2018 Pivot Phoenix DH Carbon Saint Bike

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Review - Pivot Phoenix from Vital MTB Test Sessions

You'll be grinning ear to ear the first time you smash a corner on the 'Best Park Bike' in Vital MTB's DH Test Sessions.

Rating: Vital Review

During the Vital MTB 27.5 DH Test Sessions, the Pivot Phoenix went head-to-head with four other leading bikes. What follows are our thoughts specific to the Phoenix. Be sure to check out the main feature for an in-depth comparison video, timed testing results, and more.

Highlights

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Carbon frame
  • 204mm (8.0-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.9-inches) front
  • dw-link suspension design
  • 9.5x3.0-inch shock with sag indicator
  • Air shock suggested due to clevis design
  • Internal cable routing with cable port system
  • Integrated frame protection throughout
  • Press fit bottom bracket with ISCG 05 mount
  • 12x157mm rear axle
  • 10-year warranty
  • Measured Weight: 34.3-pounds (15.6kg, stock tires, without pedals)
  • Size Tested: Large
  • Model Tested: Carbon Saint
  • MSRP: $7,499 USD
  • More Info:

During the Vital MTB 27.5 DH Test Sessions, the Pivot Phoenix went head-to-head with four other leading bikes. What follows are our thoughts specific to the Phoenix. Be sure to check out the main feature for an in-depth comparison video, timed testing results, and more.

Highlights

  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Carbon frame
  • 204mm (8.0-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.9-inches) front
  • dw-link suspension design
  • 9.5x3.0-inch shock with sag indicator
  • Air shock suggested due to clevis design
  • Internal cable routing with cable port system
  • Integrated frame protection throughout
  • Press fit bottom bracket with ISCG 05 mount
  • 12x157mm rear axle
  • 10-year warranty
  • Measured Weight: 34.3-pounds (15.6kg, stock tires, without pedals)
  • Size Tested: Large
  • Model Tested: Carbon Saint
  • MSRP: $7,499 USD
  • More Info: www.pivotcycles.com

Strengths

Aside from being a proven World Cup DH racing rig, the Pivot Phoenix is often associated with Bernard Kerr and his outrageously playful antics all over the bike park. That is where this bike really distanced itself from the rest, taking the Best Park Bike award in Vital's 27.5 Downhill Test Sessions.

Upon first glance, the most notable observation in regard to the Pivot’s carbon frame is the massive downtube. This bike has a beefcake body composition but is all lean muscle mass weighing in at just 34.3-pounds – the lightest bike of the bunch. The Phoenix really excelled when the trail was dynamic, with the large downtube anchoring the bike through high-speed berms and encouraging controlled, quick maneuvers on machine-built trails.

There were many opportunities to piece together certain sections of the race track by utilizing natural undulations, roots, and rocks to pop off and find backside. The bike's ability to get airborne quickly helped smooth out some otherwise really rough sections, especially in less-steep bits that can completely kill momentum. Its willingness to pop and pump when otherwise unable to pedal came in really handy on the final segment of the test track, and carrying that hard-earned momentum to the finish line proved paramount to a top result.

When it was time to put the hammer down, the Phoenix accelerated quickly thanks to the pedal-friendly dw-link suspension platform transferring horsepower directly to the dirt. These are important moments often forgotten by a racer, and often unseen by viewers due to the relatively unspectacular nature of the terrain. Pivot's ability to capitalize on such elements help this bike excel when podium positions are separated by mere tenths of a second.

Weaknesses

Even though Pivot provides a good suspension guide and rear shock sag indicator, suspension setup proved to be a little more difficult than originally anticipated. Totally JRA on our first run, a harsh bottom-out at the suggested setting quickly led to a trail-side re-evaluation and more air spring pressure. Aggressive riders should consider adding a volume spacer to the stock configuration. Excessive trail feedback also encouraged us to back off high-speed compression quite a bit. While the pedaling prowess and playful nature of this bike were excellent, bumps at all speeds were noticeable.

Though we tried nearly every trick we could dream up, the Phoenix is LOUD! For some, this could be an absolute deal-breaker as silence is solitude. If you value a bike more for its ride performance, the Phoenix is certainly worth withstanding the carbon cacophony underfoot. Rattly cables and brake pads, a noisy ratchet in the rear hub, and some chain slap missing the chainstay protection could be to blame.

Due to the clevis design, keep in mind that this bike is not coil shock friendly. Finally, we're not big fans of the PadLoc-style handlebar and grip combo as it adds complication and can reduce control at the edges of the bar.

Suggested upgrades for a few hundred dollars: Consider replacement grips (non-PadLoc), a faster DT Swiss ratchet in the rear hub, 200mm rear rotor, plus anything you can do to silence it.

Geometry

Suspension Analysis

Using the bike industry's leading linkage analysis software, André Santos was able to determine a close approximation of the Phoenix's kinematics for the purpose of this review. Though they don't always tell the full story, these charts provide great insight into several key factors that impact how it rides.

