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Pivot Switchblade 27.5+/29in | First Ride

May 31st, 2016

By Andrew Dodd in Bikes,Features

Pivot Switchblade – one frame, split personalities

With less travel than the Mach 6 27.5in Enduro bike, and more than the 29in wheeled Mach 429, the brand new Pivot Switchblade accepts both 27.5+ and 29in wheels and is a versatile trail platform.

Featuring 130mm travel out back, and designed around a 150mm fork – the Pivot Switchblade is a trail bike that is designed to take some serious abuse. It’s light enough for all day rides; can be built light enough as a heavy duty XC bike – and tough enough to survive life as an Enduro race bike…

Pivot Switchblade

We rode the brand new Pivot Switchblade in both it’s 27.5+ and 29in guises – which accordingly have different riding characteristics that will suit different styles of rider.

Pivot Switchblade

With the burly looking 27.5+ tyres, the Switchblade looks mean – but with the 29in wheels it looks fast. And it is.

Sharing the same styling as the rest of the Pivot Cycles range, the Switchblade is a seriously good looking bike – and drew a lot of attention on our test day.

The carbon fibre frame is painstakingly moulded with hollow core technology to give the finest finish possible, and has a lay up that maximises stiffness whilst offering an amount of comfort that only a decent carbon frame can. The front end is mated to the rear triangle via the dw-link system – Pivot’s implementation of the dw-link is one of the best out there and it compliments the bike well.

Here are the main facts you need to know about the Pivot Switchblade:

  1. Compatible with both 29in and 27.5+ size wheels (using same fork/shock)
  2. Enormous clearance – accepts 27.5+ tyres up to 3.25in wide
  3. Accepts 29in tyres up to 2.5in
  4. Super Boost 157mm rear end
  5. Super Boost 56mm chain line
  6. Boost spaced forks
  7. Longer, progressive geometry than previous Pivot bikes
  8. Ultra short 428mm chain stays – the shortest out there!
  9. Front mech compatible with Pivot’s stealth E-type mount
  10. 135mm travel via the proven dw-link rear suspension
  11. Stiff upper clevis and double wishbone rear triangle
  12. Designed around a 150mm fork
  13. Optional 17mm lower headset extender included – raises BB on 27.5+; slackens 29er
  14. Pivot cable port system for easy routing the way you want; zero cable rattle and full Shimano Di2 compatibility
  15. Low durometer rubber frame protectors – super quiet impact resistance
  16. 6.4lb/2900gram frame weight with shock – size medium
  17. Complete build as shown – £5900
  18. Other build options available (Upgrade will stock the XTR/XT Pro 1X build as you tested with other builds available special order via Pivot dealers. Prices to be listed on Upgrade site next week)
Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 10.04.43
Pivot Switchblade

The Pivot Switchblade has a super clean frame layout; accepts a full length water bottle and operates on the dw-link. It’s a stiff, dependable layout and feels excellent on the trail.

Pivot Switchblade

The Pivot Switchblade has full Shimano Di2 internal routing capabilities, and has as clean rubber bash guard moulded on to the frame. Unlike other manufacturers, Pivot has made this from a soft compound rubber that absorbs rock impacts really well, and silences the bike against rock impacts.

How does it ride?

We managed to get some pretty good back-to-back time on the Pivot Switchblade set up with both 29in and 27.5in wheels.

With the same punchy feeling that the dw-link and Pivot set up offers on all bikes, the Switchblade felt familiar – but is certainly longer and a bit more modern than previous bikes we’ve ridden. The 130mm out back is plush and active – but feels progressive and punchy.

There’s no wallow or unwanted bobbing. And the 150mm fork mates perfectly.

Straight from the off, the 29in bike pulls away like a bike with smaller wheels. The ultra short chain stays are the helping hand here – the front end pops up with ease but the bike feels stable and planted with the bigger wheels.

Like other longer travel 29ers, it covers ground fast and only needs odd crank to top up speed.

Pivot Switchblade

From the off, the 29in Pivot Switchblade just felt right to us. Fast, well balanced – and incredibly lively with that ultra short back end.

The 27.5+ was a very different feel.

From the off we found the front end popped up a lot easier and although the bigger volume plus size tyres suggested the wheels would feel lethargic – it was the complete opposite and we actually found ourselves checking the tyre size to check they weren’t normal 27.5in tyres!
The Pivot Switchblade 27.5+ feels a lot more aggressive – it wants to over jump table tops; pop up on to banks and make you act the clown. It’s a lot of fun – and every bit as capable.

Same same, but different.

Pivot Switchblade

Although the bigger volume tyres told our heads that the 27.5+ version wouldn’t be as fun as the 29er – we were wrong! This thing wants to pop off all the lips, manual flat out and smash it every where!

We Say

There’s no doubt that the Pivot Switchblade is a well thought out and executed bike. We love that you don’t need to alter fork travel or the rear shock if you choose to swap wheel sizes; and we love that there is more than enough clearance for whatever set up you want to run.

The 27.5+ set up really surprised us – it’s incredibly agile; and not what we thought it might be. Definitely a spanner in the works and a bike that commands attention.

But for us – it’s all about the 29in set up. It absolutely rails and we can not wait to spend more time on this very capable machine. Fast; nimble and does so whilst keeping you in touch with terra firma.

We have a size XL coming in for review – so keep an eye out on Factory Jackson for the full review soon


Like the look of the Pivot Switchblade? Check the slideshow below for all the detail shots!

 

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