What do you do to an already fast carbon hard tail to make it better? If you are from the Cocalis school of bike design, you make it lighter and better performing at the same time as making it more versatile. Carbon hard tails certainly appeal to the racer crowd, but now with the addition of plus size tires, that same bike all of a sudden provides and interesting mix of build combinations…
First introduced 3 years ago, the Pivot LES (get it, pivot-less?) was due for an upgrade. According to Chris Cocalis, “the new bike incorporates a lot of things we pioneered on the original bike. Things like the slack (at the time) 69.5º head tube angle.”
That makes for a race bike with a 69.5º HTA, 72.5º STA, and 17.1″ chain stays at their shortest setting. Calling it new school World Cup geometry, Pivot and their racers maintain that it allows them to ride more aggressively on tricky sections of the course while still racing up the climbs.
In addition to squeezing 50g out of the frame from the previous model, the new bike incorporates Pivot’s Cable Port system that allows easy internal cable routing for 1x, 2x, and mechanical or electronic drivetrains. For the latter, it also adds their battery port to the bottom of the downtube to tuck the Shimano Di2 battery into the bottom of the seat tube. You’ll still find a PF92 bottom bracket and Zerostack headset, and the fame includes all of the caps, ports, and plugs.
Out back, the frame is equipped with Boost 148 dropouts through their Swinger Dropout II system. The bikes will come stock with the adjustable dropouts but in a fixed position. Pivot will sell single speed hardware kits to allow for the adjustability, but since the new kits include fewer pieces, the pricing drops to around $50 for the kit. As Cocalis puts it, “this is the easiest and most secure single speed system on the market.” To back that up, each side has a single adjustment screw with indexed clicks and no need for jam nuts or other parts. The detents allow you to count the clicks to get perfect wheel alignment as well.
The 2x capability it built in with a removable front derailleur mount that includes a stealthy port cover when not in use. The FD mount includes ports for electronic derailleurs and Shimano Sideswing. At the rear the frame will have the option of standard or direct mount rear derailleur hangers and is 148x12mm thru axle for both geared and single speed use (Boost single speed hubs are on the horizon?).
Another big advantage to the Swinger Dropout II system is that it allows for chain stay length adjustment so the frame can accommodate 27.5 x 2.8″ tires. Given the Mach 429 Trail’s ability to do just that it’s not incredibly surprising that the LES would include this ability. Shown with a 2.8″ Ikon, there is enough clearance around the stays to make it work comfortably.
Better still, the new LES has already been on the top step of the podium, piloted by Stan’s Notubes-Pivot racer Rose Grant at the Fontana Pro XCT. While Rose mentions she sometimes chooses her Mach 429 over the hardtail for certain races, her winning LES is set up with Shimano Di2 1x, Stan’s Valor wheels, and Maxxis Ikon 29 x 2.2″ tires.
On the scale, a medium frame with the single speed dropout system which is heavier than the geared dropout weighed in at 1390g, while the complete bike pictured with mechanical XTR 1x and carbon DT Swiss wheels was just over 20 lbs at 20.11 (9.11kg). Pivot claims that a small built with XX1 comes in somewhere under 20 lbs, with the small frameset with all the parts measuring 1295g.
Available with a whopping 10 build kits in 29″ alone with prices starting just under 3k with a Fox Step Cast fork, Pivot will also have at least one plus build for the bike available in the future (no Step Cast for plus).