All About Bikes

Ep. #1: The New Pivot Firebird, Taking the Enduro Category by Storm

August 10, 2021 Pivot Cycles Episode 1
All About Bikes
Ep. #1: The New Pivot Firebird, Taking the Enduro Category by Storm
Show Notes Transcript

We kick off our first episode of All About Bikes with Chris Cocalis, founder and President/CEO of Pivot Cycles. We discuss the new Firebird and tell you everything you need to know about the bike. We dive into the history of this EWS darling and the development of the new version; plus, a look at how Chris and Jens torture each other on the trails.

Jens Staudt:

Welcome listeners you are listening to do very first Pivot Cycles podcast today. My name is Jens Staudt and today I'm talking with the founder and owner of Pivot Cycles. Chris Cocalis. Very welcome.

Chris Cocalis:

Hello, Jens.

Jens Staudt:

It's a new bike day. Tell me Chris, what have you been working on?

Chris Cocalis:

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. And obviously, some new bikes.

Jens Staudt:

So what's the name of it?

Chris Cocalis:

Well, we're getting ready to launch the new Firebird.

Jens Staudt:

That's some big news. Maybe some may not actually know this bike. So let's jump into the history of this particular bike. I think the Firebird has quite some histories with its current overhaul. It's now which generation, Chris?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, so it's the fifth generation. This was actually the fourth ever bike pivot launched. So we, we launched the company in September 2007. And in late 2008, we launched the first ever Firebird 26 inch wheel Aluminum Bike. And, and then yeah, advanced to 27.5 inch wheels on the aluminum and then 25 inch wheel carbon. And the V4, the last or some would say current generation, Firebird was the Firebird 29. And then now the V5 is the new Firebird 29.

Jens Staudt:

If you traveled back in time, you would maybe consider it more of a free ride bike. Now times have changed. Now we have the EWS and every new version was more towards a gnarlier application. And I remember like a question to our team rider, Eddie Masters, who's actually won an EWS on the Firebird, and you asked him for feedback about the bike. What's the story, Chris?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, we were probably two seasons ago, we're working on this bike, I wanted to get some earlier feedback from him on where things were at and what what changes he would want to make. You know, racers are sometimes difficult to get feedback from. But when they don't like something, they're usually very, very vocal about it. And so I was expecting something, you know, something from him. And he said, no, you couldn't change anything, the bike is perfect. And, to me, nothing's perfect. My response to him was, well we're going to make it better, and he said, cool. So, that's what we've done. I mean, when we get into the bike and the details, the bike will be the ultimate EWS bike for Eddie. And that was the goal to build him a bike that would allow him to go faster, and be safer at the limits.

Jens Staudt:

Before we just like, dive down deep into this rabbit hole at pivot. And in particular, you you're looking on every detail on a bike, and can you give us a couple of key characteristics will make the biggest difference on this new bike in ride quality?

Chris Cocalis:

Well, I guess, just looking a little bit back at the the current or the V4 version of the Firebird, we were still really in a mindset with that bike where yes, it had to be aggressive in the in the bike park and had to be aggressive for EWS, it had to span that gap. But we also still wanted it to be an all around snappy, climbing, good, technical climbing riding bike. And we still have that with the new bike based on the fact simply that it's a dw link bike and we get that pedaling performance out of it. But the balance has definitely shifted. The Switchblade in its current generation has become much more capable to kind of fill that gap that the Firebird also had to fill. And now we get a bike that I would say is still versatile, but definitely has that focus on going downhill, fast. And so some of those things, we'll get into the nitty gritty details, of course, but the rider will be more more centered on the bike, and there's a little bit more suspension travel, we've gone from 162 to 165 millimetres on the shock. It doesn't sound like a lot, but actually it is in the way it makes the bike hook up and feel and absorb bumps at speed. And yeah, and then you'll see more aggressive geometry as well. So other big changes to just the configuration of the bike to fall in line with what we've done. Some of our other models like the Mach 4 SL, Mach 6, Trail 429, Switchblade are all the vertical shock orientation.

