Dirt Rag Magazine

Pivot introduces new long-travel 29er / 27plus Switchblade



Pivot has just announced the release of its new long-travel 29er trail bike called the Switchblade. If the name sounds familiar that’s because about 10 years ago Pivot’s founder and owner Chris Cocalis created the original Switchblade with his first bike brand, the now defunct Titus Cycles.

Photo by Lear Miller

Photo by Lear Miller

The Switchblade fills an open gap in Pivot’s current line, namely a long-travel 29er with 150 mm of travel up front and 135 mm from the dw-link rear suspension. But there’s more to it. The Switchblade frame is compatible with 27plus wheels and tires. To make all this work with very short 16.85 inch chainstays and dual chainring compatibility Pivot is using 157 mm rear hub spacing. Before you scream about another new spacing standard it’s important to note that 157 (also known as Super Boost Plus) isn’t all that new–it’s found on current downhill bikes and hubs are readily available.


Key features

  • Compatible with both 29 and 27plus wheel sizes
  • Fits 27plus tires up to 3.25” wide
  • Fits 29er tires up to 2.5” wide
  • Features Pivot’s new long and low geometry
  • Ultra short 428 mm (16.85 inch) chainstays
  • Front derailleur compatible with Pivot’s stealth E-Type mounting system
  • 135 mm travel dw-link rear suspension with upper clevis and linkage and double wishbone rear triangle designed for a 150 mm fork and fits forks up to 160 mm travel
  • 27plus spec’d with either 40 mm inner width DT Swiss alloy or Reynolds carbon wheels and Maxxis Rekon 2.8″ tires
  • 29er spec’d with 25 mm inner width DT Swiss rims or 28 mm inner width Reynolds Enduro carbon rims and Maxxis High Roller II 2.3” tires
  • Pivot Cable Port system for easy internal routing of shifters, brakes and dropper posts as well as full Shimano Di2 Integration
  • New ultra-quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection 
  • 6.4 lbs (2,900 grams) for a medium frame with rear shock


Pivot includes a headset spacer with every bike so riders can personalize geometry to their local trails and/or tire size selection.


Geo copy


As you’d expect, Pivot is a luxury brand so pricing starts at $6,299 for an XT/XTR 1×11 mix in either wheelsize and tops out at $10,099 for Shimano Di2 and Reynolds carbon wheels. It has been indicated that sub-$5,000 aluminum bikes will be available in the near future.



Inside Line: Pivot updates the Mach 6 with new carbon and aluminum frames

In the rapidly moving world of all-mountain bikes, the Mach 6 was far from old or outdated, but Pivot isn’t a company to sit on its laurels (whatever the hell that means).


Mach 6 Carbon

Instead, it updated the carbon bike, and released an aluminum version of the well received frame. Both bikes use a new linkage that claims to be 150 percent stiffer, has larger bearings and lighter linkages. Sounds good to me. The rear end gets Boost 148 spacing, because that is what’s happening, like it or not, and there are solid reasons to make the change. For those with the cheese, you can get your Di2 on with Pivot’s Cable Port System, a first for long travel bikes.



Frame details

  • Full carbon frame featuring leading edge carbon fiber materials and Pivot’s proprietary hollow core internal molding technology.
  • 155mm (6.1 inches) of renowned dw-link suspension
  • 27.5 wheels for the fastest descents and superior rollover in technical terrain
  • Pivot’s new ultra-stiff, DH-inspired, double-wishbone rear triangle design
  • All new, cold-forged wider and stiffer upper and lower linkage design with Enduro Max Cartridge Bearings
  • New 12 x 148 mm Boost rear spacing for maximum stiffness and control.
  • Custom-tuned Fox Factory Kashima Float X shock with EVOL air sleeve.
  • Designed to work with forks from 150-160 mm in travel
  • All new internal cable routing, featuring Pivot’s Cable Port System and full Di2 integration
  • Internal stealth dropper post compatible
  • New Pivot removable front derailleur mount for a clean frame design with 1X and perfect front shifting with Shimano’s side-swing 2X system.
  • Post mount disc brake mounts for precision and weight savings
  • PF92 bottom bracket for light weight, durability and ease of maintenance
  • Rubberized leather chainstay, inner seat stay, and down tube protectors for a quiet ride and higher impact resistance
  • Medium frame weight: 6.5 pounds including shock.
  • Available in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL for riders between 4’10″ and 6’2″+


