Some of us like to delicately pick out our lines on hard tails — dancing between rocks, opting for slow and precise riding instead of bump-soaking suspension, and fast laps. But then, some of us like to cut loose, charge into terrain that questions our sanity and asks if we're really ready to get wild. The 2018 Pivot Switchblade Carbon 29 Race X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike caters more towards the latter. With 5.3-inches of plush DW-link suspension that gives us illusions of even deeper travel, and beckons for burlier lines, paired with a slack, long profile, the Switchblade gobbles up loose, rock-cobbled descents with a certain prowess that other bikes only dream of. In its 29er iteration the Switchblade comes forward in its Endruo, race-ready form, rolling quickly over root-lattices and charging switchbacks loaded with power moves and technical sections. And to make things all the sweeter, its paired with a price-point friendly X01 Eagle build to offer you gears to spare, and a plush Fox suspension to soak up the trail ahead.
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.
- Aggro 29er blurs the line between trail and enduro
- 5.3in of DW-Link travel for efficiency and bump compliance
- High-modulus carbon frame is responsively stiff and strong
- Long, relatively slack geometry for descending composure
- Super Boost rear spacing accommodates larger 27.5+ tires
- Snappy-short 16.85-inch chainstays for nimble handling
- Elements of the DH Phoenix reinforce the rear linkage