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  1. #1
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    HELP! Knolly Chilcotin or Pivot Firebird

    Have my new AM bike narrowed down to these 2. Looking for feedback from anyone who has ridden one or both of these bikes. Which one gets the nod?

  2. #2
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    Knolly but I am partial because I own one. It's more versatile with the slack and steep settings. In slack it has a 66 degree head angle and low BB and is great for the shuttle trails or lift assisted stuff and in the steeper 67 degree mode is perfect for the AM stuff. Really durable and capable frame. Few will come close to pushing the bike to its boundaries. Also having owned several DW link, VPP and mini link bikes I much prefer the Knolly 4x4. It's much more active and really tractors up chunky climbs and is very assured and planted in the downs. The DW link is very efficient but unless you are riding road or fire roads I say the more active 4x4 is the way to go. Check out the Knolly forum. Many happy campers with Chilcos.
    Last edited by wilks; 11-29-2012 at 07:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    I agree with everything wilks has said about the chili. I love mine.

  4. #4
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    I had a 2011 Firebird for approx. 3 months last year (2011 close-out buy)
    and tho I liked it for it's pedaling platform and it's rearward axle path on small bumps,
    I just didn't care for it's "locking out feel" on techy, ledgey climbs.
    I was comparing this feel to my old Knolly Endorphin which I thought was more active.
    And then there was the issue with the floating front derailier needing to be set-up perfectly or the chain would rub in certain gears.
    A good thing about the Firebird is that it can take a 650B wheel.

    Anyway I now have a Chilcotin and it is a very capable and fun bike.
    It works well with an air or coil shock, where the Firebird had fit issues with a coil or even the DB Air.

    Both bikes are very solid choices so have fun choosing!
    Last edited by blcman; 11-30-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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  5. #5
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    I own a Chilcotin and a Mach429, and have ridden a Firebird, I live in Phoenix, and we have very technical terrain, both up and down. I have found that I can climb better on my Chilcotin than any other bike I have ever owned, including my previous generation Endorphin. The 4x4 is all about traction. This bike destroys square edge hits and maintains traction where others don't. However, this bike pedals very well.

    I did swap with a buddy and rode his Firebird up Kiwanis, which is a tech climb and one of my more favorite trails. The first thing I noticed is how the Firebird felt rough and was getting hung up on the square edges when climbing. I felt that I needed to give more effort to get the bike up and over. Another issue was that the front end would wander a bit. My Chili, the front end is planted. Another issue I noticed, and this is true with my 429 as well, you sit on top of the bike. With the Knolly, you feel in it, which creates a better sense of balance, as well as a lower center of gravity. Also, the stack height on the Knolly is lower, making front end traction better without having to steepen the head angle.

    After the swap, my buddy immediately made some front end changes to try to the get the Firebird to feel more like the Knolly.

    In terms of DH performance, the Knolly just owns it. The 4x4 is super active, it has a nice progressive design which leads to an incredible mid stroke and bottom out. With the Firebird, if you run an air shock, you will be shimming it. It has an incredible mid stroke wallow.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tisser/7898235574/" title="IMG_3802 by tiSS'er, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8455/7898235574_51fa2cbee0_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="IMG_3802"></a>

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    I have no experience on the Chili and I'm on my 2nd FB frame. I love everything about the FB except not being able to get the bike below 31lbs, even with carbon Haven's. I liked the DHX on my first frame better than the RP23, but it's not bad just a little less cush on small bumps. I like the way the Bird climbs and the efficiency of the DW Link as a pedaling platform make it a snappy, good accelerator when you get on it. I just tried the medium sized volume reducer in the shock, but makes it too progressive. I'm going to try the small one next. The FB is FULLY capable of running 650b and it only make a great bike even better in my opinion! Here's the proof:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HELP!  Knolly Chilcotin or Pivot Firebird-img_2391-copy.jpg  

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    I'll echo the comments from Woodyak and ti'SSer about the Chilcotin. Very good bike.
    After ridiing the FB again this year at I-bike I am more positive about it than I used to be but I'd still choose the Chilcotin if I were buying a bike today.

    There's about 4 pages of discussion on this very topic on this thread if you want to read some more thoughts.
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    Thanks for the advice! Think it will come down to a game time decision. I have a Pivot dealer not too far from my house. A Knolly dealer is 2 hours away so that may end up playing into my decision. From everything I've read both bikes are super solid.

