The Pivot Firebird XT/XTR 2022 stands out like a sore thumb. Literally! The reason is pretty clear. But the bright-orange paint finish isn’t the only reason why Pivot’s eccentric-looking enduro bruiser stands out from the crowd in our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test. The Firebird also stands out from the competition with its outstanding climbing performance and excellent handling. But is it really as fast as it looks and, if so, is it enough to secure victory in our “Best Enduro bike of 2022” group test?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air | 170/165 mm (f/r)
14.45 kg in size L | € 9,499 | Manufacturer’s website

Just by looking at the new Firebird, you can tell that Pivot’s enduro bruiser is anything but understated. With its bright-orange frame and colour-matched 170 mm FOX 38 Factory fork, the Firebird XT/XTR wins the eye-candy stakes before even getting to the trail. Following up on our ophthalmologic allusions, the eye-catching look comes at an eye-watering price, because the 29” Firebird XT/XTR retails at a whopping € 9,499. In typical Pivot style, the new Firebird relies on a DW-link rear suspension system that generates 165 mm travel. Big and replaceable seat and chainstay protectors shield the full carbon frame from impacts while the cables are routed internally through the frame and securely clamped at the ports. However, those cables emerge by the bottom bracket, causing a loud and annoying rattling noise on rough trails. We recommend securing the cables with zip ties or wrapping them in a foam sleeve to prevent them from slapping against the frame. The frame of the Firebird features a bottle cage and a tool strap mount on the top tube, which is compatible with any conventional tool strap, though Pivot also offer three matching tool straps from Topeak at an additional charge. The top tube also has an additional cable port for the FOX Live Valve system in case you want to run it. That being said, it’s not really necessary given that the Firebird is already an excellent climber even with its conventional suspension system.

The spec of the Pivot Firebird XT/XTR Air 2022

While it might be hard to tell from the pictures, we can tell you that the colour of the frame matches the FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 fork perfectly. The stylish Firebird XT/XTR tips the scales at 14.4 kg and, as the name suggests, comes equipped with Shimano XT four-piston brakes and 200 mm ICE-TECH brake rotors. For the drivetrain, Pivot combine a high-end XTR derailleur and matching cassette with an XT shifter. The cheaper XT shifter doesn’t entail any disadavantages when it comes to shifting. For the cockpit, Pivot rely on 800 mm Renthal FatBar carbon handlebars and use I-SPEC clamps to attach the remote of the 175 mm FOX Transfer dropper to the brake levers.

Pivot pair a lightweight carbon wheelset with puncture-prone MAXXIS tires. This setup requires higher tire pressures to prevent pinch flats and rim damage. Unfortunately, that always comes at the expense of grip and support.
With its bright orange paint finish, the Pivot Firebird is a real eye-catcher. If you want to be left alone on the trail, this is the wrong bike for you.
Geometry adjustments
The flip chip in the shock mount allows you to adjust the geometry to suit your needs and preferences.

Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR - Air

€ 9,499


Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 165 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 175 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 4-Kolben 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Pivot Phoenix Team 50 mm
Handlebar Pivot Carbon Riser 800 mm
Wheelset Newman A30 SL Carbon 29
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/Minion DHR II 2.5/2.4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 14.45 kg

Specific Features

flip chip
tool mount

Pick n mix
At first glance, the Firebird is specced with a complete XTR groupset. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that Pivot combine an XTR rear derailleur and matching cassette with a cheaper XT shifter. Admittedly, this doesn’t affect the shifting performance of the drivetrain
Ice Ice Tech baby!
The ICE-TECH rotor is designed to dissipate heat, ensuring a consistent bite point.
The derailleur cable and rear brake hose are routed externally by the bottom bracket, causing an annoying rattling noise. We recommend securing the cables with zip ties or wrapping them in a foam sleeve.

The Firebird also features a minimalist chain guide but doesn’t have a bashguard despite the integrated ISCG mount. The wheel and tire combination doesn’t do justice to the potential of the Firebird and isn’t suitable for its intended use. Here, the Arizona-based manufacturer combines MAXXIS tires with the puncture-prone EXO+ casing and a lightweight NEWMEN A30 SL carbon wheelset with a Super Boost Plus rear hub. Both the 2.5” Minion DHF front and 2.4” Minion DHR2 rear tire come with the harder MaxxTerra rubber compound. As usual, this combination poses a real dilemma: more grip or better puncture protection?

Fly high!
The Firebird encourages you to pull off ledges and takes off like a rocket with its progressive rear suspension.

