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Tools of the trade, my Bird AM9.

After my Specialized Enduro 29er was stolen in 2017 I was in the market for a new bike and reading through the many magazines and online publications, I had decided to buy direct.

Bird are a small, relatively new brand based in Hampshire and with an engineering background, design their frames from the wheels up, unlike a lot of the buy direct brands that have popped up in recent years. This along with their many positive customer reviews, bike of the year and online service awards that they've picked up in their short life span, I began to look at their flock.

Buying direct not only kept down the cost, allowing me to get more for my money, but with a brand like Bird, they were always quick to respond to the many questions I had.

Image: Kiel Murphy

I ride a lot of different types of trails, from the local XC loops to full on big mountain rocky descents, so wanted something that could handle most types of terrain.

After studying the flock, I decided to keep with the big wheels and went for the AM9 in a tasty blue and pink with the following spec:

Aeris AM9 - GX12


Aeris AM9 Frame Atomic Blue LARGE

1 x Rear Shock:

RockShox Deluxe RT3 DebonAir 230x65

1 x Forks:

RockShox Pike RCT3 150mm DebonAir, 29" Boost - Diffusion Black, 1827g

1 x Rear Axle:

RockShox Maxle Stealth (148x12)

1 x Seatclamp:

Bird Quick Release Seat Clamp, 34.9mm (38g)

1 x Headset:

Bird Headset - Black

1 x Brakes:

SRAM Guide R Brakes (586g)

1 x Discs:

SRAM 200/180 Centerline Disc Rotors

1 x SRAM Centerline 180mm Rotor - 1 x SRAM Centerline 200mm Rotor 1 x Drivetrain: 1 x GX Eagle 12 Speed Rear Derailleur - 1 x GX Eagle 12 Speed Trigger Shifter - 1 x GX Eagle 12 Speed Chain - 1 x GX Eagle 1275 12 Speed Cassette 10-50 - 1 x Descendant Eagle 7K DUB Boost Crank - 170mm (626g)1Dub BSA Bottom Bracket - 73mm (78g)

1 x Wheels:

Hope Tech Enduro - Pro 4 29" Wheelset (2063g) Boost 148x12, 110x15 - Black

1 x Front Tyre:

Maxxis High Roller II 29" x 2.3" TR 3C Maxx Terra (920g)

1 x Rear Tyre:

Maxxis High Roller II 29" x 2.3" TR 3C Maxx Terra (920g)

1 x Stem:

RaceFace Aeffect R 35 Stem - 40mm Black

1 x Bars:

RaceFace Atlas 35 bar, 20mm rise, 800mm wide BLACK

1 x Grips:

Raceface Half Nelson Grips, black

1 x Seatpost:

Raceface Aeffect 150mm Dropper Seatpost, 425mm (570g)

1 x Saddle:

Fabric Scoop Saddle, Radius Sport - Black top black base (294g)

Another reason for choosing Bird, was the ease of ability to change the components to what I wanted that suited me, essentially building my own bike.

On paper, it looked like the perfect bike, slack geometry with 150mm of front and rear travel would mean it could handle most of the things, I with my skills (or lack there of) threw at it.

I hit the add to cart and waited for delivery.

Image: Kiel Murphy

It wasn't long before the big brown box turned up, and all that I had to do was connect the bars and pedals using the free multi-tool, put on the wheels and add the desired pressure to the tyres and suspension.

Upon the first ride on the street, it was clear this was a long machine and hitting the first local trail, realised that longer, meant faster.

First impressions, were good, the AM9 climbed really well and descended even better. The wheel base and low centre of gravity really makes this thing fly and took me a while to get used to braking that little bit earlier heading in to corners, it did punish me for pushing that pace, throwing me off before or in corners a few times before I learned to rein in the speed.

Image: Martin Paine

I've ridden the AM9 all over the UK, from trail centre stuff, uplift days at Fort WIlliam, Bike Park Wales and Cwmcarn, XC loops in the national parks, carrying my camera gear down enduro race stages, as well as multi day adventures in the Scottish Highlands, with the odd race thrown in there and it's handled it all with ease.

Image: Martin Paine

Image: Martin Paine

Image: Kiel Murphy

Image: Sean Green

After a year of (ab)use and with quite a few scratches and war wounds proudly on show, I've had little to no maintenance to do. The only thing I've changed is the tyres, adding a more aggressive tread up front, going from Maxxis High-rollers front and rear to an MSC Gripper up front and Singletrack on the back.

It is time to give the drivetrain some TLC and a couple of the pivot bearings are showing play, but nothing that isn't expected after nearly 2000km and countless descents under the rubber.

Image: Kiel Murphy

I'm really happy with not just the bike, but the customer service is second to none, Being a small company, Ben and Dan are always at the end of a Facebook message, phone call or email and the Bird community are all super helpful as well, with an active Facebook group for their riders to exchange information, show their rides and even organise meet ups.

To find out more about Bird and the AM9, head to the link below.

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