A no compromise, sub 10% body fat trail ripper
This bike is an MMA fighter disguised as an EMTB. Brutally fast, ripped to the bone and packs a stinging punch to propel you forward with the excellent Shimano Steps E8000 motor.
"It’s our vision, our calling and our ultimate goal to design and build cutting edge bikes that take your cycling experience to a whole new level" - Chris Cocalis - Pivot Cycles CEO
I first heard about the £8,999 Shuttle on EMTB Forums. I couldn't quite believe how they'd achieved a sub 20KG package. Even the almost identically priced Specialized S-Works weight in at 21.8KG so it's impressive that the Arizona, USA based company have managed to squeeze this ripper down to such an incredible weight.
An imposing trail weapon
Taking a look at the bike reveals the impressive lengths that Pivot have gone to in the design. The entire down tube is wrapped around the Shimano E8010 battery. The carbon frame revealing the a small section of the Shimano battery, so its easy to see remaining battery level and turn the bike on and off with the battery switch.
Pivot use a proprietary hollow core holding technology to create carbon frames. Pivot say that this means that they require less work after they come out of the moulds, compared to traditional methods that other high-end brands use. Other frames require hours of work to fill the voids and imperfections with filler, which not only adds weight but can also compromise stiffness and strength in critical areas. Pivot use a moulding process that uses hard internal forms for both lay-up and moulding that eliminates the possibility of inconsistent pressures resulting in the highest levels of compaction over the entire structure.
Sharp carbon lines
What that means in the real world is a super strong, lightweight carbon frame that is beautifully designed and crafted around the Shimano E8000 system. The removable battery neatly integrates into the down tube and takes about 10 minutes to change if you need to carry a spare (or have to remove it to charge).
The bike has been developed entirely from the ground up and the goal was to create a stiff, wide, burly bike that can take the higher loads that a motor and rider will put through the drivetrain. The bike uses automotive-style gaskets to keep everything sealed and secure and a super boost 157mm rear to allow the unique DT-Swiss wheel to fit. Result: Super hardcore, stiff rear with the shortest EMTB chain stay in the business at 437mm.
It’s like Pivot have set out to create a hardcore lightweight brute that can take a beating but also lash it out and give as good as it gets.
What is immediately noticeable is the weight. Or lack of weight. This bike is actually over Pivots claimed 19.95KG weighing in at 20.8KG. I put that down to the Maxxis Minion DHR tyres (they weight 2,080g combined) and the listed tyre on Pivot’s website is the Rekon+, weighing in at 1560g a pair. That difference adds half a kilo to the bike weight, the other few hundred grams is likely bike sizing (I tested the Large).
Maxxis Minion DHR's offer insane grip
My regular Turbo Levo Carbon weight in at 22KG and I’m used to picking that up, lugging it over fences and chucking it into my Thule XT3 Bike Rack. I immediately noticed the lighter weight of the Shuttle when loading it into my bike rack.
I picked up the Pivot from Swinley Bike Hub and had 4 days with it hitting local trails, Surrey Hills and Swinley Forest. I set up the Fox 36 forks and DPX2 shock to my weight and went for a burn. What a ripper! Talking about the suspension, the race proven DW-Link suspension design paired with the outstanding Fox Shock allows you to feel exactly whats happening at the back of the bike.
The rear tracks over roots and rocks beautifully providing excellent feedback. The damping on the Fox is sublime. It reminded me of how much of a difference you can feel on motorcycle suspension, going from the bog standard OEM fit to an uprated unit. It had a similar damping feel - a satisfying ‘thud’ that made its way through the tyre, the DW-Link, the shock and then your body.
The Kashima coated Fox 36 has excellent plush small bump soaking ability and although I didn’t have any super big hits on my time with the bike, I did give it a bit of a beating on long, rooty trail sections. The Telegraph section on Surrey Hills offers a fast flowy trail that is rooty as a mofo and I could bang on at full speed allowing the forks to soak up all that Rooty goodness.
I’m growing really fond of the Shimano E8000 setup. The motor is a banger. It’s punchy, sharp but also noisy. You can hear this bike arriving. Like a milk float on turbo. I rode the bike a lot in boost mode, something that I don’t normally do on my regular bike. It just felt so much fun riding it on max power, ripping up steep hills, hitting the trails and it felt like I could give the bike a squirt of gas to keep up the momentum on the trails. Flow down, hit the berms, cheeky little squirt of gas towards the next berm to keep you in the zone. Immense fun.
