Armed for battle.
We've been seeing big developments in the land of long-travel 29ersfor the past few years, moving from what seemed only like pipe dreams to tangible reality, and now pushing further with industry-leading technology and engineering. Pivot pushes things further and raises the bar with the 2018 Pivot Switchblade Carbon XT/XTR 2x Complete Mountain Bike. Decked out with plush FOX Suspension, a special little blend of XT and XTR components, FOX Transfer and KS LEV dropper post, and of course the shining start that is DT's ratchet freehub that sets new standards for 29er capabilities.
If you were to start from ground up on this rock gobbling ride, you'd pay close attention to the number nine at first, as in the Switchblade's Super Boost Plus 157mm rear axle adds 9mm to standard Boost axle spacing, bringing it up from 148mm to the gravity inspired 157mm. This change adds extra stiffness to the rear end, even beyond that of Boost spacing, makes for incredibly stubby chainstays, and allows for a full 12-millimeters of tire clearance. This means the Switchblade can run a 27.5+ or 29in wheel, tucked up close to the seat tube, with mere 16.85in chainstays, all the while preserving a Q-factor typically found in 5in trail bikes.
The Super Boost axle's additional real estate also makes for a still stiffer spoke bracing angle for the DT hoops, which conspires with a double wishbone rear triangle and Phoenix-inspired clevis to stiffen both the pedaling interface and the linkage design. This makes the rear triangle more resistant to torsional flex, which increases pedaling efficiency and decreases the stress put on the pivot bearings. It's easier on your legs and on the hardware you rely on to bail you out of situations where overly ambitious line selection lands you in water that's just a little too deep.
The rest of the geometry is similarly capable. Where the concise back end makes for a sharp knife while dicing rooty sections, the relatively steep head tube and low bottom bracket height make for a slack, low chassis that further contributes to DH stability. Despite the frame's big-line parachute qualities, its seat tube sits relatively steep, keeping you forward and on top of the pedal stroke while climbing. Compared to Pivot's Mach 429 Trail frame, the Switchblade is slacker up front and steeper in the seat tube, perfecting the art of aggression whether you're climbing out or dropping in.
- A trail machine that super-boosts 29ers to the next level
- Tread to trail traction from 135mm of DW-link suspension
- Geometry charges up long fire roads and bombs descents with force
- Tire clearance is elevated with Super Boost rear axle
- DH-inspired linkage provides beef without weight
- Light and efficient carbon construction