Jens Staudt:

Let's dive into suspension. We now have, similar to the latest version of the Switchblade and a Trail 429, a vertical shock. So what is the reason for that? And how does it affect the overall kinematic of the bike?

Chris Cocalis:

What's always interesting when people see the vertical shock compared to the clevis designs and some of the seatstay driven designs that we've had in the past, it's funny because if you look at the original 2008 Firebird aluminum and the first 27.5, Firebird aluminum, those both had a vertical shock configuration. So that's not the first time the Firebird has seen this setup. From a kinematic standpoint, it really doesn't doesn't matter, we can actually orient the shock and drive the shock in many different ways, and achieve the same kinematic goals out of the bike. But really, it's an overall packaging consistency and frame stiffness. With the Mach 4 SL, that was the first bike that we put, I should say, first modern generation bike that we put the vertical shock on and that was to allow Chloe Woodruff, our top female cross country World Cup rider to get a bike that fit her properly. We could fit the live valve system, full water bottle in the front triangle and have the proper stand over and everything that we needed. We obviously carried that into the Switchblade and other models, but the packaging side of it is really nice on the longer travel bikes with the trunnion shock, because the linkage can bolt right up to the side of the shock, no additional spacers, no long bolts, everything's compact low in the frame. It makes the overall shock length shorter so we don't have as much shock hanging out in space and it just makes for a much tidier package. Of course the V4 Firebird does not allow for a water bottle cage in the front triangle and the new Firebird has plenty of space. Plenty of space for the the water bottle cage, our dock tool system and to run live valve if you so choose on this bike as well.

Jens Staudt:

So you already dove a bit into different shock options. Obviously we can run the bike with coil and air, so during testing what was your preference, Chris?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, on this bike, we are definitely going to more progressivity on the bike and so the bike can handle a coil well. We will actually have an option for coil-over in the builds. And my preference though is interesting because it's really based on the usability, the versatility of the bike, and also what the race team is fastest on. So in that respect the Float X2 and the Float X, the air shocks, are definitely the go-to in those areas because it allows a wide range of riders to set their sag correctly, easily, and the air shocks are lighter. The biggest thing in testing with Fox, both our race team and really, any race team on the World Cup circuit, has found that the air shock holds up better. It provides more support on the downsides of jumps, therefore their their splits are faster on the air shock and so the air shock is is my general preference. However, if I'm in a bike park situation, and that's where I primarily ride, the coil-over is super fun. If I live near Whistler, or Keystone in Colorado or in certain places in the Alps and I was doing mostly lift chair riding on this bike, I would definitely go for the coil-over. But I think the majority of people are going to go for the air and appreciate the air on this bike.

Jens Staudt:

Yeah, now diving into one of my favorite topics. Because at Pivot, you are focused so hard on the best possible frame, the perfect carbon lay-up, we only offer one high end frame, we don't go down on cheaper materials or anything like that. And I never experienced a person in the bike industry being so deeply involved and passionate about the fine tuning of a carbon lay-up to get the best possible riding performance. And it's not only for one frame size, you provide every size rider, and the specific frame size, the behavior that fits not only the rider size, but also the weight of it. Without giving away all your black magic tricks, what are you doing to achieve this?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, so that's a huge focus for us. In fact, I would say based on our experiences, we get the geometry and kinematics tuned in pretty quickly at the beginning. We don't have to go through tons and tons of iterations on that stuff. But for instance, on just on the medium frame alone, I've probably had five different layup versions of the bikes before arriving where I felt the balance was basically pro race-level stiffness, while not going overboard, and still having a nice chassis feel. When you get a little sideways in the ruts or the roots, or having a bike that doesn't just scare the shit out of you, basically can track, maintain, handle that stuff, translate sideways bumps into vertical shock movement, you can't just build a bike that's as stiff as a board to do that. And you know, every size rider and then every weight rider is going to basically have a little bit of a different balance. So rider on a small bike, if we just use the same layup, the same size, diameter tubes everywhere, that person would have a very different feel on the bike than you would on an extra large or somebody bigger and heavier than you would on a large or an extra large. So it's really important for us to balance that per size. And so I mean, I've been doing this since the Titus days when we were doing ISO grid and XO grid carbon tubes and molding those in house. Being able to change the vertical compliance versus the torsional stiffness in certain areas of the tubes in the frame. And so that's always been a very high focus for us. It's the thing that we probably spend the most time on per size.

