Pivot LES 29 Carbon Mountain Bike Frame - 2017 $2,490.00
Lighter, stiffer, more comfortable — these qualities surface constantly across the industry, the droning chant of XC monks touting their manufacturing prowess in catalogues and marketing materials. With the latest LES 29 Carbon Mountain Bike Frame, Pivot is no different; however, its claims do enjoy one difference to set them apart from the droning masses. Having ridden the bike's predecessor, we know that light, stiff, and more comfortable are accurate descriptors of what the LES 29 feels like on the trail, so when Pivot claims the newest model has is even more devoted to improvements in all these areas, we're inclined to take note.
All told, the latest model is a claimed 50g lighter than the previous LES. Pivot attributes this weight loss to updated carbon fiber construction, but the new Swinger II rear dropout system is also lighter than the OG Swinger. Lower weight typically means less efficiency, but the Swinger II interface is also stiffer, which is likely attributable to the Boost 148mm rear axle. Like the heavier model it's effectively replacing, the latest LES is built with the goal of balancing comfort and efficiency — the holy grail of trail tuning a frame.
While the frame's carbon construction is notable, the key difference between LES 29 generations is the Swinger II dropout system. Whereas the previous LES 29's Swinger design was a last gasp effort to keep pure 29ers relevant in a world increasingly dominated by 27.5 wheels, Swinger II simply incorporates mid-sized hoops by allowing the frame to switch between 29 and 27.5+ wheels. It also still allows for singlespeed conversion that addresses the common issues of brake interference and chain tension. The design swings around a pivot that's located in front of the upper post mount of the brake to maintain chain tension with a negligible effect to the LES' geometry. Since it can also be run as a double or a one-by and includes electronic porting, the new LES 29 is compatible with pretty much every major innovation that has demonstrable value.
The frame is laid-up with high-modulus carbon fiber and a Pivot's own hollow core, internal molding process. Since the material is compacted to a rigid internal form, the shape and thickness of the walls is precisely controlled. This eliminates the finishing steps that other manufacturers' frames require, which involve adding resin and reinforcement to address imperfections. Adding material means adding weight, and the presence of structural imperfections make for a less sound frame whose stiffness and trail-tune can very radically from what the engineers drew up in their design software. Pivot's construction process eliminates all these variables by leaving nothing to chance and ensuring that every frame rolling off the mold rides the way it's supposed to.
And that's a good thing, because this frame is designed to leave scorch marks across gopher holes on XC courses. The huge over-sized box section down tube and bottom bracket juncture is basically a capacious maw that feeds power efficiently into the rear wheel. The tapered head tube also helps in this regard, but it's most welcome for keeping tracking on point through tricky sections of trail furniture. The stays are shaped with the same hunger as the down tube, devouring trail chatter before it hits the seatpost while maintaining the drive spine's efficiency.
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LES size by rider height
|100mm Travel Fork|
Effective Top Tube
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Reviews & Community
Next Generation Hard Tail
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I had the pleasure to take the new LES out for a few rides at Sea Otter in April, and am floored by the new model! We have seen a lot of full suspension bikes adapt the new Boost spacing to great effect; it was only a matter of time until hardtails followed suit, and the results are the same.
Having never ridden this bike before, I was immediately at home, and was able to ride as confidently as if it were my own bike. Descending was especially impressive for a hardtail, as it was truly confidence inspiring.
Generally speaking, the new hub spacing has allowed for shorter chain stays and a more slack headtube angle, which means a more responsive bike under pedaling, especially out of the saddle, as well as better handling and trail capability due to the slack front end.
The other huge benefit to Boost spacing is that