2020 Pivot Switchblade Pro XT/XTR 29

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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2020 Pivot Switchblade Pro XT/XTR 29 - Horizon Blue with Reynolds wheels upgrade
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Bike of the Year Contender? All-New Pivot Switchblade REVIEWED

Pivot jumps into 2020 with big updates to a popular bike, and we're confident in saying that it's an incredible ride.

Rating: Vital Review

Vital MTB's 2016 Bike of the Year went to the previous Pivot Switchblade. How do you improve on that? Give it a few years and some fresh ideas. With 142mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, this all-new 2020 version one-ups its predecessor pretty much across the board. Join Vital MTB's Product Editor, Brandon Turman, in the video above for a look at everything that's been updated and his in-depth ride impressions.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Direct, snappy attitude at the cranks
  • Excellent traction
  • Custom shock tune improves support without hindering high-speed bump absorption
  • Great manners on technical uphills
  • Maintains speed well
  • Bottomless feel with plenty of progression
  • Coil compatible
  • Dialed details
  • A little noisy
  • Seatstays bow out and may rub calves
  • Lighter riders may find the custom shock tune abrupt on square edges at slow speeds
  • 12x157mm Super Boost Plus rear axle makes the bike possible but means less compatibility with trail wheels and cranksets
  • Expensive

Switchblade Highlights

  • 29", 27.5+ and mullet wheel size compatibility
  • 142mm (5.6-inches) rear travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) front
  • dw-link suspension design
  • 185x55mm trunnion shock with custom tune
  • FOX Live Valve integration
  • 44mm offset fork
  • Adjustable geometry
  • Size-specific carbon tubing
  • Water bottle mount inside front triangle
  • Internal and external lower headset cup option
  • Full-length, internal cable routing
  • Pressfit BB92 bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • Low durometer frame protection
  • 12x157mm Super Boost Plus rear axle
  • 29x2.6" or 27.5x2.8" tire clearance
  • Accessory mount for custom tool holder due out this spring
  • Complete Weight: Starts at 29.0-pounds (13.2kg, size medium Team XTR build, no pedals)
  • Frame Weight: Starts at 5.7-pounds (2.6kg)
  • Colors: Horizon Blue and Treeline Green

"Cleans the impossible, threads the needle, and delivers the freedom to explore, with more travel, unrivaled versatility, and progressive geometry." - Pivot Cycles

Geometry

You're looking at 5-21mm longer reach values than the previous Switchblade across all sizes. In the 29-inch configuration most people will run, the bike has a 1.25-degree slacker head tube angle and is now at 66-degrees. This pairs with a short 44mm offset FOX 36 fork.

Pivot also made the effective seat tube angle three-quarters of a degree steeper, now at 75.5-degrees. In addition, the actual seat tube is now steeper and starts closer to the bottom bracket, meaning the real seat angle will be steeper for those with long legs.

After all of those updates, you're looking at very comparable top tube lengths to the previous Switchblade for a consistent seated feel while benefitting from the added reach and a few centimeters of extra wheelbase on the way down.

Like the Firebird 29, the bike now has adjustable geometry providing half a degree of head angle change and 6mm of bottom bracket height. Combined with the help of a geo-adjust headset cup, 27.5+ and 27.5 rear wheels are possible. This means going mullet style is an option if you'd like, which could be nice for added clearance on the smaller sizes.

As a result of the new shock orientation, it also has a super compact frame design. Pivot dropped standover heights up to 35mm across the size range, along with 30mm shorter seat tubes. This allows riders just 5-feet tall to hop aboard the size XS (above), which still fits a piggyback shock and a large water bottle.

Suspension Updates

For this update Pivot moved to a vertical shock layout on the dw-link suspension design. Thanks to the new upper link and the shock's orientation, the bike is more progressive than in the past. That extra progression, plus the fact that Pivot ditched the clevis, means this bad boy is coil shock compatible.

It's light on its feet and eager to rally. This easy-to-ride feel inspires you to go harder, for longer, and it charges in terrain where I've experienced other bikes getting bogged down.

You'll note bearings in the upper shock mount for supple suspension performance from the 185x55mm trunnion-style shock. Pivot also makes use of an exclusive and pretty surprising shock tune inside the FOX DPX2. It has an all-new base valve design and selector plate, which results in more support where it's needed while increasing oil flow and plushness on high-speed impacts. In practice, it feels pretty close to the best of both worlds.

The bike has a slightly more rearward axle path than the previous Switchblade, with longer suspension links and 3mm longer chainstays.

Build Kits, Pricing & Availability

Complete bikes are available now in a whopping 29 different configurations, ranging in price from $5,499 to $12,399 USD.

Race XT Build - $5,499
Pro XT/XTR Build with Reynolds Upgrade - $8,099 (Tested)

Team XX1 AXS with FOX Live Valve Build - $12,399

Frameset options are expected to be available this August. View complete specs and pricing.

What's The Bottom Line?

