firebird upgrades for dh
Have any of you upgraded your firebird to make it more dh friendly? If so what have you done?
I have mine set up for am riding at about 32 lbs with the fox air and lyric air up front. I took it downhilling and was actually impressed with it. After getting busy with life I forgot how much I love downhilling, I am hooked again. Now I am debating whether to build up a cheaper dh bike or throw some dh parts onto the bird. I would only need a frame and fork for a dh rig. For the bird, I know I can go coil with the aluminum rocker and maybe an angleset. Is there anything else? Dual crown or is that a no no?
Big Test Icycles
I have mine set up similar to yours. I too am planning on adding parts to the bird to make it more DH friendly. My short list is a spair wheel set. I dont want to drop big bucks so I'm looking at Transitions 32 and some heavier tires and a coil shock. This stuff can be had on MTBR or Pinkbike for decent prices. I have also wondered about the dual crown forks. I would opt for a Fox 180 for over a dual crown fork to save some weight, you would still get DH performance out of it.
Last edited by Hangtime; 08-26-2012 at 09:44 PM.
If you are looking at doing DH only, I'd upgrade the frame and forks. The firebird is a very capable bike, but it still is a trail bike and not designed for the rigors of serious DH (depending on trails?).
Rear shock upgrade to a coil is the best upgrade I have seen people make, the RC4 on mine give a very plush ride. Add some decent brakes, dual ply tires, 50mm stem, wide bars... thats pretty much all it takes.
I have compared the firebird against the phoenix, the the firebird struggles in fast steep rough sections, when the phoenix floats through these sections. I think slackening the head angle would help a lot in this regard, but it would be a bit of a pig on normal trails.
I think the rough super steep rock gardens is really the only spot where the bike bothered me. I think I am going to upgrade from the 11 xt brakes to the 2012 version, and try it out with a fox coil in the rear. I read somewhere that guys were using anglesets but I have not seemed to find it yet.
I'm still riding my 'bird in trail formation and just came back from a weekend of DH at Silver Star in BC. In the roots and rocks it was moderately out gunned as compared to a Norco Aurum I demo'd, but on the flow I could not be touched.
Large 'bird w/ 160lb rider (naked)
DHX 5.0 Air @ 170lb boost with a skosh more than 2 turns on the B.O.
Totem Coil w/ flood gate removed
I demo'd an Aurum because my fork started bleeding at the end of day 1. It made me love my bird even more.
Common sense is not so common - Voltaire
Never underestimate your own ignorance - Me
Not sure if you have made your changes but I ride my bird pretty much as a DH bike. I bumped up my wheel set to the Sun ADD Pro. Super nice. I also got my RP23 Pushed. Push has a DH set up for the RP23. It made an amazing difference and helped manage those rocks. If you have not made any changes maybe try PUSH before spending a grip.
I am also running the Fox 36 180. Love it.
man it's been a while since i've been on mtbr... I ride in the very rocky terrain of AZ/NV so even trail rides can have some harsh terrain. As I've owned it and ridden it for the past 3 years, I've made the following changes to suite what I like to ride and how I ride:
-DHX coil rear shock
-DH casing 2.7 minion DHF and DH Ardent 2.6 on the back
-FUNN Wider-than-stock- bars, I cant remember the width.
-Animal flats pedals.
-KS dropper post
-SLX 2 ring cranks
-Shimano shadow med cage rear der
-Original fox 160 fork - a 170 might be in my future.
I think of it like this: The whole reason I climb anything it to get to the DH part so I will gladly sacrifice some weight if it means more durability.
FB VS tru DH bike:
It CAN take more work and feel scarier on the rougher stuff than a purpose made DH bike, but it's OK cause I just pedaled my way up there. I also try to keep in mind is the margin for error is less. I can go hit a step-down gap (say, 6ft drop, 20 feet out), and the bike takes it completely fine. In fact I love how this bike handles in the air. If, however, I case that gap, I suspect there might be problems. and if I do that kind of thing over and over, I would not expect it to last.
So to summarize, I consider my FB a trail bike with DH tendencies. It handles the rough, and will go as fast as I can get the guts up enough to go. It's heavy when you pick i up, but it rides way lighter than it feels. in an ideal world, I would prob own a 575 and a Phoenix, but the FB is like the best of both worlds, and I don't have to ever say, aw man, I wish I had my OTHER bike haha.