Founded in 2013, Bird is a small British company that's owned by a couple of genuine riding fanatics.
The Aeris, Bird says, is designed for ‘UK mountain riding, taking in trail centres and back-country riding’, and it’s caused quite a stir since its release. It was hardly surprising then that we couldn’t wait to thrash it.
The Aeris features RockShox' 150mm Yari fork, which shares many of its merits with the more expensive Lyrik. There's the option of 140mm or 150mm travel at the back, with a Monarch RT shock taking care of damping.
You can choose either 140mm or 150mm travel at the back
This can be changed with a single bolt and without affecting geometry. With the 150mm version the feel of the ride is more progressive to avoid bottoming out.
Clicky, smooth DT Swiss wheels are welcome with a Maxxis rubber surround. The 3c soft compound High Roller is the tyre of choice, proving grippy on a variety of surfaces without too much rolling resistance.
Smooth DT Swiss wheels are wrapped in quality Maxxis rubber
A 760mm wide Race Face bar and 60mm stem combo set up well with the long 640mm top tube for a comfortable and commanding cockpit position.
Impressively, a transferable lifetime warranty is included. We’ve not heard of anything like this before and, as the brand is British, any issues should be easy to sort if you're based in the UK.
The influence of gravity
Bird has looked at current trends in the downhill and enduro circuits in order to create a long, low and slack trail geometry for the future. With a 1207mm wheelbase (just 2mm shorter than the Escarpe 29er), 66.5 degree head angle and 435mm chainstays, the Aeris is super stable and as at home on technical descents as it is on poppy, flowy singletrack.
With its long, slack numbers the Aeris is a stable beast at speed
At 14.01kg the Aeris is decently light. Its 10-speed Deore transmission does feel a bit of a dated choice when compared to its 11 speed peers, but it doesn’t restrain performance.
Whether out of the saddle riding in anger or climbing, the Bird’s suspension can be set up tight at the back, sacrificing little energy.
The Aeris is a very impressive and capable all-rounder that’ll keep you smiling right until you pop it away in the shed for the night.
The cockpit is comfortably roomy
Bird has nailed its formula with the component choices at this price point. Each part complements the next beautifully, and although it's not a machine that'll out-bling its fellow rides, the Aeris feels outstanding and is serious fun straight out of the box.
We’ve recently heard chirping noises about the release of the Aeris 1.5 frame, which has a revised, stiffer back end. We’ve no doubt it’ll be a mouthwatering ride as and when it turns up.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.