PIVOT PHOENIX CARBON
There’s no argument that the new carbon Phoenix downhill bike from Pivot is a massive departure from the earlier alloy version. That bike is still available yet the new flagship bike comes in lower, slacker but more importantly a hell of a lot lighter. In our previous test we found the relatively heavy alloy frame and skinny DT wheels a bit of a mismatch but this new bike has good consistency and balance throughout the chassis and components.
She’s a long bike, the large comes in at over 49” on the wheelbase with really nice touches in the rubberised downtube and chainstay protection and full internal cable routing with very neat ports. A major highlight is the weight – 7.1lb/3.2kg – which makes it one of the lightest downhill frames on the market and enables a super light build possible. Our test came in around the 33lb mark in size large. The Phoenix is now available in foursizes too from small to extra large with a lick of either neon lime or black. Full carbon of course.
The Phoenix features a DW Link system in its lightweight chassis and our test bike came equipped with a Fox 40/Shimano Saint combination, but we managed to get a ride on Bernard Kerr’s race bike prior to the test for wider comparison. On those early excursions on (Jack The Hammer) Kerr’s XFusion equipped bike, the progression was up there and although I’m several stone heavier (although a few mph slower) still found it hard to get full travel from the world cup star’s bike.
Upgrade the UK Pivot importers are currently only selling the Phoenix as a frameset option still you’d expect some pretty healthy components to grace any carbon Phoenix. And it does. Shimano Saint offers strength and performance hard to match and even if the brakes are a touch overpowering they will never let you down. Pivot have gone for the carbon Race Face crank over the Saint and it’s a nice touch, a crank we’ve been very happy with. DT 350 hubs from which the FR570 rims are hung, a few of Pivot’s own brand items including headset and bar finish of a bike ready to roll.
The light weight of the Phoenix is something we expected to transfer into a super lively ride and this is something we experienced immediately when riding Kerr’s bike. The angles, the suspension meant it was a bike that reacted to rider input very well indeed. Kerr having spent some time (most of it on the front and rear wheel) had it well dialled in – we were excited to get the test bike rolling and so much more enthusiastic than the previous alloy bike.
This particular test bike didn’t have the zip and liveliness of the Kerr bike however. In fact it felt slightly heavy (which it was not) and a little bit lethargic. This came as a surprise and we had to wheel out a few other carbon offerings to get some kind of comparison. This backed up what we were feeling and more than a few testers felt the same of the bike. This was a shame as the rear felt very good in the bigger rollers and bashed out ground, the bike tracking and steering well in the more manic situations – shame it just that it lacked sparkle from basic A to B situations. Pretty much the opposite to Bernard’s bike which had excellent pace to it.
Apart form the lack of urgency the bike has little going against it. The build quality is fantastic, the components unbeatable, the finish and overall look durable and its certainly well proportioned. Ok we did have a slight rattle from the chainstay area but this was down to cable routing – no point having a clutch mech’ if you’re cables are close to or rattling in the frame. It took a while to get the balance right up front and had to drop the fork quite a way to get the required ride height at which point a flat crown would have worked well.
There’s some genuine love gone into the Phoenix with its subtle lines and excellent attention to detail. Price wise the frame at £2700 sits well compared to those over the three thousand pound marker. The difference in ride dynamic over Kerr’s bike and our test bike was frustrating because the experience on his bike was chalk and cheese to our stock version. And go as far to say I’d recommend a Kerr tuned bike with the full X Fusion set up, and would rate it amongst one of the better downhill bikes out there.
£2700 Frame Only