Review: 2020 Pivot Shuttle eMTB

Updated wheel size, geometry, and a more

E-bike Pro Reviews

Larger wheels, a slacker head angle and an improved power system are some key updates to the 2020 Shuttle.

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.

Utilizing a full carbon frame, the Shuttle integrates all the technology of a high-end trail bike into a sub 45lbs. eMTB.

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.

Shimano STEPS e-bike system supplies the power for the Shuttle and features an easy to use bar-mounted display.

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.

Team XTR

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″

XT Race

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″

The Shuttle is a Class1 e-bike, meaning the drive unit assists in the riders pedaling and is not actuated using a throttle. A Shimano E7000 drive unit and an integrated yet “removable” 504wH battery, the 2020 Shuttle offers a larger range over the previous offering.

Shuttle Geometry

The Pivot Shuttle's geometry is up to speed with modern trail bikes.

The Pivot Shuttle’s geometry is up to speed with modern trail bikes.

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.

Turning is a treat aboard the well-planted Shuttle. With its hefty weight planted low, this thing feels more than planted ever has.

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.

We were pleasantly surprised with how well the Shuttle descended with it’s planted feel and playful geometry.

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.

Pros:

  • Weight (45lbs.)
  • Slack head angle (65.2 degrees)
  • Short chainstays
  • 29” wheels
  • Durable Shimano driveunit

Cons:

  • Not enough braking power
  • Battery not easily removed for charging or swap
  • Budget XT build still $7,900

 

Verdict:

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.


About the author: Jordan Carr

Having spent more than half his life riding all types of bikes at almost every type of cycling event, Carr loves the freedom two-wheeled travel has brought to his life. Having spent many years behind the stand at a bike shop, he’s tested mountain bike products for a number of publications. Follow Carr's adventures as they travel the country promoting trails and mountain biking on Facebook and Instagram.


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Comments:

  • Gavin says:

    How is this a 2020 bike, I’ve had my Pivot Shuttle Team XTR since June 2019 !!

    • Wandering says:

      Most of the bike industry releases the next year models in Spring, 2021 models coming out soon, if not delayed due to Covid-19.

  • Dov Torenberg says:

    Did they improve the battery “change” process? It takes almost 15 minutes for me to change the battery (10 screws)… As opposed to less than a minute on a Haiibike (Bosh motor)..

  • Steven Schiff says:

    Really needs a bigger battery!

  • Lew says:

    25 – 30 miles in 2 hours, nice! How long is a ride like this on a regular bike?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>25 – 30 miles in 2 hours, nice! How long is a ride like this on a regular bike?

      For most intermediate riders… about 5 hours.

      And most will not do these rides or routes since the difficulty is so high and the pay-off may not be worth it. With e-bike, it’s usually attainable for most.

  • Flossy McHookerpants says:

    $10.5k lol

  • Rick says:

    One aspect of the review is incorrect, however: “an updated Shimano STEPS power system”. It’s the same system as previous Shuttle models, although the mode switch and display have been downgraded from E8000 to E7000 (which is actually a good thing – both are preferable to their E8000 counterparts).

  • rsmarg says:

    Why is it assumed “opening the sport to more people” is a good thing when most areas are buckling under the weight of too many trail users, constrained budgets limiting land managers’ ability to open more trail, battles against wilderness expansions, and existing trail systems continuing to add restrictions targeting cyclists?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >> Why is it assumed “opening the sport to more people” is a good thing…

      Opening the sport to more people will give us more decision making power and more land access. When a landowner or trail board member starts riding, they tend to open up access to mountain biking. When their kids, friends, relatives ride, they accept it and respect it.

      And when a lot more folks ride bikes, it promotes a healthier, happier, more responsible population.

      If we act like outcasts, we’ll be treated as such.

      • Jordan Carr says:

        >> Why is it assumed “opening the sport to more people” is a good thing…

        I agree with Francis on this one. Mountain biking is an accessible way to create community change and create more dialogue around trails and the value of creating quality trail infrastructure. If land managers and community decision makers can experience it, their understanding of mountain biking

        FC’s quote sums it up nicely “If we act like outcasts, we’ll be treated as such.”

        Let’s be better to eachother. Life doesn’t have to be a competition.

      • James says:

        These aren’t mountain bikes, they are low-powered motorcycles. They are eventually only going to hinder greater trail access. Of course, the industry loves them as they get to sell more stuff but they aren’t bicycles.

      • Jim says:

        These are low-powered motorcycles not bicycles. They will not open access but only hinder trail access. Of course, the industry loves them. They will probably be a cash cow for them. But call them what they actually are. motorcycles.

    • James says:

      Agreed!

  • Walter Peters says:

    Trail bikes have already helped alleviate most trail difficulties on the majority of trails riders ride. Slack head tubes and steep seat tubes, angles that is. These have changed technical riding. How much more assistance do we need?

  • Rusty Baillie says:

    Management is easy: As a free American, you have a constitutional right to ride a hardtail, a single speed, a full suspension……or a class A ebike!

  • Michael says:

    I bought a Levo and rode it for about 6 months before I sold it. I’ve been riding for about 15 years and I can confirm that ebikes are insanely fun to ride. What changed my perspective on them were two things. The distance you have to ride them in order to feel like you get a work out. Not only did this take up way to much of my time but its rough on the body if your local trails are technical. What really sealed the deal was realizing the effects on our sport. These are super expensive bikes that have a ton of technological advancements awaiting. These 6k machines will constantly be evolving. The cost to play is just way to much and aftermarket parts may not be available for older models. leaving our investment obsolete. The bike industry has proven that universal standards are not as important as being the latest and greatest. This model is rough on the consumer and our planet. Ebikes seem to be the direction the industry would like to go for financial gain. The only benefit I can see is that bike shops may profit from them as they would probably require certified technicians to work on them. The home mechanic can only do so much on an ebike.

  • Trav says:

    Some anti ebike robots on this thread eh? Classic.

    Cool bike – too expensive for me tho.

  • Neil says:

    Just ordered a 2018 (Gen I) since it was a leftover and discounted well. I suspect I’ll mostly be in Eco mode but who knows. I’ll still be riding my Yeti though this will add to my fun on the steeps.

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