Mach 6 Aluminum


And much as we love carbon bikes, our kid’s college accounts, or our microbrew beer funds often prefer metal frames. The aluminum version of the Mach 6 is far from cheap, but at $2,000, it undercuts the carbon frame ($3,000) by a cool grand. Fully built up, the Mach 3 Aluminum starts at $3,500 while the Mach 6 Carbon completes start at $4,700. The metal frame is claimed to be as stiff as the carbon, but weight is where the penalty is paid, with a 7.4 pound frame and shock in size medium, which isn’t heavy, but it does tip the scales at almost a pound heavier than the 6.5 pound carbon frame.



Another nice touch is a full size range, from extra small through extra large, which covers a lot of heights, something that can be missing in some smaller brands S, M, L sizing.

Pivot’s newest aluminum frameset utilizes next-generation, variable wall thickness hydro-forming – bringing carbon-level strength, stiffness, precision, and control to produce the ultimate aluminum frame design



Carbon frames and compete bikes are shipping to dealers as I type. I’d pick a blue frame with the new XT.




Aluminum will follow in September. I like the orange, also with XT, although the new SRAM GX would be swell as well.




In action


Trail Tested: Pivot Mach 429SL

dirt-rag-pivot mach4SL-1

Pivot isn’t a brand that rests on its laurels. With the undeniable success of the original aluminum Mach 429 came the natural progression to a full carbon frame in 2013. More than just a change of frame material, the bike also had small but important geometry tweaks to further refine the already great-handling machine. Now, for this year, Pivot is at it again, further refining the Mach 429 with the new 429SL.

While geometry remains the same, new hollow-core carbon technology increases stiffness and shaves half a pound off the previous carbon frame, now 5.3 pounds including the shock. Match that to 100 mm of potent dw-link-controlled suspension and this venerable favorite becomes even more attractive.

The frame comes standard with a Fox Float Factory shock and a 120 mm travel Fox 32 CTD Factory fork, but geometry is designed to work with a 100 mm travel fork as well. As shown, our bike weighs 25.2 pounds without pedals, but could be less with a standard seatpost and lighter wheels. The bike’s stiffness and seemingly bottomless suspension creates a feel of confidence not usually associated with 100 mm travel frames. Of course, the fact that the geometry is adjusted to comfortably accept a 120 mm fork certainly adds to that go-anywhere attitude.

dirt-rag-pivot mach4SL-2

With a head angle measuring in at 69.3 degrees with the 120 mm fork, Pivot is utilizing a fairly common number for cross-country bikes. That’s matched to mid-length chainstays to keep the bike quick and nimble. A 100 mm fork steepens the head angle to 70.3 degrees, speeding things up to World Cup cross-country handling. Climbing, the 429SL has just a touch of movement at the very top of the stroke to maintain traction on technical climbs, with excellent anti-squat from the dw-link design to keep the bike feeling fresh and spunky when really putting power to the pedals on smooth sections. Generally, I kept both the front and rear suspension set in Trail mode for the majority of my ride time, using Climb only for long sections of smoothness and Descend when I knew it was time for a long downhill.

On the East Coast’s rough and rocky trails, the Pivot’s active dw-link characteristics made it feel planted and confident at any speed. Its geometry, while stable at speed, makes it one of the easiest-handling 29ers I’ve ridden. The Mach quickly sneaks around the tightest of switchbacks, climbing or descending. Out West, on faster, open trails with more sustained climbing, the 429SL made it easy to maintain speed through sweeping corners with precise steering.