Jens Staudt:

Not only carbon lay-up is important, but you also follow a new philosophy on a new Firebird in regards of the length of the front triangle and the chainstay length. We offer now four frame sizes with four individual chainstay lengths, which is pretty unique, I guess. And still, I would love to say this is my effort. But why did you make the decision to move away from one chainstay length, to now an all-in concept.

Chris Cocalis:

It is a big influence from your side, because when when you started your Franken-Trail project that we did with you, I believe that was in 2017. Was it '16, could it have been that long ago, 2016? Well, I think we first rode it in 2017, maybe? Anyway, it was that idea of you wanting longer chainstays on the extra large bike, and we built those prototypes for you with the adjustable dropouts. So we could change chainstay length. And it was interesting in that I wound up adjusting those chainstays much further in on the on the medium sized bike than you did on the extra large. And then of course, we're not the first for people to do this, it's been being talked about for the last couple of years of varying these chainstay lengths per size. And you know, it depends a little bit on the bike model. You know, we've got other recent bikes that are all consistent chainstay length per size. But if there's a characteristics that I want the bike to achieve for everyone of every size, then that's a reason for us to keep the chainstay lengths the same, it's a good strong argument can be made for that point of a bike gets way longer in the front for an extra large rider. But then they still need to be able to lift it manual it pop it up overstuff, and that additional front end length does create basically leverage around that rear wheel that may still, with the short chainstay length, make it slightly more difficult for the extra large rider to get up and over obstacles. But when it comes to these longer travel bikes, really being balanced over the bike on the really steep stuff, there's also a strong argument to be made for being more centered in the bike. And as you get up in size, hanging out too far off the back of the bike and having so much in front of you and not enough in back and you're really going down the gnarliest, steepest stuff and having that the back end of that bike wanting to lift, it's nice to be a little bit more centered in it. So yeah, we did a lot of testing on chainstay lengths per size. And on this bike, that's exactly what we've gone to. So the small bike remains relatively consistent with what we had on the previous Firebird, and then we start to lengthen from there. So the medium, large, extra large, have some pretty significant jumps in chainstay lengths to get the rider in that perfect position on the bike.

Jens Staudt:

Another point which is quite funny, is I'm riding the mud a lot and you are out of the desert, right? You rarely see any mud in your everyday rides. Do you?

Chris Cocalis:

Nope. And I'm we joke that I'm allergic to mud. I come to Germany and you torture me in the mud.

Jens Staudt:

And you burn me in the sun in the desert.

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, yeah, yup, it's a little thing we do to each other. (laughs)

Jens Staudt:

Still, Pivot I mean, you pretty much have the most tire clearance, mud clearance in the industry. So is it just like to make us Germans happy or what is the reason for that?

Chris Cocalis:

Well, you Germans are picky for sure (jokingly). But yeah it is. I mean, we sell bikes all over the world you know, there's mud all over the world and there's mud on the East coast of the U.S. too. We've seen over the years, I mean, I've been building bikes since 1988. Kind of seen it all in terms of seeing tires wear through chainstays and kind of the the things that go wrong when you don't have great tire clearance. And so that is always a top of the checklist item for us. Obviously, you need to be able to clear chain rings and and balance your chainstay lengths and all that fun stuff. But tire clearance and being able to design for a slightly larger tire than most people are going to run, that's important, an important key characteristic for us on pretty much every model we design.

Jens Staudt:

Conquering every kind of riding conditions but also being able to fit every rider and every everything, everybody is just maybe looking for something specific. And on the new Firebird, it's a very adjustable bike. So get us into the details of what you can actually do to make this Firebird, your Firebird?

