We'd typically expect bikes named after birds with something light, nimble, and with a touch that bespeaks the hollow bones of its namesake. But Pivot's 2017 Firebird XT/XTR Pro 2x Complete Mountain Bike proves that assumption wrong. Our own reviewer writes that the bike climbs "miraculously well," but its 6.7in of DW-Link suspension and agro angles do burn brightest when the trail is steep and the lines are crunchy. Its aggression whether climbing out or dropping in means the Firebird straddles the often at-odds worlds of gravity and trail riding. Does this make it—as Pivot grandly claims—"the no-compromise Holy Grail of long-travel enduro mountain bikes"? We think it certainly puts it in the running.
If we were to limit ourselves to one word to describe the Firebird, we'd axe Pivot's "Holy Grail" and replace it with "long." Or maybe "long-n-short," which technically qualifies as one modifier (Thanks phrasal adjectives!) and encompasses the Firebird's long, Phoenix-inspired reach and stubby, sub-17in chainstays. That combination keeps the front end honest on climbs and well-mannered while cornering, while the short stays still let you dice through whatever the trail throws your way. Ok, we'd also add "slack," because the 65-degree head tube also means that the Firebird is up for the kinds of full-on gravity runs that even bikes like the eminently capable Switchblade would balk at—but again, the long reach keeps rider weight forward and the steering honest, regardless of which direction you're heading.
Despite its relatively short stays, Pivot is still able to equip the Firebird with mid-range tires because of the advent of Boost spacing. Widening the rear axle buys some precious real estate around the bottom bracket, so Pivot is able to slam the rear wheel up into the seat tube without putting rubber on carbon. This tire size (2.5in up front and 2.45 in the rear) may be our favorite for all-mountain riding. When combined with the DT Swiss M1700 wheels' 30mm internal rim width, these tires sit just fat enough to allow a lower PSI for more cushion, more traction, and none of the top-flop we've experience on plump tires shoe-horned onto narrow rims.
And then there're the Boost hubs. Normally, we'd give them top billing and attribute much of the bike's on-trail feel to the improved wheel stiffness, but—with the Firebird's geometry—Boost isn't the star here. That's not to say the hubs don't play a part, though, as they do no doubt contribute to the bike's eagerness on climbs and cat-on-carpet tracking through funky corners and rock gardens. They do also allow for the tire clearance gains and chainstay losses, but we're just so enamored of the entire package that we're loathe to over-inflate the importance of any single element.
If there is one element worth calling out, you couldn't go wrong focusing on the DW-Link suspension design. It guides the bike through just under seven inches of confusingly versatile travel. On paper, it should be a gravity bike; on the trail, it acts more like a climb-happy five-inch bike that transforms into an eight-inch brute across rock gardens and old-growth root lattices. Throughout its travel, DW-Link describes an adaptive path that balances the suspension to eliminate bob and provide a consistent pedaling platform, even while climbing or stomping through terrain that most others would consider imprudent to pedal through. The Firebird encourages excess on both the ups and downs; fortunately, it's versatile enough to keep up and even erase the occasional rider error.
Pivot builds this machine with a curated mix of Shimano bits, installing XTR at the rear derailleur, where it does the most good, and letting XT handle the rest of the duties. We're not disappointed with this mix, as many of us choose to run XT M8000 brakes for their blend of functionality, durability, and cost. Finally, and given the Firebird's Phoenix DNA, it's only fitting that Pivot hangs the frame with Phoenix finishing kit.
- An enduro sled that hits like DH but pedals like a trail bike
- 6.7in of DW-Link suspension climb and descend with aplomb
- A long reach keeps the slack, low geometry honest in corners
- Carbon frame maintains stiffness without the weight
- Boost front and rear hubs increase wheel system stiffness
- FOX 36 Factory fork and a dropper post round out the suspension
- Curated Shimano and Race Face drivetrain hits the right numbers for racing
More Firebird builds
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Firebird size by rider height
Effective Top Tube
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Reviews & Community
Just like Smokey and the Bandit
Burt Reynolds got it. You need a Firebird to get you through the tough times. 170mm of travel, the efficient Pivot DW-Link, a screaming bird. These are the ingredients one needs to ****CAWWWWWWWWWWW*********** excuse me.. I just heard the Firebird scream by. As I was saying, those are the ingredients needed to make a 170mm bike that can be zippy on the climbs and an absolute beast pointed down.
Playing around in Moab, I may have been able to take a nap and let the bike go on auto-pilot when the terrain goes down You're buying this bike if you're shuttling or taking the lift. But, you can certainly pedal this with ease. Please reach out if you have any questions, or want to chat bikes.