From park laps to finish lines.
Drawing inspiration from Pivot's DH monster, the Phoenix, the 2017 Firebird X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike rises from the ashes of its 26in predecessor to make a grand entrance as a long, low, big-travel enduro beast that revels in the climbs almost as much as it cherishes fast, rowdy descents. SRAM's groundbreaking one-by 12-speed X01 Eagle adds to that versatility with a massive, 50t bailout cog to get through the really steep stuff, while 6.7in of responsive DW Link suspension and Fox Factory front travel ensure you'll be able to shred anything nature puts in your way.
The Firebird's geometry is enduro-bred through and through with a slack 65-degree head tube angle that keeps the center of gravity nice and low for confident speed down steep terrain. The double wishbone rear triangle is clearly carrying some downhill DNA, boasting short, snappy 16.95in chainstays that give this frame a responsiveness not always found in bikes with similar front-end geometry. Pivot continues the oversized trend in the rear axle with the Boost 148mm standard, ushering the Firebird into the modern era of enduro, where tech seems to always be straddling the lines between trail riding and gravity. The cumulative effect of these changes is an increase in rear triangle stiffness that lets the Firebird climb like a bike with much shorter travel.
The DW-Link suspension design controlling the Firebird's travel also does its part to produce a secure climbing hold on rocky trails. Its anti-squat tendencies maintain a firm pedaling platform while cleaning terrain-riddled cruxes or picking lines with abandon across trail furniture. That responsiveness is matched on the opposite end of travel with a square-edge capacity that feels virtually bottomless, so time saved on the climbs isn't lost because of overly cautious descending.
Pivot's hollow-core internal molding process returns unchanged for uniform, controlled wall thicknesses and material distribution. This process virtually eliminates inconsistencies and resin pooling, increasing structural integrity while targeting areas for weight loss. The frame's slacked-out geometry and stubby, 16.95in chainstays mean it's slack enough to challenge lines across enduro rock gardens but nimble enough to pick its way through eight-inch terrain—all while sticking climbs and roosting berms with an eagerness that begs to be pushed to the ragged edge of control.
- Pivot's ultimate enduro machine
- A responsive pedaling platform with 6.7in of DW Link travel
- Long, slack geometry for shredding bigger lines
- Short chainstays provide snappy handling and climbing capability
- 180mm rear post mounts eliminate the need for adapters
- Rubberized frame protection increases durability
- Pivot sets the standard for versatile, big-travel sleds
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- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Smooth is fast, traction makes smooth, and the Firebird gives you all the traction; absolutely all of it.
Forget the spec sheet and market categories for a second; this bike is a quiver killer for those who like to pedal up and through rowdy trails, and absolutely fly with precision and control down anything and everything.
On technical climbs this bike doesn’t get hung up on like a telemarketer with bad English; it allows the rider to spin smoothly over rough trail, which more than compensates for its weight penalty when compared to a short travel xc/trail rig. Combined with great ground clearance and a suspension that still allows you to get out of the saddle and power over steep obstacles while being plush enough to sip an espresso, the Firebird can actually be less fatiguing to climb on that a lightweight rig that requires delicate line choice and more pedal mashing and ratcheting over rocky and rutted trails.
I long ago burned my lycra and traded my spd pedals and carbon soled shoes from my Cat 1/2 Cyclocross/Roadie days for flats and Five Ten Freeriders; so I don’t care to comment on the Firebird’s potential to set any climbing records on Strava. I will make it clear, however, that I do love to pedal a bike, and after climbing even some simple rough XC trails on the Firebird, I put my short travel bike up for sale.
Nothing makes a rider feel more worthy of sharing go pro footage, than the ability to turn the ups, downs, and sharp twists of an undulating technical trail into a seemingly seamless downhill flow; basically magically bending the laws of physics into rainbows of happiness. The Firebird’s geometry (longer reach, great standover, and short chainstays) allows the rider to squat into the bike and stay over the BB at higher speeds on steeper terrain than many other mid travel bikes, providing the ability to pump and steer the bike and thus better carry momentum over transitions in the trail.
Above all else, the Firebird is smooth. Smooth is fast and smooth is fun. The Firebird makes a woefully neglected park trail littered with brake bumps top to bottom feel like smooth buff. If you like cramped hands, mandatory rest stops, and arthritis I suppose you may not enjoy the Firebird, but the rest of us can rejoice in reduced brake maintenance because with a suspension that keeps the tires firmly planted in the dirt there is no need to put the brakes on this crazy train.
When sizing, do not be intimidated by the long reach geometry of the bike. I am a mere 5’7’’ (muscular 170 lbs build with 30’’ inseam) and can drive a Size Medium down tight switchbacks with ease. For me the extra reach is just as welcome at low speed maneuvers especially when a steep drop is involved as it is at high speed.
I will provide an update when the southern UT weather cools and I can get more time on this bike down in Moab and Fruita.
For more information on MTB Gear, this rad girl has shredded some of the gnarliest terrain UT and CO has to offer, and knows her stuff: