What do a crumpled shirt and a nasty root-carpet have in common? For both you need a decent iron. But since there aren’t many plugs in the forest (yet) the Pivot Firebird is still your best alternative – and our test can prove it!

the Pivot Firebird is still your best alternative
Pivot Firebird | 170 mm/170 mm (f/r) | 13.20 kg | € 8,299

Antonia’s got a problem: Most women-specific bikes don’t do her bad-ass riding-style justice. Most manufacturers are still following the dated “Shrink it-pink it” motto. The geometry of women-specific bikes is generally shorter and steeper, the handlebars are narrower and some brands are still using 2x setups and lighter tires. But what should small aggressive rider-girls and -boys do if they need a bike for proper rough terrain? They should opt for a unisex bike. And with 170 mm of travel the Pivot Firebird is exactly the bike they’re looking for. Instead of coming up with a women-specific bike with a dull “geometry downgrade” the American brand decided to make their Firebird available in a choice of four sizes — from S to XL. Other Pivot models even come in five sizes (XS-XL).

 Lady-bikes with steeper geometries and narrower handlebars are not an option for Antonia – she wants a rowdy bike!

Pivot Firebird in Test – Do you like ironing?

Spec of the Pivot Firebird

Fork FOX 35 Float Factory
Rear shock FOX Float X2 Performance
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle
Brakes Shimano XT 180 mm/180 mm
Handelbar Pheonix Team Carbon 800 m
Stem Phoenix Team Enduro 45 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer 125 mm
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5″/Minion DHRII 2.4″
Wheels DT Swiss M1700 SPLINE Two

We have to say that the size of Antonia’s Firebird is just at the limit for her 160 cm-height but then the 125 mm dropper-post makes up for it. This pays off especially in demanding and steep terrain – and that’s exactly where the Firebird feels at home. With a price of € 8,299 the Firebird with the X01-spec is not exactly a bargain but you will get a well thought-out frame with lots of clever features and superb craftsmanship for your money. After eight months of fierce shredding the bearings are still running smoothly and the paint-job still looks good – with the exception of a spot on the lower DW-Link where stones and dust scratch off the paint whenever the link is compressed. Pivot has now found a solution to this problem and offers customers protective stickers. The cable routing is well thought-out and totally stress-free. You can even stick a water bottle on the downtube but it is likely to get covered in dirt in this position. All in all we’re really impressed with the spec of the Firebird and only the ever-changing pressure point of the Shimano XT brakes spoils the party – a notorious problem which has apparently been fixed with the latest generation of XT brakes. The FOX 36 FLOAT Factory fork and a X2- shock can be easily adjusted to Antonia’s light body-weight (65 kg) and the bike’s light weight of 13.2 kg really suits lighter riders. If you think that the price of the high-end spec is too steep you’ll find a more suitable option in Pivot’s huge model range.

Spec of the Pivot Firebird
A class on its own
The outstanding performance of the DW-Link convinced us both uphill and downhill!
The bite point of the Shimano XT changes constantly. Even after countless bleedings we couldn’t solve this issue.
The bottle holder on the bottom-side of the frame isn’t great. The bottle gets dirty and can fall-off easily.
Without a doubt he finish of the Pivot Firebird is pure class.
Without a doubt he finish of the Firebird is pure class. No noisy cable routing or dodgy paint-damage.

The Pivot Firebird comes with 170 mm of travel – managed by a DW-Link in the rear-end. Despite the enormous reserves of the rear-suspension the clever linkage allows for a pleasantly firm rear-end on climbs and generates tons of grip and traction; this feels great especially on technical uphills! However when riding on tarmac it’s worth locking-out the rear suspension. Despite its pleasantly centred riding position the Firebird isn’t exactly a climbing-rocket – but it will still get you to the trailhead in one piece. And that’s exactly what you would expect from a bike like this.

 With 170 mm travel the Firebird’s motto is “Full steam ahead”!

But the Firebird truly shines on the downhill. The same way a steam-iron flattens the creases of a crumpled silk shirt the Pivot glides smoothly through the toughest of trails. The rear-end works sensitively and releases its travel eagerly – the Firebird keeps composed even in the nastiest rock-gardens and root-carpets. The rear-end progression on our size S test-bike is spot on but if you still want more you can add a token to the air chamber. The Firebird feels incredibly composed and the handling inspires tons of confidence. It motivates you to ride even faster and makes chicken-lines a thing of the past. The faster you go the more your confidence and adrenaline levels raise. And yet the Firebird never feels sluggish or sleepy.

Größe S M L XL
Sattelrohr 394 mm 426 mm 457 mm 495 mm
Oberrohr 594 mm 616 mm 638 mm 661 mm
Steuerrohr 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Lenkwinkel 65° 65° 65° 65°
Sitzwinkel 74° 74° 74° 74°
Kettenstrebe 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
Tretlager Höhe 349 mm 349 mm 349 mm 349 mm
Radstand 1175 mm 1204 mm 1228 mm 1252 mm
Reach 420 mm 445 mm 465 mm 485 mm
Stack 586 mm 595 mm 604 mm 613 mm

In corners the bike surprised us with its incredibly well-balanced handling. The grip on the front-wheel is spot-on even without too much weight-shifting which makes the Firebird feel predictable and good-natured at all times. When riding on flat trails the suspension sucks up quite a bit of energy and causes the bike to feel a little sluggish – but that’s irrelevant because the Firebird wasn’t built for flat trails anyway.

Helmet Specialized Ambush | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jersey MONS Royale Womens Phoenix ¾ | Short Specialized Andorra Short


The Pivot Firebird is the sort of iron both men and women should have in their cupboard (or garage). Thanks to its superb chassis, the dialled geometry and a harmonious spec it is the perfect companion for tough trail riding. It feels surefooted and inspires lots of confidence but unfortunately it requires a big savings account.

Uphill  | Downhill  | Stability  | Agility 


– Super-balanced geometry, confidence inspiring
– Superb, plush suspension
– Classy finish


– Feels a little sluggish on flat trails
– Expensive *cry*

For more information head to pivotcycles.com

South tyrol

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Words: Antonia Buckenlei, Christoph Bayer Photos: Valentin Rühl, Christoph Bayer