Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've got a ton of rides in on the Firebird. It's set up kind of mid-level - I bought the frameset and transferred a lot of the parts from my previous bike, a 2008 Heckler. The Heckler was great but I'd run out of travel on certain trails (out back, not the front as it had a 160mm TALAS in front). I've had variations of the single pivot bike since about 1996 or so...

My other bike is a 2009 Nomad. It's the newer VPP2 model and has 160mm out back, and a Fox Float 160mm in front. I originally bought it with a DHX-coil 5.0 but ended up with a DHX-air after struggling with the coil shock (in stock form). I'm pretty sure that I could have pushed the shock or bought a CCDB or something for it but after trying the bike with a DHX-air, I knew that is what I wanted on the bike. The most frustrating thing about the situation was how much I liked the DHX-coil on the Heckler.

The Nomad replaced an S-works Enduro that had the long shock mod, so 160mm out back as well. I'll tell you what I do and don't like about FSR first. FSR likes - you always have traction. It can be pure mud or some snow and the thing just always has traction. Climbing up some nasty section that has a lot of rocks or wet roots - the suspension is always active and absorbing everything. What I don't like is that the suspension is always absorbing everything. Off jumps, FSR sucks up the lip - you don't get any 'pop' off things. It tends to jump nose down... OR you can set the bike up for jumping, but it won't be set up for trail riding any more.

OK, so enough about what I'm comparing the DW-Firebird to. The Firebird came with the RP23 but I stuck the DHX-Air from my Nomad on it right off because I wanted to be able to try different setups. I played with different bottomout and boost settings all the way from 125 psi up to 200 psi but have settled on 140psi. It also has a Fox Float with 160mm up front. I set up the bars to be about the same height from the crown race as my Nomad, and the saddle to comfort although that moves around a bit. Sometimes I lower saddle height on really steep stuff but I typically just hammer around on the trails and don't take the time to do that.

I've set up the bike with 30% sag in back and the front is very similar to the Nomad setup (OK, identical - 70 psi, 12 clicks out from full closed on the low speed and 10 clicks out from full on the high speed, 8 clicks on rebound). I have not played around with the rear sag - when I spoke to someone at Pivot, they were adamant this was THE setting for the bike and maybe I should play around with this, but I haven't.

The bike climbs very well in the dry. It doesn't bob very much and when you ride over something, the anti-squat doesn't lock the suspension out - it's pretty active even under power. Much like the VPP2, when putting down horsepower, the rear almost jacks up a little bit (but doesn't) and although I haven't ridden the Firebird in the mud (there will be PLENTY of that later this year), I can tell it'll do the same thing as the Nomad - squirts of traction and spinning unless you have absolutely perfect power delivery up and over stuff.

Granny:
I *****ed and *****ed on the SC forum about the granny on the Nomad. I ended up running less sag and it made it better when hammering but there's some serious pedal kickback with VPP2 when in the granny and hitting decent sized square edge bumps. If I'm not careful, it can kick my feet out of the pedal in certain situations on my favorite trails. The DW-FB is much better here and it's something I can really appreciate - if you jump up and down on the bike and absolutely try to force some feedback you can feel it a little bit but really, I think the only type of bike I've ridden with less is the horst link. This bike runs great in granny which is nice because I do a lot of climbing.

Middle Ring:
The Firebird is awesome in the middle ring. For comparison, when pedaling, the Nomad feels a little 'thick' in the middle ring and a little 'loose' in the granny (loose, I suppose, giving me all that feedback). I guess that's the VPP doing what it does. On the Firebird, there is very little difference in suspension feel while pedaling. I'm sure there's some sort of huge difference in anti-squat, rider position calculations, and vector force mapping that numerically looks like the letter columns scrolling down the screen from the Matrix, but the effect in the end is 'it rides real nice in the middle ring'. Both the Nomad and the Firebird absorb bumps and hits well when coasting, but I ride a lot of trails that are constantly up and down and up and down - trails that require tons of pedaling and I do zero shuttle riding. This is where the DW-Firebird shines.

Chain stuff:
Sometimes,when manualing up to something like an 8" square edge bump, and hitting the power as the front wheel comes down the chain can pop a few teeth but that probably has more to do with not being able to mount a chain tensioner on the bike than the suspension design. I sure hope Pivot or somebody makes one that fits soon. The last ride this happened and the chain actually jumped off the gears and onto the special plate that's supposed to keep the chain on. The only way this could happen is with chain whip from the bottom. Of course, when the chain is off the gears, you have to stop and physically move the chain back on - pedaling won't fix it. All I need is a simple stinger mount that incorporates the chain guide plate and I'd be a happy camper.

