I had the chance to test ride the new Pivot Switchblade and if you haven’t tried it out already what are you waiting for?? The weather has been great and you can demo one so there are no more excuses. Not going to lie, initially I already had a chip on my shoulder about the Switchblade because light blue is not anywhere on my favorite colors list. Definitely not the best reasoning for being a hater but hey, I’m a visual type of guy and can’t help myself. That aside I tested a model that had gigantic 2.8 wide tires. From the get go I felt like I was pedaling a fat bike, my regular go to’s are 2.4 Minions so the 2.8″ Rekon’s felt super wide to me and didn’t inspire any confidence when pedaling around the parking lot. Now I know that Pivot has a reputation for amazing bikes and all but I’m just sharing my first glance feelings.
Pivot’s site pitches the Switchblade as an enduro/aggressive trail machine and designed to roll on either 27.5+” or 29″ wheels. The setups offer lots of versatility with the frame allowing up to 3.25″ tires in the 27.5″ configuration and up to 2.5″ tires in 29er mode. The bike is a 135mm travel DW Link. And unless you are entirely new to mountain biking you know what the DW stand for and his reputation is oh so alive in the Switchblade. With the shock in the open position the bike climbed so amazingly well and even better once I realized its position. It was easier to spin and motor up the trail than to dismount and push the bike up the trail. For the record if you don’t personally know me already I am not much of a climber (but I probably would be if I owned a Switchblade!) and so if I am saying it climbed effortlessly that’s saying a lot. In the hands of a more experienced rider (READ: “in better shape”) the Switchblade will probably feel like its got a hidden electric motor in there somewhere.
The Switchblade looks long and low in how it sits. It brought back memories of the first full suspension 29ers in size small where it looked like a kids sized frame that was suspended in between two gigantic wagon wheels. Only difference was that this bike rode like a rocket and every single part of it was designed to serve a purpose. Chainstays are super short which kept it feeling lively out on the trail and made manualing over obstacles and jumping a snap. It also allows the bike to get off the ground with ease. The frame is also designed for a 150mm fork but can handle up to a 160mm travel fork. Pivot outfits the bike with custom tuned Fox goodies. Fox 36 150mm upfront and a Fox Float DPS EVOL shock tuned specifically for the frame. As it stands thats a perfect suspension setup.
My riding impression of the bike was basically that I want one! Comes with all the right bells and whistles like carbon bars and a Fox Transfer dropper and well balanced Shimano brakes. Climbed like a boss and comes alive as soon as you drop the saddle and point it down the mountain. The Switchblade picks up speed effortlessly on almost every section of the trail. The 2.8 Maxxis Rekon’s hooked up SO good in the pacific northwest loam that we have the pleasure of enjoying this time of the year. The suspension works so good at keeping traction and feeling plush the whole way through and creates the illusion of a bike with more than 135mm out back. That paired with a light and stiff carbon frame and stoppers that did their job without feeling like over kill on a bike this size made for a very enjoyable ride. I was probably going a little bit faster than I should have been going on a bike that I was still getting accustomed to but I could’t help it. It practically makes it impossible for you to ride slow with how confidence inspiring it is. I was drifting all the turns I wanted to drift and railing the ones I wanted to rail. This bike just handles period. Personally if I were to purchase one I think I’d enjoy it with a little bit narrower tires but that is about the only change I would make to this amazing machine. If you are an aggressive trail rider do yourself a favor if you are in the market for a new trail bike and come into the shop to reserve a Switchblade demo bike one of these weekends. Its definitely worth throwing a leg over. You can thank me later! And if you fall in love with it, Pivot offers a variety of build kits ranging from 5k to 10k depending on each persons individual bike needs.
Now go ride bikes!
Words and Images: Ruandy A.