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Chris Cocalis of Pivot Cycles: Sea Otter 2013 Interview

At the Sea Otter Classic 2013 we had the opportunity to interview Pivot Cycles founder Chris Cocalis, one of the cycling industry’s leading innovators and designers. Chris talked at length about Pivot’s latest, the Firebird 27.5, announced just the day before. Check out his comments toward the end of the video on a potential carbon 27.5 designed from the ground floor up.

Although there weren’t any demo bikes in my size Large, I did the parking lot test on a Medium and was struck by a couple of things.

First, it’s by far the plushest 27.5 bike I’ve encountered. With 6.6 inches of rear travel and the DW-link, it has that nice Barcalounger feel to it when you sit back. Most of the other 650b/27.5 bikes are in the 6-inch range, including the attention-getting new Bronson carbon from Santa Cruz.

Second, for all its plushness it handled really well. The 14.1-inch bottom bracket, 66.5-degree head angle and short rear triangle gave it a flickability I would not have expected, and have not found, in larger wheel sizes.

It made me wonder if longer travel isn’t the geometric “sweet spot” for the 27.5 wheel size. Shorter travel just doesn’t accentuate the larger wheel size enough, diminishing its versatility, in my experience anyway. I spoke with several experienced 650b/27.5 riders, and most were on the shorter-travel, cross-country side of the equation. They also tended to be a bit shorter than me — 5-9 and 5-10 range.

I’ll look forward to demo-ing a Large when they become available. For now, Chris gives the full rundown on Pivot’s new Firebird 27.5 in this interview.

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