Pivot has released the fifth generation of the Firebird, a bike whose origin dates back to 2008, when it debuted with 26” wheels and a fancy floating front derailleur mount. Those features are obviously long gone, and the latest iteration has design details that would have been hard to imagine 14 years ago.
Compared to the previous version, the new carbon-framed Firebird received the typical geometry changes – the head angle is a degree slacker, the seat tube angle is two degrees steeper, and the chainstay lengths now vary depending on the frame size. The reach has also grown by around 14 millimeters per size, and the rear travel has been increased a touch to 165mm.
Pivot Firebird Details
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Travel: 165mm
• Carbon frame
• 64° or 64.6° head angle
• Chainstay length: 438mm (size L)
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight: 33.3 lb / 15.1kg (size L, as shown)
• Price range: $6,099 - $13,099 USD
The longer and slacker trend changes were all done to keep the bike positioned as a fast, enduro race-oriented bike first and foremost, although there is a level of built-in adjustability that can be used to broaden its range of usable terrain.
The complete models all come with 29” wheels, but the bike can be run with a 27.5” rear wheel, or even with two 27.5” wheels – Pivot offers a 17mm lower headset cup that helps keep the bottom bracket height from getting too low with the smaller wheels. Frame Details
The most obvious change to the Firebird's frame layout is the move to a vertically oriented, trunnion mount shock. Along with matching the look of Pivot's Switchblade and Trail 429 models, the design provides plenty of room for a full size water bottle inside the front triangle, something that was missing on the previous version. There are also two bolts in the underside of the top tube that can be used to mount a tool or tube holder – Pivot even has their own system available that was created in conjunction with Topeak.
Pivot incorporated SRAM's Universal Derailleur into the new frame, a feature that's fast becoming the norm on nearly every new mountain bike. It makes sense – there's really no need for hundreds of different hanger shapes to exist, and having one design should make it much easier to find a replacement.
Speaking of standards, Pivot were the first company to adopt Super Boost, 12 x157mm rear axle spacing, and that's still present on the Firebird. While it's easy to turn your nose up at a sort-of-new-standard, the amount of tire and heel clearance on this bike is impressive – even the biggest-footed riders in the muddiest zones shouldn't have any frame rub issues. Live Valve Compatible
Fox's Live Valve electronic suspension system is often associated with XC and trail bikes, where climbing efficiency takes a high priority. According to Pivot, Live Valve works well with the Firebird too, where it makes it possible to have a firmer pedaling platform for the climbs, and an extra-plush fully open setting for the descents. The system adapts to the terrain in 3 milliseconds, switching between the two custom modes faster than the blink of an eye.
That fancy suspension tech doesn't come cheap, though; going with the Live Valve option adds $1,700 to the Firebird's final price tag. Geometry
I touched on the geometry changes already, but it's worth digging in to those numbers a little further. Let's start with the head angle, which now sits at 64-degrees in the low setting, one degree slacker than before. A seatstay flip chip allows that number to be steepened up by .6-degrees, an adjustment that corresponds with a 6mm change in bottom bracket height.
Part of me wishes that Pivot gave the Firebird a slack and extra-slack head angle; after all, this is a bike designed for the rowdiest terrain possible, but I'll reserve my final judgments until I get some more miles in. The bike does have a 1.5” head tube, so riders looking to go super-slack do have some aftermarket angle- or reach-adjusting headset options out there.
The reach numbers have increased by approximately 14mm per size, a change that was thankfully accompanied by a steeper seat tube angle of 77-degrees in order to keep the seated climbing position comfortable.
The final geometry point to note is the change to size-specific chainstays. Each frame size has its own chainstay length, ranging from 431mm on the size small, up to 445mm on the size XL.Build Kits
Pivot offers a huge array of build kits, with drivetrain and suspension options available from both SRAM and Shimano, and suspension duties handled by Fox. The model we have in for testing is the Pro XT / XTR Coil version, which retails for $7,499. Highlights include a Fox Factory DHX2 coil shock, 170mm Fox 38 Factory fork, DT Swiss EX1700 wheels, Shimano XT 4-piston brakes, and a Shimano XT drivetrain with an XTR derailleur for some extra showroom style points.
The base model Firebird is the $6,099 Race XT. That build kit comes with Fox Performance Elite Float X shock, a 38 Performance fork, Shimano SLX / XT drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes, and DT Swiss M1900 wheels.
