2016 Bike of the Year: Pivot Cycles Switchblade
Picking just one bike to rule them all is no easy task, but our team of testers spent hundreds of hours riding the latest and greatest two-wheeled steeds over the past twelve months enabling them to do just that. Which one came out on top?
2016's Bike of the Year Shreddy Award goes to a bike that checks more boxes than most, stirring the pot in the process...the Pivot Cycles Switchblade.
This carbon-framed beauty was five years in the making when it launched in May, the culmination of which resulted in an incredibly capable, reassuring ride that uses a whole-system approach to create something that previously wasn't possible.
If we asked you to name a stiff frame that's both 29-inch and 27.5+ compatible, has super short chainstays, ample mud clearance, good heel clearance, and can be used with a front derailleur, large 1X chainring and a chainguide, could you do it?
Getting all of these puzzle pieces to fit into place was no easy task, but Pivot found the solution by utilizing and improving upon the existing 12x157mm hub standard. Where Boost 148 failed to really deliver, this fresh take on a classic makes a truly noticeable improvement.
Add in the shift to more modern long and low geometry, size options for riders from 4'11" to well over 6'3" tall, dialed details like their ultra-clean cable port system, Di2 integration, and room for two bottles, and you've got a ride that's very deserving of this award.
On trail the Switchblade absolutely flies. The combination of 135mm of dw-link rear travel, 150mm up front, big wheels, and dialed components creates a bike that charges where others flounder to keep speed.
The suspension strikes a nice balance of both a supportive and deep/plush feel that handles square edge hits remarkably well, adding to it's incredible ability to maintain momentum when you're smashing through rocky ledges, getting up and over techy sections, or on flat, pedally, chunky terrain.
The Switchblade feels a lot like a longer travel bike when it's needed, but when you're able to get in a few pedal strokes it accelerates very well.
The bike provides that 100% reassuring and invincible feel, and the sense of stability and confidence the entire bike system provides is a wild sensation.
We have no reservations recommending any one of the bike's 18 build options, and are confident in saying that the 29-inch version of the Switchblade is one of the best bikes going. Pivot's out of the box thinking may even represent the path forward to even better bikes in the future.