Imagine yourself faced with the impossible task of choosing one bike to take on a month-long trip to the mountains. What would it be? Time and again, our experience tells us that more is better -- more suspension that is. With 167mm (6.6") of rear wheel travel, the Pivot Firebird would look to be a formidable descender. That is the case, but what's surprising is how it feels equally capable when the trail turns back up the hill. In the end, it's a trail machine for all occasions.The dw-link rear suspension makes it all possible by combining anti-squat geometry with a custom valved rear shock. What you get is a bike that's fun to ride in most any terrain because the suspension can do what it's supposed to do -- let the wheel follow the ground. This gives you more control and traction. Up or down the mountain, this is what will make the Firebird your favorite, and you won't have a tough time with the decision to rack it for your trip.As the greatest percentage of the vehicle's (rider plus bike) mass, we exact profound effects on the suspension as we pedal or shift our weight around on the bike through a variety of trail conditions. It's just simple physics -- when something accelerates, its mass is transferred rearward. The dw-link rear suspension actively works to counteract this effect. This is why Pivot is able to get such a lightly damped tune on the 8.5 x 2.5" Kashima Coated RP23 rear shock from Fox. With the dw-link controlling unwanted suspension squat, the lightly damped shock can respond to the trail surface with ultra-sensitivity. The anti-squat is the real reason why it pedals so well without unwanted motion in the rearend, but the light damping it affords gives the wheels the freedom to track the surface of the trail. Low- or high-speed bumps are no problem for the Firebird. This way you'll have comfort, traction, and control in any situation.Pivot builds the Firebird frame out of hydroformed 6000 series aluminum to provide a stiff, stable platform for the suspension to do its work. They also make use of 3D hollow forged aluminum for select pieces of the frame. Both processes align the grain structure and strengthen the material for its intended purpose. This makes the Firebird frame strong enough to endure serious downhills, yet it's light enough to build an all-out trail shredding weapon capable of assaults on your local marathon XC races. The 67.1? head angle tailors this versatility of the Firebird. Stable without being slow is how we'd describe it. A few other details stand out on the Firebird. It uses a standard 73mm English-threaded bottom bracket shell. This gives you options for chainguide mounting, even though it has ISCG 05 tabs as well. Pivot designed it with a floating front derailleur to maximize function throughout the travel range. This makes shifting more precise at all times, since the "sweet spot" in the derailleur cage will follow the chain as the suspension cycles up and down. And Pivot relies on sealed ca
Strengths: Aggressive geo, pedals/climbs great, descends even better, very versatile frame, can be built to sub 30 or more aggressive depending on your riding preferences, nice finish, iscg 05 tabs, 12x142 ra.
Weaknesses: None yet.
Purchased this bike with the intent of building the the ultimate AM machine and have not been disappointed. Built mine a bit on the beefier side with a 180 talus up front and dhx 5.0. The HA is already fairly slack but with the 1.5 straight HT it will except and angleset which was the route I took. The bike pedals great and the DW platform certainly lives up to the hype. WIth propedals engaged there is 0 bob. Even without the propedal on it is still a very capable and efficient climber. I can take this bike to bike parks and shred downhill all day and it will keep up with the DH rigs. Has a bottomless feel and will soak up hits large or small. Even with a 180 up front, DHX 5.0 and heavier wheels/tires and an XL frame I was still able to build it to 32lbs. If you are looking for the ultimate do-all bike I would take a hard look at the firebird. It meets all the requirements and then some. Would like to see a carbon version in the future.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2012
Strengths: Does it all, well!
Weaknesses: Hard to clean, the front derailleur thing works fine but im not sure all that complexity is worth the results, Standing climbing sort of sux but thats true of all bikes in this class.
This bike is so incredibly versatile. It pedals seated very well on the flats and climbing, accelerates when you need it too. High speed stability is crazy good but it still maneuvers well at all speeds. Its plusher than my last DH bike. Ive ridden it a year as a trailbike most of the time but I have a second set of wheels with dual ply tires, with a wheel and peddle swap its ready for shuttle or park riding.
Bike Setup: King/flow, Lyrik 170, TechM4, slx/xtr/saint mix, Gravity dropper
from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date Reviewed: October 30, 2011
Strengths: A true do it all bike - it rides uphill surprisingly well for a long travel bike. Rear suspension highly active with pedal bob barely noticable. geometry and sizing feels right. Very stable at speed, corners nice, jumps well and has a very predicable ride. Actaully pretty cheap if you can find a special.