The new Pivot Switchblade climbs like a snappy short-travel trail bike but can hang with the enduro rigs on the way down. It's light on its feet and eager to rally. This easy-to-ride feel inspires you to go harder, for longer, and it charges in terrain where I've experienced other bikes getting bogged down.

Add in good geometry and improved visual aesthetics, plus dialed details throughout, and this is a ride our tester would love to own. Pivot has taken an already stellar platform and advanced it even further. Its versatile feel will suit a wide range of rides and the compact frame is great for a wide range of riders. It could be the one bike for a lot of people.

It's still way too early to call Bike of the Year, but Pivot has kicked off 2020 with one hell of a contender. It's rad to see their continual improvement and there is a lot to be excited about heading into the new year.

Visit www.pivotcycles.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating: 5.0 Stars - Spectacular


About The Reviewer

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.

Photos by Cody Wethington // Video by John Reynolds and Brandon Turman

Specifications

Product Pivot Switchblade Pro XT/XTR 29
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
XS (Low, High), S (Low, High), M (Low, High), L (Low, High), XL (Low, High) View Geometry
Size XS (Low, High) S (Low, High) M (Low, High) L (Low, High) XL (Low, High)
Top Tube Length 569, 568 592, 590 620, 619 638, 636 661, 660
Head Tube Angle 66°, 66.5° 66°, 66.5° 66°, 66.5° 66°, 66.5° 66°, 66.5°
Head Tube Length 85 90 102 108 120
Seat Tube Angle 75.5°, 76° 75.5°, 76° 75.5°, 76° 75.5°, 76° 75.5°, 76°
Seat Tube Length 342.9, 343 368.3, 368 393.7, 394 431.8, 432 469.9, 470
Bottom Bracket Height 346, 352 (28, 19 drop) 346, 352 (28, 19 drop) 346, 352 (28, 19 drop) 346, 352 (28, 19 drop) 346, 352 (28, 19 drop)
Chainstay Length 431, 430 431, 430 431, 430 431, 430 431, 430
Wheelbase 1147, 1146 1169, 1168 1193, 1192 1216, 1215 1241, 1240
Standover 648, 654 668, 673 694, 699 696, 701 700, 706
Reach 410, 415 430, 435 455, 460 470, 475 490, 495
Stack 610, 606 614, 611 625, 621 630, 627 641, 638
* Additional Info All measurements are in mm unless otherwise noted
Bottom bracket height adjustable geometry via a flip-chip in the upper linkage mount
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Hollow Core Carbon front and rear triangles with integrated rubber frame guards and full-length, internal cable routing with Pivot’s Cable Port System
Rear Travel 142mm
Rear Shock FOX Factory Float DPX2, 185x55mm
Fork FOX Factory 36, 44mm offset, GRIP2, 29"
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Pivot Precision Sealed Cartridge
Internal and external lower cup option
Handlebar Phoenix Team Low Rise Carbon
760mm (XS), 780mm (S-L), 800mm (XL)
Stem Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
35mm (XS), 45mm (S-XL)
Grips Phoenix Factory Lock-On
Brakes Shimano XT M8120, 4-piston, with Shimano XT CenterLock rotors, 203mm front / 180mm rear
Brake Levers Shimano XT
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano XT M8100 I-SPEC 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR M9100 SGS 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG-05
Chainguide None
Cranks Race Face Aeffect R
Chainrings 32 tooth
Bottom Bracket Press fit
Pedals None included
Chain Shimano CN-M8100 12-speed
Cassette Shimano XT M8100, 10-51 tooth
Rims DT Swiss M1700, 30mm
Wheel upgrade option: Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro Wide Trail, 34mm
Hubs DT Swiss 350 with 36-tooth star ratchet
With wheel upgrade option: Industry Nine
Spokes
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" WT, TR, 3C, EXO, MaxxTerra
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II 29" x 2.4" WT, TR, 3C, EXO, MaxxTerra
Saddle Phoenix WTB Pro Hightail Trail (XS-S)
Phoenix WTB Pro Vigo (M-XL)
Seatpost FOX Factory Kashima Transfer
100mm (XS), 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 175mm (L-XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12mm x 157mm
Max. Tire Size 29"x2.6” or 27.5"x2.8”
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes: inside front triangle, fits a large bottle on all sizes with all shock types
Colors Horizon Blue, Treeline Green
Warranty 10 years for carbon frame
1 year for frame paint, finish, and bearings
5 years for Pivot Cycles-branded Phoenix Components
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous dw-link suspension design
Vertical shock position
Size-specific design and ride tune
Fits riders between 152cm and 200+cm (5’ and 6’7”+)
Compatible with both 29", 27.5+ and 27.5” rear and 29” front (reverse mullet) wheel sizes
Bottom bracket height adjustable geometry via a flip-chip in the upper linkage mount
FOX Live Valve integration built into frame
Low durometer ultra-quiet chainstay protection
Frame weight 5.7 lb./2.57 KG (size small without shock)
Price
  • $6,799
  • $8,099
More Info

www.pivotcycles.com

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