Switchblade Carbon 27.5+ Race X01 Eagle Mountain Bike
With the explosion of plus-size tires on the market, it was only a matter of time before the boundary-pushing designers at Pivot designed their very own trail machine with voluminous rubber for steamrolling every line in sight. In 2017, Pivot took the plus-sized tires and BOOST axle standards to entirely new realms with the Switchblade, and it's back for more this year with the Switchblade Carbon 27.5+ Race X01 Eagle Complete Mountain. This beastly bike blurs the line between trail weapon and all-mountain destroyer with its 135 millimeters of rock-gobbling DW-Link suspension mated to a long, slacked-out front end for high-speed composure down steeps and rowdy sections of trail. The longer 150-millimeter fork also lends a bit more margin for error when you've bitten off a bit more than you can chew, in terms of line choice and descending speed, and this year they bring the X01 Race option to the table, for those of us thirsty for the beefy 12-speed cassette of Eagle, but looking to pinch pennies where we can.
The Switchblade's DW-Link suspension is a tried-and-true platform employed on all of Pivot's full-suspension machines. This comes as no surprise, seeing DW-Link's ability to claw up the steepest, chunkiest climbs and smooth square-edge hits on the descent. The Switchblade's 5.3in of DW-Link travel remains quick to surge forward with every pedal stroke, yet it's surprisingly confident on the descent, mainly due to the DW-Link's unflappable composure on successive hits and burly rock sections. Another thing to note, the Switchblade's DW-Link suspension uses a Phoenix-inspired, double-wishbone rear triangle that stiffens both the pedaling interface and linkage design.
Pivot takes Boost axle standards to entirely new realms with the advent of their Super Boost Plus rear axle spacing. Poking fun at the upward escalation of hub spacing, "Super Boost Plus" refers to Pivot's choice to employ a 157-millimeter rear axle, which in turn allows for increased tire clearance and incredibly short chainstays. Super Boost Plus adds an additional 9 millimeters of room to the rear axle, which results in 12mm of additional tire clearance. Essentially, it combines a DH chainline with a typical 5-inch bike's Q-factor and heel clearance.
One of the main benefits of Super Boost Plus lies in Pivot's ability to chop down the chainstays to a mere 16.85-inches, which is a ridiculously short dimension that embarrasses bikes with standard BOOST rear axles. These trimmed-down chainstays equate to incredibly nimble handling through switchbacks and tight sections of trail. Another benefit to Super Boost Plus is the ability to swap between the voluminous 27.5+ wheels provided for quick-rolling 29er wagon wheels; In fact, this wider axle standard readily accepts up to 27.5 x 3.25 inch tires, meaning you can drastically improve traction and bump compliance, especially across loose, drifty corners and jarring rock gardens.
Delving into the geometry figures, the Switchblade is relatively slack in 27.5+ form with its 66.8-degree head tube angle (with a 17mm cup) providing just the right balance of steering precision and downhill composure at higher speeds. The snappy-short rear end makes for quick turning when you're slaloming around tight corners and negotiating sketchy sections of trail where instantaneous response is necessary. It's both long and low-slung for descending confidence, with a generous reach keeping things comfortable, so you're not crammed in the cockpit.
And to ensure consistent geometry if you choose to swap between wheel sizes, Pivot supplies a 17mm headset cup that keeps the bottom bracket height and head tube angle consistent between both 27.5+ and 29er configurations. It adds additional height to the bike's front end in 27.5+ form, slacking it out and raising the bottom bracket to keep it consistent with the 29er's geometry. You can ride with this 17-millimeter cup in 29er form, you'll just notice the bike sits a bit higher and gets extra slack.
- Aggressive trail bike with snappy-short chainstays
- 135mm of DW-Link travel for efficiency and bump compliance
- 150mm of front travel for smoothing out big obstacles
- Long and slack geometry conquers rowdy lines
- Super Boost rear axle for extra tire clearance
- Elements of the DH Phoenix reinforce the rear linkage
- Plus-sized tires for incredible traction and smooth ride
- High-modulus carbon frame is light, stiff, and strong