So those of you paying attention will know that the Shuttle is not a brand new bike from Pivot. Having been around for a year or so, the Shuttle has had a little facelift and been tweaked to bring it up to date and open up its performance even further.

The Shuttle is Pivot’s only ebike and is certainly one of the only premium bike brands to have an electric bike in their range. The original price was somewhat lofty, but these newly release models aim to bring the Shuttle to a slightly broader, if still exclusive audience.

So what’s new? Well, not a huge amount, but the changes are certainly noticeable and are worthy of a closer look. The most obvious is the wheel size, which previously had been 27.5 plus, but is now 29er at both ends on both models. These are 2.5 Minions and although the Shuttle is still compatible with plus tyres on 650b there are no 29/27.5 hybrids on offer.

The other change has been an increase in the fork travel, going up from 150mm to 160mm to slacken the head angle by half a degree and give the bike a more aggressive approach to the trail. These forks use a 44mm offset also keeping up with modern trends.

The rear centre of the bike has been lengthened from 437mm to 438mm on the chainstays (yep, 1mm!) and the sensor for the motor is now on the rotor rather than the wheel which cleans things up on the swing arm.

As far as components go, most of the bike is ‘normal’ mountain bike componentry. We do get however get some DT swiss EB (ebike) wheels which have a specific ebike hub and robust rims. The suspension, both front and rear have custom ebike tunes to deal with the unique demands that an ebike places on the suspension system.

What is great to see is the new Shimano power controller, which sits beautifully between grip and brake on the handlebar. BAttery removal has been improved, but still requires 8 bolts to be undone to get at the battery. Pivot says this is crucial to keep the frame weight down and the stiffness high. Essentially the panel to access the battery is an integral part of the frame structure and allows them to completely hide the battery.

The pricing comes in at $10,499.00 for the Team XTR build and $7,899.00 for the Race XT version.

These two models feature the same frame and travel, but the insides are different. The Race XT Performance model is black (stealth) and gets an e7000 drive unit, while the Team XTR model in blue gets an E8000 drive unit. The major difference between the two is maximum torque, which is 60Nm on the 7000 but 70Nm on the 8000. Both models feature Fox suspension with the Team model gaining Factory spec suspension on the DPX2 and the 36 forks.

The Team build drops onto the scales at 20.29Kg (44.75lbs), and the Race is a little more portly at 0.68kg (1.5lbs) more.

The Ride

Pivot occupies an unusual space with the Shuttle, that being a premium bike brand with an emtb, and as such, expectations are exceptionally high. The first thing that is most noticeable is the weight, and at about 2kgs lighter than my recent ebike ride (the Merida e160) there is a very tangible difference. Never has an ebike been so easy to bunny hop and move around and I spent a large proportion of my time on this bike in the air, which tells us a lot about the character of the bike.

The Shuttle is Pivot through and through, the sizing matching up to the rest of the range and giving a 485mm reach in XL. I certainly didn’t feel uncomfortable on the Shuttle, but for a bike, with a 160mm fork, some extra length would be appreciated. So the sizing is pretty conventional, but the seat tubes are relatively short so sizing up is easy to do, and what Pivot do really well is bring their sizing right down to the smaller sizes.

So comfortable, but certainly not stretched, the Shuttle feels pretty well balanced, and the 438mm rear end fits the character and style of the bike. The lightweight and nimble feel work well with the sharp steering awarded from the short offset fork. Where the bike came alive most was on lower gradient technical trails where roots and rocks colluded to knock you off balance or ruin your flow.

The Shimano power and light weight allows for a sprint and hop approach to technical sections and give access to creative line choice as opposed to the usual ebike steam roller effect. Perhaps it’s the familiar feel of an unpowered bike which is the charm here, but with power on tap when needed. The Shuttle rides like all great trail bikes should, and just happens to go faster uphill.

Riding 29er wheels is a breath of fresh air after years of bikes coming on 650b plus, and gives precision and sharpness to the riding that is lost on plus-sized tyres.

Climbing on fire roads is easy, as one would expect and the seated position works well, but I’d happily slide the seat forward if the gradient knocked up a bit. The Shuttle doesn’t have huge chainstays to make climbing it’s number one priority, which again keeps it pretty neutral. Technical climbing sections are best done with a charge and hop approach, making full use of the sprightly ride rather than trying to go steady and winch through the tough stuff.

Dropping through steep downhill track corners I just wanted more bike in front of me, and when the going got fast, I wanted more overall length for stability. Unlike many ebikes designed purely to be an uplift service for a downhill bike, the Shuttle is, as far as I’m concerned a trail bike, and as such is an all-rounder that can be applied to good effect in many situations. Those super technical trails which require regular changes of speed would be somewhere that the Shuttle would absolutely love!

The spec on my Performance version left very little to moan about but the E7000 is noticeably less powerful than the E8000 and certainly worth considering especially if you value rapid acceleration. The only other issue is the rear shock which has an ‘ebike’ tune but just didn’t feel quite right, despite running more than recommended sag, I failed to get full travel and it felt overdamped. It just lacked the usual Pivot plushness achieved through a DW link, which was a shame but I’m sure more time testing and fiddling would solve this.

The Shuttle represents one of the best ebikes out there and is a quintessential Pivot take on the electric mountain bike. Fast, light, stiff and ready to perform in a vast variety of terrain. This isn’t a winch and plummet specialist, instead, the Shuttle combines the advantages of pedal assist into a truly versatile trail bike that will electrify your home trails with style and grace.

Wed 29th May, 2019 @ 12:30 pm

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