The Team XX1 AXS Live model sits at the top of the line, and retails for a whopping $13,099 USD. All of that dough gets you Fox's Live Valve electronic suspension, a SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle wireless drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, and Reynolds carbon wheels. Ride Impressions
The exact traits that make a good enduro race bike are up for debate, but I'd say the Firebird certainly qualifies. Even with 165mm of travel and a coil shock it still has a very satisfying of level of acceleration when you stomp on the pedals, the sort of get-up-and-go that provides the extra boost needed to power up a sudden punchy climb, or to gain some extra speed before a reachy jump.
Speaking of jumps, I've been really impressed with this carbon bird's ability to get airborne. There are a bunch of A-Line and Dirt Merchant laps on the menu in the near future (that's very important work), but so far I have zero complaints about its ability to soar off a steep lip. The same goes for rough terrain – the Firebird eats it up without feeling like it's wallowing or sitting too deep in its travel. Getting the suspension feeling the way I want hasn't been any trouble, and it only took a couple rides to find the sweet spot for the DHX2 and Fox 38.
I will say that at 5'11” (180cm) I'm sort of in between sizes. I'm on the size large for this test, and on higher speed trails it's been easy to get along with, although on steeper, more awkward terrain there have been moments where I thought a little shorter front center might have made things easier. I did swap out the stock 20mm rise bar and 45mm stem for a 30mm rise bar and 40mm stem, which made thing more comfortable while climbing and descending. I'll go more in-depth on the sizing question in the long term review; for now, just know that it's worth spending some time poring over the geometry chart before making a final decision.
Overall, I think it's safe to say that Pivot's quest to make the new Firebird even faster than the previous version has definitely paid off. Once I've racked up enough miles I'll report back with details on how it stacks up against other contenders in this category.
I never said it was politics. all political parties in western countries(and most non-western) have gone off the rails in regards to spending. So I am not blaming one side or another. I am blaming all sides. it's a disaster. The outcome is going to make the great depression look like a pothole to anyone not in the top 5% of wealth(who will be able to ride out the decade of malaise).
by 2030 this pivot bike will likely be $25,000.....or not exist because there's no market for MTB's as everyone is just trying to eat. either way, not good.
But I will pass on this and all pivots because of no frame only option and superboost
Chevrolet Spark: $12,995
Paper bag with holes so nobody sees you driving them: $.50
Firebird XX1: $13,099
Tall orange flag so everybody sees you riding it: $25.
I’d choose the bike with the DoucheFlag.
both tell time!
My Mrs has recently installed a db kitsuma on her bike and that is the first climb/descend switch I’ve ridden that I would actually use. All the others I never touch. It’s a great shock and I will definitely be getting one when I have the spare funds. I’ve just spent way too much on toys over the last couple of years.
Just remember its the "Bawler's build"
Wish they’d bring back some alu models as they’d sell like crazy. Back in the day they had an alu switchblade.
@stumphumper92: If you only read headlines and don't actually follow the price then sure, shred it bro.
Step 1: find a complex equation with a dozen variables
Step 2: pick the variable that matches your narrative
Step 3: focus on the variable from step 2 and ignore the other 11 variables as if they don't exist (aka, pick your variable and be a d!ck about it)
Agriculture and Forestry = 8.4%
Mining = -16.9%
Construction = 4.6%
Manufacturing = 2%
Wholesale and Retail Trade = 2%
Professional and Technical Services = 6.3%
I'd be surprised if bike MFG's were only reaping a 10% net profit. As far as I understand, carbon frame and component MFG is still labour intensive. But everything else: Alum frames, forks, derailleurs, pedals et al?
I can do both too–not buy their products and criticize high prices.
But comparing top end models from motocycles to bicyles is a spurious argument.
Instead, lay out a bill of materials of bikes vs motorcycles each with prices. Estimate the costs to MFG.
Agree no longer boutique as they're mainstreamAF and everywhere.
Premium in engineering, quality, and price.
Bike companies fit the definition of "small business" too, since they're not publicly traded. And the closest match is manufactured, which has a net profit average of ~7% in the USA (according to my quick research).
I do feel the wealth imbalance is growing.
The Best of the Best with cars, bicycles, motos, homes, audio, etc etc have always been out of the reach of many common folks. Sometime premium comes from a brand, sometime premiums come from quality and performance, and often times a combination of that. Is this bike ridiculously expensive at the top end? Absolutely. However, there's zero reason why pivot or any other company shouldn't be able to build it just because not everyone can afford it. Obviously somebody's buying these things and they wouldn't be building them
EG if you bought a 964 and spent 200k on it, it would perform equally.
