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AASQ #32: Ask Pivot Cycles Anything – Part 1

ask me anything chris cocalis of Pivot Cycles
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We know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But there are some questions you might not want to ask your local shop or riding buddies. AASQ is our weekly series where we get to the bottom of your questions – serious or otherwise. Hit the link at the bottom of the post to submit your own question!

Pivot Cycles has quickly become one of the premier mountain bike (and gravel/cyclocross bike) manufacturers by adhering to a strict level of precision and focusing on cutting edge technology. Over the years we’ve seen them go from a boutique frame builder with two models to the high end competitor they are today with a complete line of bikes (that continues to grow and evolve). This week for AASQ, we’re letting the readers pick the collective mind of Pivot cycles on everything from bike design to small part availability.

One of the most surprising bits of information came in the answer of Ted’s question who asked, “When will you sell the Pivot Shuttle in the USA? I would love to have one.” The answer? Apparently now, saying, “We have recently made these available in the USA and Canada, check it out. This comes as a surprise as the bike was initially launched as a Europe-only option, though it’s not that big of a surprise as the bike is very impressive and they were getting quite a few requests for it here Stateside.

From there, the questions moved to bicycle design and future plans for Pivot:

Hi Guys, do you plan on releasing a road bike at all? Not gravel, not cross, not all road/groad. A *ROAD* bike. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to show how good you are. Your mtn bikes are legendary and you sure have the know how at handling aluminum. Yes, aluminum road bike. I’d certainly consider getting one. Aluminum is making a remarkable resurgence and definitely marking its presence as the de facto material for affordable machines. I think you’d be great at it. Thanks, GC

Pivot: Thanks for your confidence in our abilities to make bikes across a wide spectrum. Most people don’t know this, but Pivot actually has a pretty long history of building top tier road bikes. During his Titus days, Chris built the bikes for the Mercury Lemond team and Titus had a really high end, lightweight alloy model called the Drop U that was one of the first bikes to use 6069 aluminum.

More recently, all of BH’s (Spanish brand) high end road models were designed at Pivot (through 2013). The BH G5 and Ultralight are probably the most well known. The G5 was launched in 2009 and raced to two Tour De France stage wins and eight straight days in the yellow jersey. The Ultralight marked the introduction of 386Evo bottom bracket system (designed here at Pivot and developed in partnership with FSA).

We love road bikes and certainly believe in the merits of aluminum. It’s certainly a possibility that there may someday be a Pivot road model. However, don’t start holding your breath quite yet. We have a lot of new mountain bikes to design and make before a road project could even be considered.

Does Pivot have any plans to make a full suspension 29 plus?  Lots of interest in western Colorado for one with 140-150 mm front suspension and 120-130 rear suspension 29 plus. Thanks for your time, Jason.

Pivot: No Plans at this time, but we would never say never. However, at this time, we are not super stoked on 29+. It’s a lot of weight way out there and doesn’t really provide the experience that we are looking for out of a bike.

2017 Pivot Vault cyclocross and gravel road bike

Is the Pivot Vault on the webpage considered the 2017 or 2018 version? 
Will there be a new one coming out? It looks like a proper all around dream bike. 
Also is it available as a frame set? – MJO

Pivot: We don’t work on calendar years for our bikes – though the one you see on the webpage is currently referred to as the 2018 model. It is available in an Ultegra complete build or a frameset which includes the fork. We are always innovating to create your dream bike!

Will you please make a shreddy XC 29er to accompany my Switchblade?  Slack, long, low, and light – a la the new Intense Sniper. – Zak

Pivot: We can’t commit one way or another, but we always love to hear feedback as to what we should make next.

Why has Pivot selected to make short travel designs (like 429 Trail) that are far less progressive than could be?  Is this a result of a compromise between pedaling efficiency (or some other trait) at the cost of progressive suspension?  Is it a result of packaging a bike inside a small light frame and only having short travel to work with?  Is it a result of an assumption that riders will not want a progressive design in that form factor?  Something else?
Genuinely curious to how Pivot approaches something like this.  Will future iterations of the Pivot 429 Trail be different in this regard?  What about other short travel offerings from Pivot?  (SL etc) – Brett

The short answer: We like to have a wide variety of bikes in our line. Not everything needs to be an enduro bike. We have built prototypes with shorter travel that push the limits of the category in terms of geometry and they are fun, but you wind up running out of travel in a hurry and you wind up having to ride them like an aggressive enduro bike all the time. The Mach 429 Trail has been our best selling model for the last couple years because it strikes an incredible balance between XC race efficiency and longer travel trail bike capabilities. The success of the Mach 429 Trail has now been eclipsed (only slightly) by the Mach 5.5 Carbon and Switchblade which both have more progressive geometry and the travel to match the geometry’s capabilities. We are always testing and progressing. It’s certainly our goal to improve on any new model that we develop and have it be class leading in the category. This usually takes some time as we do a lot of testing but it’s always worth the wait.

I have a Mach 5.5 Carbon and think it’s a great all around bike in Tucson. I have two questions:
1) the rear shock says it’s “factory tuned”. How is it different from a stock Fox DPS? If I needed to replace it what would I need to do to end up with an equivalent shock?

