KRob’s Outerbike 2013 Bike Demo Reviews – Part 2

26er 27.5 29er All Mountain Trail Enduro Outerbike Test Sessions

Pivot Firebird 27.5

About half way down Mag 7 Ben suggested we trade bikes which I knew we should do, but I was really loving the Sight and wanted to hang onto it. Finally I relented and we switched pedals. He’d been ranting about how good the Pivot was and I’d ridden the 26″ version at I-bike last year and liked it, but I was still skeptical about the need for a 6.7″ 650b bike and didn’t think anyone really made an appropriate fork to go with it.

About three seconds into my ride on the Firebird I realized that Sight wasn’t accelerating quite as smartly as I thought. If you really want to see where the dw-link has an advantage over more traditional FSR type rear suspensions go directly from the latter to the former. It really is astounding how the dw-link really launches you forward with every pedal stroke…. even on a bike with big wheels that I expected to feel sluggish. Once the initial shock of that realization wore off, I immediately started feeling one with this bike. It absolutely loved this terrain. It carved and weaved a wee bit slower than the Sight due to its taller bb height but was plusher over smaller edges and rocks, manualed easier, and had a deeper, longer, go-look-for-bigger-and-bigger-drops-to-flat mentality than the Norco. I know the Pivot is more directly comparable to the longer travel Range, but when it pedaled so well and flowed so effortlessly over this slick rock terrain and still felt like a big, capable, AM/FR bike I was surprised. It also pedaled quite well on flatter terrain. I was the one that was “stuck” on this bigger bike when we got down off the trail and had a 3-4 mile sandy jeep road to traverse to get back to the demo area and it kept up quite well given its pilot. Dietrich the skinny road racer on the Norco spanked us up the hill but I nearly caught back up to him after bombing down the last Gemini Bridges road descent back to the highway.

The 160mm 34 Float worked admirably and I was not able to detect any significant flex and I did some things on this bike that normally I woudn’t feel comfortable doing on anything less than a 36-38mm coil fork. I did bottom the RP23 shock once pretty hard while wheelying through a deep V-shaped seam (pushed the tire to the rim as well) so I wonder if the new Float X or RTC PLus from Rock Shox would be a better match but overall I was very pleased with the suspension.

The only problem with this bike for me is that it overlaps way too much with my Chili (in fact they are squarely in the same category) and I love my Chili…. but I like this bike nearly as well and even better in a few areas. A definite surprise for me. Nice work Pivot.

Even though this was an aluminum frame and had as much or more travel than the GT Force it felt a good 2 lbs lighter.

This bike, like the Mach 6 at Interbike was shod with a big ol’ Nevagal up front and a smaller, faster rolling Honey Badger out back, neither of which have any current covetable street cred, but I gotta say, both my experiences on this combo have been favorable.

Next Bike: Intense Carbine 275 »

About the author: Kent Robertson

Kent Robertson (better known to Mtbr forum users as KRob) is just a guy who likes to ride. A lot. Kent’s 52 and has been riding mountain bikes for almost two decades, though he says his love of two-wheeled conveyances began when he was 5. His favorite trail type is any, be it fast and flowy, steep and chunky, or jumpy and droppy. Even a mellow bike path cruise with his wife makes him happy. “If I’m on two wheels it’s a good day.” Kent calls Ely, Nevada, home, but he’s ridden all over the western U.S. from Moab and Fruita, to Tahoe and Oregon, to a bunch of places in between. And while Kent focuses on the ride more than the bike, he’s ridden and tested a ton of bikes and knows what makes for a good ride — and a good bike. You can read more from Kent on his personal website,

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  • Bikethrasher says:

    Great work man! I always look forward to your reviews. Especially this year as I wasn’t unable to make it to I-Bike or Outerbike. Real jobs pay the bills but sure restrict my ride time.

  • Don says:

    Nice review KRob. I am a big fan of the Chilcotin. Curious about what you liked better about the Firebird. If you didn’t already have the Knolly, which one would you choose?

    • KRob says:

      The Firebird with its dw-link suspension rewards standing and hammering better than the Knolly. I liked the 27.5 wheels though that’s not a huge deal in a bike with this much travel IMO. The taller stack feels better when standing on flatter terrain and higher BB avoids pedal strikes…. though it gives up some to the Chili in railing turns.

      If I didn’t already have the Chili I’d still pick the Chili over the FB 27.5, but there’s a couple other bikes that aren’t quite in the same class as the Chili on the more aggressive side of things that would sorely tempt me, like the Pivot Mach 6, Devinci Troy, Turner Burner, and Norco Sight. Having said that, if I wanted a bike in that class I’d have to ride the Warden too before making a decision. Big Knolly fan.

  • Mike says:

    I rode the ibis ripley at outerbike and liked it . How does the devinci Atlas compare to the ibis I would realy love if I can get some info comparing the two thanks

  • KRob says:

    Hey Mike,

    Yeah the Ripley was cool. Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to ride the Atlas so can’t compare.

  • Jimmymats says:

    Great reviews KRob, did the Heckler you rode really have a Float R shock? When I look at the specs on the SC website it looks to come with a Float CTD Evo.

    • KRob says:

      You know, now that you mention it I’m not so sure. It did have a propedal lock out because I used it on the paved bike path.

  • Matty says:


    love the reviews! Thanks loads. Any advice to help me choose between carbon Norco Sight le1 x01 and Ibis mojo hdr 650b 2 x 10 xt?? For general all round trail use. Ibis costs a bit more here in UK but has kashima shock… Can only demo the Ibis due to Norco distribution.



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