Vault Team Force AXS Complete Bike
Gravel bikes have certainly come into their own. Modern all-road machines have the versatility to be built up light for impressive speed over a myriad of terrain or built rugged for bikepacking missions over vast horizons. Pivot is no stranger to building fast bikes that tackle demanding terrain and its Vault has been its interpretation of a do-it-all drop bar offering for several years now. It’s a bike that's at home jumping in the weekly road hammerfests, hitting up gravel adventures on the weekend, and hopping barriers in the fall. It's back and better than ever with the Vault Team Force AXS Complete Bike. And while "quiver-killer" is a tired cliché used in the bike industry, the Vault crosses over into different disciplines better than most it's made even greater with a host of new updates.
First up is the bike's geometry. Pivot has carefully refined it for cross, gravel, or road and it pretty much excels on any surface. Thanks to its new dropped chainstay design, the stays sit at a decidedly stubby 420mm, whacking some 5mm off of the already impressive 425mm length found on the previous versions of the Vault. This not only helps keep the frame nimble and the wheelbase tight, but it also makes for more efficient power transfer. You'd be excused for thinking the shorter stays limit tire clearance, in fact, clearance is increased everywhere from the massive 700x47mm or road plus 650x2.0in tires to the more welcoming crank and chainring clearance, right down to the non-driveside crank clearing crankarm based power meters.
The stays complement the returning BB386EVO bottom bracket shell that reduces watts lost to waggle and flex while sprinting out of hairpins or hammering up climbs that amount to 5-digit elevation days. Also returning is the tapered head tube, oversized steerer tube, and 12mm thru-axles front and rear that also contribute to overall stiffness while keeping the Vault tracking like it's on rails on smooth canyon roads and flowing hardpack alike. The bottom bracket also drops half a centimeter across all sizes providing more point-and-shoot stability for confidence powering through sand pits and down steep, washboard riddled descents.
Pivot also refined the carbon layup and tuned the tube shapes to impart more comfort and compliance while still relying on its tried-and-true hollow core internal molding. It involves laying-up and compacting the carbon around an internal form, ensuring that the frame doesn't carry any additional material in the form of resin pools or wall thickness inconsistencies. The process makes for greater structural integrity, which our practical side appreciates, and a lighter, stiffer frame, which satisfies our less practical hunger for podium places. The lay-ups are also tuned specifically for each size, allowing Pivot to imbue each size with the same level of eager responsiveness without undue weight gains. Requiring a larger frame no longer comes with the penalty of a noodly, poorly tracking ride.
There are of course some new frame details we'd be remiss for not mentioning and one is its patented Iso-Flex Technology that fits 27.2 or 30.9mm seatposts. Iso-Flex is essentially a shim that sits in the seat tube and isolates the post from the frame for next level comfort without compromising frame stiffness. Now you can remain seated and dish out all of the watts without getting bucked over rough patches. Furthermore, the frame is compatible with dropper posts if you're looking to take your monster cross to the next level. Other notable features include its 1 and 2x drivetrain compatibility with removable front derailleur braze on and integrated cover, trap door on the bottom side of the downtube for easy cable routing and Di2 battery storage, top tube bag mounts, and hidden fender mounts for staying clean during all season riding.
This particular Vault is finished with a handful of details that further highlight its ride-anywhere ethos, including its electronic SRAM Force eTap AXS drivetrain with powerful hydraulic disc brakes. A Pivot Phoenix Team stem grabs a flared, gravel-ready Easton EC70 AX bar while the carbon Reynolds TRx wheelset works without complaint and plumps up the Maxxis Rambler tires, helping improve grip and comfort while lowering rolling resistance.
- An all-terrain bike ready for road, gravel, and 'cross
- Updated geometry produces stable and intuitive handling
- Hollow-core internal-molding carbon fiber construction is strong and lightweight
- The carbon layup is targeted to each frame size with compliance and stiffness
- Top tube bag mounts and hidden fender mount increase versatility
- Patent pending Iso-Flex Technology isolates the seatpost from the frames
- More clearance accommodates larger, plush gravel tires
- SRAM's Force AXS eTap group serves up reliable shifts and powerful braking