Though some will argue where and how e-bikes should fit within trail management here in the U.S., it is obvious they are taking the industry by storm and will no doubt help to open the sport of mountain biking to more riders. As one of the leading brands in the boutique MTB market, Pivot is one of only a couple mid-sized brands to have jumped into the e-bike market and it seems to be serving them well.
For 2020, the Shuttle is in its second iteration with a few key changes and upgrades to the bike’s power system and geometry. Changes from the previous shuttle include the addition of 29” wheels combined with 160mm of front travel and 140mm of rear travel utilizing a dw-link suspension design. For 2020, the Shuttle also integrates an updated geometry to accommodate the change in wheel size, an updated Shimano STEPS power system with an integrated yet removable battery.
Related: Mtbr’s e-bike forums
Like the previous iteration, the latest Shuttle features a complete carbon fiber frame artfully crafted around the Shimano STEPS e-bike drive unit and battery system. Designed to keep weight low on the bike, the battery is integrated into the downtube while the motor sits between the battery and the bottom bracket. In addition to the low weight positioning, the Shuttle is touted as one of the lightest eMTB’s on the market with an advertised weight of less than 45lbs.
2020 Pivot Shuttle Highlights
- 140mm dw-link rear travel, 160mm front travel
- 29-inch wheels (27.5+ compatible)
- 65.2-degree headtube angle
- Shimano STEPS E8000 motor with 504 watt-hour battery
- Full bike sub 45lbs.
- 10-year frame warranty
- Small to X-Large frame sizing fitting rider heights from 5’4” to 6’7”
- Two build options: Team XTR ($10,499) and Race XT ($7,899)
- More info: pivotcycles.com
Shimano STEPS System
STEPS stands for SHIMANO Total Electric Power System. The system is designed to ride like a normal mountain bike due to its small size that allows manufacturers to use similar geometry as non-eMTB’s. The system is low profile with an integrated protective cover and is designed specifically to handle the abuse of technical trail riding. Coming in at 6.2lbs the compact drive unit offers a relatively natural pedaling feeling while it’s compact design offers a comfortable level of ground clearance. The Shuttle utilizes an internally mounted 504 watt-hour lithium-ion battery designed to take up to 1,000 charge cycles with no loss in power. Though the battery is fully integrated into the downtube it can be removed in about 3-5 minutes by removing 8 T-25 torx screws and can be done on the trail unlike the previous version of the shuttle.
Pivot Shuttle Build Packages
For 2020, Pivot added two build options for the Shuttle, giving consumers a more economical build option in addition to the high-end $10k+ top-shelf build. Another significant change is the departure from Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting system. Opting instead for mechanical shifting, which is a welcome change in our opinion. The two build options, include the high-end Team XTR build retailing at $10,499, and the “cheaper” Race XT build retailing at $7,899 (tested here). Both include full Shimano drivetrain componentry and brakes, Fox suspension, and DT Swiss wheels.
Fork FOX 36 Factory 160 mm
Rear shock FOX Factory FLOAT DPX2 140 mm
Motor/Battery Shimano STEPS E8000 504 Wh
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 12 speed
Brakes Shimano XT four-piston 203/180 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer 150 mm
Stem Pheonix Team 45 mm
Handlebar Pheonix Team Carbon 760 mm
Wheels DT Swiss EB1535 29″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHRII 29×2.5″/2.4″
Fork FOX 36 Performance 160 mm
Rear shock FOX Performance FLOAT DPX2 140 mm
Motor/Battery Shimano STEPS E8000 504 Wh
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX 11 speed
Brakes Shimano BR-TM520 four-piston 203/180 mm
Seatpost KS Rage 125 mm
Stem Phoenix Team 45 mm
Handlebar Pheonix Race Aluminum 760 mm
Wheels DT Swiss EB1935 29″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHRII 29×2.5″/2.4″
Utilizing a modern trail bike geometry, the Shuttle is designed around technical trail riding with a long, slack demeanor. Due to the changes in travel and wheelsize from the previous version, the geometry has also changed slightly. With a 65.2 degree head angle and 74 degree seat angle, positioning on the bike in an upright and comfortable position. Our large test bike has a 123cm wheelbase, highlighted with a 43.8cm chainstay length giving the bike a planted yet nimble demeanor. The biggest geometry change over the previous Shuttle is the BB height that has increased from 348mm to 363mm, for 1.5cm of additional clearance.
