Pivot Cycles Phoenix Carbon  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Pivot Cycles Phoenix Carbon 2015

Reviews / DH Bikes

Pivot Cycles 59,986

At A Glance

A couple of summers back I was lucky enough to have a Pivot Phoenix as my trusty steed on a month long alpine road trip. It performed flawlessly and is, to this day, one of my favourite downhill rigs.

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When I was told a Phoenix Carbon was about to rock up at the office I was both excited and a little concerned; what if it was not as good, if in the push for improvement something had been lost?

To be honest, the moment I laid eyes on it all that was forgotten. The Pivot Phoenix Carbon is one sexy bike, so I fell in lust with its looks, all that was left was to find out if I’d fall in love with its personality.

On The Trail

Set up on the Phoenix was pretty simple, 4 runs and I found the settings I would settle on for the vast majority of the test.

Initial feelings were that the Pivot is a fairly light, manoeuvrable bike that responds well to pedal input. I wondered if this sensation might compromise the stability that is normally associated with downhill bikes.

In fact, the Phoenix felt absolutely rock solid on big, open tracks where speeds are high and the features come large and rough. Hit a jump right and the Pivot fires out of the transition fast, lighten up over a rock garden and speed is maintained, nail a berm and you are catapulted down the trail.

In the air the Phoenix felt balanced and its light weight meant that going large on whips was great fun and relatively easy.

To some degree this was what I had been expecting, though the speed that can be gleaned from working the terrain was nothing short of impressive. Some big bikes soak up energy from the trail, the Pivot Phoenix Carbon converts it into speed.

The combination of the revised suspension link positions and the larger wheels meant that rolling speed over small to medium size type rough was outstanding, small bump sensitivity is excellent giving superb grip through chatter.

Where the Phoenix really surprised me was in the tighter sections.

Through twisty woodland sections I was able to place the bike exactly where I wanted it, I am talking exactly here, to the centimetre. Pick a line through a series of root infested corners and I was able to thread my way through at speed, putting the bike about with ease, long travel trail bike riders were getting in my way where I would normally expect to struggle on a full-blown downhill rig.

Pedalling hard does propel the Phoenix forwards, it is a downhill bike after all, but it is possible to build a good head of steam and I pedalled it up some fair lumps too.

Kit wise, everything worked flawlessly.

The Fox 40s were sublime as was the rear end, the brakes and gears all did what was asked of them when required, and the Maxxis Highrollers were excellent as normal.

Tech Heads

As always with Pivot, attention to detail is second to none.

The same carbon molding process used to produce the Mach 6 is used here to good effect, frame and shock weigh in at an impressive 8lbs for the medium.

There is full internal cable routing, including an internal dropper seat post. Where the cables enter the top tube the entry points double as frame protectors. There is also a rubber downtube protector.

The DW link suspension has been revised and now features a Clevis arrangement that runs on beefed up bearings. An extension shuttle connects the rear triangle to the shock, this helps control the leverage ratio and it means that standard shock mounting hardwear is used.

Pivot spec a flush mount lower headset that helps keep the front end low, a standard lower can be fitted to lift the front end if needed. Pivot also offer a ¾ degree headset should you wish to slacken or steepen your head tube angle.

The Pivot Phoenix sports a 107mm PF BB, has 157 x 12 rear spacing and a 180mm direct rear brake mount.

Only the top tube length, wheelbase and reach figures vary throughout the impressive size range, Pivot offer 4 frame sizes from S to XL.

Our test rig came with the Saint build kit, there is a Zee option that saves a bit of cash but adds a few LBS.

Fox 40 Air 27.5 Kashima forks offer 200mm of travel while a Fox RC4 Kashima Coil Over rear shock gives 204mm at the rear axle.

Shimano Saint brakes, shifter and rear derailleur is top spec for a DH bike these days and this is complemented with a carbon Race Face SIXC crank fitted with a 36T is matched to a 11-28 speed cassette.

Controls wise a FSA stem grips a Pivot Phoenix Carbon 800mm riser bar, Pivot also provide the lock-on grips.

A Pivot Phoenix carbon seatpost is topped by a WTB Hightail Team saddle, this saddle has a V cutaway at the rear to make space for the rear tyre when at full compression.

The wheels are DT 350 FR570s and are wrapped with Maxxis Highroller II 27.5 2.4 DH rubber.

Pivot Phoenix Carbon Medium

Seat tube 430mm
Effective top tube 629mm
Head tube 106mm
Chain stay 442mm
Front triangle 796mm
Wheel base 1238mm
BB height 339mm
Head angle 62.5°
Seat angle 71.85°
Reach 428mm
Stack 611mm

Weight w/o pedals 35.1lbs

For

A great combination of aggressive geometry that can handle the big and the bad, yet light and manoeuvrable enough to be fun when the going is a little less than World Cup steep and rough. Superb build quality and suspension; from a purely engineering point of view the Pivot phoenix Carbon is a marvel to behold and ride.

This bike is also a great way to meet people, everywhere I went with the Phoenix Carbon it got admiring looks and plenty of comments!

Against

I am coming up blank here, as a package it was truly flawless.

Overall

The Pivot Phoenix Carbon is one superb bike.

It is able to slay big mountain downhill trails yet is still fun and fast when driven through Enduro type terrain. No other DH bike I have ridden is as capable across such a range of terrain.

The Pivot Phoenix Carbon converts trail energy into speed like no other and it does it with a surgical precision that will see it to the top step of many a DH race podium.

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This review was in Issue 35 of IMB.

For more information visit Pivot Cycles

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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