Chris Cocalis:

Well, we introduced the flip chip with the last Firebird. So that allows the rider to raise the bottom bracket height slightly and steepen the seat and head angle by about a half a degree. Which also works if you want to run a 27.5 wheel on the back and go with a mullet setup, you can put it in the high setting. If somebody likes this bike and wants 27.5 wheels all around, we have a 17 millimeter extended headset cup that you could put on the front, and you could run 27.5 front and rear. It'll still lower the bottom bracket height slightly, but still in the game of where you would want to be. And that might be a good option for more compact riders. So yeah adjustability, workable adjustability, that can be used for a wide range of riders is is a nice thing to have. And even with just the 29 inch wheels, which is what we spec on all the bikes, that option of being able to change that flip chip, I mean, the bike is quite aggressive with quite a slack head angle, so there's a lot of riding that just isn't really quite steep enough to warrant such a slack head angle and being able to steepen it up by a half a degree and be able to pedal over roots and rocks is a big deal. It sounds like not a huge amount but, you can definitely feel the difference and change the riding characteristics and the overall feel of the bike in the high versus the low position. And it's super easy to change. So you can do it on trail and you don't have to actually remove any bolts, you just can back them off and kind of flip this eccentric part in the seatstays and tighten it back up and continue writing.

Jens Staudt:

You already mentioned some numbers and imagine like seattube. Going on internet message boards, and it's just full of it. Seattube angles is a number which is generating a lot of debate. You explained this in the past, but I think we should give it a quick rundown on why you shouldn't just look at the numbers and why we may do something different about it.

Chris Cocalis:

You know, there's no real quick discussion on this. But we can dive in a little bit. It is interesting when somebody lists a 77 or 78 or 76 seattube angle. Or we see a comment of why Pivot isn't getting with the program on seat angles. There's a couple of different things going on. I will use kind of the example of, really balancing looking at what a seat angle is listed on a bike and what toptube lengths is listed. Because there's a pretty tremendous range of adjustment, usually about five to seven degrees of seat angle adjustment just in your seat rails. So if you see a bike that's listed as a super steep seat angle and a super short toptube length for the reach measurement that's given on the bike, there's kind of a lot of ways to measure that triangle and that basis of where the rider sits on the bike. And it's been interesting also because even though we might list on a certain bike a slacker seat angle, we've had competitor bikes with very similar reach measurements where we back the back wheel up against the wall, similar chainstay lengths, axles lineup, bottom brackets line up, front wheels line up, and they list a steeper seat angle than us but our seat actually at the rider seat height for that size bike sits considerably far forward or more steeper than what you see on their bike. Sometimes 20-30 millimeters further forward. So another aspect of this is really how close the seattube comes inline with the bottom bracket and the farther forward it's pushed. Basically the farther out the seatpost gets you get this kind of recumbent effect, especially for taller riders where that seat starts to really extend out over the rear wheel. When we're designing bikes, we internally use what we refer to as our seat datum numbers. So we take a rider that would typically ride a small size and medium size and a large size, and kind of take a look at what their average saddle height would be. So you know, for example, if I'm running on a medium frame a 750 saddle height from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat, that's actually the datum number that I use for the medium size frame. Which means that when we list the seat angle, we're aiming to achieve that seat angle, that effective seat angle at that rider height, so nobody will have any complaints on on the new Firebird because we basically have seat angles ranging from 76 to 77, or in the high settings 77.5. So very steep effective seat angles and also even steeper if you consider the fact that the extra large seat datums even higher. So those riders don't have that same effect on our bike as maybe other bikes in the marketplace, they're actually going to be in a more forward position. The other thing we need to balance on the bike is dw-link bikes are really known for the anti squat characteristics. So when you're climbing and your powers going into the pedals and your bikes wanting to squat down, really in the in the particular situation where you want your seat angle to be steeper, dw link bikes will basically hold the bike at or slightly above their sag point on climbing, so you're not dipping down into the travel nearly as much as you would on a four bar link type design in general. We can get away in general with slightly slacker seat angles if we want to. But like I said before, rider positioning is first and having proper position over the paddles. And we do achieve that on every one of our models. The last thing about this that I'd really like to point out is taking something like a 77 degree seat angle and saying I'm gonna apply that to all our bikes or a customer saying I'm not going to ride a bike with a slacker than a 76 or 77 degree seat angle is a little myopic, because when you get to those shorter travel bikes, you have much shorter stroke shocks. And so a rider sits on the bike to the sag point. And that changes the seat angle at sag. Well, a bike like a Firebird can get away with actually a much steeper seat angle because the shock stroke is so long and when you're talking about 30% sag on that, it has a much higher or much more noticeable effect on the rider seat angle at sag than say a Mach 4 SL. So by and large with our line, you will see that a Mach 4 SL isn't going to have a steep of a seat angle as a as a Firebird. And that will change and progress as we go up (in travel length). And once our customers demo test-ride, get on the bikes, they see that in the real riding behavior that their position on the bike is proper. And if we just continue to slam everything into a super steep seat angle, because that's what is being called for on the message boards. We'd have a lot of real-world unhappy customers that just can't get into the proper comfortable position on their bikes.