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    Thanks KRob, I read your review about this year's FB a few weeks ago and sounds like a solid bike. I just came across the Chilcotin by dumb luck and it really caught my eye. Sounds like the Chili might be the way to go. Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    Chili is a great bike , i completely suck at climbing and hate it and come from a DH bike.. The Knolly feels really good and stable. I found the faster you go the better it gets haha.. I love that i can adjust the 2 settings on the frame, i can also run a 160mm fork up to a 180mm fork .. I climbed up things i would usually walk so that says a lot about the 4x4 and im lazy so i usually walk up everything but since it climbs so good i been liking climbing now. If you check out my build list , im not running the lightest wheelset or components but my bike came in @ 31 lbs. I could get it under 30 with different things but im not worried about weight.. Im currently working on a coil shock and a coil fork for my DH/FR session days and then keep my air shock and fork for normal trail riding. Heres a quick pic


  11. #11
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    Awesome looking ride bro. Gotta tell ya, I'm leaning towards the Chili over the FB at this point.

  12. #12
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    Knolly. Pivot makes great short travel bikes but I think their big travel bike is their low point.

  13. #13
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    I haven't ridden the Knolly but I own a firebird. It's my go to all mountain bike.
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  14. #14
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    Never rode a knolly but would like to sometime. I sold my rfx and my firebird has been the best bike I have ever owned. I am blown away at how quick it takes off. It makes climbing fun. It handles awesome in nasty rock gardens and does exactly what you want it to on tight technical rocky rooty trails. the dw link is really amazing. I only had it downhilling once and was actually suprised how well it did.

    My bird is right around 32 lbs with a lyric and flow rims. I would like to try a coil on the back. I think the rp23 is ok for trails but in order to get the sag right I think you loose some small bump performance. Not enough sag and the thing blows through mid stroke. I think for any dh riding I would switch out the rp23 for a coil.

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    Both great bikes and an owner would be very pleased with both. I have had 3 Knollys and have spent a good deal of time on two pivots. I'd buy the one you feel most comfortable with. I think a Knolly is a notch above Pivot for the reasons above. Knolly frames are virtually bomb proof due to what they were made for. I feel Pivot does better on the XC/AM end rather than the AM/FR end. Both stellar brands

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tws_andrew View Post
    Both great bikes and an owner would be very pleased with both. I have had 3 Knollys and have spent a good deal of time on two pivots. I'd buy the one you feel most comfortable with. I think a Knolly is a notch above Pivot for the reasons above. Knolly frames are virtually bomb proof due to what they were made for. I feel Pivot does better on the XC/AM end rather than the AM/FR end. Both stellar brands
    I think you nailed it there, even though the Firebird is reviewed in the DH section!?!
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    Firebird is more versatile and really is a do it all bike. It climbs very well and decends amazingly well. I am not a believer in the Knolly suspension, it feels good but it doesn't out perform the DW of the Bird. Lots of Knolly pumpers here as well. I don't ride either of these bikes but have spent an ample amount of time on both. Finding the right rear shock for the Knolly can also be challenging and expensive for optimal performance. A CCDB doesn't quite do it for a Knolly as the steep progression requires more oil to be displaced at a rate faster than the CCDB can handle. The bird works awesome with a Fox canister (Float). A 66 degree head angle is not warranted...overkill for most....making climbing hard. 67 I would say is much closer to optimal.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIfreeDE View Post
    I am not a believer in the Knolly suspension, it feels good but it doesn't out perform the DW of the Bird. Lo
    I believe this is what you call a "matter of opinion." Both suspension platforms are designed by very talented engineers. I think it really comes down to what fits you better, and what suspension platform you prefer. Some people love the pedal friendly platform of DW, and others don't. Pivot is pretty explicit about saying the firebird is not a freeride bike, but a long travel trail bike?! The chili will definitely be up to the task if you decide to do some hucking.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIfreeDE View Post
    Firebird is more versatile and really is a do it all bike. It climbs very well and decends amazingly well. I am not a believer in the Knolly suspension, it feels good but it doesn't out perform the DW of the Bird. Lots of Knolly pumpers here as well. I don't ride either of these bikes but have spent an ample amount of time on both. Finding the right rear shock for the Knolly can also be challenging and expensive for optimal performance. A CCDB doesn't quite do it for a Knolly as the steep progression requires more oil to be displaced at a rate faster than the CCDB can handle. The bird works awesome with a Fox canister (Float). A 66 degree head angle is not warranted...overkill for most....making climbing hard. 67 I would say is much closer to optimal.

