Trail and Enduro Bikes

Pivot Firebird

Carbon 170mm top dog?

By Steven Jones Images: Callum Philpott

It’s the case that every now and again you come across a bike that probably requires you to write something vaguely intelligent when all you want to do is simply smile and keep riding. Pace, balance and energy are central to the Pivot but more than anything it’s comfortable and supportive even in the biggest breakers.

First impressions are generally pretty accurate and so it was with the Firebird we found a bike with incredible zip but one which was little too…err…bendy maybe?

The sensation of riding the Pivot is one of a bike that is slightly too linear in rear travel with wheels that are marginally too flexy. It’s in fast dry conditions the apparent weakness of the Reynolds carbon rims shod with bladed spokes onto DT hubs displays itself. It doesn’t happen everywhere just on big holes on fast rooty tracks – the beaten up places where this bike is meant for – that it yields a bit more than we’re used to. Key words there being ‘used to’ and much more importantly is that a negative?

Ok. it’s in such tough places that the Fox X2 shock does need a helping hand to keep the rider supported on the rear, it’s easy to put a lot of air in the Pivot and still not get the best sag/support balance out of the unit. We opted for a few more spacers in the can as it doesn’t run any from stock, but please do not take it for granted, just pop the outer case off the can to check.

So there’s faults with the Firebird then? Well yes and no. There is much talk within the mountainbike industry of stiffness and progression and in general such qualities are regarded as being positive. I’m not so sure about this, and many brands can be incredibly patronising to think that we all think stiffer the better and actually tailor their marketing around this talk. Its common for some brands to make bikes that are less stiff and yet market them as stiffer simply because they feel that’s what we want. I mean who wants a bike that feels like a gate or skitters out in corners? The real truth is that many of the real good bikes only have strength in the right places.

So where’s all this leading. Well, I have not read any marketing around this bike, I’m simply not interested. What we have is a fast bike that feels good.

The bigger picture here is that even though we found flex in the system and had to adjust the shock to get more support to alleviate the rearward bias, the Firebird moved through rough terrain rapidly. Like really rapidly. Yet it’s the low fatigue levels on the Firebird that are remarkable, so even though we had what might be considered negative sensations the ride comfort back to back with other 170mm bikes was markedly better. How much this has to do with the frame, versus the wheels, or indeed the materials we’ll never now. All I can say is it works.

The speed of this bike across the ground is phenomenal. In corners, pushing through breakers, popping off lips, gripping cambers, this bike is superb. That’s two big words in two sentences. But phenomenal and superb is what this bike is.

On paper the bottom bracket is a shade too high, but at 170mm travel its easy to run a bit more sag and get away with it. However, compared to the Radon Swoop it has not quite got the rip roaring stability in corners, but everywhere else, in headtube angle, wheelbase and reach this bike is thoroughly up to date and on the money. Oh shit yes, the money. £3300 for the frame and less than £8K for the complete is about right for a non-direct sales full carbon bike.

So there you have it the most uncomprehensive bike review ever. And the reason for this is that we reckon this could well be favourite for 2017 and that we’ll be spending more time on it as a reference point to other similar bikes. So even though we never talked about the bars or the gears or the tyres or grips so what… we love it and consider it to be the leading carbon 170mm travel bike at the moment. Its also nice to ride a bike in large and know there’s one more size in the tank for riders over 6 foot. We look forward to some extended time on it with different wheels and against our top ali’ 170mm bike, the Radon Swoop.

In the meantime if 170mm carbon is on your shopping list do not hesitate for one minute.


Prom queen looks and street fighter capability the Pivot Firebird shocked me on many levels.
For the first time in a long while here’s a bike that looks that delivers a ride as good as its looks. From the first run there was no doubt that this bike was built for one thing and that’s going fast everywhere. And remember this is a 170mm travel bike that weights in around 30lb. Mental.

The DW link suspension platform worked a peach complimented by the Fox X2 damper delivering a planted yet playful ride with a silence only broken by the freewheel.

There is some flex in the rear end mostly from Reynolds wheels due to the spoke lace up to give more compliance on the carbon rim. It certainly reduced the amount of fatigue and when coupled together with the insane Maxxis Minion Wide Track 2.5 tyres the grip was almost endless. Take into account I’m 12 stone so it could be an issue if you are 15.

After only two runs on the Firebird I decided to race it the following day and managed second at an extreme enduro on what can only be described as ‘proper tracks.’ There is a serious bike here under all the face paint and carbon.

No bike is perfect though and the 30 tooth chainring on a SRAM Eagle setup it’s just pointless, you will spend most of the time in the bottom third of the cassette, it needs 32T at least but a 34 would be optimum. We also look forward to testing the durability of the bearings over winter.

As a round up then is the Pivot worth the bread and butter? Totally. Yes seven thousand pounds is a massive sum of money but man you are getting a great bike here. A boutique bike that works for a change. Nice.


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