Pivot Cycles are unapologetic in their aim; to make the fastest bike at the EWS. The new Pivot Firebird 29 is an out-and-out race bike, redesigned to be longer, stiffer, bigger and faster. It holds onto the DW-Link seen on previous Firebird iterations, but tailors it to position the shock vertically, holding weight lower and closer to the BB, while also leaving clearance for FOX Live Valve suspension. Here’s all we know about the 2022 Pivot Firebird.
2022 Pivot Firebird 29
The 2022 Pivot Firebird is a 165mm travel 29er enduro bike built with speed at the top of the list of priorities. Pivot reckon that if you want to win races, this is the bike you’ll do it on. That has always been the goal of the Pivot Firebird, so what changes have Pivot made to make the bike faster again?
Lots, actually. The redesign takes in updated geometry with longer reach figures, more travel, a stiffer frame, a more progressive DW-Link and the introduction of size-specific chainstays and size-specific carbon layup.
“Everything we did, we did for speed,” says Chris Cocalis, founder and CEO of Pivot.
The Firebird still runs the DW-Link suspension platform, lauded for its excellent pedal efficiency and lack of pedal feedback; the patented position-sensitive anti-squat effectively eliminates pedal bob during hard pedaling efforts.
However, the frame now takes design cues from the shorter travel Mach 6 and Switchblade full suspension mountain bikes, with that DW suspension reorganized to position the shock vertically within the frame. That places a larger proportion of the bike’s weight centrally, lower and closer to the bottom bracket, giving the bike a lower centre of gravity.
It makes for a more compact frame design, still with plenty of room for a water bottle inside the front triangle on all frame sizes. It also allows clearance underneath the top tube for FOX Live Valve integration, a spec option available on the Pro and Team builds.
Pivot have also tweaked the DW-Link to be more gravity-focused, i.e. more progressive. The lower link is now longer than that seen on the previous iteration, said to result in a more aggressively rearward axle path, which Pivot say is similar to the Phoenix DH bike.
“We did design the Firebird to be more progressive than the previous version, which does make it easy to run a coil over shock without the fear of bottoming out too harshly. When it comes to air shocks the increased progressivity also allows for more tuning possibilities for the rider. The curve is now so progressive that we don’t put any volume spacers in the DPX2 shock, allowing the rider a greater range of suspension tuning based on their riding style and preference” – Chris Cocalis.
A notable change for this year’s Firebird is the introduction of size-specific chainstays, a welcome addition on a bike where pricing starts at $6,099 USD. On most bikes, with the exception of a handful of brands like Privateer, Norco and Santa Cruz (a bit), the chainstay length remains consistent throughout the frame sizes, often giving rise to very different ride experiences based on the rider’s height.
Pivot have now taken a proportional approach, meaning that, as you go up through the frame sizes, the chainstay length increases in proportion with the growing front triangle. This is said to ensure that all riders, irrespective of their height and therefore frame size, should experience the very same ride feel. This is likely less of an issue for you if you ride a medium or a large, but if you sit at either extreme of frame sizing, this stuff matters.
So, chainstays are 431mm in small, 434mm in medium, 438mm in large and 445mm in XL. That pairs with respective reach figures of 445mm, 468mm, 488mm and 510mm. Current Firebird owners will note these reach figures are considerably longer than what we see on the previous iteration, increasing by an average of 14mm across the board. The S-XL range is said to accommodate riders from 5′ 2″ to 6′ 9″.
We applaud Pivot for the size-specific chainstays, and all brands that go that extra mile. Pivot have gone further though, stating that, “Variable tube sizing and custom-tuned carbon lay-up scales stiffness across all sizes, ensuring optimal ride characteristics for all rider profiles”.
We got some clarification from Pivot as to what this actually means… Basically, each frame size, with its different tube lengths, has a slightly different carbon layup to produce a different stiffness profiles and flex properties. Those properties are based on what average rider weight and height per size. “We went through many lay-up iterations for each frame size to make sure that each one achieves the overall ride quality and feel that we were looking to achieve out of this bike” – Patrick Ribera-McKay, Communications Manager at Pivot Cycles.
The Pivot Firebird goes 1° slacker out front for 2022, with a 64° head tube angle. It also goes considerably steeper at the seat angle, now at 77° on a size large. Note that the geometry figures quoted are for the low BB setting, one of a possible two geometry configurations.
Yes, like many bikes these days, and just like the Firebird before it, the 2022 Pivot Firebird features a flip-chip on the upper link. It allows the rider to switch between two geometry settings at the trail side. In the low setting, the BB sits at 350mm with a slacker head tube angle of 64°. Alternatively, you can switch to the high setting where the BB sits at 355.8mm and the head angle is 64.6°. Of course, the differences aren’t huge, but this does give the fettlers something to play around with, to adapt to the geometry to their riding style and/or the terrain of the day.
Pricing & Availability
The 2022 Pivot Firebird 29 is available at like a hundred different price points. OK, not exactly, but there are a huge number of builds available based on whether you want an air or coil shock, FOX Live Valve, alloy or carbon wheels, and Shimano XT/XTR or SRAM XO1/XX1 drivetrain components. All builds come with FOX suspension only. Pricing starts at $6,099 USD, topping out at $13,099 USD. Bikes are available now at key Pivot dealers worldwide. Head to the Pivot website for more details on each model.