The Pivot Firebird 29 is a bike for enduro world series races, epic adventures and pushing the limits in the bike park – at least that’s the promise. But how versatile and powerful is the bike really, and can non-EWS racers have fun on it?
The Pivot Firebird was already quite potent with 27.5″ wheels; the new 29er not only features larger wheels but an even more downhill-focused geometry too. Also, the bike offers a full 170 mm of travel at the front and 162 mm at the rear. The latter controlled by a DW-Link linkage, as is customary for Pivot. The stylish carbon frame is available in four sizes (S – XL). Besides 29″ wheels, the bike can also run on a 27.5+ setup. All that’s required is a taller lower headset cup that comes with each bike. The head and seat tube angle can be adjusted by 0.5° and the bottom bracket height by 6 mm via a flip chip on the rear linkage. Most of the time, however, we decided on the slack setting – you don’t drive a Porsche in third gear only. As with the other 29″ bikes from Pivot, the Firebird 29 features 157 mm wide “super-boost” rear axle spacing, significantly increasing the stiffness of the rear wheel and also providing plenty of tyre and mud clearance. However, it significantly limits the choice of available wheelsets. In our opinion, a classic boost rear end would have done the job.
The Pivot Firebird 29 in detail
With Pivot, you’re typically spoilt for choice when it comes to the build. They’ve got a total of six available models, plus an optional carbon wheel upgrade. For our review, we received the mid-priced build – whereby € 7,600 isn’t a bargain. What you get is a Shimano 1×11-XTR drivetrain, powerful XT four-piston brakes and DT Swiss M1700 wheels. The suspension features a FOX 36 GRIP2 fork with a short 44 mm offset and an X2 performance shock. The 800 mm wide Phoenix Carbon handlebar is fitted with WTB Pad-Loc grips, which have an extra soft outer edge to prevent aching hands on long descents. We found them too thick and even the soft edge wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Fork Fox 36 Factory GRIP 2 170 mm
Shock Fox Float X2 Performance 162 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 4 Piston 200/180
Drivetrain Shimano XT/XTR
Seatpost Kind Shock LEV INTEGRA 150 mm
Handlebar Phoenix Team Carbon 800 mm
Stem Phoenix Team Enduro 45 mm
Wheels DT Swiss M1700 29″
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5″ / Maxxis DHR II 2.4″
Weight 14.26 kg
Price € 7,599
The geometry of the Pivot Firebird 29
For the enduro bike that it is, the seating position is good. As a rider, you’re positioned relatively central on the bike, able to put a lot of power on the pedals. However, we recommend setting the saddle forward on the transfer dropper seat post to bring your weight forward for the climbs. It’s also worthwhile to use the climb switch on paved roads because the sensitive rear end tends to rock. Like other Pivot bikes, the Firebird shines on technical ascents, offering a perfect combination of efficiency and traction.
|Seat tube||394 mm||424 mm||457 mm||495 mm|
|Top tube||594 mm||625 mm||648 mm||671 mm|
|Head tube||95 mm||105 mm||115 mm||125 mm|
|Chainstays||429 mm||429 mm||429 mm||429 mm|
|Wheelbase||1186 mm||1217 mm||1242 mm||1265 mm|
|Reach||429 mm||455 mm||475 mm||495 mm|
|Stack||605 mm||612 mm||622 mm||633 mm|
The Pivot Firebird 29 on the Trail
The oversized tubing of the frame makes it clear that it wasn’t built for climbs; the Firebird 29 wants to be ridden downhill, fast! After just a few meters of relaxed downhill rolling, the Pivot immediately gives the impression that it needs more. The plush suspension of the bike comes to life only at appropriate speeds, its enormous reserves inspiring you to go faster. No matter how big, how many and how fast the hits are, they get swallowed up by the suspension. At the same time, it offers more than enough support and feedback to actively play with the terrain. Progression and mid-stroke support are spot on. The overall extremely positive impression was only clouded by a defective seal in the Float X2 shock, but FOX quickly solved this issue.
The Firebird is the perfect bike for bike parks like Saalbach Hinterglemm!
The handling of the Pivot is designed for high speeds also. Although the bike doesn’t feel sedate when cruising, you have to consciously shift your body weight in corners to keep both wheels adequately weighted. As soon as you pick up speed, the stability of the bike increases. The short chainstays are guaranteed fun and facilitate direction changes, manuals and drifts, but require an active riding style to get enough grip on the front wheel. Especially on the larger frame sizes, we would have preferred longer chainstays. One of the Firebird’s greatest strengths is its precision. If you aim for a line, you can be sure to hit it. Regarding spec there was nothing to complain about either; the brakes, tyres and drivetrain function perfectly.
Bang Boom Bang! The Firebird 29 likes it rough.
The Pivot Firebird 29 is a high-end enduro bullet that only really blossoms at high speeds and on rough trails. The potent suspension paired with large wheels and a long front triangle offers enormous composure. However, it’s not a bike for everyone. Especially in corners, the bike requires a very active riding style.
+ excellent suspension
+ great spec
+ high-end carbon frame
+ tremendously capable
– Somewhat unbalanced in slow-speed corners
– bottle bosses only on the down tube
– sluggish climber
For more info head to: pivotcycles.com
This article is from ENDURO issue #035
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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Antonia Buckenlei