Switchblade 29 Team XTR Live Valve Reynolds Mountain Bike
Few bikes can drop in on the burliest trails and steepest lines with the composure of an enduro sled, and then turn around and conquer technical climbs and big-mileage days like a cross-country race rocket. The Pivot Switchblade is one such bike, carving out its own category within the mid-travel 29er world with 5.6-inches of efficient DW-Link suspension, progressive geometry, and the versatility to accept multiple wheel sizes. Additionally, this elite mountain bike comes equipped with the best components money can buy so you'll never have to worry about upgrading. Shimano's race-ready XTR drivetrain shifts flawlessly ride after ride, and the Reynolds Blacklabel carbon hoops with Industry Nine hubs are a masterpiece in and of themselves. And we mustn't forget the Fox Factory Live Valve suspension that uses electronic sensors to respond instantaneously to changes in terrain, meaning you'll never have to worry about flipping your climb switch while riding because Live Valve maximizes both pedaling efficiency and bump-absorption in real time.
Taking a closer look at the new Switchblade, the shock is now positioned vertically and driven by a rocker-style upper link rather than the previous generation’s horizontal clevis design. This allows for a stiffer, lighter, and more compact frame while freeing up room for a full-size water bottle on all frame sizes. The rocker-style linkage also decreases the load on the shock and offers a more progressive leverage curve along with coil shock compatibility. Rear travel is boosted from 135 to 142mm for a little more forgiveness when the going gets rough, and every build kit comes with a 160mm travel, 44mm offset Fox 36 that brings comfortable handling and precise steering to the equation.
The Switchblade V2 geometry moves to a slacker head tube angle, a steeper seat tube angle, longer reach figures, and a shorter seat tube that accommodates longer dropper posts than the previous model. The 66-degree head tube and 75.5-degree seat tube may not go as far into the slack-and-steep realm as some other bikes in this category, but these numbers are thoroughly modern and hit a sweet spot that makes this bike a joy to ride on any trail—bet it tight and technical or fast and flowy. A two-position flip-chip lets you adjust the bike's geometry to suit the terrain at hand, but also allows you to switch between various wheel configurations including 29 inch, 27.5 Plus, and mullet (29” front/ 27.5” rear).
Balancing the suspension with materials that can handle the terrain, the Switchblade is crafted from a painstakingly precise mix of composite fibers and resin, then meticulously laid to create a frame that finds the happy medium of strength, stiffness, and weight. The chassis itself benefits from Pivot's hollow-core internal molding process for uniform, controlled wall thicknesses and material distribution. This process virtually eliminates inconsistencies and resin pooling, increasing structural integrity while targeting areas for weight loss. In addition to hollow-core molding, Pivot implements size-specific design and ride tuning on their frames. In essence, the carbon lay-up, tube thicknesses, and tube shapes vary a bit between sizes in order to maintain a consistent ride quality across all frame sizes. Simply put, it's the best way to make a strong and lightweight carbon frame with excellent ride feel.
Pivot equips their flagship Switchblade models with electronically-controlled Fox Live Valve suspension, this particular bike included. Live Valve system uses accelerometers on the fork and rear triangle to sense impacts and changes in trail gradient, with a microprocessor (Fox calls it the Controller) mounted near the rear shock that houses the third accelerometer along with the rechargeable battery. Using these sensors, the Controller measures the terrain at a rate of 1000 times per second and activates solenoid valves in the fork and shock that respond to terrain changes in just three milliseconds. When the system senses an impact, it opens the valves for maximum bump absorption. After a preset timer, the valves return to the closed position to regain pedaling efficiency. Each bump resets the timer, so when you're charging through rock gardens or sustained sections of rough trail the suspension stays in the open position to better mitigate impacts. The accelerometers also sense when you're going downhill, so if the bike is angled more than 6-degrees downward both the fork and shock remain open.
- Pivot's flagship trail bike doesn't shy away from any trail
- Travel increased to 142mm rear and 160mm front vs. previous model
- Progressive geometry with slacker head tube, steeper seat tube
- Custom DPX2 shock offers improved support and bump-absorption
- Reynolds Blacklabel wheels offer premium quality and performance
- Fox Live Valve suspension adapts to the terrain in realtime