HT angle ? Trendy slack or fast and accurate ?
  • 1 0
 did anyone else see the old sram xo brakes and, for a moment, think that they were some sort of prototype... guess we're so used to the classic shimano and sram brake look that anything else is bling bling or yikes yikes
  • 6 4
 that looks rad. the long low stack 29er trend is killing off the 'fun' element of biking.
  • 11 1
 Yeah, I haven't had fun on a bike since I started riding a 29er.
  • 6 3
 some people just like trucking through rough stuff with a bike that makes up for a lack of skill. And then get mad at people who want short bikes that prioritize fun over fast.
  • 3 0
 @FreerideFrank11: People definitely use a capable bike to make up for a lack of skill, but who is mad at the idea of a short, fun bike?
  • 3 3
 @FreerideFrank11: seems like it's the 27.5 4 Lyfe crowd getting mad. The rest of us are ripping LLS 29ers with a huge grin.
  • 6 0
 @PhillipJ: it's annoying to see less and less options for people who want to jump and do tricks on full suspension bikes instead of just racing strait lines through tech. It will get even harder to find smaller wheels and compatible components as the used bike market ages. That's why people are mad, noone cares how you personally like to ride.
  • 6 4
 Makes a point about the external cables and then runs the brake hose through a tiny hole in the frame...
  • 1 1
 But they haven’t it’s all external
  • 3 0
 @Worley1: yeah but it would still need to be disconnected
  • 1 0
 Good catch! That is indeed a bit annoying.
  • 3 0
 You can run the hose around the outside of that hole if you want it fully external.
  • 2 0
 Owned this frame few weeks now been loving it, slightly on the heavier side but feels solid which is great.
  • 3 0
 Good to see a 4X bike being produced though would prefer 26"
  • 2 0
 love it.. would want a 26 version as like a big slope bike kinda. Super sick!
  • 3 0
 sick, but should be a 2-6
  • 2 0
 @airdropbikes - lovely bike. Wish I was still looking for things like this.
  • 3 0
 Be awesome if it had 26 wheels
  • 2 0
 There is nothing here that makes me want to buy this bike at all. Lame article.
  • 2 0
 I love it. Airdrop knows whats up!
  • 3 1
 My type of bike... Smiles for miles!!
  • 2 1
 Came here thinking I'd find a modern version of the old meta or sx 4x bikes. Didn't. Shame.
  • 1 0
 @Airdropbikes will you be making anymore Bitmaps or a replacement for the Bitmap?
  • 1 0
 No current plans to produce more of the original Bitmap or to replace it with an equivalent. I would like to, but there's only so much we can do at one time; we had to drop the Bitmap originally to put the Filter into production. Maybe one day.
  • 1 0
 Avid X0 TRAIL BRAKES?? where did you dig those up? Guess corona supply issues are still hitting hard...
  • 2 1
 Mint bike, mint rider Nice to see this slice of the bike world getting the love it deserves!
  • 2 0

  • 1 0
 I need this bike in my life. It looks really fun!
  • 1 0
 Looks awesome, simple and clean.
  • 1 0
 Just found my next trail bike!
  • 1 0
 Beefy 135mm/150mm travel sounds like a great trail bike!
  • 1 0
 Sum carbon wheels,no dropper w/ SS setup
would be dope AF
  • 1 0
 This thing is rad, want!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a kona
  • 1 0
 Looks mint....
  • 1 0
 That looks awesome
  • 5 7
 It's pretty, looks like fun, but 15kg? Are you having a laugh?
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