The geometry of the Pivot Firebird XT/XTR Air 2022

With four available sizes from S to XL, there should be a suitable Firebird for everyone between 157 cm and 200 cm tall. A flip chip in the shock mount allows you to adjust the geometry of the Firebird to suit your needs and preferences. This lets you adjust the head angle by 0.6°, the seat tube angle by 0.5° and the bottom bracket height by 6 mm. Moreover, Pivot employ size-specific kinematics and chainstay lengths in order to provide consistent handling across all sizes. Our test bike in size L has a fairly low front (636 mm stack height) and 438 mm chainstays, which are short for a bike with a 29″ rear wheel. At 440 mm, the seat tube is also on the short side but still allows you to insert the dropper post all the way into the frame. Together with the 488 mm reach, all of this ensures great freedom of movement on the bike and allows you to choose your frame size based on your desired reach.

The stiff rear suspension of the Pivot Firebird XT/XTR provides endless reserves and is particularly suited to active riders. However, passive and inexperienced riders will struggle to generate enough traction.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 375 mm 410 mm 440 mm 470 mm
Top Tube 598 mm 624 mm 641 mm 665 mm
Head tube 95 mm 108 mm 118 mm 128 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 76.0° 76.5° 77.0° 77.0°
Chainstays 431 mm 434 mm 438 mm 445 mm
BB Drop 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm
Wheelbase 1,207 mm 1,239 mm 1,267 mm 1,300 mm
Reach 445 mm 468 mm 488 mm 510 mm
Stack 615 mm 627 mm 636 mm 645 mm
Helmet Bell Full-9 | Goggle 100% Accuri 2 | Jersey Troy Lee Designs Mischief Floral
Shorts Sweet Protection Hunter Slashed Shorts | Kneepad Troy Lee Designs Raid Solid
Shoes Shimano AM7 | Socks Loose Riders Purple Haze Lifestyle Socks

The Pivot Firebird XT / XTR Air 2022 on the trail – Our riding impressions

The Firebird loves moving fast, especially uphill. Here you can really feel the benefits of the light wheelset and thin tires which, together with the neutral-pedalling rear end and efficient suspension, make the Pivot one of the strongest climbers in the entire test field. Only the Kenevo SL with its electric motor and the CAPRA with the electronic Flight Attendant suspension system come out on top on climbs. That being said, the pedalling position is slightly stretched and not at all suitable for long rides, mainly due to the interaction between the long top tube and low front.

The Pivot Firebird XT/XTR has lots of potential, both up- and downhill. Unfortunately, the combination of puncture-prone tire casings and lightweight carbon rims limit its potential significantly.

Clinical precision
The Pivot implements direction changes quickly and willingly, and the agile handling allows you to ride fast on narrow trails.

Downhill, you’ll need good riding skills and spotless technique to unlock the full potential of the bike and prevent it from bucking you off the saddle. Pivot’s eccentric enduro bruiser requires an active riding style and a great deal of concentration to ride from one trail section into the next. Once you’re at one with the bike, the Pivot is extremely precise, agile and damn fast. The rear suspension feels nearly bottomless and allows you to ride with minimal damping on the FLOAT X2 shock, yet still bails you out with its huge reserves if you get yourself into a pickle. However, having to be vigilant all the times while riding can be exhausting in the long run. Bikes like the Orbea Rallon and SIMPLON Rapcon have a similarly good suspension system and more intuitive handling, but can’t keep up with the incredibly lively character of the Firebird. For experienced and active riders, the Pivot Firebird XT/XTR is a mean carving machine with a plush suspension system and plenty of reserves. However, newbies and less experienced riders shouldn’t ride the bike in this spec.

Tuning tips: tires with more robust casing | secure or wrap the cables

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The Pivot Firebird XT/XTR Air 2022 clearly distinguishes itself from the competition, not just because of its bright orange finish. It combines solid climbing performance and agile, precise handling downhill with super-progressive rear suspension. However, the lively and honest character requires an experienced rider and active riding style. Moreover, we recommend upgrading a few components and securing the cables to the frame.


  • suspension offers plenty of support and reserves
  • super agile and sufficiently smooth


  • demanding handling
  • cables rattle against the frame
  • tires don't do justice to the potential of the bike

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

All bikes in test: Cannondale Jekyll 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Torque CF 8 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon PRO LE (Click for review) | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory (Click for review) | Orbea Rallon M-Team (Click for review) | Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air | Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL (Click for review) | YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!