Jens Staudt:

And now I will always refer to this podcast and say okay, listen to this.

Chris Cocalis:

I'm sure that that we'll probably wind up doing a discussion on seattube angles alone at some point. But for now that's more than enough detail, I assume.

Jens Staudt:

Yeah, let's jump a little bit deeper into the geometry. If you put tables like from the last version and the new one side by side, you can see it's just, the new one is, slacker, longer, bigger. Is this all moving the Firebird closer to the Phoenix or is there some more to it? Can you explain this to our listeners?

Chris Cocalis:

Well, I think if you look at downhill bike geometry these days compared to trail or enduro bikes, it's just a vastly different beast. Because Pivot is currently among the longest reaches of the downhill bikes but, trail bikes have so far surpassed where downhill bikes are at on those reach measurements. We've both discussed it, on some brands that are really pushing the limits and unless you're using the bike for something single use, very specific, the steepest downhills, maybe it's not the best geometry. But with this bike, we certainly wanted to push those boundaries further because there is a balance point where a rider can go faster and as you know a lot of EWS courses, or at least sections of them, are going down the same courses as World Cup downhill. So they need to be able to handle that stuff but in a different way because they aren't full downhill bikes. They're not relying on such huge amounts of travel and dual crown forks. So the balance has to be different on how we achieve those capabilities. And so yeah, I would say one of the biggest drivers is the reach measurements on the bikes because we're at a 468mm reach measurement on a medium frame. And we were a 445mm on on the previous version bike. The XL has has gone from a 495mm to a 510mm. So there's quite a bump up and reach measurements, the headtube angle has slackened by a full degree. And then the seattube angles, of course have gone up by and large by two degrees or more on this bike versus the previous Firebird. And then the chainstay length difference, too. So you're definitely changing chainstay length per size. You know, we had a, I believe, 431mm (chainstay) on the current Firebird, and that's what the small is on the new Firebird. But then we go to a 434mm chainstay length on the on the medium, 438mm on the large, and 445mm on the extra large. So that really does put that rider in a different balance point. And from that perspective, like we've talked about it, for you riding your general trails around your house, you would probably step down to a large.

Jens Staudt:

Yeah, this is actually the biggest personal takeaway from me being involved in the testing process of this bike. Out of my past, I have some reputation being a fan of longer bikes. My size of almost six-foot-three, in Europe, this is around like 191cm. And now on the Firebird after a certain amount of riding I was like, okay with this geometry, maybe for me, it's not an extra large anymore, but rather large. The question arose on Pivot, did we cross a line and put an end to an upsizing a bike? How big is the variety of riders that will actually fit the bike from five foot something to six-foot-seven? I don't know.

