July 22, 2021
It's no surprise that finding the right bike in today's oversaturated trail bike market has become increasingly difficult. As a result, we set out to find the perfect do-it-all trail bike. Having recently got our hands on the new Pivot Switchblade, here are some of our thoughts on this versatile mountain bike.
For aggressive trail riding, this bike would check all the boxes. It'll get you up the trail efficiently and back down with a smile on your face. The bike we rode was an XL Pivot Switchblade Race X01 Build. This build consists of a carbon frame, 160mm Fox Performance fork, 142mm Fox Performance Float DPX2, X01 drivetrain, 29" wheels, and SRAM Code brakes. For some more in-depth specs visit the Pivot Cycles store. We rode this bike in the Grande Tetons, Park City, and Southern Utah - we were not disappointed with its performance in the least.
The new Switchblade's frame design for 2020+ called for much more attention to detail than previous versions. The Switchblade handling is snappy, responsive, and fun! It brings trails to life while remaining very comfortable in and out of the saddle. The well-placed anti-squat valves effectively reduce pedal-bob in the saddle and out of the saddle. We left the DPX2 shock open for the entire day and never felt the need to lockout when pedaling. The DW Link provides a comfortable and efficient ride when pedaling and provides tons of traction. Its short chainstay makes for some of the best technicals climbs. We sessioned multiple techy climbs throughout the day, pushing this bike to its limits without showing any slowing signs. If you push this bike, the front end will mount over just about anything while sticking to the ground. The shorter chainstay has its negatives, especially if slouching on steep terrain which can easily lead to a wash out. Stay active on the pedals, and you won't stop smiling!
Now for the fun part of the review, the descent! (The whole reason you pedaled up that damn mountain in the first place right?) To quickly sum up the descending capabilities, the Pivot Switchblade is incredibly capable, lively, and fun! The flow of this bike pushes you to pin berms and hit big features. While 142mm of rear travel may seem small to some, the combination of the DPX2 with the DW Link provides a great amount of bottom-out resistance and feels great in chunky tech trails or hitting big jumps. The high front end provides great feedback from the trail and gives the rider confidence when descending through rough terrain. It feels very balanced and keeps great traction on singletrack trails. The Switchblade is extremely versatile, making for a comfortable ride on just about any trail.
The revision of the Switch didn't just provide us with a great riding bike, but its new design is as beautiful as it is capable. You can really tell that Pivot's team had remarkable attention to detail and great workmanship when designing and prototyping this new bike. The shape of the tubes on this bike is eye-grabbing and screams high-quality. Pivot's chain stay protection provides a nice quiet ride and reduces scratches on the bike. It comes in three pleasant colors, including horizon blue, treeline green, and Mojave, which gives you plenty of options to choose from.
The Switchblade undoubtedly earns its name as the "quiver" mountain bike. It truly does it all, pushing the limits of what we would have expected from an aggressive trail bike. If you're in the market for a mountain bike that checks all the boxes, demo a Switchblade and let us know what you think. For more bike tips and tricks, visit the Thread + Spoke journal or browse our in-depth reviews of the YETI SB150 2021 and the 2021 SANTA CRUZ STIGMATA.
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