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Enduro courses. World Cup Downhill courses. It’s hard to tell the difference between the two these days. Well, right up until the point when you have to grind your way to the top of the absolute hairball descent—that would be enduro. And that is also where the new Firebird 29 enters the picture—with its speed generating 29er wheels and a penchant for kicking ass.
The Firebird 29’s big wheels gobble up miles with ease, roll right over the gnar and add insane levels of traction to the mix. But this is no monster truck. The Firebird 29 is a lightweight machine that boasts a poppy, lively feel that long-travel 29ers have never possessed. Until now.
We obsessed over this bike’s geometry. After all, adding big wheels to a bike with this much travel is not always a recipe for awesome. History is littered with almost therelong-travel 29ers. The Firebird 29, however, is a very different—and awesome—kind of beast. With its long front-center and short chainstay combination, the Firebird 29 possesses that nimble, snappy feel that tempts you to make bold line choices yet allows you to stay in complete control when you’re warping down trails at World Cup speeds.
The Firebird 29 has a lot to live up to. On one hand, it needs to withstand repeated pummelings at bike parks and on the toughest trails. It has to be bomb proof. On the other hand, it also needs to be incredibly light—this bike is meant to give you an edge on the climbs. Since a 29er wheelset inherently packs more grams than the same wheelset in a smaller, 27.5 diameter, we knew there couldn‘t be any fat on the Firebird 29 frame. So, we made it both bomb proof and lean. Thanks to our own hollow-core, high-compression carbon molding process and an exacting combination of composite materials and shapes, we are able to deliver an ultra-light frame that meets the same stringent testing requirements for strength and stiffness as our World Cup downhill bike. Firebird frames weigh in at a mere 7 pounds (3.2kg) while complete bikes tip the scales at sub-30 pounds(13.5kg).
The Firebird 29 features a long front center, short chainstays, a low center of gravity and a decidedly slack 65-degree head angle to deliver unmatched stability and handling. Plus, a new flip-chip adjustment system in its upper linkage offers quick and easy geometry fine tuning. Taking a page from the Phoenix DH Carbon’s progressive geometry, the Firebird combines some of the longest reach measurements in the sport, with short, 16.96” (431mm) chainstays. The Firebird’s long and low geometry gives you increased stability at high speeds and on steep technical challenges, while its short chainstays provide a maneuverable, dynamic ride that makes it easy to put the bike precisely where you want it.
Dave Weagle’s dw-link™ rear suspension enables us to build a bike that achieves the ultimate in both downhill and climbing performance. The dw-link’s anti-squat and variable wheel travel path traits yield both the square-edge bump absorption of a downhill bike and the crisp, pedaling efficiency of a shorter-travel trail bike. Fast and efficient—It’s a hell of a combination.
A top-notch frame design deserves top-tier suspension. That’s why the Firebird 29 comes equipped with Fox’s class-leading Float X2 and DPX2 shocks. Our top racers consistently choose the Fox Float X2 air shock for its incredible control, tuneability and plush, coil-like feel. Or to put a finer point on it—this shock gets the nod because it allows you to hit downhills faster with greater confidence. On top of that, the Float X2’s climb switch makes the Firebird an Enduro-style rider’s best choice for getting up and down the mountain. The DPX2 offers much of the same long-travel performance in a lighter package. To match the rear suspension, we equip all of our Firebird 29’s with the latest 44mm offset, 170mm Fox 36 FIT GRIP2 forks – the perfect choice for aggressive, balanced handling in technical terrain.