BIKE TESTS - CUSTOM PIVOT FIREBIRD
Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Here at Descend, we are firm believers in a good custom build. Pick a frame and build the bike that you have always wanted. Over the coming year there will be the odd feature of just that. With a frame selected, it will be built up with all the parts that would suit the bike and style of riding. In this case the Pivot Firebird 27.5 was selected as the base for the build to make you smile. This 170mm travel bike has shone brightly for its performance and great feel. What a place to start.
Suspension and Chassis
Onwards and upwards. At the front of the bike we chose a Fox 36 Fit4 Fork. This 170mm setup came complete with some custom graphics to really make the bike pop. These were selected for the build after riding a standard bike with the same setup and feeling that the comparability was bang on.
At the rear, with the recent review on this damper being published, it was the only place to go. The EXT Storia damper bolted onto the Firebird looks right at home. Knowing the way this unit performs, there is no surprise that it has been fitted.
Shape and Fit
The size Large Pivot sports a good all round size and shape. The 465mm Reach and 1228mm wheelbase seem bang on the mark for a bike that is primarily designed to tear a hole in a bike park or full on enduro track. Matching up with these fugues is the 346mm BB height and 65 degree head angle. All numbers that we are comfortable with at Descend.
Pivot Firebird 27.5
Fox Factory Float Fit4
Praxis Works Carbon 32tooth ring
Shimano XT M8000
Noble Carbon 30mm wide laced to Onyx clutched Hub.
DMR Wingbar (800mm) and 35mm stem
SRAM Eagle X01 12 speed
After the initial setup, it was clear it was a build to be happy with. The EXT damper gave a new dimension to the rear suspension. With more grip, better sensitivity and an even more playful feel to the bike. It also upheld the more descend orientated build. Pivot have most certainly got a high end vibe about their bikes, boasting a premium carbon construction and all round fantastic finish to the frame. This was the same in the 29” version recently tested so it is what you would expect.
The main aim for this build was fun, and fun it was. Having taken this bike to locations like Black Mountains cycle centre and Windhill, where jumps are the main focus, the Firebird took it all in its stride.
Show the bike some corners and it opens up some totally new feelings. Agility and poise would describe it well. You can get wild on this bike in a corner, as long as you have the ability to ride it out, you will be rewarded with a snappy fast feel. This bike honestly did not put any doubts in my mind about its capability.
There are one to two parts that I would opt to change if this build was restarted. One was the XT brake. Don’t get me wrong, they work well...when they work. The lever feel is amazing, but that is no good if you do not actually know where the bite point will be. It was something that always bugged me about the specification.
The second part would have been the chainring. Now it may seem like an odd part to want to change. But the Praxis chainring was an oddity. Not narrow wide like we are all used to, but left/right. One tooth to the left and the other to the right that is. This worked well when dry but as soon as some slop was added (some normal British weather) the chain began to skip. The smooth feel was lost with a little mud and that was a real shame.
So small mods all in all.
With Pivot offering frame build kits, this “custom build” option is something that we are seeing more and more of. And why not? Building the bike that you have always wanted is a great feeling. All in all the Firebird chassis is a great place to start. Built to last, this bombproof setup will make you smile as you push it through its paces. It is a difficult thing to find it’s limits, that’s for sure.
If I had the money, I would have purchased the bike instead of returning it. It never failed to turn heads and make me smile. What more do you need?
Photos and Words - Ieuan Williams