    Umm you do realize CCDB had small little issues with their shocks right? So i wouldnt aim it towards saying the Knolly was the problem, anyways Crane Creek fixed the issue with the big canister now .. Also , you need to know how to setup suspension properly when it comes down to playing with that shock as most of the people dont know how to setup suspension to its optimum status . Obv you need the right shock with the right frame for it all to work , so you cant blame one or the other.

    It depends what type of riding your looking to do and what you ride, so for you to claim a 67 degree head angle is optimal is null since thats only optimal for YOU and YOUR riding style and terrain . If your having problems climbing with a 66 degree head angle, then i would look further and say the problem is the rider .. Not bashing you here but your stupid comment about knolly pumpers is and you sitting here trying to tell someone that a certain headangle is optimal is also . The best thing for ANY rider is to demo both bikes if possible or maybe ask someone to demo their bike.

  20. #20
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    Chilly all the way.

    The 4x4 suspension rocks and it's much easier to set up than the DW Link.

  21. #21
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    Been running a CCDB coil on 3 different Knollies since 2007 and have no issues with progressiveness or anything else. Tune it correctly and it just disappears.

    As for the CCDB-Air, as stated, they had an issue with the ramp-up on progressive frames - not just Knolly. This was addressed with the new air-can.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbikerguy View Post
    Chilly all the way.

    The 4x4 suspension rocks and it's much easier to set up than the DW Link.
    Easier than just setting sag and rebound? I haven't had any issues running a CCDB coil on my Firebird. It's a great shock for it.

  23. #23
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    I pushed the firebird as hard as I could at Attitash in new hampshire. I realize its not whistler or mt park etc... but so far its the only dh place that I have been able to ride the firebird at. Either way, I could not believe how well the bike did. Keeping in mind its not a dh rig. The only down fall there is the stock head angle. The dw link was awesome. I would like to try it out with an angleset and see how much better it is in the super steep chutes

    I dont have any knolly dealers around here so I am not sure. They are sure sweet looking. I had ridden a firebird before and was able to score a great deal from go ride. If I could find a knolly for that same price range it would be fun to build one up. For the wife of course-

  24. #24
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    I have a Firebird and a Chilcotin and previously the Endorphin. I also have a Mach 5.7.

    You would not be disappointed in either bike.

    I have the Firebird set up more FR/DH - DH tires, 170 Solo Air, DHX Air
    Chilcotin more AM - TALAS 160, minion 2.35 front, ardent 2.35 in the back.

    The Firebird is BOMBER on the descents, REALLY Precise. I can stop on a dime, change direction or just friggen CHARGE. You do sit higher in the suspension and it is firmer on the descents and firmer in the chunder. You FEEL The terrain more and the bike is very poppy.

    The Chilcotin is more active. At slow speeds its not as precise, you need to be at a higher speed to be really stable - if you know what I mean - the bike wallows more at lower speeds both climbing and descending, which I ascribe to the more active suspension. Also right now, with it being winter, I have flats on the chilcotin and its a much more challenging climber on slow technical climbs. Its better clipped in when you can keep the speed up.

    My chilcotin weighs 31lbs, the Firebird 32 due to the tires.

    My issue really is which bike to chose when I go for a ride. I know, my life if tough. Good thing its ski season!
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodiegrrl View Post
    I have a Firebird and a Chilcotin and previously the Endorphin. I also have a Mach 5.7.

    You would not be disappointed in either bike.

    I have the Firebird set up more FR/DH - DH tires, 170 Solo Air, DHX Air
    Chilcotin more AM - TALAS 160, minion 2.35 front, ardent 2.35 in the back.

    The Firebird is BOMBER on the descents, REALLY Precise. I can stop on a dime, change direction or just friggen CHARGE. You do sit higher in the suspension and it is firmer on the descents and firmer in the chunder. You FEEL The terrain more and the bike is very poppy.

    The Chilcotin is more active. At slow speeds its not as precise, you need to be at a higher speed to be really stable - if you know what I mean - the bike wallows more at lower speeds both climbing and descending, which I ascribe to the more active suspension. Also right now, with it being winter, I have flats on the chilcotin and its a much more challenging climber on slow technical climbs. Its better clipped in when you can keep the speed up.

