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.
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…