Pivot’s First Downhill Bike: dw-link Phoenix pics and story

Pivot released its first pro-level downhill machine this weekend–at the Maribor World Cup and here, at Moab, Utah, where a select group of media folks are test riding Pivot’s 2011 models. The Phoenix has a bit more than eight inches of wheel travel and sits low, at 13.6 inches at the BB. Suspension is the dw-link system and while the profile and engineering benefit from  Dave Weagle’s very successful Iron Horse Sunday, its linkage rates and chassis design are quite advanced.
 
Simple in profile, there is a lot going on in Pivot’s Phoenix DH. The protos weigh 38 pounds. We used Joplin adjustable seatposts because we were riding epic-length downhills in Moab. RC photo
 
The dual-link suspension pivots on dual-row bearngs, and they connect to the swingarm and the frame with hollow forgings which are welded in halves. This arangement insures that the pivot locations remain in alignment through the welding, heat treat and assembly stages.
 
The bottom bracket and frame pivot locations are integrated into two matching machined parts. RC photo 
 
The frame tubes are massive and profiled in rectangular as well as oval shapes. The bottom bracket forging is hollowed so that the Fox RC4 coil shock can sit low in the frame, similar to Giant’s arrangement. This keeps the bike’s center of gravity low, and focuses the high stress areas of the chassis in the super-rigid box sections of the frame and swingarm.
 
The front swingarm member is also a two-piece welded machined part. RC photo
 
The head angle is adjustable (we were asked to keep the details of the Cane Creek system a secret), with the stock setting at 64 degrees. Chainstays are 17.5 inches and the bottom bracket is 13.6 inches. We are told that the ride height stability of the dw-link suspension allows for a lower BB with a minimized risk of banging the cranks. Rear dropouts are replaceable and incorporate a 12-millimeter through-axle.
 
Hidden in the Phoenix’s 1.5 inch head tube is a secret Cane Creek headset that adjusts the head angle up to 1.375 degrees, positive or negative. RC photo
 
Machined rear dropouts are replaceable, and different configurations will offer variable geometry as well. RC photo
 
The Fox RC4 shock is adjusted through a port in the bottom of the frame and at the top, where the opening is large enough to access the bottom-out features and spring preload. Three sizes (Sm, Med, and Lg) will be offered and the first bikes will ship in January 2011. Black and white are the colors, with decal sets in green, blue and orange. The decals are heavy-duty items made by N-Style, which double as rock protectors. Price is not set as of yet, but the bikes won’t be cheap. I’ll be riding one tomorrow. Until then, Check out the photos and enjoy.
 
The shock sits low, but the adjustment is accessible from the top and…
 
…from below, through a window in the box-section. RC photo
 
 
Closeup of Pivot’s dropout. The through-axle is a clean installation. RC photo
 
 
Shuttles tomorrow–should be fun. Today, we rode Firebirds. RC photo
 
RIDING THE PHOENIX

 
Pivot set us up with matching DH gear and hired Acme Outfitters to shuttle us to the snowline of the Lasalle mountains above Moab’s canyonlands. The route had a number of climbs, which gauanteed to expose any weakness in the pedaling effectiveness of the Phoenix. Within a mile, the Phoenix felt natural, with balanced steering and light control inputs. Straight-line stability is remarkable–assisted by the Fox 40 fork and RC4 shock, Moab’s innumerable ledges, jumps and ladder-like square-edge sections of broken stone put the new pivot to task. In all cases, the bike was an impressive performer. And about the pedaling? Well, after 30 miles on Moab’s red-rock we arrived at the trucks fresh enough for another lap. The number of true downhill rigs that can handle an extended trail ride can be counted on three fingers–and this one tops the group.
 
With a 15th place in its first World Cup in Maribor, the Phoenix has been baptized in the fire of competition, and we can vouch for it as a potential winner at the highest level. Better still, the Phoenix’s versitile handling and trustworthy suspension can boost a beginner’s game–as well as take a pro-competitor to the podium. We will be testing the Phoenix on our home tracks soon to evaluate how the Phoenix stacks up against proven winners like the mighty Santa Cruz V-10–can’t wait to tell that story.
 
All thumbs up on Pivot’s new DH bike. Moab was a great playground for the nimble-handling machine. RC photo
 
 
 
 
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