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Switchblade 27.5 Plus Pro XT/XTR Mountain Bike
Pivot was one of the first brands to embrace the benefits of Plus tires when they released the Switchblade back in 2016. A versatile machine that could accept both 29-inch and 27.5 Plus, it quickly became a favorite among riders wanting a high-end full-suspension bike that let them take advantage of the added traction and confidence of Plus tires. But considering the rapid evolution of mountain bikes in recent years, Pivot had to go back to the drawing board to give the Switchblade some necessary updates to keep it right in line with modern trail bikes. The new model gets a bump in travel, more progressive geometry, an all-new chassis that's stiffer, lighter, and more refined. This particular bike comes with a choice mix of components that includes Fox Factory suspension, a Shimano XT/XTR drivetrain, and DT Swiss M1700 wheels with lofty Maxxis Rekon 2.8in tires.
Taking a closer look at the new Switchblade you'll see it looks very different than the previous generation. The clean lines and fresh colorways are aesthetically pleasing and are sure to draw looks when you're unloading the bike at the trailhead. You'll also notice that the shock is now positioned vertically and driven by a rocker-style upper link rather than the previous generation’s horizontal clevis design. This allows for a stiffer, lighter, and more compact frame while freeing up room for a full-size water bottle on all frame sizes. The rocker-style linkage also decreases the load on the shock and offers a more progressive leverage curve along with coil shock compatibility. Rear travel is boosted from 135 to 142mm for a little more forgiveness when the going gets rough, and every build kit comes with a 160mm travel, 44mm offset Fox 36 that brings comfortable handling and precise steering to the equation.
The Switchblade V2 geometry moves to a slacker head tube angle, a steeper seat tube angle, longer reach figures, and a shorter seat tube that accommodates longer dropper posts than the previous model. A two-position flip-chip alters the bike's geometry between high and low positions, with the "high" position being required for the 27.5 Plus setup. In this position, the bike has a 66.5-degree head tube and 76-degree seat tube, numbers that are thoroughly modern and hit a sweet spot that makes this bike a joy to ride on any trail—bet it tight and technical or fast and flowy. Should you wish to change the bike to a 29er just flip the chip to "low" and throw on your new wheels and you're good to.
Perhaps the primary factor contributing to the Switchblade's positive ride quality is the DW-Link suspension platform. DW-Link’s position-sensitive anti-squat virtually eliminates unwanted suspension movement while pedaling, preventing your hard-earned energy from being lost to the suspension. On descents, the suspension has an active feel that maintains sensitivity when braking, and the slightly rearward axle path goes a long way toward smoothing out chunky descents and square-edged bumps. DW-Link bikes also ride high in the travel, reducing pedal strikes and keeping the geometry figures consistent for a predictable feel on the trail. Accompanying the DW-Link design is a Fox DPX2 with custom valving that's exclusive to Pivot. Pivot worked with Fox extensively to get the exact ride feel they were looking for on this new shock, namely increased support, greater responsiveness, and enhanced rear-wheel traction.
Balancing the suspension with materials that can handle the terrain, the Switchblade is crafted from a painstakingly precise mix of composite fibers and resin, then meticulously laid to create a frame that finds the happy medium of strength, stiffness, and weight. The chassis itself benefits from Pivot's hollow-core internal molding process for uniform, controlled wall thicknesses and material distribution. This process virtually eliminates inconsistencies and resin pooling, increasing structural integrity while targeting areas for weight loss. In addition to hollow-core molding, Pivot implements size-specific design and ride tuning on their frames. In essence, the carbon lay-up, tube thicknesses, and tube shapes vary a bit between sizes in order to maintain a consistent ride quality across all frame sizes. Simply put, it's the best way to make a strong and lightweight carbon frame with excellent ride feel.
Other details that set the bike apart from the previous Switchblade include removal of the front derailleur mount in favor of 1x drivetrains only. This allows for cleaner internal cable routing, and also a wider lower link that bolsters frame stiffness in this critical area. The new frame saves roughly 1/4lb over the previous model yet has increased torsional stiffness in the rear triangle and a higher overall stiffness-to-weight ratio. Other details include full integration with Fox Live Valve on top-tier build kits, mounts under the top tube for on-bike storage options, and a new chainstay protector that keeps the distracting sound of chain slap to a minimum.
This Pro build pairs a Shimano XTR rear derailleur with XT shifter, chain, and cassette. We've been thoroughly impressed with Shimano's 12-speed mountain group and its ability to shift crisply and reliably—even when the drivetrain is under load. Fox Factory suspension keeps your tires glued to the ground when the going gets rough, while the powerful XT 4-piston stoppers and meaty Maxxis rubber help you scrub speed before dropping into a rowdy chute. DT Swiss M1700 wheels are an office favorite that continue to spin true ride after ride, and they're laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs with an upgraded 36t star ratchet for snappy pedal engagement. Pivot also equips this bike with a Transfer Factory dropper with Kashima coating that matches the suspension, and ensures each frame size has the longest possible dropper that will still fit the full range of recommended rider heights.
- A Plus-tire version of Pivot's all new Switchblade trail bike
- Travel is increased to 142mm rear and 160mm up front
- Progressive geometry with slacker head tube, steeper seat tube
- Vertical shock orientation now accommodates full-size water bottle
- Custom DPX2 shock offers improved support and bump-absorption
- Hollow-core molding process delivers a stiff and lightweight frame
- Size-specific design means every frame size handles superbly
- XT/XTR Pro build leaves nothing to be desired for discerning riders
- Item #PIV1WVD
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