Another brand that was present at the London bike show was Bird bikes. You may not know this brand but there is something special about what they are trying to do. Not only are they local to us at Southern Shredders (Reading). Whats great is that the crew started out as Swinley Mountain bike riders and they are designing and building some amazing bikes.
“We want to be the brand who are available at the end of the phone or respond to your emails.”
I managed to have a brief chat with Ben who said that customer service is the biggest element for the team. He explained “we have contact (personal conversations) with 80% of our buyers. We want to be the brand who are available at the end of the phone or respond to your emails.”
Being a direct to consumer brand, it also means they are able to give the best possible prices rather than being a nameless or faceless brand available at your online retailers.
On the day, Ben and the guys had a selection of bikes but the one that stood out was their new Aeris AM9. This is a slack 65 degree head angle, 150mm travel, 29 inch wheel beast of a bike. Ben explained “We thought about a 29er a while back but we didn’t want to build something at that point because it was a little too extreme for the customer. With time, 29ers like ours are now acceptable and the components are also in place to match. Wheels are strong enough and design wise, we can get the bike right. The AM9 is still at the extreme end of 29ers but this type of bike is now on the customer’s radar.”
When asked would Bird ever build a downhill bikes, He explained “Downhill bikes are great but people aren’t buying them as much as they used to. In addition to this, the customer doesn’t invest money into their downhill bike in cycles like they do a trail or enduro bikes. Essentially, they replace the bike far fewer times because it is used less. When someone buys a bike they will reinvest in it’s components as they wear and eventually they will want a newer bike because standards have changed or it makes sense to get a whole new package rather than single components. If we built a downhill bike, it would be a great bike and a lot of fun but we need to make a couple of hundred at a time to make the economics work. In trail bikes that might last a few month’s even weeks, for a downhill bike I’m sure we would still have some in the warehouse a few years down the line. For a brand like ours, its just doesn’t make sense.”
When asked why he wanted to use a Horst link set up Ben said “the horst link is probably the most versatile to get the best feeling out of the bike and suspension. It has the pivot point arrangement we can tailor to get the feeling better than a single pivot or faux bar more easily. It also made sense as we could build using the best method without having to step on anyone’s toes patent wise. Multi-link bikes like Virtual Pivot Point [VPP] were another option we looked at but its super technical to get right and at the same time navigate the patent minefield. For a brand just starting out when we did, that’s not what we needed.”
Finally when I asked why their bikes use metric shocks Ben explained “the new Super Deluxe is so much better than the outgoing Monarch. They [Rockshox] have improved everything as part of the shock. It feels so much more plush and can run lower pressures due to the changes they have made. This means there is less wear and pressure on the seals so the shock’s stroke is smoother. All our bikes have been designed to run with them so our customers will get the best bike they can from us.”
I for one, am looking forward to seeing how this brand progresses. They are doing a lot for their customers and their service is out of this world. They support the Southern enduro series as a sponsor. In addition to this, they go to the races and support all bird riders with technical assistance and replacement parts on race days! From a customer perspective, who rides domestic enduro, buying from a brand like this is a no brainer.
If you want any more information, please visit Bird Bikes website.
Written by Lorien Gordon