Weaknesses: Potentially nothing. The interrupted seat tube is long enough for the same pole either XC or downhill. The bikes a little heavy - but its designed to last. The cables tend to squeak - but thats my error. Would prefer a 66 head angle - but unsure how that may affect especially steep climbs.
The bronze color - poo brown...
The ugly bent top tube - hate it.
On the MTBR forums Dave Turner said if he was after an all mountain / light free ride bike this would be it, and he was right. I purchased this frame as a fill in until the Turner RFX is released (if it ever is??) and frankly if the RFX is released next week I won't be upgrading.
This bike is so versatile - build it light or burly, either way you have a very capable bike underneath you.
I have not used it with a RP23 - only a RC4 will to sacrifice some weight for the extra performance.
This bike will bnot disappiont - its no lightweight cross country bike, its a long travel fun machine, will take a little longer to climb (not to painful) and the downhills are great.
Similar Products Used: First DW bike - previously used HL bikes - Turner RFX (2002?) Turner Afterburner, Giant AC ATX.
Bike Setup: FOX RC4, Lyrik 170mm Coil RC2DH, Magura Louise, DT Swiss 2200, Saint cranks, xt drive train, raceface bars/stem/seatpole.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kelowna, B.C, Canada
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2011
Strengths: This Bike gives you more confidence than any bike on the Planet ! Makes you a better rider.
Weaknesses: The way I built it ! It has none....
Money was not an issue on this build. If You want to find a Bike to do it all, here it is. They clearly did their R and D on this bike. I've put this bike to the tests at Whistler, SilverStar and the whole Okanagan Valley. Not once did it fail me or let me down. I was laying the boots to guys on DH rigs. Never been happier ! I think I just found the ultimate All Mountain/ Free Ride bike the Industry has ever seen.
Bike Setup: 36 TALUS 180, DHX AIR, DT SWISS EX 1750 WITH CHRIS KING HUBS, MAXXIS MINION DHR, FORMULA THE ONE, SRAM XX CRANK- DERAILLEURS- SHIFTER- CASSETTE, TWENTY6 PEDALS, CHRIS KING HEAD SET,THOMPSON ELITE X4 STEM, THOMPSON ELITE SEAT POST, SELLE SLR SADDLE, EASTON HAVEN CARBON BARS, ODI RUFFIAN GRIPS
a Cross Country Rider
from Westminster, CO
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2010
Strengths: Once set up with the right sag, this bike pedals like magic. I have said over and over again the thing that suprised me the most about this bike is its ability to climb. The additional weight goes un-noticed. It has the downhill prowess of a light DH bike and you can go as fast or as big as your balls will take you.
I rode other bikes and tried to build them up to do what this bike does and never found that happy medium. This is no shuttle queen, I pedal this thing all over Colorado, 2-3k climbs are the norm.
Weaknesses: Increase in pedal strikes over other bikes I have ridden.
After riding all the other bikes in the "all mountain trail bike" category, that I felt applied to me, I declare the Firebird King.
Similar Products Used: Yeti 575, Blur LTc, Chumbas, Nomad
Bike Setup: XT build kit, double ring with bash, swapped out for some wider and lighter bars (sixc)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2010
Strengths: stable,pedals well,
Weaknesses: none that i notice
this bike is the bomb !!!! i polished the frame, looks sic!!i rarely use the 140mm setting on the fork,pedals as good as my mojo!!! i love this bike!!!!!!even my overkill build it only weighs in at 15.1 kgs
Similar Products Used: ridden nomad,reign own mojo
Bike Setup: 011 180mm talis,deemax,saint cranks,joplin 4,burgtec 750 bars xt brakes,point 1 pedals and 50mm stem,xo rear mec ,34 tooth 1x9 to a 34-11 ,e13 devise set it up as close to my sunday as i could.
Strengths: absolutly sick bike. made me a better rider instantly. gave me way more confidence.(not always a good thing). leaves me grinning everytime i ride it
Weaknesses: i wish it was cheaper, but hard to put a price on quality. fox wasn't out with the 180mm fork yet that might be perfect for this bike
awesome bike. everything i could want and more. im sure i haven't even gotten close to its potential. but it definatly makes me want to ride more and get better. and the brown looks much better in person.
