The Pivot Firebird has had my eye since 2021 when, in its launch video, the Tempe, Arizona-based company teased their hot new long-travel 29’er by way of Eddie Masters calmly licking an orange ice cream cone during an FBI interrogation. Orange, it became clear, would be a defining aesthetic of the bike across all colorways. After thoroughly testing, another thing is now clear: This bird can fly.
After riding other Pivot bikes such as the Switchblade and the Trail 429, I was curious how the Firebird, with its similar suspension platform, would feel with more travel. I debated on sizing (this model runs very large), and eventually decided on a medium. My longstanding desire is to find the ultimate one-bike quiver—a bike that can climb efficiently while still inspiring confidence and comfort down steep, unforgiving terrain. From the first ride, I’ll admit that I was fully smitten by the Firebird.
Climbing aboard the Firebird feels as though it has 140 millimeters of rear suspension, as opposed to the true 165 millimeters it boasts. The brilliant design of the DW link suspension employs a startling amount of anti-squat, using the chain’s force to prop up the bike's rear end. The steeper the climb and the more torque through the pedals, the more the Firebird supports you. This sensation is especially impressive when taking into account how incredibly supple the Fox Factory DHX2 rear shock is off the top of its stroke. Drop the bike onto the ground from just 12 inches and watch the coil dive into its travel. Still, in what seems like magic, the Firebird feels snappy and taught while slogging uphill.
Geometry & Specs:
Wheel Size: 29"
Rear Travel: 165mm
Head Tube Angle: 64°
The medium size frame left me feeling comfortable and in control. The high bottom bracket of the Firebird allows the rider to sit in a very upright position. Despite having a short 434-millimeter chainstay, the 76.5-degree seat tube angle was enough to allow for an ergonomic position, even in the bike’s low setting. Combined with the DW link kinematics, the front end of the bike stays grounded nicely on most steep climbs. Compared to enduro bikes with a longer wheelbase, I was more prompted to get out of the saddle on the Firebird, which felt rewarding given the ample support from the rear end. On ultra-steep terrain, the suspension does begin to open up and lose a touch of its firm platform, though that can ultimately be beneficial by providing a little boost in traction.
Riding the Firebird downhill was a new experience for me. The Firebird has the agility of a 140-millimeter bike with the bottomless-feeling suspension of an all-out enduro rig. Changes in direction felt quick and sharp. In dry weather, I loved sliding the predictable rear end of the bike into supported corners. With the advanced DW link kinematics, the rear suspension starts supple but quickly ramps up to provide a noticeable shelf for pumping; each input translates instantly to more speed. After adjusting to a shorter front reach than what I’m normally used to, I felt completely at home and was able to charge into straight-line chunk without abandon. The Firebird’s one-piece rear triangle feels predictable and firm. Sizing down to a medium meant I lost a hint of stability, though it wasn’t long before I felt completely fine on all my local features and was riding them with gusto.
The Shimano XTR build features a fantastic selection of components, including XTR 9120 brakes with Ice Tech rotors that I failed to ever overheat, even on the steepest descents. The XTR drivetrain provides a sharp click with every shift and drops gears fast with its double-down shift feature. The Fox Factory 38 GRIP 2 fork was one of the plushest Grip 2 forks I’ve tested and allowed for an ultra-supple top to the suspension stroke. The most interesting feature of the build is perhaps the supplied Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro Wide Trail wheels that seemed to provide just the right amount of flex and predictability out of corners—all while staying strong throughout months of testing.
Ask any of my riding buddies and they’ll tell you I’ve really fallen in love with the Pivot Firebird. It feels almost suited from the factory to meet all my efficiency, agility, and comfort needs—for me, this is the ultimate all-around superbike. For riders who sweat out long climbs to far-off mountain tops, only to bomb down with little regard for what lies ahead, the Firebird presents as good an option as any, especially for those looking for hyper-agile bike response.
Pivot Firebird TEAM XTR COIL - $9,999