In its extreme it puts products that actual end users would USE and ENJOY out of reach, and only available to those super rich who buy them as a STATUS symbol or just another toy in the cabinet in used, like an old Tonka toy.
let me put it in perspective: the state of Florida, with no mountains and 1/3rd the pop. of the UK, sells more MTBs than the UK. California sells 5x the bikes Florida does. California is only about 40% of the MTB market in the US. the US market is about 30% of the world market.
UK MTB sales are a rounding error.
not to mention a baller EWS team of hard charging Kiwis etc. and lots of podiums. Pivot’s in the mix all over the board. Just a little pricey for me.
HOLY SHIT BRO! you can't be serious...I moved to london about a year ago from.....wait for it......CALIFORNIA! I can assure you, there are both far better riders, more of them, and more of a scene in CA than here. I wasn't just pulling those numbers from my arse you know....I worked in the MTB industry and had those sales numbers at my beck and call.
and WC? you mean the Euro Cups????
as an anecdote, I am decently quick on a bike(enduro/DH). I was on the cusp of a fast expert ameteur and a really slow pro....Here? yeah, I have so many KOM's in the surrey hills in just one summer, it's stupid. The riders here aren't fast...they all want to ride like Rat Boy and jib off shit on a small wheeled bike. which I ain't knocking, it's fun. But it's a whole different animal from the steeps of Santa Cruz, SLO, Pacifica, Simi Valley, etc etc ETC.
I will make one concession...You lads can ride in the muck. lol. Cali ain't used to that and it takes a different approach for sure. that said, you'd flail so hard in the moon dust of California August riding, you'd think everyone was on steroids as they blast by you.
Also perhaps consider that one individual’s experience may not fully reflect the reality of the situation.
"It's a feature, not a bug" comes to mind
I also haven't seen this poor QC you mention despite two hard seasons on an FB29 and probably 200 Pivots built.
Granted it was still solid when I sold it, no cracks or odd noises, just the oddities I mentioned above.
The same can't be said for other bikes I've had so there lies some merit in the way Pivot do their carbon work.
I also am adamantly against internal carbon tubes for internal routing. personally i wish bikes would go back to external routing except for droppers.
“Tube in tube routing is bad” is turning in to the next “all carbon frames are bad because Leo from Pole said so”
That said, I'd be thrilled if I ever got a chance to ride a Firebird and I'm happy for you if you get one.
Next time you are in a shop compare the amount of play between an NX and XO1 RD by moving the cage back and forth from the bottom pulley.
mech's are stupid, the shifter is where the feel and performance comes from. it's so f*cking asinine that they all do it the other way around.
It was never about performance, just about appearance.
I’ve also had a Commencal Meta TR as a personal bike for the last year, and I’ve gotten along well with its 490mm reach.
“We only have the live valve AXS build and the only way the shop can sell it to you is with a set of ENVE’s on it. Otherwise you can get a poor person build for 7 grand in 2024”
*throws Centurion card on the counter*
Just because Pivot makes expensive bikes doesn’t mean cheap bikes don’t exist. Hell, I’d argue that cheap bikes are so good because people buying these expensive bikes help pay for companies to do R&D and make things better for everyone. If shimano didn’t make money off of XTR I’m guessing Deore wouldn’t be where it is today
I personally don’t care if top end bikes get more expensive. It’s not like it makes such a big difference that someone on a cheaper bike can’t keep up. (Ebikes change the equation, which is part of the reason I’m not a fan).
Also want to add that helmet is needed, but the rest is optional. I shoved my bike into my trunk for a couple years. That’s still possible. It sucks but it works
Yes I know I can throw spacers under the headset cup myself, but having a properly engineered solution from the manufacturer is very welcome.
Edit: Pivot sells them on their website. Ordered one to use on my Patrol coming this month. Fingers crossed it works!
Clutch rear deraileurs, narrow wide chainrings, and tubeless tires are what's important to me now. Running through the woods without all of the clang and bang of our early to mid 2000's downhill and trail bikes is all I need with reasonably good suspension. The midlevel forks and shocks of today are as good or better than anything I rode before. I recently bought a Santa Cruz Megatower which is WAY more bike that I ever imagined buying. Seemed overpriced but my wife told me to spend it and treat myself after some hard times. Is it better than my other 2017 bike? Sure. Will I ride both? definitely. Run what you brung and have fun. If you're a fast rider and you care about being fast, you'll be fast on a bike with slightly "outdated" geometry and suspension.
Another complaint, why a 175mm dropper on the large when the seat tube is nice and short and would easily accommodate the 200mm post? Make the decision for most riders and if a few riders who upsize need a shorter dropper then they change vs. the majority who could run and appreciate the longer dropper. Also why you no Assegai in the front Pivot?