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, I mean, the the rider use on this, we definitely have a wider range of riders that can ride each size and head tubes haven't grown over the years. In fact, if anything they've gotten more compact, so that a rider can look at two sizes and make their proper decisions. Seattubes have all shrunken considerably. And of course, stand over clearances, the bikes have just gotten way more compact. So there is not a lot of stand over height difference between an extra large and a small. And a small can fit a pretty compact person. So it allows the rider to really choose to bike for their riding style. So yeah, around your house general trail riding, if that's how you want to use your Firebird so that you have a bike that handles it all very well but then always has that extra bunch of travel in reserve for whatever you might hit, then yeah, in your case going down to a large, will get you a better all around trail bike. But if you're going to parks or you're an EWS rider then at six-foot-three, you would just solidly be on your extra large all the time. And so you kind of have to make the choice of what's best for you. And if going upsizing gets you in too extreme a situation and then just be cognizant of who you are as a rider. For me, with the old bike, I always found that I was between a medium and a large. I liked riding the medium here on South Mountain in Arizona and in the West in general. I like riding the large Whistler and other Bike Park places. But even then in some tight corners and stuff, there was places where it's like, oh, this is just a little much for me. On this medium then, okay so I want something that I can still ride around here, but I want it to handle things a little bit more aggressively. So going from a 45.5cm reach to a 468mm reach and one degree slacker on that head angle gets me that balance of having more aggressive bike that I can ride everywhere. And that's going to be the same for Eddie and part of the balance of getting him a bike that can just go that extra mile and the technical stuff. And the frame weight has stayed relatively the same. It's gone down because of the size specific tuning and more of the ride tuning and layup development on the frames. As we go smaller weights have gone down. Like the small is, I don't remember the exact grams, but it is considerably lighter than the previous small, the medium is slightly lighter. When we get to the large and extra large we're pretty consistent, but we're also dealing with much longer reaches. So technically the weight of those bikes should have gone up. So we keep a nice balance on weight and building a lightweight chassis. Strength has gone up. Like I said, ride tuning goes to another level. So we maintain the key stiffness in areas where we we really need that rider to be able to lay the power down and not have anything twist or move and be able to throw the bike in the corners. But also the ability for to track better in gnarly, nasty terrain as the course gets rougher and rougher. This bike picks up those small bumps and just has a snappier, better feel to it, then even the previous bike.

Jens Staudt:

Now, we covered a lot on geometry. But there's way more to the new Firebird. I mean, just to follow your reputation of paying attention to every little detail, there are some updates on the bike you might not see during the first look. Can you talk us through what are these minor differences that as a complete package just makes the bike better?

Chris Cocalis:

We've had many of our bikes, we really take pride in the Pivot cable port system. And the way it allows the rider to route the cables easily. If you're from the UK or Japan or Australia, New Zealand, being able to run your brakes to the correct side for your liking. The speed with which you can service your bike, the cable port system really allows for that. I mean, even where the vertical shock mounts we have a water port on the left side for when mud and water gets in there, it doesn't accumulate in there. The rubber protection on the seatstays and chainstays envelops more of the areas where you could get chain slap in the rougher terrain. We've gone to a larger diameter seatpost. We did this on the Mach 6 and a Trail 429. So the 31.6mm seatpost versus the 30.9mm, it's a small thing but interestingly, dropper post companies are using the same internal parts, the same cartridges, and everything on a 30.9mm seatpost as they are on a 31.6mm. So basically, the difference is the thickness of the aluminum tube inside and when you have a 30.9mm and you're hanging a lot of post out of the frame, there's a bigger chance of the those tracks when a rider tightens down the seat post of not running as smoothly. So the 31.6mm basically allows to see post itself to be more burly and run smoother, longer. So that's a nice update as we as we go to longer travel seatposts. Then the bike gets the universal derailleur hange. Universal derailleur hanger is something developed by SRAM and it is really universal. It's not just for SRAM, so any derailleur in the market can bolt up to the universal derailleur hanger. But that's kind of a neat system because the derailleur hanger design itself is less prone to allowing damage to the derailleur. It has a nice chain drop feature on the inside of it. So less likely to dig up and mess up the inside of your frame. If you if you have a chain bounce off the the 10/11/12 tooth, whatever your smallest cog is in the back and just a nice feature overall. If you're in a shop anywhere in the world, you should be able to get a replacement for a UDH hanger. I believe SRAM says there's over 500 bike models in the world by this season, that'll have UDH's on them, so that's a nice feature. We continue with super boost on the bike. So 157mm spacing. That's not as a unique feature anymore as it once was. There's a lot of companies that have adopted that, which is pretty cool, because it simply allows the every company to build a better bike and every manufacturer is supporting the drive trains and the cranks. There was always 157mm hubs, but now every company now has adjusted their downhill hubs to have proper superboost spacing, which basically means that left flange has moved outboard and that enables better spoke bracing and a much stronger rear wheel than what we've had in the past. The Firebird gets the