Thanks to the Pivot’s handy little plastic guide zip-tied to the shock, setting up sag for racing or trail riding is easy. The Pivot frame also provides ample standover height and room for one bottle cage, though I had to turn the shock around, moving the Fox CTD adjuster upward to get clearance for easy bottle removal—a trick Pivot suggests, with no effect on damper performance.

dirt-rag-pivot mach4SL-3

The Mach 429SL is the second-ever production bike released with full Shimano XTR Di2 integration, and using Shimano’s Pro-line Tharsis XC Flat Di2-specific stem and carbon handlebar with internal wire routing, the XTR Di2 wires are almost completely hidden and totally out of view at the cockpit. The complete package showcases Pivot’s beautiful and thoughtful design.

The Mach 429SL Carbon frameset retails for $2,999, and various complete bikes are offered. The Shimano XTR Di2 bike retails for $10,400 with a few slight differences from ours, including Reynolds carbon wheels, Pivot-branded Phoenix Carbon seatpost and handlebars and an aluminum Team stem.

Vital Stats

  • Price: $2,999 (frameset with shock)
  • Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
  • Wheelbase: 43.9 inches
  • Top Tube: 24inches
  • Head Angle: 69.3 degrees
  • Seat-Tube Angle: 71.9 degrees
  • Bottom Bracket: 13 inches
  • Rear Center: 17.65 inches
  • Weight: 25.15 pounds (w/o pedals)
  • specs based on size tested

Inside Line: Our first look at the New Pivot Mach 429 Trail


The latest Pivot trail and all-mountain bikes—the Mach 4 and Mach 6—have been a big success, but most recently the 29ers have been restricted to the cross-country end of its lineup. Now the new Mach 429 Trail lets 29er fans—ourselves included—enjoy the excellent dw-link suspension on more rowdy trails.


Pivot started the design with a ride experience in mind, not a travel number, so while it may seem odd that the bike ended up with 116mm of travel, the new linkage design features influences from the Mach 6 and Phoenix downhill bike for a much larger feel. The suspension moves through a custom tuned Fox Float DPS shock with two sets of valves and pistons similar to what is found in the dual chamber Fox Float X shock.


The full carbon frame is designed for a 120mm or 130mm fork and while it’s sold as a 29er, the Boost spacing front and rear allow it to fit a 27.5×3.0 wheel and tire too.


While most of Pivot’s mountain bikes have internal cable routing, the 429 Trail routes its cables on the bottom of the down tube for easy maintenance—though the dropper post has stealth routing. Those cables run to a direct mount or standard rear derailleur and a Shimano side-swing front derailleur.


If built with a single chainring, the mount is removable for a cleaner look. The external routing also makes the frame a little less expensive than the Mach 4 or Mach 6. Like all Pivot bikes, the bottom bracket shell is a Shimano PF92 that allows the frame and bottom bracket junction to be as large and stiff as possible.


The geometry is in line with the current trend with a longer front center and slacker head tube angle. At 67.5 degrees it is on par with the new breed of 29er trail bikes like the Kona Process 111, Evil The Following, Specialized Camber EVO and Transition Smuggler.


The Mach 429 Trail frame and shock will be available in two colors and sell for $2,499 when they go on sale at the end of July and complete bikes will be available in eight different build kits from $3,999.



First Impression: Pivot Mach 429SL


The new carbon Mach 429SL from Pivot Cycles shaves half a pound off the previous frame to come in at a very respectable 5.3 pounds. Match that to 100 mm of potent dw-link controlled suspension and this venerable favorite becomes even more attractive. New hollow-core carbon technology from Pivot not only reduces weight but also increases overall stiffness.


The Mach 429SL is the second ever production bike released with full Shimano XTR Di2 integration (the Mach 4 Carbon was the first) with an easily accessible internal battery compartment near the bottom bracket as well as internal ports with dedicated caps for wires or traditional cables and housing. The frame is also RockShox Reverb stealth dropper post compatible or in our case, the cable and housing from the Fox DOSS dropper routes internally in the top tube.


