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.
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