Jens Staudt:

The people also have different tastes on parts. slightly bigger 1.5 head tube on the top. And that just provides more support and a burlier front end on the bike because, again, people are kind of expected th t they're going to be ridin hard or doing gnarlier stuff on this bike. We are addressing this by following here some kind of our reputation of having the most available builds on the market. What are we covering on them?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, it's interesting because when you look at our just our pull down on our website of all the configurations that looks mind boggling, but really we have three levels of builds with some options within those. So we have a Race level build that is Performance Series fork and Performance Elite suspension on the rear. On this bike it features the new Float X. The Performance Elite is basically the factory version without kashima, so you get the full adjustment range. And then aluminum handlebars, non-kashima seatpost. It's basically still very high-end parts. Things that I would run on my personal bike, but kind of hits the the better price point, so allows a rider to get everything they need. The only thing they're giving up is some weight, but the highest levels of performance are retained. And then we get to the Pro level builds. And that's really the bread and butter of the majority of what Pivot sells. The pro level builds come with the GRIP2 damper, Kashima post, either Float X2 or DHX2 option on the builds, or we offer Live Valve as well. And then on the highest end build, the Team builds. Those are the everything you could possibly want on the bike. So it has carbon wheels, full Kashima, basically the top end of everything. And then we offer each level of those builds in either SRAM or Shimano. So if you're a SRAM person or on the Team level builds, if you want electronic shifting, we basically have you covered for anything you want out of the bike and then several different suspension options as well. So it's pretty easy to look at the packages and figure out what you want and what what you want as a rider, but we certainly don't limit anybody.

Jens Staudt:

You mentioned Fox Live and I need to jump on on this one because this system is something you wouldn't quite expect on a bike out of the category the Firebird is in. So why Fox Live for a bike which yeah, with the dw-link already pedals good and it's like a pretty gnarly enduro bike. Why you put such a system on?

Chris Cocalis:

