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Sick Staff Shred Sleds: Turman's Pivot Switchblade 13

Introducing Vital MTB's latest custom build! This rippin' Pivot Switchblade is serving as Brandon Turman's testbed for various component reviews, and currently highlights parts from Maxxis, OneUp, DEITY, Fabric, SRAM, and FOX.

Sick Staff Shred Sleds: Turman's Pivot Switchblade

It wasn't long ago that I was wowed by Pivot's new Switchblade. Given my immediate comfort level and experiencing what this steed is capable of in the stock configuration, I knew I had found a match. The carbon fiber 29er has 142mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, making it well suited to an incredibly wide range of terrain and a perfect companion to some of the latest and greatest in mountain bike components.

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At 5'10" (1.78m) tall I've opted for a size large frame with a 470mm reach, 66-degree headtube angle, 431mm chainstays, and a 75.5-degree effective seat tube angle in the slacker, lower geometry setting.

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Great shock access and the Switchblade's progressive leverage curve will allow for the comparison of a variety of 185x55mm trunnion-style metric shocks on the dw-link design. This includes the stock FOX DPX2 with its Pivot Cycles-inspired base valve design, the new 2021 FOX DHX2 coil (pictured), as well as the larger-volume FOX Float X2 air shock that Pivot's Pro riders have been souping theirs up with. Back-to-back rides using three shocks on one bike will make for a great comparison piece.

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Leading the way is the all-new 2021 FOX 36 Factory Series fork with a short 44mm offset. From the clever floating axle design to the lower leg air/oil channels, pressure bleeders, and the updated GRIP2 damper now with Variable Valve Control, there's lots to discover. An All Mountain Style x Vital MTB Gear Club collab mudguard is zip-tied on to keep vision in check.

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OneUp's carbon handlebar has already proven itself in Vital's testing, with its unique oval profile for a bit of extra comfort and less harshness out of the front end. This time I opted for the 35mm rise version to keep the front end tidy and trimmed them to 770mm wide. The beautifully machined and finished DEITY Copperhead 35mm stem and Crosshair top cap lock things into place.

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Pivot's new Phoenix Factory lock-on grips have become another go-to option for their excellent feel, loads of grip, single lock-ring, and a durable bar end. Plus, they match the bike!

In the stopping department, SRAM's Code RSC disc brakes provide great braking control with 200/180mm rotors in all scenarios, allowing my mind to focus on other aspects of the ride.

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SRAM's wireless 12-speed X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain keeps things super clean and accurate, eliminating a cable and providing consistent shifting performance across the 10-50 tooth X01 Eagle cassette. This is paired with a Race Face Aeffect R crankset with a 32-tooth narrow/wide chainring. OneUp's V2 upper chainguide mounts to the frame's ISCG05 tabs for lightweight chain-retention insurance.

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Chosen for their thin profile and 10 grabby pins per side, DEITY's edgy Bladerunner flat pedals add to the bike's many CNC details.

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The wheels are the no-nonsense DT Swiss M1700 model with fast-rolling DT 350 hubs with a 54-tooth Star Ratchet upgrade. These 30mm inner width rims pair well with the grippy 2.5-inch Wide Trail Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ front tire and a 2.3-inch Maxxis Aggressor Double Down tire out back.

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FOX's updated Transfer seatpost is getting use on a few Vital builds to prove out its durability. The new 1X lever mounts nicely to SRAM's Matchmaker mounts. The Fabric Scoop Pro Team Shallow saddle features carbon rails, a classy finish, and easy-to-glide around 142mm width.

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Some final touches include the Pivot Phoenix Dock Tool System with a Topeak Ninja 16+ tool, a quick access Specialized Zee II bottle cage, DEITY's valve caps, and clear vinyl protection in the places that count.

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This test rig is ready for business. Stay tuned for more on the bike and the many components it will accompany throughout the year!

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About The Rider

Brandon Turman - Age: 33 // Years Riding: 18 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 170-pounds (77.1kg)

"I like to have fun, pop off the bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when I feel in tune with a bike, and really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill." Formerly a mechanical engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every innovation in our sport from the past several years and a really good feel for what’s what.

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