Our bike is built up with a complete XTR Di2 group, including Race level brakes and wheels as well as Shimano’s Pro line Tharsis XC Flat Di2 specific stem and carbon handlebar with internal wire routing. By using these the wiring system is almost completely hidden in the frame and totally out of view at the cockpit.

dirt-rag-Pivot-Mach429sl-5 dirt-rag-Pivot-Mach429sl-6

The frame comes standard with a Fox Float Kashima Factory shock with Pivot’s simple to use sag indicator. It also has a 120 mm travel Fox 32 CTD Factory Kashima coated fork but the geometry is designed to work with a 100 mm travel fork as well. As shown, our bike weighs 25.15 pounds without pedals but depending on some specific parts could be built to less than 24 pounds.


With a head angle measuring in at 69.3 degrees, Pivot is utilizing a fairly common number for its cross-country specific Mach. That’s matched to 17.65-inch chainstays to keep the bike quick and nimble. So far its 100mm of rear travel has been highly impressive, often giving the illusion of having more travel at higher speeds. Climbing, the Mach is consistently active but excellent anti-squat from the dw-link design keeps the bike feeling fresh and spunky when putting power to the pedals on smooth sections without giving up compliancy and traction on technical climbs

The Mach 429 SL Carbon frameset retails for $2,999 and various complete bikes are offered. The Shimano XTR Di2 bike retails for $10,400 with a few slight differences from ours including Reynolds carbon wheels, a Pivot branded Phoenix Carbon seat post and handlebar, and Team stem. For first impressions of XTR Di2 click here and here.



Dirt Rag’s first test-ride on Shimano’s electronic XTR Di2: Part 1

XTR side 1

Shimano unveiled its fleet of long-term test bikes for its revolutionary electronic XTR mountain bike shifting in sunny Palm Springs, California. My bike is the potent Pivot Mach 429 Carbon, which is one of the first available to be designed specifically for all internal Di2 wire routing as well as battery storage. After a few shake down rides here in Palm Springs I’ll be going directly to 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo as a solo racer to get more time on the product before taking it home to the east coast.

Since XTR Di2 has had plenty of media coverage already but little actual ride reviews I’ll break this down into multi part reports. First, I’ll begin with my setup choices.

XTR no shift 1

Because this this is going to be a cross-country race bike I was able to secure the 160 gram Pro Tharsis XC Flat Di2 bar and 145 gram stem. These two pieces are designed to run the Di2 wires internally, through the fork’s steerer, out the stem and inside the bar where a small port near the lever mount is located to bring out the wire. Additionally, Shimano mechanics added a little something special: In addition to the wire junction in the frame they added another one inside the stem. Everything is plug and play and it was ultimately pretty easy to do thanks to a multitude of wire lengths available. Doing this made what I did next very simple.

Right off the bat I wanted the full experience of a double ring set up without a front shifter so I had it removed even before riding the bike. In this case, imply remove the handlebar, pull out the junction box hidden in the stem and unplug the front shifter.

XTR comp 1

Next up was programming. Out of the box the shifters felt reversed from the traditional cable triggers (the upshift and downshift buttons were backwards) so I had the mapping changed to match that for which button up and downshifted. Anyone with a PC (no Mac compatibility yet and it’s not certain when) can adjust the performance in a nearly unlimited way.

XTR rear 1


Want to have right and left shifters that both control the rear derailleur? Sure. How about make the right side all upshift and the left all downshift for the rear? No problem. Of course you can also leave them stock and have traditional front and rear shifting. The basic S1 and S2 setting worked fine (there’s also manual which eliminates auto front shifting) but I went deeper with a custom program that one of the on-site Shimano techs created to better suit my riding style.

XTR crank 1

The new S1 map is based around riding in the big ring longer while S2 is based around staying in the inner ring longer. Both setting also increased the how many gears the rear derailleur automatically moves as well as when the front shift happens. I also increased the speed in when the derailleur moves across the cassette. As you can see, there is a lot of customization available.

The first two short rides were incredible. The performance of XTR Di2 is amazing and so far is delivering as promised. Stay tuned for more reports on how it works after more miles are packed on. This is just the beginning of our long term testing.


