Spotted: Pivot Cycles Phoenix 29er Downhill Race Bike

By: Wil Barrett | June 1, 2017

Spotted during the opening day of the 2017 Fort William World Cup, we came across this bright blue Phoenix downhill race bike in the Pivot Cycles race pits and knew something was up. Despite being disguised with the same paint job and build kit as the rest of the Pivot Factory Racing Team bikes that are currently being ridden this weekend by the likes of Bernard Kerr and Emilie Siegenthaler, the big blue Phoenix appeared to be a little more rotund than usual.

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that this is indeed a 29in version of Pivot’s Phoenix carbon downhill bike – the first spotted in the wild.

In a trend that has accelerated rapidly in the first half of 2017, we’ve seen a rush of 29er prototype downhill bikes hit the race scene.

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First there was the Santa Cruz V-10 29er, then we saw both Mondraker and Commencal bust out big wheels at the Fort William round of the British Downhill Race Series. And then just last week, Trek announced its new Session, which would be commercially available in a 29in version.

There’s loads of hubbub around 29in wheels in the race pits at the Fort William World Cup, with brands including Specialized and Bergamont having provided team riders with wagon wheeled prototypes to test out on the long, hard and rough Ben Nevis race track. But while Pivot is also hiding a 29er race bike, it turns out that neither Bernard Kerr or Emilie Siegenthaler will be racing it this weekend. Apparently the bike is so fresh that none of the team riders have had a chance to test it yet, and with so few spares available in terms of rims and forks, the team will hold off from racing it for the time being. Expect to see it on a race track very soon however…


Nemo: New Jam 30 Sleeping Bag

The sleeping bag market is very competitive with offerings from almost every major outdoor manufacturer, along with a slew of small cottage companies as well. Nemo falls into the latter category and is known for its well-thought-out designs. Nemo’s latest sleeping bag — the Jam series for women and the Riff series for men — upholds this tradition by combining not one but two cutting edge designs into a single bag. These are the brand’s first sleeping bags to include Nemo’s patented Thermo Gills vents, which help reduce heat, and the company’s unique spoon-shaped cut, which provides extra elbow and knee room.

These features certainly sound great on paper, but how do they pan out in the backcountry? To give the Jam 30 a proper run for its money, we packed the thing along on a recent backpacking and hammock camping trip to find out.

Thermo Gills work better in theory

The Jam 30 incorporates Nemo’s innovative Thermo Gills technology which includes two small slits in the front of the bag. These slits are covered with fabric which allows warm air inside the bag to escape while preventing cold air from seeping in via a draft. The concept is elegantly simple — when it gets too hot, users simply open one of the slits to vent heat.


Review: Dakine Low Rider 5L

"As with many riders of late, the allure of pack-free riding drew me in as the prospect of riding without one became easier. I crammed tubes, food, phone and tools into purpose-made base-layer vests, compartments on the bike and deep jersey pockets, and went into camel-mode to avoid carrying extra water. Boy, was it liberating.

Before long, though, I started developing anxiety about running out of water on rides without known refill stops. The weather is sunny and warm for most of the year in Southern California and our trails are dry and exposed, so the risk of dehydration is real; I realized that my self-imposed rationing was leaving me parched on rides longer than an hour or so.

Enter the Dakine Low Rider. Quickly jumping on the bandwagon to another re-emerging trend–the hip pack–I decided that maybe it wasn’t the pack I resisted so much, but where its weight was distributed on my body. With 5 liters of space, including a 2-liter hydration bladder, the Low Rider’s size and water capacity is ample for a multi-hour ride, and the hefty buckle and wide straps keep the load secure, even with the pack in its fullest state. When the Low Rider is stuffed, it definitely looks bulky, but it doesn’t shift excessively under movement. A mesh-and-foam panel adds comfort where the pack rests against one’s back, internal organizer pockets keep gear in place and the external compression straps provide space to stash a light rain jacket or extra layer. The design is slightly annoying in that you have to unhook the external straps to access the main zipper pouches, so if you do have a jacket stored on the outside, it takes some crafty hand movements to keep it in place while you dig around inside the pack."

- Nicole Formosa


First Look: Pivot Switchblade

"This is the year of the plus-size mountain bike. Case and point: fully half of our bikes for the 2017 summer Buyer’s Guide test are coming equipped with mid-fat wheels. Over a recent long weekend in Sedona, Arizona, I sampled five of the latest, and the Pivot Switchblade is the finest of the bunch.

I’ve been a plus-tire proponent since Surly unveiled the original Krampus, and I’ve been on 27+ since Rocky launched the Sherpa and Specialized shipped pre-production hoops and tires to try on their Enduro. By 2016, we had 10 plus-size models in our annual test. Which is to say, I have some experience on this wheel size.

The traction of the bigger tires is exceptional—like a true fat bike without all the weight. I love how hard I can lean into turns. Even if the tire cuts free, which is rare, I know it will catch long before I crash. And the cushy tires, combined with super-refined modern suspensions, makes for an extremely plush ride."

Aaron Gulley


Bicycling Features Pivot Firebird Carbon

"Pivot Cycles has unveiled the company’s latest mountain bike: the 170mm-travel, 27.5” wheel, Firebird Carbon. The new model is pitched as an enduro bike, and while it boasts near-downhill bike geometry, it’s also endowed with 2x drivetrain compatibility, and—say Pivot representatives—good uphill manners as well. The Firebird Carbon lands in stores immediately.

This new Firebird uses a carbon-fiber frame—the previous Firebird was only offered in aluminum—and, like all Pivot bikes, the DW-Link rear-suspension design. Offered in four sizes, small to extra-large, the Firebird’s geometry follows today’s trends: short chain stays (430mm) a low bottom bracket (349mm), and a slack head angle (65 degrees).

The front-center is notably long as well; the Firebird’s press release boasts “some of the longest reach measurements in the sport.” A size medium’s reach measures 445mm (with an effective top tube length of 616mm), which is significantly longer than the 160mm Yeti SB6c(426mm), 165mm Santa Cruz Nomad (415mm), and the new 170mmSpecialized Enduro 27.5 (430mm), but about the same as a 160mm Giant Reign (444mm), and slightly shorter than a 160mm Canyon Strive Race(448mm)."

Matt Phillips