I sold my Nomad 1 to buy this bike with the plan that if i didn't like the Firebird i'd get the Nomad 2. The FB pedals so much better than the Nomads. The descending performance is at least as good. Small bump compliance is as good and i ran the CCDB on my Nomad. Climing is significantly better on the FB. The head angle is slightly steeper and suits me more. I was worried about how the DHX Air would perform given how bad it is on the Nomad but it's perfect for the FB. Technical trails are brilliant on this bike. The floating front derailleur is a solution looking for a problem i reckon but front shifting is excellent, although no better than any other long travel bike i've tried.Handling at speed and riding slow is very predictable and it doesn't seem to need manhandling as much as the Nomad did to get around corners. Running an 11-34 cassette there is very slight pedal feedback in 4th gear and the granny ring but that's the only gear and again it's less than the Nomad. It's an expensive bike but easily worth the $$$.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Nomad 1 & 2, Pivot Mach 5, Giant Reign X0
Bike Setup: Small frame, DHX Air, Float RC2 forks, X0, Thomson post, Pro Koryak stem, Saint double chainring cranks, Crossmax SX wheels, Conti Rubber Queen UST tyres, FSA carbon DH bar, SDG Bel Air seat, Time pedals, XT brakes
a Weekend Warrior
from Phoenix, Arizona
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2010
Strengths: INCREDIBLE customer service! Living local to Pivot Cycles, I've stopped by a few times during my build and they wer all helpful, including Chris Cocalis!
As others have written, the bike rides like a dream. Up and down the mountain. The rear end stays glues and the bike just bombs the techy downs.
I was always partial to Giant and thought the Reign was King, but since switched my allegiance to Pivot.
I would have to credit the Firebird's success to the DW-Link and its overall geometry and design. They work fantastic together and create a wonder bike.
Weaknesses: Pivot cycles are expensive. Only downfall I can see. But the strengths make up for it.
I truly think this bikes DEFINES the ALL MOUNTAIN catagory. Like I said before, it was a toss up between this and a Giant Reign X. Both ride similar, but something about the DW-Link makes the bike a tad more plush and responsive. You can't beat a USA built bike with fantastic customer service. That's what nailed the coffin shut for me on Giant.
Regarding which rear shock to use - I don't know. I have limited ride time on my rig with the RP23. It seems to do the job for me and I really can't comment on the DHX Air. I wouldn't mind trying one, but as PIvot states in one of their articles, the RP23 will suffice 95% of their market. Not sure who that 5% is? Maybe dedicated freeride guys who will put the Bird to work at Whistler often?
Overall, anyone on the fence will not be dissapointed with the bike.
Bike Setup: Medium frame / XO front and back / Avid Codes / Stan FLOWS with Hadley front and rear hubs / XT cranks / RP23
a Weekend Warrior
from Cornville, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2009
Strengths: Rear Suspension, Stiff frame, Light weight,(for travel), Climbing as well as descending ability. Incredible on Sedona trails.
Weaknesses: Always hitting pedals
First this bike is listed in the wrong category as it definitely is All Mtn. Capable. Second, it is no magic bullet but for those looking for that last 10-20% increase in capability this is as good as it gets. It climbs as good as, and sometimes even better than my Moto-lite. The rear wheel stays glued to the ground and finds traction when there isn't any. It is only about 1 1/2 lbs heavier than my ML but I rarely feel it. The all XT build is about that difference lighter but I didn't feel the component difference was worth the extra $$$. When it really shines is when attacking something going up or down. If you carry momentum then it simply turns it into a non-event. Technical riding as well as descending really suits this bike well. Turning to this point is good but not great however I'm still experimenting with tires and stem/bar set-up. Set up for the rear is critical as even 5lbs.of pressure can make a noticeable difference. This bike is capable of "doing it all" and definitely deserves the label of point and shoot as it just eats up whatever the trail puts in front of you. The extra weight will make a difference on an all dayer but it's other capabilities more than make up for it. This is an expensive confidence booster but the "smile for the mile" factor makes you not want to stop riding! I only gave it 4 for value because of the price.
Similar Products Used: Titus Switchblade & Moto-Lite
Bike Setup: Pivot SLX build: (SLX/XT components w/DT Swiss wheels & hubs)
Fox RP23 shock w/large canister. Fox Float 36RC2 Fit & 20mm thru axle.
from Laguna Beach Ca USA
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2009
Strengths: All around Greatness. I climbed a fireroad that takes me forever on my VP-Free, and i did it in 20 minutes. It climbs amazing and descends with the best of them. I had a rp23 on there which wasn't ideal for some big drops and some tech downhill. But with the proper fork and shok you can do what ever you wish.
Weaknesses: I didnt have any, but i tried it once.