top of page
  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Pivot Cycles Switchblade Honest First Ride Impressions!

There is nothing like new bike day or the emotions it emits! For me personally, I have had 100’s of these at this point, and yet every single time I get a new bike, I still feel like a kid on Christmas! I can still look back and vividly remember my favorites and the trails I rode that day. I also remember the ones I hated right from the start, the moment of realization that I made a mistake impulsively ordering a certain model (coincidentally one was a Pivot Mach 6 that I would replace with one of my favorite bikes I've ever owned, the Pivot Firebird). That is why I feel like it's so important to document some of your first thoughts after the first real ride on a bike. These thoughts help people in the market get a sense for what that bike is like. Once again this is not a review or a longer first impression write up, this is my thoughts after one ride. 

In the market for an Ibis, Pivot, Yeti, Enve, or Rocky Mountain? Hit up N+1 Bikes and tell them "Mo and Hannah" sent you and they will take care of you!

Recently Pivot announced the newly updated Switchblade, a 160/142mm 29er “super enduro” bike and within one week of its release N+1 Bikes had it on my doorsteps. Now if anyone knows me at all, they know exactly what color I asked for. Pivot released the Switchblade in a bright neon pink limited edition colorway, an ode to one of their first models. It looked insanely awesome on a computer screen and I was immediately sold. And let me just say this, if you are trying to blend in and not bring too much attention to yourself, this is not the color you should go with. Stick with black! The build I went with was the X01 Transmission Pro Build with Carbon wheel upgrades.

While unboxing the bike, it was very clear to me that Pivot was making a statement with this color scheme. The neon is so awesome in person, and I couldn’t help but feel like they made this specifically for me (yes, I do feel that important sometimes, Hannah keeps me in check). Now a little of that excitement turned into nervous curiosity when I saw a warning label on the bike that said “Neon Color May Fade” and I'm still trying to process how I feel about that. I feel like that should have been a bit more disclosed on the website, in my opinion, right next to the color name. Will they warranty it when it does fade and is this just a disclosure? Good question. I probably won't have to deal with that with my bike turnover rate, but it might be something that you would want to look into. 

Now my first ride for this awesome beast would be in Laguna Beach, my old stomping ground! I know this place like the back of my hand and steep downs followed by even steeper ups is the name of the game! After tinkering with the suspension and getting the saddle height dialed in, I hit the trails to see just what this bike was about. Almost immediately I noticed the bike felt different than other models I am currently testing, specifically the bottom bracket felt a bit higher and the chainstay felt a bit shorter. The other thought that came to mind instantly was “wow, this is a real XL”. Im 6’2 and the reach on the new Switchblade is amazingly long and feels more spacious than previous iterations. I had the bike in Low mode.

The first trail of the day started fast and flowy corner wise followed by some serious chunk. Almost immediately I could tell this bike was about to be a lot of fun as I found myself popping out of those top corners with some serious speed. The bike is very playful suspension wise and combining it with the shorter chainstay allows you to really have fun throwing the bike around on flowy sections. Then when the chunky bits came, the stability from the longer front end felt amazing. The bike tackled our rain rutted steep tracks with no issues whatsoever. In fact I would actually say this is where I noticed the slightly higher bottom bracket to be somewhat of an advantage rolling over steep tech bits. It felt like my pedals had a tad more room to navigate the terrain. 

At the bottom of the trail it was all smiles and I made my way up the first real climb of the day, an extended steep fire road. The Switchblade cleaned the entire climb with ease and with little help from the lockout of the Fox Float X, which seemingly doesn't really feel like a lock out at all. This is something that some riders might not mind, but I do. I do a lot of commuting to trailheads and having the ability to fully lock out a rear shock is nice for the road. Given how capable and pedal friendly this bike feels, it would be a nice feature to have. The bike itself has an extremely comfortable pedaling position, and you do feel in the bike on climbs!   Something to note here though is that even though the bike climbs insanely well, the seat angle did feel slightly slacker than expected in the low position, but not to the point where I was bothered. I'm 6'2  with a very high saddle height and prefer steep vertical climbs so seat angles feel slightly more exaggerated to me. Looking on paper, the high setting would get me to where it would feel perfect and like I said it’s barely noticeable and not a deal breaker as some other models I have tested (im looking at you Intense Sniper). 

The next downhill was another super steep chunky one and the Switchblade made me smile more than a vegan buffet! The bike is so stable from the front given its reach and I feel like Pivot really nailed the head angle. This front end stability balances the rear end of the bike's shorter chainstay length and you don't fully  notice how nimble the bike is until you go into a corner. At that point you get the biggest smile on your face and realize this bike feels like magic. There were a lot of deep ruts on this trail that we tried navigating at speed, showcasing  another benefit to the slightly higher bottom bracket as I was able to keep my pedals from clipping. 

After another long and brutal climb that the switchblade handled with ease we were at an even faster down hill trail with lots of chunk and some rock rolls. The entire time I was thinking, “wow, this bike is so different and so fun”! It’s interesting in a day and age where most bikes are starting to feel like each other, the Switchblade stands out. It's tough to describe on paper but long reach, short chain stay, and slightly higher BB is a combo I didn't think I would appreciate as much as I did, and then that appreciation grew tremendously when we entered this very steep part of the trail. With lots of tight switch back and corners, I found myself nose pivoting at speed a majority of them, being able to whip the rear end of the bike around effortlessly, something surprising for a bike with such a long front end! I also found myself popping off any bump I could find with the bike's playful suspension design. And at the bottom of the trail I found myself disappointed that the trail was over. 

So first impressions of the Pivot Switchblade. It's a bike that feels very different when you first hop on it. You can tell Pivot does things their way, and whose to argue, the bike rips. I feel like I am really going to appreciate this on rockier trails, especially those with good tech climbs. That is no surprise either, look at where they are from. The reach is amazing on this bike as is most of the geo numbers. Paint wise, I think putting that label is a cop out and I would have liked to see a paint used that didn’t require a warning label, after all this bike is going to be ridden. And if the paint does fade, I feel like it should be warrantied.

Overall thoughts? This bike rips, is insanely fun to ride, and I'm excited to put more time into learning about it, because that's what it feels like it wants me to do. It feels like a bike that wants you to figure out just how awesome it is and when you do, you will be a Pivot fan for life. Or in my case, until a new test bike shows up or the paint fades. Whichever happens first, I'm hoping for the first one. 

-Mo Awesome

1 commentaire

Cooper Barth
Cooper Barth
21 févr.

Looks and sounds awesome! Loving the articles you’ve been publishing since you broke free! Would love to have a small section on comparisons as you continue to try new bikes.

Cooper (MTB Co-op)


Stay up to date!

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page