Has Bird just created the best value enduro bike for under £2,000?

Bird is one of the first to offer builds with SRAM SX Eagle and RockShox 35 forks

Picture of Bird Aeris 160

Bird showed us its latest model, the Aeris AM 160, at this year’s Sea Otter Europe, and as the name suggests, this is the 160mm version of its popular 27.5-inch Aeris line-up of full suspension bikes.

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There aren’t many 160mm travel bikes out there that are particularly pocket-friendly, especially ones with bang-up-to-date geometry, decent suspension kinematics and all the regular trappings of a high-end mountain bike with a full 12-speed groupset, wide rims and stiff, 35mm stanchioned forks.

Bird has achieved all this thanks to the use of SRAM’s new SX Eagle groupset and RockShox’s 35 fork, alongside its already competitive direct-buy business model.

RockShox's budget 35 fork
RockShox’s budget 35 fork
Tom Marvin

The full bike, as detailed below, is priced at £2,200, but with a bit of judicious speccing via its website, if you really wanted/needed to, you can get the price down to a touch over £1,950.

As far as we can tell, Bird is the first brand actually selling these pocket-friendly products from SRAM/RockShox, and is able to ship bikes now.

SRAM SX Eagle mech
The SX Eagle rear mech has all the usual Eagle features
Tom Marvin

Bird Aeris AM 160 SX Eagle frame

The Aeris AM 160 started life as the Aeris AM 145, with a slightly altered linkage to give extra travel. However, for 2020, Bird has altered a few bits here and there, and created a full 160mm machine (which isn’t backwards compatible to 145mm, in case you’re asking).

The main difference, other than the linkage, is at the rear, where the triangle has been updated.

This gives it slightly improved rear mech cable routing under the chainstay, improved tyre clearance, and a slightly different rear non-driveside dropout.

While none of these changes are major, it does demark the Aeris AM 160 as a new bike.

Shimano Deore rear brake
Bird has designed a slightly different rear dropout
Tom Marvin

In keeping with Bird’s design philosophy, the Aeris AM 160 has pretty forward-thinking geometry. Bird offers the bike in five sizes: Small, Medium, Medium Long, Large, Extra Large.

Bird Aeris AM 160 geometry (size Large, 160mm fork)

  • Reach: 506mm
  • Head angle: 64.6 degrees
  • Seat angle: 75.1 degrees
  • Stack: 599mm
  • Wheelbase: 1,255mm
  • Chainstay length: 435mm
  • Head tube: 120mm
  • Bottom bracket height: 338mm

Bird Aeris AM 160 build

The build we saw at Sea Otter Europe came in at £2,200, and had a few componentry upgrades over the bare-bones build that might be possible.

It included the 160mm RockShox 35 fork and SRAM SX Eagle groupset, along with DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheels, triple compound 2.5in Wide Trail Maxxis Minon tyres front and rear, Shimano Deore brakes, an MRP chainguide, Bird branded dropper and colour-matched RaceFace Turbine R bars.

Race Face Turbine R bars
Bird has colour-matched the Turbine R bars on this build
Tom Marvin

Just to see how wallet-friendly a build could be, we went on to Bird’s bike-builder and selected the cheapest build we’d be keen to ride (for example, retaining a dropper post, speccing ‘decent’ brakes, and keeping a more aggressive front tyre), while maintaining that 160mm fork and 12-speed groupset.

We ended up down at £2,104.50 for a truly ride-able enduro bike, but we could have got it as low as £1,950, had we gone with a rigid post and a set of brakes we’d probably avoid out of choice.

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Check out the rest of our pictures of the Bird Aeris AM 160 below.