Pivot Switchblade first look

Aggressive 29er trail bike with plus tire capability and 157mm hubs

27.5 29er Enduro Plus
Dropping in a rock slot with the Pivot Switchblade. Photo by Lear Miller

Dropping in a rock slot with the Pivot Switchblade (click to enlarge). Photo by Lear Miller

What is it?

The Pivot Switchblade is an aggressive trail bike with 135mm of rear travel and 150mm up front. It ships with either a 29” or 27.5+ wheelset thanks to the frame’s cavernous tire clearance. It is an aggressive bike with 67.25-degree head angle in 29er configuration and 66.5 in 27.5+ form. Chainstays are a stubby 16.85”, yet it can still accommodate a front derailleur and 3.25” tires. To achieve all this, Pivot has borrowed the 157mm rear hub spacing from the downhill world.

But there is a catch. To design the best bike they could with all these demands, Pivot designed a new hub size. They used the width of the old 157mm downhill standard and widened the spoke flanges by 14mm for lateral wheel stiffness. This will be covered in depth later in this article.

Weight for the medium is 27.67 lbs.

Weight for this size medium is 27.7 pounds (click to enlarge).

29er and 27.5+

The recommended plus tire size is 2.8” and all measurements quoted assume the diameter of a 2.8” tire. Bottom bracket height is a fairly low 13.4” in 29er form and lower at 13.2” for plus size. The reason it’s lower is a 2.8” tire is about an inch shorter in diameter compared to a 2.3” 29er tire.

Geometry for Switchblade is designed for aggressive riding.

Geometry for the Switchblade is designed for aggressive riding (click to enlarge).

How does it handle the difference in diameter between the two wheel sizes? Given that the 27.5+ tire is about an inch shorter, Pivot uses a 17mm headset cup installed at the bottom of the head tube. This raises the bike back up so the bottom bracket difference is not too severe. The head angle and seat angles change a bit, though, since there is no mechanism to raise the rear end.

The Switchblade jumps with great enthusiasm. Photo by Lear Miller

The Switchblade jumps with great enthusiasm (click to enlarge). Photo by Lear Miller

The seat angle changes from 74.25 for the 29er to 73.5 for the plus version. Again, the reason for all these differences is the change in diameter wheel sizes when using the recommended 2.8” tire. The front end is raised 17mm but not the rear. If the rider uses a 3.1” tire, then the geometry will be the same between the 29er and plus versions without need for a headset spacer.

Continue to page 2 for the phases of development »
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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Mike says:

    Heh, they recycled the Switchblade name from their Titus Bikes roots.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >> Heh, they recycled the Switchblade name from their Titus Bikes roots.

      Titus bike roots or ashes? Cool that they were able to reuse/recycle huh? I asked Cocalis if he was sure it was available or if they had to license. He said, “Oh it WAS available!”

  • Gary says:

    FC,

    So for Moab, 29er or 27.5+ did you like best? or both.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >> So for Moab, 29er or 27.5+ did you like best? or both.

      27.5+ for me because of all the rock hits and off camber traction needed. Getting the tire pressure as low as 15 psi is a delight for the control, fatigue and vision. Ahab, Porc and Mag 7 were on the menu. But this bike will shine on looser terrain as well over there.

      Also the 27.5+ version is slacker and radder at 66.5 degree head angle.

  • Patrick says:

    Is it available as a frame only option?

  • Oliver says:

    Just what we needed, another rear hub size.

  • Rob says:

    17mm spacer below head tube(thats about the whole tapered section of stear tube) and 57mm rear hub spacing??? sounds like a frankinstien bike and mad dash full of short cuts to comeout with a hightower. Did it really take 5 years to design this?

  • Ben says:

    How does it compare to the Mojo 3 ? Ibis recommended the Mojo 3 over their slacker HD3 for most riders not catching big air. For the 27.5 setup, how does the Pivot fare for the everyman ? On paper it seems like it’s geared toward the aggressive racer vs the trail rider.

  • Larry says:

    How would you think that the Switchblade would compare to the Specialized FSR SJ 6Fattie? Both are 150/135 and the the SJ’s chain stay is only 9mm longer.

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