Pivot Cycles Firebird  2013 Mountain Bike Review

Pivot Cycles Firebird 2013

Reviews / FreeRide Bikes

Pivot Cycles 59,986

At a glance

Pivot have only been around for 6 years but in that time they have established themselves as a serious player in the high performance mountain bike sector.

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Chris Cocalis has been in the bike industry for pretty much all of his life, racing BMX at an early age, he designed his first frame at the tender age of just 16! In more recent years he set up Titus Cycles, which was a huge success. Chris launched Pivot in 2007 as he wanted more control over a small brand once again.

Chris works very closely with Dave Weagle on the DW-Link suspension platform, tweaking it as he knows best to ensure the Pivot range offers the best ride available. The Firebird is a 170mm freeride bike that can also be pedalled, a BIG all mountain rig.

Tech heads

At the heart of the Firebird is its DW Link suspension design, which provides 167mm of rear wheel travel, Pivot have used some serious CNC work to ensure the shock is mounted where they want it. Again function comes before form and the theme is continued with a braced rear triangle, 12x142 bolt-through, 1.5 head tube, ISCG 05 and a very clever front derailleur mount that stays put until the rear wheel is 40% of the way through its travel, then it moves with the rear triangle

The Firebird features their floating derailleur mount, which has been patented by them. This allows the front derailleur to move with the suspension, ensuring you get perfect shifting all the time. It also helps to keep the chain on the chainrings, and in a nod to their fantastic engineering it uses a normal e-type Shimano derailleur so if you do break one, getting a new one isn’t too tricky. You can of course fix a single ring to the Firebird and run it without the front mech and a chain guide.

Our test bike came from the guys at Upgrade who also distribute X-Fusion and DMR, there was a mix of these components on the bike, with some Shimano kit finishing things off.

A Fox RP23 Kashima rear shock sits amid ships while an X-Fusion Vengeance coil unit gave 170mm of travel at the sharp end.

Braking and drivetrain responsibilities were handled by Shimano SLX kit; good practical stuff that won’t let you down.

Wheels were DMR Thret with DMR rubber in the shape of their Redshift 2.25 tyres.

An X-Fusion Hilo dropper was topped out with a WTB Volt saddle.

DMR 35 Wingbar and Defy stem are standout items, very nice indeed.

Geometry notes – The Firebird comes with a 67 degree head tube angle, but due to the test bike having a Angleset set up at -1.5 degrees the geometry below is not the standard figures.

Pivot Firebird Medium

Seat tube 450mm
Effective top tube 584mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 440mm
Front triangle 700mm
Wheel base 1140mm
BB height 345mm
Head angle 65.5°
Seat angle 71.5°
Reach 380mm
Stack 605mm

Weight w/o pedals 33.1lbs

On the trail

First impressions… “Wow it’s plush, mmmm these tyres roll fast, I wonder if they have any grip and oooh I like these bars…”

Riding along the flatter trails on my way to the hills I noticed that the Firebird rolled sweetly and swallowed any trail chatter that would otherwise have drained my energy, When I started on the long slog up the hill it quickly became apparent that the suspension set up is very dialled in, hardly any pedal bob and the bike certainly felt a lot more spritely than the burliness would otherwise indicate.

The real good news came though when on flowing singletrack, the Firebird sits nicely in its travel and the X-Fusion Vengeance up front was well bedded in and ultra plush, but with just the right amount of progression. A gentle squeeze into corners pushed the bike about two-thirds into its travel, at which point it gently pushed back giving a very controlled pop out of the turn. This pop also gave the Pivot a nimble feel as it was easy to lighten the Firebird when I wanted to tip it in or launch off of roots and rocks. Carrying speed became addictive and snaking singletrack bought about a reverie that was quite frankly a joy.

Point the Pivot Firebird downhill and it becomes almost weightless as it just begs to be pumped into every hollow and launches so sweetly off the slightest bump that going light is a breeze. The -1.5 degrees off the head tube angle and lower bottom bracket meant confidence and speeds were high. The bike is exceedingly stable and feels very planted on rough terrain, the smooth and progressive back end soaking up the bigger hits with ease.

For

Plush yet controlled suspension that pedals well. The frame is very stiff too, especially the rear end, which helps the bike track down the rough stuff with precision. The Firebird holds its line and offered a predictable dependable ride. Pedalling up is feasible, but it is on the gravity assisted trails that it really shows its prowess!

Against

Personally I am not a fan of the looks, but other members of the test team loved it, other than that we couldn’t fault the ride at all. Simply sublime.

Overall

The Firebird is a great bike with some clever engineering and innovation just adding to the package. If a lot of your riding is of the DH variety, but you also go on the odd cross-country or enduro loop with your mates, then the bike can handle all of that with ease. If you are looking for a bike, with a focus on gravity, yet don’t want a triple crown beast, the Firebird fits the bill perfectly.

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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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