2014 Switchback Bikes Reveal carbon fiber 650b and 29er full suspension mountain bikes

We’ve been following Scott Robertson’s escapades with these bikes for a while now. He first got in touch while running Hammerhead Bikes, which saw a rebirth in 2012 with an alloy full suspension 29er frame. We rode it and liked it, but the company got to a point where the financial backing sorta lost its spine.

Rather than throw away all the hard earned knowledge he accrued helping to resurrect the brand, Scott broke clean and launched Switchback Bikes. The design is essentially the same, but will now be offered in both alloy and carbon fiber models, for 29ers and 27.5″ wheels. Beyond the new wheel size and frame material, he’s taking a novel approach to launching. No, not the crowdfunding campaign that’ll kickoff on Monday. Rather, he’s laying out the entire process on his blog. So, yes, these are “catalog” bikes from a Taiwanese manufacturer, but there’s so much more to it than that. Fortunately, Scott’s taking us along for the ride…

2014 Switchback Bikes Reveal carbon fiber 650b and 29er full suspension mountain bikes

The carbon fiber version is called the Reveal, with 7 and 9 indicating wheel size. It’ll launch with the three colors (seafoam, gray and pink) shown as a frameset and with complete bike options. Launch pricing starts at just $1,799 for the frame and runs up to $4,199 for the 27.5″ and $3,999 for the 29er, both with XX1 groups.

Why the the price difference? The 650B bikes get 150mm travel and the Monarch RC3 Plus with high volume can and piggy back reservoir. The 29ers are 120mm travel and use a standard Monarch shock.

Sales of the Pink send 10% of the frame price to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

2014 Switchback Bikes Unveil 7 alloy 650b full suspension mountain bikes

The Unveil is the alloy model and gets slightly different geometry and travel but keeps features like a thru-axle rear end and Inset/Zero Stack headset spec. It swaps in a standard threaded bottom bracket shell, too, which some people may prefer anyway. The 650B gets 150mm travel, and the 29er has 130mm.

2014 Switchback Bikes Unveil 9 alloy 29er full suspension mountain bikes

Launch pricing will start at $1,099 for a frame and shock and run up to $3,799 for an X01 build with the piggy backed Monarch. All frames come with a three year transferable warranty, crash replacement program and an extra derailleur hanger.

The “Launch Pricing” is their way of getting things off the ground by offering a solid discount. It’s essentially a pre-order, which gives them the funds to hit their minimum order from the manufacturers. Rather than run it through a crowd funding site and have a cut taken out, they’re simply giving you the chance to jump in early and help get a new brand off the ground. If they don’t hit enough pre-orders to get it started, everyone’s funds are returned.

Scott reiterated that Switchback has no relation to Hammerhead, it’s a completely new company. His approach helps him stay in control and not at the mercy of outside capital. We always applaud those willing to go for it, and Scott’s going for it again because, as we’ve learned, once you’re in the bike industry, you never wanna leave. It’s a great place to be.



  1. They might want to do a little more research on their brand name – “Switchback” is a registered trademark for a large bicycle supplier…

  2. I think they look great. l personally dont have any issue with Open mould frames, l have a few of them and really like em. I do wonder which frame that is. l cant think of any of them that have 150mm of rear travel out of the box. l would sport one.

  3. I have been riding the alloy 29er for a few months and I can say it has inspired more confidence than my beloved rip 9 in the chunk, I believe its a bit lighter too just fun very competent and nimble for a 29.

  4. Scott’s customer service is second to NONE! I’ll have more than one Switchback in my stable! Way to go Scott! A new home for my ENVE/P321 wheels has arrived!

  5. Best of luck with the new bike endeavor. But, please, before you send any funds to the Susan Komen foundation, you gotta first see the documentary, “Pink Ribbons Inc”. Because, if the fight against breast cancer is really your priority, that charity may not be the best use of those funds. Trailer for the film is here:

  6. Ive bought three bikes from Scott over the years and his service and knowledge were the best. I’m excited to see this get off the ground. Way to go, Scott!

  7. This is an interesting story and I admire the ones who keep trying. The new name is much better. You could still improve the look of the type in the logo though, make it more unique. I think it’s worth spending 5-10K on amazing brand design if you really want to make a home run with a start-up. Look at a company like Ritte for example, they just nailed the branding. Others like Culprit and Factor make really nice looking parts but totally fart out with the brand design imo. I think you need that brand to really sing in order to compete with the other pool of strong brands that already exist as big players in the industry.

    Otherwise best of luck! The frames themselves have nice lines open mold or not. If you have good service on the parts and a drive to sell good products and back them up… that’s great stuff.

  8. Please Scott, reconsider donating money to Komen. I haven’t watched the doc Greg linked to, but have heard so many horror stories about the decisions that the Komen foundation makes.

  9. there’s only a 10% donation for sales of frames or completes that have pink paint. If you like the bike, you can order a gray one, and then you could even put some pink stickers or paint on it yourself. Maybe even tie a pink ribbon on it, if you think it helps.

  10. STOP CALLING IT FSR!!!!! Most of us know by now that specialized only purchased a Patent then gave it their own name! It is A Horst Link. Now too bad their showing that carbon frame with a Single pivot. It would make so much more sense to just launch the budget alloy bike and a nice hardtail then pony up for the cost to produce a true four bar carbon frame. Good luck mr. scott

  11. I’ve got a buddy that rides the alu version of the hammerhead bike and my brother has the carbon proto’s he sold at the end of that business; both flat out love those bikes and both can definitely shred on them. I think with this business and pricing model he stands a real good chance of competing and being a viable business. Good Luck Scott!!!

  12. @rico – thank you for the input, appreciate it. There is another factor in Branding. The Brand itself and “who the brand is” We have a very unique approach and one I believe will resonate w/ consumers. Check out our site to learn more if interested.

    @Greg @dsw and @Radeus – thank you very much for sending that, will review.

    @greg – there wasn’t a quality available Carbon option running the Horst-Link. We field tested the Reveals in Taiwan and didn’t discover any glaring bad ride qualities from the current set up. Having said that, yes I would like to go to a Horst-Link eventually. It would require creating all new molds, so if we have success and can invest in that we will.

    Thank you everyone for your input and thoughts. I actually have a Suggestions page set up on the site for this type of thing http://www.switchbackbikes.com/suggestions the key component in the start-up and life of the Switchback Brand is your input, feedback, and participation in the Brand. Let’s go build a Brand together!

    Scott Robertson

  13. I have a bought one of the best 29er from Scott .. He is an personable individual …. I agree his customer service via, facebook, email or phone is second to none. Scott l will look forward to 2014 with Switchback and the Metro NY_NJ_CT exposure to your bikes.

  14. I had a switchback Reveal 27.5 wheel size. It lasted about a year before the lower swing arm pivot bearings chewed out the frame. Bearings are mounted directly into carbon and no sleeving. Frame was toast. As they are no longer making frames the dealer did a deal on a YETI SB5C. Best damn bike I have owned. Am looking at line boring out the lower pivot and putting in a sleeve and resurrecting frame in the future.

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