Yeah, I've actually had the question, "Why the hell would you put Fox Live on a Firebird?" It actually opens up a whole new opportunity and kind of window into what Fox Live is in what Fox Live can be. And most people think of it in really the most simplest form, when you look at it on the Mach 4 SL, that's really easy to envision. It stiffens the suspension and when it turns on makes it paddle nearly like a hard tail. And then you get this basically more open use case on a cross country World Cup bike. The bike becomes more capable than what you would normally get out of that bike. And when you take it to a Firebird, you're like, well yeah, it already pedals well and honestly, that's not my first priority. My first priority is bump compliance, the best performing suspension I can possibly have. And so it's really allowed us to kind of really take a deeper look at what Fox Live can be. And if you think of Fox Live, not from being a stiff and open setting, but being two sets of valving essentially. One that you can just turn on and off. And then the the other backup valving when it's off of how the oil is flowing through that system of now you can say okay, well, what if I want this by keeping up even gushier, plusher and really have higher capabilities, we can kind of shift the entire spectrum of what's going on, and even the balance between the front and rear. So I did a lot of this development with Fox and working with them through the Switchblade, the Mach 6 and even the Trail 429, where we really found one, on trail bikes, nobody really wants their fork locked out. And so Live Valve on the fork becomes really less of a game. You just don't want your fork stiffening and when you're climbing up, nobody reaches down and flips their lockout lever on their fork really ever. So Live Valve in that respect with what we've done on the new Firebird is you really don't notice any stiffening of the fork in climbing or flat pedaling. There's a lot of bleed ports around the Live Valve allowing that to be active, but it's still providing a support level that you normally wouldn't get. And then when you head downhill, that valving on descents, when Live Valve's open the other set of valving, the regular set of valving, the system is based off of a FIT4 and honestly, this is the plushest FIT4 anybody's ever ridden. It picks up bumps so well. In some ways better than a GRIP or GRIP2 fork. It is just so gushy plush, really nothing's making it through to your hands. And it's just super comfortable. So the balance that we've been able to strike with the front is really good. And then same thing with the rear. When you're pedaling up a dirt road on the live valve Firebird, and you look down because the bike is so progressive and has a high leverage ratio off the top, if a traditional Live customer looked down and go "I can still see my linkage moving" because see there's this slight oscillation to the linkage. Especially if you're pedaling up a dirt or paved road and going "Oh, my live valve isn't working." Well, that's really not the intent of this Live Valve. It's to provide more support as you're pushing through stuff when Live Valve is on, but really allow it to open up on the steeper descents at a plusher, higher level. And so it's really shifting the performance curve towards bikes going to perform in an all around balanced way in a very open feeling way when the live valve is on. And then it just gets so much gushier and plusher than what we would ever run it normally because we just don't want to tune for that kind of plush gushiness. Because then if somebody's pedaling up the road, they would never accept that. If they turn the Live Valve off on the new Firebird, and just run it so it's open all the time, they would be like this bike is a super Bob monster, it's just too gushy, too much. But that actually becomes super fun in a park setting and super fast in an enduro setting where you are going down through the roughest stuff, but then at the same time you come into a corner, you start to sprint, it flattens out a little bit, you're actually on the gas pedaling through a section and you know, within 1,000th of a second, that things back up to pedaling well. Pedaling as your normal Float X2 would paddle or your Float X would pedal. So it does open up a category where I could see Eddie possibly racing Live Valve sometimes this year, on certain courses, we'll have to see and test and find out. But in our testing, the opportunities for what Live Valve does on a bike like this are different, but definitely have the potential of having as much effect as they do on something like a Mach 4 SL.

Jens Staudt:

Let me wrap up in one last question. With all your passion for technology and considering and improving every little detail on a bike you brought the new Firebird to life, which is face melting fast. So who is this bike actually for?

Chris Cocalis:

I would say anybody who wants to go face melting fast. It is interesting because like I said at the

Jens Staudt:

I would say that's a wrap. beginning, being able to go those higher limit speeds with a higher comfort level, whatever that means to you as a rider. Not everybody is Eddie masters or Bernard Kerr, or Matt Walker, you know, any of our team riders Emily or Morgan, their av rage riders trying to take th ir riding to the next level, wh tever that level may be. And if your preference is more to ards the downhill and going fa t and expanding those bou daries for yourself, this bik is for you. If you enjoy the technical climbs as much as you enjoy the descents, or i your terrain is just that's wh t you you live with is that y u have to do a lot of climbing o single track on different hings and it's not just about 'm taking the fire road to get to the top so that I can do the descent, then maybe the Switc blade is more of the bike for you. But there is now a bette separation where before with th old Firebird and the Swi chblade it would kind of be a lo g explanation to a customer o which one is for you. Now i 's pretty darn clear. If you a e aiming towards the more agg essive enduro or park e d of the spectrum, then this ike is for you. It's going to d all the things that a pivot oes and that it still pedals sna py but chainstays are longe , front end's longer, headtube's slacker, seattube steeper, eve ything is basically designed to be for the more aggressive ider end of the spectrum. S if you think that's you, and if that appeals to you, then this b ke will take your riding up a notch for sure.

Chris Cocalis:

Well, thanks Jens really appreciate your time.

Jens Staudt:

Thank you, Chris. I mean, it's always a pleasure to talk new bikes with you. Yeah, hopefully we explained what this bike is for and what are you getting when you actually joining the pivot family by writing a pivot Absolutely.