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 Firebird but more than anything it’s comfortable and supportive even in the biggest breakers.

‘Prom queen looks and street fighter capability the Pivot Firebird shocked me on many levels’

At first we found a bike with incredible zip but with a touch more flex than we had anticipated and was slightly too linear in its rear travel. The bigger picture here is that even although we found flex in the system and had to adjust the shock to get more support (we added a few more spacers in the shock), the Firebird moved through rough terrain rapidly. Like really rapidly.

Detail gallery:

‘For the first time in a long while here’s a bike that delivers a ride as good as its looks’

Yet it’s the low fatigue levels on the Firebird that are remarkable and the ride comfort when tested back to back with other 170mm bikes was markedly better. All we can say is that it works. It may not have the rip roaring stability in corners of the Radon Swoop but everywhere else, in head tube angle, wheelbase and reach this bike is thoroughly up to date and on the money.

So where’s all this leading? Well, we have not read any marketing around this bike; we’re simply not interested. What we have is a fast bike that feels great.

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 are what the Firebird is.

The Firebird is one of our favourite bikes from the last twelve months and consider it to be the leading carbon 170mm travel bike at the moment and a benchmark for others.

PRICE: Frame £3400, Build kits from £1850