Pivot Cycles unveils new 429SL carbon


Earlier this year the release of the Mach 4 Carbon was big news for Pivot Cycles, as its first step into the 27.5 market. Now it has followed it up with something even bigger—a 429SL with the same carbon design, dw-link suspension and full XTR Di2 compatibility.


According to Pivot the carbon 429SL drops more than half a pound of frame weight from the previous version of the carbon 429. It also features a series of ports whereby the bike can be outfitted with any type of mechanical or electronic drivetrain with cables routed internally for a clean look. Claimed frame weight is 5.2 pounds and a complete bike can be built less than 23 pounds, Pivot says.


The dw-link retains its 100mm of suspension travel and can be paired with a 100mm or 120mm fork. In between you’ll find a PF92 bottom bracket, direct mount front derailleur compatibility, and sealed Enduro cartridge bearings throughout. It also features internally-routed dropper post compatibility.

The 429SL is available in three colors and four sizes, with a 70.3 degree head tube angle, 12.75-inch bottom bracket height and 17.65-inch chainstays (with a 100mm fork). The Mach 429SL Carbon frame will retail for $2,999 and will be available in a wide range of builds starting at $4599 (XT/SLX) and continuing to $8,849 complete with XTR 2x and Reynolds carbon wheels, or $10,400 with XTR Di2 and Reynolds carbon wheels.


Correction: This post originally misstated the weight savings from the previous model. The new 429SL has dropped half a pound from the previous version of the carbon 429.


Inside Line: New Mach 4 carbon from Pivot


The Mach 4 has always been an important bike for Pivot Cycles. It was the brand’s first big hit, and long a mainstay of the lineup. But let’s face it, a 26-inch bike with 100mm of travel is a hard sell these days, and the new, fourth-generation Mach 4 Carbon has not only embraced all the current design trends and standards, it is creating new ones.

Like all Pivot bikes, the heart of the full carbon frame is the dw-link rear suspension, considered one of the finest ever created for controlling pedaling forces into the suspension. Instead of choosing a travel number and going for it, Pivot tried lots of different suspension setups before deciding on 115mm as the best compromise between racy pedaling feel and trail-bike performance. The 27.5 wheels allow for industry-leading standover height in all sizes, including extra small.

Read the full story


First Impression: Pivot Vault cyclocross/gravel bike


I’ve been a drop-bar, off-roading rider for a couple decades, so the whole ‘gravel’ category is a little late-coming and a bit cliché for me. Who wouldn’t want to ride a properly-specced and comfortable performance bike anywhere and everywhere? Isn’t that the point of adventure seeking?

What’s new for me and others is the marriage of drop bars and disc brakes, which makes perfect sense for many reasons, including better speed control and less hand fatigue. I’m more comfortable on drop bars, and make use of all the hand positions afforded by the extra real estate, so having better control at the levers gives me more confidence. The Pivot Vault caught my eye as a modern carbon all-rounder to stack up against my 24-plus years of off-road riding experience, and it offers several interesting features.

Read the full story


Review: Pivot LES carbon hardtail 29er


Since 2006, Pivot Cycleshas been well known for its full suspension creations, and we’ve had several successfully run through the Dirt Rag testing process. A few have even made it into the personal stables of a couple Rag staffers. So, it was of interest when Pivot Cycles designer/founder Chris Cocalis decided to throw his hat into the “pivotless” ring with the manufacturer’s first hardtail 29er, the LES, which aims to be a high performance race bike with a smooth ride.

Read our full review here.


Review: Pivot Mach 5.7 carbon


One bike to do it all—that’s the idea behind Pivot’s Mach 5.7. While the definition of “all” depends to a large extent on the rider, with its 145mm of rear travel and 26-inch wheels, the versatile Mach 5.7 is exactly the style of bike that would top my shopping list.

Chris Cocalis of Pivot Cycles gave me his take on the intended applications for this steed: “The Mach 5.7 is not an XC race bike, and it’s not a freeride bike; it’s really designed for everything in between. We consider it a do-all mountain bike, and that is the reason it is our best seller.”

Read on to see how versatile it can be.

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