The Large has an 830mm front-center. It'll be fine. Especially since sometimes rowdy terrain is not always the very steepest terrain, and you still need to be able to weight the front wheel, especially when powering through the rowdy traverse stuff.
Oh, well, that doesn't match. A slacker headtube would have made the front-center even longer. Which is it you really want?
But when would a shorter front center ever be good on steep awkward stuff? If it's super steep the front is already going to be weighted, so get that axle way out there so you can keep driving it into the terrain, and be able to brake hard when needed, but also prevent endos.
I get the high end, but both SC and Ibis (comparable, I think) offer builds around $5k and AL versions of some models.
One thing I do like about Pivot vs SC and Yeti, is they don't spec a lower tier carbon frame on their lower cost builds, where your bike will always be a 1/2 pound heavier than the $7,000+ builds with the CC or torq frames.
Yeah, it's harder to compare, but actually more relevant imo.
Usable? It's a bike. It can be _used_ pretty much anywhere. Adjustments certainly might make it more "suitable" for a given terrain, but they're not going to make it "unusable" for anything.
The industry already makes a few silly concessions simply for looks (aforementioned 1.8 headtubes, internal cable routing, hidden seatpost clamps that just don't work well), but for some reason the few times that the steerer/stem interface was actually _functionally_ improved, everyone slagged it off. So stupid.
I love Pivot rear suspension performance but rule the brand out due to overly short chain-stay lengths, Superboost & no frame only options.
Can it get any better for a bike thief ?
"Who do these guys think they are? They can't charge that for a bike and expect sales!"
-Typical 40+ dude that rides a Pivot
- How much tire clearance could you win for each mm extra in rear axle?
- Could you gain stiffness by using more space between the main pivot bearings? or larger bearings?
- I don't love the boost rear axle, but I definitely I prefer boost over superboost.
Plese next, thanks Pivot
The bikes need more balance!
Pivot Firebird Tailored Protection Kit
There's good news though. I've been seeing a whole lot of lightly used newish bikes for sale on Facebook ads. Seems like the COVID riders have had enough of staring at their bikes instead of actually riding them. I don't think the prices of frames and completes will go down again because we mountain bikers, as a collective, begrudgingly accepted these newly inflated prices. But parts stock might normalize again which is great news. Component pricing didn't hike up nearly as much as frames and complete builds, so at some point in the future, it might actually be cheaper to piece together a build than buy a complete.
I wasn't necessarily addressing the point directly, just the idea that everyone's got too much money lying about. Essentially, there's a two-speed economy and it looks like it's here to stay, thanks to the belief peddled that the poor are inherently lazy. But that's a different conversation that we're not going to have.
super boost=old DH standard with different endcaps!
I will explain it to you: it comes down to how wheels are built and where they gain strength from. the biggest factor in a bomb proof wheel(and the rear wheel is far and away the one that takes all the abuse), is symmetry. That being, equal spoke lengths, equal brace angles, equal tensions. A cassette makes you make compromises in all three of these usually. It got made worse with the advent of agressive 29ers(diminished brace angle), as well as 12sp cassettes(more room was needed, and that pushed the drive side flange inboard). original Boost(14 made a marked improvement in this area by pushing the drive side flange out 6mm. we wouldn't have 170mm 29ers today without boost. the wheels would flex and flop waaaaaaay too much at the old 142. NOW! what happens when you push that flange out to be equal with the non-drive(meaning, equadistant from the center line of the bike)? you get a perfect isosceles triangle! you know where that happens? superboost!
TLDR: if there was a bullshit standard it was 148boost. should have went straight to 157
if you think it's some sort of conspiracy, let me ask: what does Pivot have to gain by using a useless new standard? they don't make wheels....
when I first slung a leg over a modern bike in 2015, a 2016 Transition Patrol XL, with a 485mm reach, it seemed comically long. was definitly hard to ride fast. or at least it felt that way.....turns out, it was a ton faster. clocks do not lie. and now that I am fully used to a 490ish(plus or minus 5mm I cannot tell a difference really) reach, it's superior in every single way.
So "forward momentum gained from rebound" means utilisation of the potential energy of a compressed shock/spring.
Newton and his third law would disagree with your take. lol
Tbh I am not that deep into the matter but as a mechanical engineer I reckon that mainly the rear axle path has an impact on the phenomenon you're describing. Not the orientation the shock itself is mounted since the spring only passes the fores to the links it's bolted to and these drive the relative motion of the triangles.