André's Observations:

  • The Pivot Phoenix has a moderately progressive rear suspension for a DH bike at 34%, which means that it is relatively easy to use all the travel. Although the linkage offers some bottom-out resistance you might need to add some high-speed compression or volume spacers to the shock on more aggressive tracks.
  • Great pedaling efficiency with around 120% anti-squat for a 34-tooth chainring.
  • Normal level of chain growth given its pedaling efficiency.
  • Anti-rise near 90%, meaning that the geometry of the bike is preserved during rear braking.
  • Overall, the Phoenix has a balanced suspension design for a DH bike, offering a moderate amount of progressivity with very good pedaling efficiency.

Vital's preferred suspension settings for a 175-pound rider on stock components: 28% sag // 1 additional volume spacer // HSC 20-clicks from closed // LSC 15-clicks from closed

What's The Bottom Line?

Though it can absolutely hold its own in the rough, the berm-smashing Pivot Phoenix just wants to have a good time cutting up corners and boosting lips – as many and as fast as possible. This bike is incredibly fun in the turns thanks to a remarkably light, oversized chassis. Its ability to pedal well and conserve momentum also make it a threat on the race course. Just be ready to spend a fair bit of time up front tuning the suspension and addressing noise.

Visit www.pivotcycles.com and the Vital MTB 27.5 DH Test Sessions feature for more details.

Vital MTB Rating


About The Testers

Brian Buell - Age: 31 // Years Riding: 25+ // Height: 6'1" (1.85m) // Weight: 180-pounds (81.6kg)

Brian is kind of like Uncle Rico – even though he has a titanium rod in his tibia and is continuously trying to avoid obtaining a dad bod, he delusionaly daydreams of World Cup racing glory. That thought process transfers to the trail. Whether building trail, coaching on them, or just trying to recapture the glory days between the tape, he’s always in search of the racer line. Known for "Buelling" his bikes, Brian sometimes puts a serious hurt on parts pushing them to their limits. Although the Collegiate National Championship sweater vest jersey is collecting dust somewhere, whenever it’s time to race against the clock or perform for the camera you can bet he’s fully pinned putting it all on the line for you!

Brandon Turman - Age: 32 // Years Riding: 17 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.4kg)

"I like to have fun, pop off the bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when I feel in tune with a bike, and really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill." Formerly a mechanical engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every new innovation in our sport from the past several years and a really good feel for what’s what.


Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Angel Fire Bike Park, Maxxis, and LITPro. Tester gear provided by Troy Lee Designs, Fasthouse, and Five Ten.

Photos by Sean Horton // Videos by Jake VanHeel and Brandon Turman

Specifications

Product Pivot Phoenix DH Carbon Saint Bike
Model Year 2018
Riding Type Downhill
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 603.3mm 628.7mm 654.1mm 679.5mm
Head Tube Angle 62.50° 62.50° 62.50° 62.50°
Head Tube Length 105.9mm 105.9mm 105.9mm 105.9mm
Seat Tube Angle 71.85° 71.85° 71.85° 71.85°
Seat Tube Length 430.5mm 430.5mm 430.5mm 430.5mm
Bottom Bracket Height 339.6mm 339.6mm 339.6mm 339.6mm
Chainstay Length 442mm 442mm 442mm 442mm
Wheelbase 1211.1mm 1238mm 1263.9mm 1291.1mm
Standover 736.6mm 736.6mm 736.6mm 736.6mm
Reach 402.1mm 428mm 454.9mm 482.1mm
Stack 611.1mm 611.1mm 611.1mm 611.1mm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Hollow-core, internal, high-compression carbon molding process
Rear Travel 204mm
Rear Shock FOX Float Factory X2 EVOL Air
Fork FOX 40 Factory Float, FIT damper, Kashima coating
Fork Travel 203mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Pivot precision DH sealed bearings
Handlebar Phoenix Team Carbon, 800mm width, 35mm diameter
Stem Phoenix DH Direct Mount, aluminum, 46mm - 49mm adjustable length, 35mm width
Grips Phoenix Team Padloc
Brakes Shimano Saint, 203mm front / 180mm rear rotors
Brake Levers Shimano Saint
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano Saint
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano Saint, 10-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide e*thirteen LG1+
Cranks Race Face SixC, 165mm length
Chainrings Race Face 36 tooth, direct mount, narrow/wide
Bottom Bracket Race Face BB92, pressfit
Pedals N/A
Chain Shimano 10-speed
Cassette Shimano CS-6700 11-28 tooth, 10-speed
Rims DT Swiss FR 570
Hubs DT Swiss 275 front / DT Swiss 350S rear
Spokes DT Swiss
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5" 3C DH casing, Maxx Grip, tubeless ready
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4" 3C DH casing, Maxx Grip, tubeless ready
Saddle Pivot WTB Hightail Team
Seatpost Phoenix Race Carbon
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard, single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12mm x 150mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts No
Colors Sterling silver, aqua blue, team blue, stealth black
Warranty 10 year frame warranty, 1 year bearing and paint warranty
Weight 34 lb 5.2 oz (15,570 g)
Miscellaneous DW-link suspension
Head tube angle adjustable +/- 0.75° with adjustable headset option
Full-length internal cable routing, hassle-free cable port system
Integrated downtube and chainstay protectors
Integrated fork bumpers
Reynolds Black Label carbon wheelset upgrade available
Price
  • $7,499
  • $8,799
More Info

www.pivotcycles.com

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