The frigging front derailleur mount still won't return to full down and the front still shifts poorly. I have a new spring for it and that helped, but the thing needs to be stronger to bring the derailleur back to the right place. I might try to get an extra set of the mounting hardware and cut a slot so I can wrap a rubberband around it as a helper spring or make a plate that eliminates the moving derailleur mount. The Nomad shifts instantly in all situations up front and I still have to plan out my front shifts on the Firebird :madman:

One thing that I haven't really been able to adjust out of the bike is the contant feeling that the front is a little lower than the back. This trait mostly shows up on things (of course...) like a really steep rock with a little drop on it part of the way through - kind of a double steep move or a downright steep chute. I don't really like riding steep chutes anyway because they are a waste of climb but the Nomad feels way different on this stuff. I think the bike needs a 165 or a 170mm travel fork (something with 555+ ATC - the Fox 36 and Lyrik 160 are 545, right?). This may also have a lot to do with the bike being only a large with short chainstays and the Nomad is an XL with longer chainstays. The BB height is the same, but the Nomad chainstays, at full extension (just the bike sitting there, not sagged), are a full inch longer and the wheelbase is 1.25" longer. Because I don't have as many pedal strikes on the Firebird, it has to be riding higher in the travel and the FB steers quicker so despite the HTA supposedly being almost identical I think the Nomad is slacker up front. I love the Float 36, but now I really want to try one of the new Lyrik 170mm forks or I've heard rumors that Fox has some sort of 165mm '38' coming out someday too. I also plan to try a shorter stem - it's just the one off my Heckler and is kind of long anyway.

The bike jumps awesome. I don't know what else to say but that the bird likes to fly. I don't do stuff like El Chingon though - I prefer tabletops and I think the furthest I fly is this one medium speed jump that is about 12' of gap to hit the downslope properly.

Overall, this is my favorite bike - ever. I really don't see myself needing more travel for anything I should be doing on a bike without a full pad suit. There's some small complaints, but nothing that's a dealbreaker for me. I'm going to change a couple things about the bike - Stroker Ace brakes (my old Mags are about done...), some lighter stuff here and there like XTR shifters and a shorter stem and maybe a different fork but other than that, it's a keeper. Maybe I can stop ho'ing bikes now. If I could change one thing, I'd really, really, really like an XL front end. I'm over six feet tall and 5 1/2 feet of that is upper torso :skep:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,747 Posts
A few things I'll say:

1) There's something wrong with your front derailleur and/or FD shifter and/or FD cable.
My bird shifts flawlessly up front with X-9.

2) If the jumping is on the middle ring, you should try a Blackspire MonoVeloce. Those
have very deep teeth. I had jumping issues on a different frame and even a brand new
TruVativ middle didn't cure the problem. Some designs are just inferior and can't take the
torque that we're applying. Yes, the MonoVeloce is marketed as a single-speed ring and
has no shifting ramps, but it works just fine.

3) Try this: Ask Pivot for a new FD-mount spring. Take the cranks out. Take the front
floating mount off. Watch out for the o-ring. Look at how the spring is supposed to work.
Add a little extra bend in the middle of the new spring (laterally to the outside) to force it
to stay in place. Put it all back together. I had issues with my 1st spring. The second one
is working properly, now that I've added that extra tension.

4) Try a shorter stem before you buy. I'm running a really long stem - primarily because it has
migrated from frame to frame over the years. I tried a shorter stem and hated it and
was happy to have my long stem back on the bike. In my opinion, the quicker steering and
shorter cockpit was not worth the loss in steering power needed for muscling through the
tough lines. That, and the extra room up front keeps the shifters clear of the knees when
I'm doing some monkey-motions to get over the bigger steps.

I went for a great ride recently in Flagstaff with Kenny B (works at Pivot) and Kevin Tisue (he
designed the FB) and Kevin's brother. All 4 of us were on FBs and we absolutely ripped
those trails up! It was GREAT! Best bike I've ever ridden. I'll be on this one for years to come.

:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Evil - they did just send me two new springs. I bent one for more preload (just a lil bit) and sideways so it wouldn't pop off and it's miles better, just not perfect.

I'm going to throw on a 10mm shorter stem for my ride tomorrow so we'll see what it does....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,389 Posts
GTI Just wondering how tall you are? Noticed you are on the Large.

Wonder how a Rocco air would feel on the Bird?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TIMBERRR said:
GTI Just wondering how tall you are? Noticed you are on the Large.

Wonder how a Rocco air would feel on the Bird?
I'm 6'1", shortish legs, longer torso.

I actually tried the Roco WC Air on mine for 1 ride. I had the sag at 30%, the bottom out pressure at minimum, and the compression and rebound at full off and could only get about 2" of travel out of the thing. It really didn't play well with the bird and would require some sort of shim tuning. The oil is already 2 1/2 wt in those shocks... I don't know what Lopes does to his Roco Air shocks for his Mojo but they can't be stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TIMBERRR said:
GTI Just wondering how tall you are? Noticed you are on the Large.

Wonder how a Rocco air would feel on the Bird?
Here you go Timberrr, I took a picture so you could see what I meant by longer torso, shorter legs:
 

Attachments

1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top