3 Years in the making! The Slacker Project launched over Christmas 2019. We set out to develop the DH bike we wanted to ride; a DH bike for the people, a proper park bike and document the whole process. At the time we said:
“Small bike brands don't normally do stuff like this. It's bold, risky and it might not work. But if it does, it might just be the best thing we ever do.”
Now, three years and 20 chapters later, The Slacker Project is complete. We made it. So without further delay here it is in all its glory. The Downhill bike that we want to ride; a bike that loves cutting loose and slapping turns. It’s an absolute riot, perfect for pounding out laps in the bike park, uplift days, a summer holiday in the mountains and just messing around in the woods. The people’s DH bike.
We put everything into this. To say it’s a passion project is an understatement. Our flat-out goal at Airdrop is to build stuff that we can be proud of, and the Slacker is exactly that.
For 2023, there will be 100 Slackers made.
Orders will ship in March.
The Slacker uses a combination of hydroformed and extruded, internally and/or externally butted tubes. As a small-batch producer, we lean into CNC parts heavily. All lugs, hardware and pivots are CNC. The BB and main pivot are a single CNC unit and the lower shock mount is a CNC cradle. The rocker is a true one-piece design. Every Slacker frame comes with a brushed alloy head badge, CNC axle and UDH hanger, seat clamp and an Airdrop reach adjust headset included.
SLACKER LUXE - £3,599
A SLACKER BUILD FOR THE NEW WORLD DISORDER GENERATION. DID SOMEBODY SAY FREERIDE? MAKING SINGLE CROWN FORKS GREAT AGAIN.
The Slacker Luxe is the gateway build to the Slacker range, but don’t let that fool you. It still packs a punch and will have you boosting jumps and railing turns higher than ever before.
SLACKER DELUXE - £4,199
THE CORE OF THE SLACKER RANGE. FEATURING THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME FROM ROCKSHOX, SRAM, BURGTEC AND HOPE.
The mainstay of the Slacker range, the Deluxe is the go-to build and underlines exactly what the Slacker is all about. Hitting big holes at warp speed, insiding turns, throwing weird shapes and getting amongst it. Party Horse!
SLACKER PARK - £4,299
A SINGLESPEED DOWNHILL BIKE.
If the Luxe is your gateway build, then the Park can only be described as some high-grade, class-A build aimed at the most hardcore user. Strap in - this one’s a face melter! The Slacker Park is all about stripping the Slacker back to what it’s all about. High-grade suspension, ludicrous stopping power, super tacky rubber, heavy-duty wheelset, a dialed cockpit and just one gear.
SLACKER WORKS - £4,499
AN AIRDROP SLACKER DH FRAME BUILT WITH THE BEST OF EVERYTHING. THAT WORKS FOR US.
Performance in all the right places. We rolled out the red (or should it be yellow?) carpet here with suspension from Öhlins. If you know you know. The Works is our top-shelf build; a no-compromise approach. It’s a Slacker that goes about its business with a little extra swagger, shrugging off those hair-raising moments thanks to its zero-compromise spec.
GEOMETRY, SIZING & KINEMATICS
If you follow Airdrop as a brand you're probably already aware that we don’t sit in the super progressive extra-long reach camp. We believe in putting the rider front and centre. Our bikes are designed to be engaging to ride and first & foremost must always be fun. With that in mind, Airdrop bikes reward a dynamic riding style and further embody our ‘Sessions Not Seconds’ ethos.
The Slacker is no exception to that rule, it's unapologetically a park bike and wants to be ridden that way.
The Slacker is available in three sizes: S1, S2, S3. All sizes share the same seat-tube length but differ in terms of reach and stack. Additionally, every Slacker frame or build (excluding the Luxe, due to its tapered fork) comes with an Airdrop reach-adjust headset, providing a neutral, +5mm or -5mm position. The rider can choose their desired reach and further tune the on-trail feel.
REACH ADJUST HEADSET
All Slacker framesets and dual crown builds will come supplied with our own reach-adjust headset (the Luxe build has a single-crown fork and therefore uses a tapered headset). This enables any rider using a 1 1/8” straight steerer fork to run the frame in three different reach positions, allowing riders to further dial in both the reach and front-centre dimension to their preference.
The reach headset comprises of two pairs of headset cups; effectively a pair of centered cups and then a pair of 5mm offset cups. This means depending on the orientation of the offset cups you can run centered, +5mm reach or -5mm reach. Having the three positions means riders can tune their bike's fit and ride characteristics.
Naturally, we’ve gone all-in on the design of the headset. So it has CNC machined cups, angular contact bearings, all-alloy construction and seals in all the right places.
THE SLACKER PROJECT
On Christmas day 2019, we went live with a blog series we called The Slacker Project. At that point, we’d already been working on the Slacker for a year, but it was more of a fantasy project than one rooted in reality. Airdrop was only Ed and James working out of a damp old shed at that point. Nevertheless, we decided to commit to developing a DH bike, and to do it all in public, inviting our customers to join us on the journey.
“The Slacker will be a downhill bike, when we succeed. If we succeed. And that's what The Slacker Project is all about; we're setting out to develop a proper Downhill bike from scratch, and it's going to be a challenge. We might fail. We'll definitely make mistakes. But if we succeed, it might just be the best thing we ever do. And we'd like you to join us on that journey.”
Now that the journey is complete, the whole story is there from start to finish. If you want to understand more about the Slacker; where it came from, why and how we made all the key decisions, and what a roller coaster ride the whole project was, give it a read.
ABOUT AIRDROP BIKES
We’ve come a long way in the last couple of years, but Airdrop is still a work in progress. We’ve moved out of Ed’s garage and into a dedicated workshop in Sheffield. We’ve added a dirt-jump bike and a trail bike to the range, with the Slacker DH bike about to launch. Andy and Craig have come on board, bringing with them a wealth of experience on and off the bike. But in many ways, Airdrop is still a startup. Or maybe more accurately an upstart. We’d like to keep it that way.
After a decade working for some serious businesses, Ed got sick of the relentlessly commercial ethos; growth at any cost, price-engineered products, shit service and cynical marketing tactics. What was it all for? Making some rich guy richer? That’s not a good reason to exist.
The Airdrop project is about building something we can be proud of. It’s about focusing on quality and service, looking after people - our staff, our suppliers, our customers - and enjoying it every day. Working to a set of positive values and trying to behave with a bit of integrity.
That might all seem like common sense but it turns out that trying to stay small and putting integrity above profit goes against the grain. It’s hard. Especially in 2023. But it’s worth it.
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