Pivot: We work closely with FOX on the tune of every shock. There is not a single shock in our line-up that is “off the shelf”. That said, every shock also has an ID code on the body that would enable any Pivot dealer to order you a replacement with the exact same valving. Even if you want to upgrade to the same or a different shock option that we stock for a given model, your dealer can contact Pivot and we can usually work with your dealer to get you taken care of.

2) Why are the various Pivot models so similar? For any type of riding there are probably 2 or 3 that would work. How do you pick? – David

That’s a great question. The versatility of Pivot bikes (with dw-link) allows each model to cover a wide spectrum so it can be a bit daunting at times to pick the perfect one. The good news is that there are lots of great choices. You really need to look at who you are as a rider and what do you want in a bike. Hardtails are easy, but in terms of the suspension designs here’s how we break it down:

  1. XC Racer wanting the fastest bike to get you around the race course: Mach 429SL
  2. XC racer that is either under 5’5” or an XC oriented trail rider that prefers the quick acceleration, maneuverability and playfulness that 27.5” wheels offer: Mach 4 Carbon
  3. All around trail rider that does the occasional race or endurance racer that likes to have some extra travel in reserve. If your trail riding does not lean towards the extreme end of the spectrum then this bike is for you: Mach 429 Trail
  4. You’re an all-around trail rider. You may do the occasional 24 hour race or you may even ride the occasional enduro, but that’s not your focus. You simply want the best all-around trail bike that’s confidence inspiring and won’t hold you back in technical situations but also be happy to climb all day if that’s what the ride entails. Basically, this is one of our offerings that crosses all boundaries and is the one bike to do it all and make you a better rider while doing it: Mach 5.5 Carbon.
  5. You’re an all around trail rider that loves 29er wheels and/or is looking for something just slightly more aggressive than the Mach 5.5 Carbon and will allow you to race enduro and/or focus a bit on more technical terrain: Switchblade. (On paper the Switchblade and Mach 5.5 Carbon look like nearly identical bikes but on trail, the Switchblade has the feeling of a longer travel, more aggressive bike. On the flip side of this, the Switchblade with 27.5” Plus wheels is often the best all around trail bike for someone looking for maximum confidence and traction. The 27.5” Plus wheels will make a less technically proficient rider more confident in all conditions.)
  6. You’re a trail rider or Enduro rider who wants an extremely technically capable bike. You are OK with climbing but with the purpose of getting to the descents. You may even entertain the occasional bike park trip and need a bike that can handle your day to day shredding and also be able to tackle the bike park: Mach 6 Carbon or Mach 6 Aluminum
  7. You’re a rider that likes to ride the most technical terrain, enduro races that mimic (or are) World Cup DH courses, and double black diamond bike park runs or you just spend the majority of your time in a bike park. You may even hit the occasional DH race. This bikes still climbs amazing so many riders chose this just because they know that they will never be under gunned in the most technical situations: Firebird.
  8. You’re a DH rider/racer and/or just like to have the most travel available in a bike park: Phoenix DH.

pivot mach 429 trail mountain bike review

Why do you use proprietary-sized shock mounting hardware on a Mach 429 carbon? My bushings are getting sloppy, and good luck finding the proper sized replacement from anyone other than Fox, who have a $50 minimum with a $15 shipping fee for a $15 part. The 36mm wide one is the troublemaker. – Rob

Pivot: We have used the same hardware sizes on the front and rear since the 1st Mach 4 in 2007. The front is a stock size and the rear is as narrow as we can go while still allowing the shock to clear the seat tube. If you have a newer shock with the Igus-style bushings then the pins should not wear out. FOX uses the same bushings and O-rings on every shock (they aren’t size specific). We recommend that you use FOX specific hardware. That said, your local dealer should be able to order bushings for you in conjunction with another order so that you don’t have a minimum purchase or an excessive shipping fee. If that doesn’t work, please contact our customer service- info@pivotcycles.com and we can do our best to come up with a solution.

pivot cycles sag meter for rear shocks is available directly through Pivot Cycles online store in the USA

How do we buy the Sag meter stick I saw on google images?? – JP


  • US customers can buy our suspension sag indicator on our online store.
  • Everywhere else in the world- check with your local distributor or dealer, and they can hook you up!

Got a question of your own?  Click here to use the AASQ form, or find the link under the Contact menu header up top anytime a question pops into your mind! 

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5 years ago

Wait a second……my Ultralight is a Pivot?? I was curious why it climbed so well and still remained playful on descents.

5 years ago

Please add an aluminum Switchblade to your line up. I demoed the carbon version and love it, but even the base build is out of reach.

The Dude
The Dude
5 years ago

Please go to threaded bb’s. Everything else on the bike is well thought out, don’t cut corners on the bb. If PF is so great, then design threaded to exceed it. Creaks on a bb are unacceptable these days.

5 years ago
Reply to  The Dude

Not all press fit BB designs suck, just some.

Kevin Kitura
Kevin Kitura
5 years ago

Any chance we might see the Racer-X also in the Pivot Cycles line up?

Rick Tan
Rick Tan
1 year ago

I just saw an old video of Mike Hall in a “How to Bikepack” video and in the background was a Pivot-branded road bike. Is this bike from Chris Cocalis’ company?

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