Moving Out: Pivot designed this bike with an impressively
long top tube that’s designed to work with very short stems and
modern wide bars. That long “front center” geometry is mated to a
relatively short rear end, which keeps the wheelbase in check and
puts the rider in a centered but aggressive position.
Pedaling: Pivot’s suspension has some anti-squat built right in,
which means as long as your suspension setup is dialed, you may
not feel the need to use the on-the-fly adjustments to make pedaling more efficient. The Firebird pedals efficiently, considering it’s a
long-travel machine, rewarding the rider with minimal pedal bob.
Climbing: This is the type of bike that prefers to be pointed
downhill, no question about it. That said, though, Pivot has used
some clever tricks to keep the climbing manageable when there’s
no shuttle available. A relatively steep seat angle puts the rider in
a forward position with the watts from the rider’s quads heading
right into the cranks rather than pedaling “from the backseat” like
some other bikes in this travel category. The Fox X2 shock also
comes with a quick and easy-to-use compression damper that will
firm the shock for those long paved or fire road climbs that everyone encounters.
Cornering: The Firebird combines the long top tube and
short and snappy stem with a low center of gravity that makes it
super-nimble in all cornering situations. The bike snaps from side
to side so quickly that tight S-turn berms became our favorite trail
feature. The geometry is relatively slack, but the short chainstays
and long front center geometry keep it feeling anything but sluggish.
Descending: This is where the Firebird truly shines, to the
point where we felt like we weren’t doing it justice riding our
typical trails. It simply made the technical sections too easy with
a combination of downhill prowess and lightweight agility. It was
comfortable on steep chutes that we would normally reserve for
downhill bikes but also snappy and quick through technical
sections that required pedaling.
dw-Link dialed: Pivot designers work tirelessly to tune the
dw-Link suspension system to
their liking. It sports an efficient
pedaling platform with some
anti-squat, but also has a plush
and supple feel on small bumps.