Pivot Switch­blade

Stick it to big sin­gle­track

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - reviewed by Matt Stet­son

Stick it to big sin­gle­track

Named af­ter ev­ery­one’s favourite back al­ley mug­ging weapon and just as use­ful in hairy sit­u­a­tions on the trail, the Pivot Switch­blade is carv­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a go-to light­weight en­duro bike with mul­ti­ple wheel op­tions. I tested the 2017 edi­tion while at the Mul­berry Gap in El­li­jay, Ga., this past spring on the Pin­hoti Trail which is part of the Ap­palachian Trail Net­work.

The Switch­blade I tested was the Pro Xt/xtr 1x 29 ver­sion. Spec’d with a 135-mm Fox Float Fac­tory dps Evol Kashima shock and a 150-mm Fox 36 Fac­tory Kashima fork, the bike lands on the longer-travel side of the 29er spec­trum. Even with the big wheels, Pivot has man­aged to achieve a 428-mm chain­stay length, which is stag­ger­ingly short for a 29er frame with 135 mm of travel. This short rear end makes the Switch­blade a very nim­ble and fun bike that rails cor­ners. The frame will ac­cept tires as wide as 3.25” on 27.5”-plus hoops. If you want the added trac­tion of a 27.5”-plus tire, the Switch­blade can han­dle it. The two wheel op­tions and their tire-width ranges are great, but they do come at a cost. The Switch­blade uses a 157-mm rear-hub spac­ing more com­monly found on down­hill bikes. This con­fig­u­ra­tion will nar­row the range of the wheels avail­able for this bike. My model had su­per stiff Reynolds car­bon wheels laced into In­dus­try Nine hubs that Pivot of­fers as an op­tional up­grade.

The Switch­blade uses a Dw-link style rear sus­pen­sion that re­ally soaks up the bumps when speed­ing through rough sec­tions of trail. The 67.25-de­gree head-tube an­gle paired with the shorter rear end in­spires con­fi­dence on steeper sec­tions of trail, where a lot of 29ers would have your rear end flirt­ing with spin­ning rub­ber. The Switch­blade truly feels like a

trail bike with cross coun­try man­ners. It’s able to tackle all the rough and steep sec­tions, but is happy to pedal back to the top again. You prob­a­bly won’t be get­ting any up­hill koms on the Switch­blade con­sid­er­ing it has 150 mm travel up front, but with care­ful fron­twheel place­ment most switch­backs are man­age­able.

My Pro model Switch­blade came with an xtr/xt 1 x 11 (11-48 tooth) driv­e­train paired with a Race Face Aef­fect SL crank sport­ing a 30-tooth ring. I found the gear range to be more than ad­e­quate even on some of my longer rides with ex­tended climbs. Brak­ing duties were han­dled by the Shi­mano XT brakes, which have am­ple power, but could ben­e­fit from some added mod­u­la­tion. Pivot also in­cludes a wtb Vigo Race sad­dle atop a Fox Trans­fer drop­per post with stealth ca­ble rout­ing that per­formed flaw­lessly dur­ing the test.

Pivot has done a good job of mak­ing a 29er that is more nim­ble and ca­pa­ble on tech­ni­cal trail, but still ef­fi­cient and man­age­able when it comes to ped­alling. This is a great bike for all-day back­coun­try ex­cur­sions or lap­ping some tech­ni­cal, rocky East Coast trails.

“It truly feels like a trail bike with cross coun­try man­ners.”

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