Pivot's 2011 mountain bikes

Chris Cocalis introduces his latest full-suspension machines

Pivot Cycles main man Chris Cocalis popped into our Bath offices yesterday to give us the lowdown on his 2011 bikes and tease us with some exciting news about upcoming models. We've been sworn to secrecy so you'll have to wait until Pivot's dealer camp in June for details, but we took some snaps of the current Mach 5.7, Firebird and Phoenix to whet your appetites.

For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, Chris set up Pivot five years ago after selling his first company, Titus (who've since hit financial difficulties and been sold to Planet X), which he founded while he was at college in 1991. "People think Pivot is a new brand but it's a new brand with 25 years of suspension design behind it," Cocalis told BikeRadar.

While Titus's suspension bikes used a four-bar Horst link design under license from Specialized, Chris decided it was time for a rethink when he started Pivot. "I was able to take a step back and look at where I could go with suspension design," he said. "A couple of things were falling short on Horst link bikes... Stiffness at the back end [was lacking]... and as you got into longer-travel versions, the nature of the suspension design didn't allow for incredible pedalling efficiency without some level of compression damping."

Chris's original plan was to develop his own dual link design, as this would allow the use of a one-piece rear triangle for improved stiffness. But it soon became apparent that, in his own words, "we were crossing into Dave Weagle's backyard", so he decided to license Weagle's dw-link design instead.

The dw-link on Pivot's Phoenix downhill bike

A key tenet of this system is using anti-squat built into the suspension design to counteract bob, rather than low-speed compression damping on the shock. This means you can run more sag for a more supple feel, without any loss of pedalling efficiency. According to Cocalis, "you can let half the air out of the shock and the thing will still sprint through a parking lot".

This pedalling efficiency is key to Cocalis's insistence that his bikes should be judged against shorter-travel models from his competitors. So, the 5.7 is a trail bike with an extra 0.7in of travel, not an all-mountain bike with just under 6in, and the 6.6in Firebird is a long-travel trail/all-mountain bike, not a freeride rig. You can read a first ride review of the Mach 5.7 here, and we've also posted a first look at the Firebird.

It's the Phoenix downhill bike that's the most eye-catching of the current models though, with a look that's very similar to the Iron Horse Sunday piloted to countless victories by Sam Hill in the late Noughties. It was that bike, which also used the dw-link, that cemented Weagle's reputation as a suspension designer. "Even as we launched Pivot, there was this question of when we were going to work with Dave Weagle on a downhill bike," said Cocalis.

While the Sunday was a groundbreaking bike, it was far from perfect, especially compared to today's race machines. "This bike is based on what the Sunday did well," said Cocalis. That means access to the rear shock has been vastly improved over the Iron Horse, the suspension is more progressive, the bottom bracket lower and the head angle slacker. Cable routing and durability issues have also been addressed, and there's adjustable geometry care of replaceable rear dropouts and a Cane Creek AngleSet headset.

One thing that unites all three models is a focus on stiffness and durability, along with a desire on Chris's part to constantly refine and improve. We can't wait to see what he comes up with next. For now, here's a quick rundown of the current Pivot models:

Phoenix DH

  • Intended use: Downhill racing
  • Travel: 8.15in (207mm), via Fox RC4 shock
  • Stock geometry: 64° head angle, 13.6in bottom bracket height, 17.25in chainstays
  • Key features: Adjustable geometry via interchangeable dropouts and Cane Creek AngleSet; 1.5in head tube; 150mm rear end with 12mm through-axle; 83mm bottom bracket; oversize pivot pins and double row EnduroMax bearings for maximum durability and frame stiffness; ISCG05 mounts
  • Claimed complete bike weight: Approx 39lb (team bikes are 37lb)
  • Claimed frame weight: N/A
  • Sizes: S/M/L
  • RRP: £2,499.99 (frame) / £5,499.99 (full build with SRAM X0, Fox 40 and DT EX 1750 wheels)

Firebird

  • Intended use: Long-travel trail/all-mountain bike
  • Travel: 6.6in (167mm), via custom-tuned Fox RP23 Boost Valve (Fox DHX 5.0 Air available as an option)
  • Geometry: 67.2° head angle,13.85in BB height, 17.25in chainstays
  • Key features: Full-floating rear shock (not attached to the front or rear triangle); one-piece carbon fibre upper link; floating front derailleur; ISCG05 mounts; 1.5in head tube; designed for 160-180mm forks.
  • Claimed complete bike weight:  Approx 28lb with Shimano XTR build, 30lb with XT
  • Claimed frame weight: 6.95lb (small, anodised)
  • Sizes: S/M/L
  • RRPs: From £1,849.99 (frame) / £5,648.99 (complete bike)

Mach 5.7

  • Intended use: Trail riding
  • Travel: 5.7in (145mm), via custom tuned Fox RP23 Boost Valve shock
  • Geometry: 68.7° head angle,13.43in BB height, 16.85in chainstays
  • Key features: Tapered head tube; BB92 bottom bracket; eight EnduroMax sealed cartridge bearings on dw-link; carbon fibre upper link; direct mount front derailleur; ISCG 05 mounts; designed for 140-150mm forks
  • Claimed complete bike weight: N/A
  • Claimed frame weight: N/A
  • Sizes: XS/S/M/L/XL
  • RRPs: £1,799.99 (frame) / from £3,199.99 (complete bike)

Mach 429 (not pictured)

  • Intended use: Cross-country/trail (29er)
  • Travel: 4in (100mm), via custom tuned Fox RP23 Boost Valve shock
  • Geometry: 70.8-71.2° head angle (depending on size), 12.8in BB height, 17.95in chainstays
  • Key features: BB92 bottom bracket; eight EnduroMax sealed cartridge bearings on dw-link; carbon fibre upper link; no brake bridge for better tyre clearance; zero stack 1-1/8in headset; direct-mount front derailleur; can be used with 100mm or 120mm fork
  • Claimed complete bike weight: N/A
  • Claimed frame weight: N/A
  • Sizes: S/M/L
  • RRPs: £1899.99 (frame) / from £3,399 (complete bike)

Mach 4 (not pictured)

  • Intended use: Cross-country/trail
  • Travel: 4in (100mm), via custom tuned Fox RP23 Boost Valve shock
  • Geometry: 70-71° head angle, 12.65-12.8in BB height, 16.75in chainstays
  • Key features: BB92 bottom bracket; eight EnduroMax sealed cartridge bearings on dw-link; carbon fibre upper link; direct-mount front derailleur; tapered, zero stack headset; can be used with 100mm or 120mm fork
  • Claimed complete bike weight: Approx 21.8lb (SRAM XX build)
  • Claimed frame weight: N/A
  • Sizes: XSS/XS/S/M/L/XL
  • RRPs: £1,649.99 (frame) / from £3,049.99 (complete bike)

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