What was once Pivot’s long-travel, downhill-inspired, park bike is now their long-travel, downhill-inspired 29er. Although it’s a new platform, the geometry hasn’t moved too far from last year’s numbers, leaving the change in wheel size as the biggest difference on paper.
The rear travel was decreased by 8mm to 162mm, and of course is still managed by a DW-link. Up front, it’ll still have 170mm of travel and a Fox 36 fork. The wheelbase lengthened by about a half-inch, and the head tube angle is the same as last year, except in high bottom bracket mode, which steepens the geo by one-half degree to 65.5 degrees.
Also in the high bottom bracket mode, the seat tube angle steepens by one-half degree to 75 degrees. The standover height is slightly lower than it was in 2017, and the reach is close to a half-inch longer on all sizes.
Perhaps the most visible difference is that Pivot straightened out the top and down tubes to keep in line with the straight-edged and squared tubing that has taken over mountain bike aesthetics. The same thing happened with their new Trail 429, a departure from Pivot’s previously curvy tubes.
The new Firebird 29 won’t be a budget bike. The least expensive build starts at $5,099. With that, buyers get Fox suspension, a Shimano XT derailleur with SLX shifters and brakes, a Race Race Aeffect crankset, 30mm Sun Ringle Duroc rims, and a 125mm or a 150mm dropper post, depending on the size of the frame.
At the top end, buyers get a SRAM Eagle XX1 12-speed drivetrain, a Fox Float X2 shock, Fox 36 Fork, SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes, and Reynolds Black Label carbon wheels for $9,199.
It seems that this is really the year of the long-travel 29er. A few years ago, a 140mm travel full-suspension bike would’ve been dubbed a “long-travel 29er,” but now brands have figured out how to stuff another inch of travel into the package. Of course 200mm travel downhill bikes are seeing World Cup races now, but most single crown enduro bikes with 29 inch wheels have stayed under 150mm of travel in the rear.
In 2016, bikes like the Yeti SB5.5 debuted with 160mm and 140mm of travel in front and rear respectively, while the newest rendition of the Trek Slash notched things up to 160mm front, 150mm rear. Only a handful of 29ers, including the Specialized Enduro 29, the YT Capra 29, and Evil’s The Wreckoning offer 160mm of rear travel currently. (Actually, The Wreckoning features 161mm of rear travel, which the new Firebird edges by a millimeter with 162mm of rear travel.)
“The Firebird 29 is the perfect bike for an enduro racer or hardcore rider who really wants a long-travel 29er that won’t penalize them in any way for having way more bike than they need,” says Pivot’s Chris Cocalis.
Pivot says the Firebird 29 is available now in authorized dealers across the country.