Pivot Shuttle Ride Report
Designed from the ground up around the latest iteration of Shimano’s STEPS ebike power system, the Shuttle’s geometry is quite similar to the popular Mach 5.5 27.5” trail bike. It’s equipped with a slack, 65.2 degree, head angle, 17.2” chainstays, and a comfortable seat angle that sets the rider nicely above the majority of the bikes additional weight. Climbing on the Shuttle was comfortable on both tame double track and roads. As the terrain increased in technicality, the Shuttle continued to come alive more and more.
As a rider constantly transitioning between a variety of both traditional bikes and e-bikes, it takes a little time to sink back into a feeling of familiarity and this is more so the case when going between e-bikes equipped with different power systems. With the Shimano STEPS system, there is an initial surge of the power that is delivered after the first bit of rider-inputted power. This surge takes a bit of getting used to when getting going from a stop on a technical climb, but once you are comfortable with the burst, it’s a nice touch for getting the bike back up to rolling speed. No matter the ascending terrain, the Shuttle offers a solid and predictable means for climbing to the top of all your local hills.
Once it’s time to flip the switches and point it downhill, the Shuttle quickly turns from a nimble climber into a planted traction machine. With the bikes sleek integration of the Shimano drive unit and battery into the downtube, weight is kept as low as possible giving the Shuttle a planted, predictable feel especially at high speeds. Once the bike reaches a comfortable descending speed, it’s braking power with the stock Shimano TM-520 four-piston brakes, this is one area on e-bikes where I feel more is better. Numerous turns were blown, and I felt on the verge of disaster a few times due to a lack of stopping power.
Whether the trail was fast and flowy with boosty jumps, high-speed chunder, or slow speed tech, I was quite surprised with the bike’s capabilities and confidence-inspiring ride qualities. It was playful and maneuverable where needed, but stern and planted when the speeds opened up. Some additional suspension tuning was an important effort after the first few rides. As my comfort increased, I wanted to push the bike harder forcing me to add tokens to the fork, add pressure to the rear shock, and add pressure to the tires. Because of the bike’s weight, suspension characteristics are an important safety mechanism to keep you planted and in control.
Battery life on the new STEPS system was decent overall, I was able to ride a few longer rides, 25-30 miles with 4500’ of climbing. I spent most of the ride in eco mode with a few short bursts in trail mode. These types of rides have become my go to e-bike rides as they allow me to cover a lot of ground in less than 2 hours making for an amazing after work or lunchtime adventure.
Overall, I was nothing short of impressed with the new Shuttle. Larger wheels made for a more predictable experience, especially when speeds were increased and terrain uncertain. Shimano’s latest STEPS drive unit was reliable, durable, and got me where I needed to go no matter what type of conditions I put it through. Sure, I’d love a little more battery life, but I’m sure these will continue to improve in efficiency and output. If I were in the market for a new ebike, I would have the Pivot Shuttle at the top of my list. I’d likely choose the “lower-end” XT Race build with the plan to upgrade the brakes to full Icetech 203mm rotors and finned pads front and rear, this would greatly improve the enjoyment of this extremely capable ebike and add more confidence to it’s descending prowess.
- Weight (45lbs.)
- Slack head angle (65.2 degrees)
- Short chainstays
- 29” wheels
- Durable Shimano driveunit
- Not enough braking power
- Battery not easily removed for charging or swap
- Budget XT build still $7,900
If you’re in the market for an e-MTB, the latest iteration of Pivot Shuttle offers a capable, trail focused option. It’s slack head angle, short chain stays, and 29″ wheels give it ride characteristics that modern trail riders are seeking while the Shimano E8000 driveunit is a reliable power source which will help to get you up the hill comfortably and consistently. Our XT race equipped Shuttle offered a nice build package despite it’s lacking in the brake department. If you’ve never been on an e-bike but think you might be in the market, do yourself a favor and stop at your local shop and drop the coin and demo one for a day or two, you’ll be surprised at what these hybrid machines will open up in your area, depending on how e-MTBs are being regulated where you live.