    My chilcotin weighs 31lbs, the Firebird 32 due to the tires.

    My issue really is which bike to chose when I go for a ride. I know, my life if tough. Good thing its ski season!
    I had to sell my 'bird to get my Chili, so you got me there!

    Sounds like you should switch parts between the two bikes to make the Chilil the "bigger' bike and the Firebird the "faster" pedaler.

    That way you won't have to deal with the Chili being a slower AM bike but a slower gravity bike.

    You can adjust the HA on the Chili also for better DH performance!

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by blcman; 12-04-2012 at 06:39 PM. Reason: added more info.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blcman View Post

    Sounds like you should switch parts between the two bikes to make the Chilil the "bigger' bike and the Firebird the "faster" pedaler.

    .
    .
    but then how would I decide between the Mach 5.7 and firebird?
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodiegrrl View Post
    but then how would I decide between the Mach 5.7 and firebird?
    Yeah, I forgot about those "other" bikes of yours.

    Tough life!
    Last edited by blcman; 12-04-2012 at 10:14 PM. Reason: corrected spelling
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodiegrrl View Post
    I have a Firebird and a Chilcotin and previously the Endorphin. I also have a Mach 5.7.

    You would not be disappointed in either bike.

    I have the Firebird set up more FR/DH - DH tires, 170 Solo Air, DHX Air
    Chilcotin more AM - TALAS 160, minion 2.35 front, ardent 2.35 in the back.

    The Firebird is BOMBER on the descents, REALLY Precise. I can stop on a dime, change direction or just friggen CHARGE. You do sit higher in the suspension and it is firmer on the descents and firmer in the chunder. You FEEL The terrain more and the bike is very poppy.

    The Chilcotin is more active. At slow speeds its not as precise, you need to be at a higher speed to be really stable - if you know what I mean - the bike wallows more at lower speeds both climbing and descending, which I ascribe to the more active suspension. Also right now, with it being winter, I have flats on the chilcotin and its a much more challenging climber on slow technical climbs. Its better clipped in when you can keep the speed up.

    My chilcotin weighs 31lbs, the Firebird 32 due to the tires.

    My issue really is which bike to chose when I go for a ride. I know, my life if tough. Good thing its ski season!
    What rear shock do you have on the chilcotin ? All our climbs are slow and rocky / technical and I don't experience wallow. I think my chilcotin climbs techy stuff better than the DW, VPP and other mini link bikes I've owned.

  29. #29
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    RP23, same one off the endorphin.

    Our climbing here alternates between slow techy, fast techy, fast and slow, sometimes we have traction, sometimes not we have to change cadence all the time. Maybe that's when the difference becomes more apparent.
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  30. #30
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    brodiegrrl, I think "wallow" is to strong a term when describng the Chili's suspension
    when it digs into climbs. It's defiantly active but it will come back up once the power levels off (if that makes sense?)

    The Firebirds DW suspension stiffens up under power so compared to that it will make most other rear-end feel soft or wallowy in comparison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blcman View Post
    brodiegrrl, I think "wallow" is to strong a term when describng the Chili's suspension
    when it digs into climbs. It's defiantly active but it will come back up once the power levels off (if that makes sense?)

    The Firebirds DW suspension stiffens up under power so compared to that it will make most other rear-end feel soft or wallowy in comparison.
    ya, wallow may not be the right word, maybe too active when you're trying to be precise or change speeds
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodiegrrl View Post
    ya, wallow may not be the right word, maybe too active when you're trying to be precise or change speeds
    That's better! lol
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    I have a firebird and never rode a knolly. The first thing i noticed was that this is a fast bike. I immediately felt comfortable on it and it has a playful feel to it, makes you want to pop off everything on the trail. Easy to manual too. It climbs good as well. I only use propedal for long paved or dirt roads. Suspension set up is really easy with the sag meter provided, took about 5 minutes. Both of these bikes are at the top of their class so I'm sure whichever one you choose will be great.

