Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-2

Pivot’s Firebird has been in the line up long enough that the first version still had 26″ wheels. First introduced with an aluminum frame, the Firebird was also the first Pivot to run 27.5″ hoops. While always aimed at the longer travel side of the mountain bike spectrum, the 2017 model makes a triumphant return in carbon.

Just as we’ve seen through much of mountain biking, modern geometry is seeing a sweeping change with bikes going longer, lower, slacker, and shorter at the rear end. The Firebird is no different. Coupled with longer travel, drivetrain versatility, and Boost spacing, the Firebird’s geometry leaves little to be desired…

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_

Coinciding with Pivot’s first time offering demo rides at Whister, the launch of the new Firebird at this downhill Mecca is no accident. The original Firebird was a very capable bike, but it didn’t really seem like the right bike for a place like Whistler. Pivot says the new Firebird is that bike. Pivot’s sponsored rider Bernard Kerr even mentioned that the Firebird has him second guessing the choice to ride his Phoenix DH bike instead of the Firebird in the park.

Bernard_red1
My riding on the Firebird wasn’t quite this stylish. Kerr making it look good.

By the numbers, the Firebird is a 170mm travel full suspension bike that is meant for 170 or 180mm suspension forks. It’s hard to escape the comparison to a mini-dh bike as it’s tested to the same standards and benefits from Long and Low geometry that was inspired by the Phoenix. But like other Pivots, the Firebird benefits from custom tuned DW-Link suspension which actually makes the bike pedalable, especially with a full length dropper post.

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-6

Much of the DW Link system is familiar, though the suspension rate is a rising rate somewhat similar to the Phoenix. Even so, Pivot says coil shocks can be used, but they still recommend air shocks like the Fox Float X2 which will come on all models in either the Performance or Factory editions.

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-8

One might question the use of Boost 148 spacing on the Firebird when the Switchblade just made waves with Super Boost + 157mm spacing, but Cocalis points out that this isn’t a 29er or a 27+ bike. Because of that, the additional tire clearance and wheel stiffness isn’t needed and the frame can be made to work better with existing chain guides and parts that will be used on such a burly bike.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 8.57.34 PM

In fact, the Firebird tests out to be the stiffest bike Pivot has made. Using the same dual upright rear swingarm that was developed on the Phoenix, the Firebird has a shorter rear end which ends up making it stiffer. Chain stays measure 430mm with a 65º HTA and 74º STA. Like the Switchblade, seat tubes have been shortened to fit longer dropper posts. In addition to the shorter chain stays, the reach has been stretch quite a bit offering longer front center measurements.

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-7 Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-5

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-10 Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-9

LM-Pivot-catalog-17-2

Built for 27.5″ wheels only, the frame has clearance for 2.5″ tires, with complete bikes shipping with Maxxis Wide Trail 2.5″ front and 2.4″ rear tires. Pivot is still a firm believer in the press fit bottom bracket which is why you’ll find a PF92 shell with ISCG 05 chain guide mounts and a Shimano e-type sideswing front derailleur mount. Yes, you can run a 2x drivetrain on the Firebird. Pivot acknowledges that might not be ideal for this bike, but 40% of their business is still 2x so until the demand is not there they will continue to provide the option.

Other details include a shortened head tube with a Zerostack lower cup and a standard 1.5″ headset upper which will allow for the use of angle set headsets. Fitted with the Pivot Cable Port system, the frame offers internal routing for both mechanical and electronic drivetrains with a downtube port for the battery. You’ll also find low durometer rubber protection on the downtube and stays to protect the full carbon frame.

Pivot firebird 170mm travel mountain bike dw link_-4

First Impressions:

Ripping solo laps on the new Firebird meant I didn’t have anyone along to snap some action photos but I can assure you I was to busy having fun to have stopped anyways. Due to the longer reach measurements (even longer than the Switchblade), I first jumped on a small Firebird. Highlighting the overlap in sizes and just how long the small actually is, I could ride a small or a medium (and fit a medium with a full 150mm dropper post!). After a few laps I traded in the small for a medium and was much happier with how the bike felt, especially at speed. The bike just feels so stable and planted. I’m still a bit apprehensive riding park for the first time since my injury, especially at a place like Whistler, but the Firebird was supremely confidence inspiring.

Off the lips of jumps and on harsh landings the bike’s travel feels deep. Put up the dropper though, and you can actually pedal the thing back up to your condo that’s way too far away. Looking at the suspension numbers you might think that the 170mm travel Firebird will be too much, but the pedaling performance of the DW Link will make you second guess where the bike will take you. After handing the Firebird back over to Pivot, I borrowed a Phoenix DH bike to take out and I immediately missed the easy pedaling nature of the Firebird as I pushed the Phoenix up to my room. It seems like unless you live close to a bike park, the Firebird is a long travel bike that you could actually live with and use for more than just park days.

Pivot has been on a roll lately, and the Firebird is a continuation of that trend.

2017-Firebird---XT_XTR-pro-1X---RED-CARBON

2017-Firebird---XT_XTR-pro-1X---RED-CARBON 2017 Firebird - XTR 1X - Blue

Features:

  • Full carbon frame featuring leading edge carbon fiber materials and Pivot’s proprietary hollow core internal molding technology
  • Phoenix DH-influenced long and low geometry
  • Short 430mm (16.95”) chainstays
  • 170mm dw-link rear suspension with upper clevis and linkage and double wishbone rear triangle
  • Fox Float Factory/Performance X2 rear shock
  • Features a 170mm Fox 36 Factory fork
  • 27.5 wheel compatible, fits tires up to 2.5” wide
  • Boost spacing front and rear
  • Front derailleur compatible with Pivot’s stealth E-Type mounting system.
  • 180mm rear post mounts (no adaptor required)
  • Pivot Cable Port system for easy internal routing of shifters, brakes and droppers and full Di2 Integration
  • Internal dropper post compatible
  • Cold forged alloy linkages with Enduro Max Cartridge Bearings
  • New ultra quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection
  • Available in sizes S, M, L, XL for riders between 5’4″ and 6’7

Available in 2 colors and 9 different builds with their signature selection of high end parts, from $4,999 to $9,899. Pivot claims completes can be built under 28 lbs with the right parts. All sizes and builds are available now.

pivotcycles.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. How tall are you Zach Overholt? I ride a Medium bike all the time but am considering a small given the Firebird’s very long reach numbers. I’m 5’8″

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.