Shimano battery neatly wrapped into the downtube
You know when you’re in the zone; flowing, everything feels right, dialled and you’re just riding and hitting everything in the sweet spot? Like a sports team that’s in the zone and everything is working, shooting and scoring. This bike keeps you in the zone more than I’ve had on any bike that I’ve ridden. That’s the sum of all the parts. It keeps you in that sweet spot for as long as you like.
Speaking of being in the zone, the Shimano Di2 servo assisted shifting keeps the gears banging exactly where you need them to be, instantly. Like really quick. Hit the trigger then boom, shifted. So picture this… ripping through a trail, squirt of gas through the cranks, the E8000 motor on boost, banging through the shifters to keep the cadence regular and high, partnered with the top of the shelf component list and totally sorted frame geometry with outstanding rider feedback. Sounds good, right?
Shimano Di2 offers lightning quick gear changes - it just works
The feedback through the entire bike continues to inspire you to pop up the front, slid out the back on tight turns and take on more of the Gnarls Barkley than you might normally do. The geometry with the 150mm fork (that can be tuned to 160mm) gives a head angle of 65.8˚, slightly slacker than average trail bike geometry (Levo is 66.1˚ and Kenevo is 65˚ for comparison) so this sits in between enduro and trail which is ideal for my riding. The chain stay is short by EMTB standards at 437mm. You might think that this geometry effects climbing ability, but thats not the case on the Shuttle. I rode some proper steep sections that you’d never get up on a regular bike, the Maxxis Minions offer incredible grip and I never once felt like the front end wanted to lift.
I didn’t get an opportunity to test the bike steeper downhill sections like Bike Park Wales so couldn’t fully test how capable of some bigger hits but I’ve no doubt that it’d handle it superbly.
There’s a few things about the bike that I didn’t appreciate. The dropper at 150mm could have been longer (I’d have preferred a 170mm, if it fit). I had to reduce the overall seat height so I could get maximum drop, right down to the frame as on the Large I had a good 5cm of dropper insertion sticking out of the seat tube. I also don’t like the dropper lever. Pushing down with your thumb is not a natural movement. The Fox lever is also ridiculously designed. The dropper lever came loose during my ride and I couldn’t access the Allen bolt due to the position of the metal cable routing. We had to use a zip tie around the dropper and shifter to prevent the dropper lever rotating around the bars.
DW-Link rear end with super boost spacing
Also, on a £9k bike I’d expect carbon rims. The Specialized Levo S-Works comes in as a complete carbon package so its a shame that the Shuttle doesn’t follow suit here. What else? Well, the Shimano motor is noisy. You can hear it coming. Really whiney, radio-controlled car noisy. That’s such a shame, but not really Pivots fault. It’s inherent to the design of the Shimano motor. I’m sure that over Shimano will get to the category leader for noise, Brose 1.3 with its super stealthiness, but at the moment you’ll hear the Pivot coming from a good distance.
The gears are super clicky with quite a plastic feel to them. I’d love a more premium feeling to this. I don’t think that the shifters need such a positive click-clack. Am I being picky? Possibly, but I think rightly so, because when you’re laying down this amount of dollar on a bike you want it to be perfection already. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of the E8000 Di2 package provides. My wish list: quieter motor, more premium feeling contols.
The display is small but really bright
Those niggles aside I believe that this bike that Pivot have produced is the finest example of a EMTB to date that I’ve ridden. It’s a sublime, strong burly quiet frame, the cable routing is brilliant with no noise or slapping. Excellent, near perfect geometry. It gives an outstanding feeling whilst riding. This is a fun playful lively bike that is an absolute blast. Hooning about in boost is just so much fun and I'd take this bike anywhere if I had to opportunity.
And that’s what riding bikes is all about for me; the feeling that you get. That sweet-sweet feeling when you’re flowing, everything is working and feels interdependent but well oiled, slick and connected. That’s what the Pivot Shuttle gives.
Pivot Shuttle: 4.5 / 5thor]1[/author]