Pivot Cycles Phoenix DH  2013 Mountain Bike Review

Pivot Cycles Phoenix DH 2013

Reviews / DH Bikes

Pivot Cycles 60,446

At A Glance

Having ridden and rated the Pivot Firebird not that long ago it was a pleasant surprise to have the Phoenix arrive at the office.

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I had thought the Firebird was a purposeful looking machine but the Phoenix is a whole other order of burliness again. It has the bombproof looks that made it my first pick for a long road trip that would involve a huge amount of downhill ragging across a range of different terrain in all weathers, both man and machine would be tested to the full!

Tech Heads

The Pivot Phoenix is a beefy bike that features huge triple butted 6061 tubes, a one-piece cold forged swing arm, chunky linkages with oversized pivots running on double row high quality bearings.

Features include a 1.5” head tube, 83mm bottom bracket shell, ISCG mounts and a 150mm x 12mm rear axle. The frame comes with an angleset headset that allows you to adjust the head tube angle by up to a degree, a seat tube clamp and there is an optional +10mm set of rear drop out available.

The Phoenix features a DW link suspension design that has been tuned around the Fox RC4 that comes stock, this gives 207mm of rear wheel travel. A set of Fox 40 forks up front give 200mm of travel.

Drivetrain and braking came in the shape of high end SRAM and the wheels are DT Swiss with Kenda Nevegal 2.5 rubber.

Pivot Phoenix Medium

Seat tube 432mm
Effective top tube 590mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 440mm
Front triangle 720mm
Wheel base 1160mm
BB height 345mm
Head angle 64°
Seat angle 65°
Reach 380mm
Stack 600mm

Weight w/o pedals 37.8lbs

On The Trail

Pivot tuned the Phoenix with the Fox RC4 in mind and that shines through when it comes to setting the bike up.
The shock is positioned low within the front triangle but access to all the adjustment knobs is ok and can just about be done with gloves on. It is the range of adjustment that really shines through though; the sweet spot is near bang in the middle of the range, which meant tuning the Pivot for different runs was both possible and easy.

Once rolling the neutral geometry gave a balanced ride position that meant I was comfortable from the start. Add to this the low bottom bracket, super stiff rear end and the fact that the bulk of the weight is located low and central and you have a confident descender that corners on rails.

With a slightly firm set up the bike turns terrain into speed, pump the trail and the DW link suspension will propel you forwards, a stamp on the pedals brings about a leap forward, squeeze the suspension in a turn and you come out of it like a bullet.

A quick firming up of the settings and the Pivot handled super fast flow trails brilliantly and while not the most manoeuvrable bike in the air it is super stable.

When the rains came and with it mud galore and slippery trails a tweak to the set up helped seek out the grip. With the bike set up in a more linear guise it handled wet conditions admirably and dealt with poor line choice with aplomb.

For

Adjustability, I really like the fact that the range of adjustment of the RC4 is so usable, married to the fact that the frame comes with an angleset and an optional +10mm rear drop out this bike can handle a wide array of trail types and conditions.

Reliability, not once did the frame or suspension units so much as creak or complain.

Against

There is a higher than average amount of chain slap on the Phoenix even with a clutch rear derailleur, I found that a neoprene chain stay protector wrapped with Gorilla Tape lasted around 3 weeks before it needed tidying again.

Overall

The Pivot Phoenix is a privateer’s dream; it can be set up to handle whatever terrain or conditions you might run across. It is tough and super reliable, needing very little TLC to see you through an entire seasons racing or many, many hours of uplift fun.

If you are a rider that likes to pick your lines and work the terrain then the Pivot Phoenix will reward your efforts with lock and load line holding and high speeds.

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Videos

This review was in Issue 25 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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