Firebird Carbon 29 Pro X01 Eagle Mountain Bike
If the thought of slapping berms and hitting doubles in the bike park, blasting through multiple high-speed rock gardens on a 3,000-foot descent, or stopping the clock just seconds quicker on a segment is enough to get your heart racing, we can think of a few bikes that'll fit the bill. Now imagine it being lightweight and efficient enough to be able to climb to the top and handle twisty trails. That narrows the playing field significantly and the one that'll continue to ride to the top is the all-new Pivot Firebird Carbon 29 Pro XO1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike. Big wheels meet 162mm of supple travel, and in conjunction with modern long and slack geometry, your confidence is about to get a major boost as you charge down the steep, burly lines and high-speed chunder. And while this Firebird is no XC whippet, the 29-inch wheels, and efficient DW-link suspension can rack up the backcountry miles better than most bikes in its category. Additionally, Superboost Plus allows Pivot to build super short chainstays for a nimble ride and afford huge tire clearance for 29er tires (up to 2.6in) or go 27.5 Plus if you're looking for the ultimate in traction.
The Firebird 29 takes design and geometry queues from the 27.5 Firebird and its Phoenix DH Carbon siblings, with long reaches and 45mm stems across the board. The before mentioned short chainstays, 16.96-inches, courtesy of the 12 x 157mm Superboost Plus spacing allow for snappy handling, ease of lifting up the front wheel up and over techy climbs and manualing, and quick power transfer. What's also becomes super helpful in the climbing department is its relatively steep seat tube angle of 74.5 to 75-degrees (based on adjustable flip-chip position and lower headset cup selection) placing you right over the pedals and helping to eliminate a wandering front wheel on steep switchback climbs, while the 65.5 to 65-degree head tube angle lengthens the bike's wheelbase providing excellent stability and it just gets better the faster you go or the steeper and rougher the terrain. Growing the wheelbase and getting the front wheel too far out can create diminishing returns if you can't properly weigh the front end and find traction, so Pivot wisely specs a fork with a 44mm offset that allows you to reap the benefits of a slack head tube while getting the front wheel a little closer to the steering axis. The bike can be run with an optional 17mm lower headset cup that is beneficial when swapping between wheel sizes and fine-tuning the geometry.
As with all full suspension Pivots, this Firebird 29 receives the much-lauded DW-link suspension platform. Two things you really want with a bike that is sporting nearly 6.5-inches of travel are a supple stroke and efficient pedaling and with DW-link you get both in spades. You'll find that its travel feels very linear, almost coil-like, with plenty of ramping so you don't blow through the travel while providing plenty of support to reduce the dreaded mid-stroke wallow and it pedals in a way that you've never experienced on a 160+ millimeter bike. DW-link also affords a fully active suspension, even under braking, and unlike some designs, it doesn't hang up on square-edge hits so you can plow up and over ledgy, rock faced and rooty terrain, making technical climbing enjoyable and fun. Driving the uber-adjustable FOX metric X2 shock are the Phoenix DH inspired upper and lower links which are ultra wide and beefy and tie the dual upright swingarm supports together for impressive frame stiffness and durability. Also worth noting is that the flip chip on the upper link that alters the geometry doesn't affect the shock rate, so you don't have to fiddle with your settings after adjusting the geo.
We made mention of it above and we think it's worth mentioning again for those unfamiliar and even for those that do because you're gonna start seeing more bikes sporting Superboost Plus spacing soon. The wider axle spacing allows the hub's flanges to push further out helping to better even the spoke tension on either side of the rear wheel and it provides a 30% stiffer rear wheel. An added benefit of the wider spacing is they allow for shorter chainstays that still play nice with large tires. You might think that with wider dropout spacing, the chainstays would splay out further and become an easier target for heel strikes, however, Pivot addresses this with clever tube shaping and we can attest that on a recent ride we experienced zero interactions with the chainstays despite using the same pedal and shoe combo and getting the occasional strike on our own personal non-Superboost Plus rigs.
Pivot realizes that a great bike is the sum of its parts and one thing it consistently kills it on is spec, and the Firebird 29 Pro build is no exception. On this particular bike, Pivot opts for the FOX Float X2 Performance shock to soak up the hits. It's highly adjustable and tuned specifically for the DW-Link's kinematics, and has two settings so you experience a bottomless feel when getting after it on a descent, and with a flip of a switch, a firmer mode for support up the fire road climb so you can do it all again. Up front, the Fox 36 Factory fork's burly chassis and oversized stanchions offer sure-footed tracking through ruts, roots, and bombed out braking bumps. Other features include SRAM's Eagle XO1 drivetrain, with range for days offering enough gear to get to the top without spinning out on the way back down and for anything in-between. We like Shimano XT brakes and so does Pivot, so it bucks the all-from-one-company group convention and specs the all-new 4-piston model offering top-notch power and modulation. A DT Swiss Spline-Two M1700 wheelset with 30-millimeter inner width plumps up the Maxxis Minion rubber and Pivot even upgraded it with the 36-tooth star ratchet for faster engagement, a boon in technical terrain. Finally, the Firebird 29 is given another callback to its Phoenix roots with the Phoenix finishing kit that includes a carbon bar, 35mm clamp stem, and Padloc grips. And since Pivot knows they built this bike for a rowdy crowd, scuff-guards are included on the downtube/bottom bracket area and drive-side seat and chainstays so your bike stays well protected, looking like new, and is quiet as you up your game deep in the woods or in the park.
- Long-legged 29er that cleans climbs and devours descents
- Redesigned frame and linkage is remarkably strong and stiff
- Slack head tube and long reach builds confidence on descents
- 74.5 to 75-degree seat tube angle for optimal climbing position
- 162mm of hit-taming DW-Link suspension still pedals efficiently
- Precision hollow-core carbon layup sheds grams and boost strength
- Super Boost rear spacing accepts both 29in and 27.5+ wheel sizes
- X01 Eagle drivetrain offers massive range for climbs and descents