Our first ride report covered most of the technical changes from the previous generation Pivot Firebird, so if you’re comparing bikes we highly recommend giving that story a read. To summarize the changes however, this most recent generation got (unsurprisingly) longer, lower, slacker, and now employs the newly redesigned rear suspension layout. It is a modified version of Pivot’s tried and true DW-Linkage design and delivers the 165mm of rear travel. The frame is only available in their Hollow Core Carbon fiber, and Pivot paid attention to the finest details to unlock the best performance for riders of all sizes, with size-specific geometry and even a tweaked layup on the carbon to tune the frame stiffness for the size and assumed rider weight range. The complete bikes are only available in a dual 29” wheel setup, but Pivot say you can run a mixed 29F/27.5R or even dual 27.5” setup if you wish.
There are build specs ranging from $6,000 to $13,000 (€6,599 – €14,249) to cater to a range of (higher-end) budgets. When the bike launched, the interweb net-bangers were quick to point out that the entry level starting price was too rich for their blood, but Pivot has never been one to shy away from their top-tier product. They build bikes so that even their cheapest spec is quite literally race ready with zero parts changes or substitutions. While it makes for a less accessible beginner bike, you can’t argue with their approach as a skilled rider. I for one prefer that approach, instead of brands who hit lower price specs at the expense of build quality in the small details. Even better, Pivot offers every single level of bike in both a SRAM and Shimano drivetrain spec. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, you can choose the build and brand you want.
Speaking of spec, we were lucky enough to test the ($8,649/€9,499) Pro XT/XTR Carbon wheel build. I personally have a preference for the Shimano components and was delighted to see an XTR 12-speed drivetrain and XTR 4 piston brakes when I opened the box. That drivetrain is complemented with a Fox Factory suspension spec. To further add to the plethora of build options, Pivot allows customers to choose between an air, coil or Live Valve suspension setup depending on needs and taste. Our bike was sporting the air spec with a 170mm Fox Factory 38 and Fox Float X2 combo. Rolling stock came in the form of ultra-stiff Reynolds carbon rims on I9 hubs and Maxxis Minion tires to round off the notable parts list. As one would hope with such a solid (expensive) parts spec, there were zero issues or serious complaints during testing.
The new Pivot Firebird’s geometry is aggressive and caters towards the needs of modern enduro racing. In the low BB setting, our large sized frame had a head tube angle of 64 degrees, with a 77-degree effective seat tube angle. The reach number is a lengthy 488mm, there are 438mm chain stays and a 350mm bottom bracket height, giving an overall wheelbase that stretches out to 1,267mm. Size-specific chainstays help to maintain the weight balance between each wheel, and reasonably short seat tube lengths offer the possibility of sizing up or down for many riders if a different fit is desired.
Like the previous generation Pivot Firebird, the 2022 model retains an easy-to-use flip chip to alter the geo on the fly. It’s easy enough that it can be done trail side with the help of a hex key. The high setting steepens things slightly with a 64.6-degree head tube angle, 77.5-degree seat tube, 355.8mm BB height and 1,266mm wheelbase. The change is noticeable and helps the bike navigate flatter terrain better than the EWS-ready mode.
If you’re keeping track, that’s still longer, lower and slacker than the previous generation bike, which had a 65-degree head tube angle and 74.5-degree seat tube angle. I started in the low setting, but quickly realized even the steepest trails I had access to didn’t warrant that slack of a bike, except for a few sections. After a week in the slack setting, I left the bike in the high setting for the remainder of my testing. Thankfully the adjustment is possible on the trail, so you can switch easily depending on the rides you do each day. That’s something that can’t be said of geo adjustment systems that require the removal of the rear axle or headset.
As we’ve come to expect with Pivot bikes, the fine details are meticulously taken care of on the new Firebird. Pivot looked to increase seatpost insertion depths to fit the longest droppers for most riders and sizes. The chainstay and downtube are well protected with plastic guards. The internal routing uses bolted ports to clamp cables tight and ensure there’s no rattle and limited chance for dirt ingress. The derailleur hanger is the universal SRAM UDH, and rear axle spacing is the SuperBoost Plus 157 mm to offer a stiff, dishless wheel. Rounding out the features are ample room for a water bottle in the front triangle on all sizes, and tool mount bolts on the underside of the top tube.