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    Thanks for all the advice and info y'all. Initially I was leaning towards the Knolly however the closest Knolly dealer is far and I have been having trouble contacting/nailing them down on a Chili build. A Pivot dealer is less then 10 minutes from my house and is a great shop. Think that will sway my decision and I'll go with the Bird.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli rob View Post
    I have a firebird and never rode a knolly. The first thing i noticed was that this is a fast bike. I immediately felt comfortable on it and it has a playful feel to it, makes you want to pop off everything on the trail. Easy to manual too. It climbs good as well. I only use propedal for long paved or dirt roads. Suspension set up is really easy with the sag meter provided, took about 5 minutes. Both of these bikes are at the top of their class so I'm sure whichever one you choose will be great.
    I demo'ed a Firebird and loved how it climbed, aside from the rear tire not gripping in the dry dust/rocks sometimes. It didn't hit me until near the end that I had the propedal to play with, as I'm so used to the Glory being pretty much set it and forget it. In other words, I was climbing in descend mode the whole time, and didn't notice any issues.
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    Well after much debate and research I ordered the Chilcotin last night. Hopefully its here soon! I'll put up some pics when I finally get my hands on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbuhl18 View Post
    Well after much debate and research I ordered the Chilcotin last night. Hopefully its here soon! I'll put up some pics when I finally get my hands on it.
    You won't be disappointed with your choice jbuhl18!

    If you have any questions on how to build the Chili, hit up the Knolly site.

    FD is a XT 780 E-type for example. Which shock did you get, DB Air?
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    This stupid computer, sorry bout the double post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blcman View Post
    You won't be disappointed with your choice jbuhl18!

    If you have any questions on how to build the Chili, hit up the Knolly site.

    FD is a XT 780 E-type for example. Which shock did you get, DB Air?
    I ended up going with the RP23 however I think I'll end up going with the CCDB at some point. I'm not really familiar with them. Is that the route I should've gone?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbuhl18 View Post
    I ended up going with the RP23 however I think I'll end up going with the CCDB at some point. I'm not really familiar with them. Is that the route I should've gone?
    Yeah the Chili plays well with all shocks IMO. Ride it till you get bored with it.
    You can alway sent it to Push later also.
    Is the Fox the new CTD model or standard RP23 with kashima coating?
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  41. #41
    Perpetual Hack
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    CCDB-A owns the RP23 in every way. Just not a contest.

    michael
    A Dirtbag since 1969
    A Knomer since 2007

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  42. #42
    Biking Like Crazy!
    Reputation: blcman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mykel View Post
    CCDB-A owns the RP23 in every way. Just not a contest.

    michael
    Obviously true, but he'll still be happy riding the Chili with the RP23.
    The suspension is so dialed and active w/o propedal on.

    He said he may get a DB later tho!
    Last edited by blcman; 12-14-2012 at 05:40 PM.
    Ibis HD3
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  43. #43
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    Yeah I actually went with the new CTD Kashima. I'll roll with that for awhile then maybe swap out to the CCDB.

  44. #44
    Pivoteer
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbuhl18 View Post
    Yeah I actually went with the new CTD Kashima. I'll roll with that for awhile then maybe swap out to the CCDB.
    Congrats on the Knolly and welcome to the club. I think you made a great choice with the RP23. Although I am running a Avy on my Chili, having several people riding around here with RP23s, all very satisfied. dirtbag went from an RP23 to a CCDb coil, and didn't feel a drastic change in the suppleness of the suspension, but rather better control due to more oil, coil, more adjustments, etc.

    I think the RP23 is slightly under rated, especially on this frame. I loved the RP23 on my Endorphin.
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  45. #45
    RideDirt
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    Congrats , welcome to the family and well see you on the " Knolly " part of the forums im assuming ? Dont worry about the rp23 , it does fine for now .. I have a coil shock right now but i also have the rp23 ill be keeping as a back up or spare.. Im just spoiled with the feel of a coil and the type of riding i do.

  46. #46
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    Congrats. Enjoyed reading this thread. Have fun on the new ride

  47. #47
    Be happy......go riding
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    For those who haven't seen a Firebird in action:

  48. #48
    PMarsh Thumbs Up!
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    Awesome vid! Fun seeing the FB in it's backyard.
    2011 Giant Glory 01
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    2004 Turner Rail - Stoled

  49. #49
    EMR
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    Nice vid Trailmix! I really liked the fb when I demoed it last year, more so than the mojo hd. I liked how it pedaled and descended. With that said, I picked up the chil this fall because of the adjustable geo, better fit, and dead sexiness. I'm very happy with the knolly, and I can clear things I couldn't in the past. This is part bike, part confidence, and part increasing skill. Great bike.

    If I had the fb, I probably wouldn't be disappointed. Both great bikes in my mind.

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