Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Chili Dog
A few months ago, word quietly got around that the Pivot Shuttle, what many called, “the coolest, most desirable and lightest eBike on the European market” was going to be available in the US. Being in the e-curious position I was, I made a phone call to a connection over at Pivot to confirm the rumor. It was true he told me, but they would not be sending any media samples out for fear of perception. “We don’t want to come across as another brand shoving eBikes down people’s throats,” I was told. Wanting to see if the hype was real, I replied, “What are the chances you’d sell me one?” Numbers were crunched, I read those 16 digits off my credit card and away we went – well almost.
Contrary to what you’d expect based on the ruckus of anti-eBikers wanting to #buildtheEwall, eMTB’s are selling out all over the US. The limited number Pivot allocated completely sold out, but they promised me a bike on the next shipment. A month later I got the email and all of a sudden it was real. I had just purchased my first bike in six years! And it was an E-BIKE! Ten months ago I would have slapped you if you’d told me that I’d be dropping coin on an electric mountain bike and I’m probably not the only one.
Designed from the ground up around a Class 1 Shimano Steps E8000 motor, the Pivot Shuttle is nearly identical to the cherished Mach 5.5, which we reviewed as well.
For those unfamiliar, Class 1 eBikes are classified as low speed pedal assisted electric bicycles that only deliver power while the rider is pedaling. There are no throttles on Class 1 bikes and they do not assist the rider above 20mph. The Pivot Shuttle cleanly houses the Shimano Steps E8000 drive unit and BT-E8010 500wH battery in the downtube.
GEOMETRY Electric bikes have received a reputation for being heavy and sluggish with the bike as a second thought after the motor. Pivot wanted to show everyone that doesn’t have to be the case. The Shuttle is aggressive in a couple of its dimensions. With a 65.8-degree head angle, it is the slackest of all the eBikes we’ve ridden. It also features the shortest chainstays (17.2-in) we’ve seen on an eMTB yet. Our size large has an 18.31-in reach (25.3” top tube), a 74-degree seat tube angle and 48.53-in wheelbase.
Like other Pivot dual suspension bikes, the Shuttle employs a DW-Link platform to control the 140mm of rear wheel travel. Pivot and Fox worked to custom tune the suspension at both ends for the demands of eMTB. A 150mm Fox 36 Performance Elite fork is spec’d up front and a Fox Float Performance Elite DPX2 shock is in the rear.
Only one build is offered for the Shuttle, which boasts an electronic Shimano XT Di2 drivetrain in line with the premium spec of the rest of the bike. The system runs off the same battery as the motor and draws a minimal amount of energy from the power source. We found the 500wH battery to get a wide range of mileage depending on our power mode, rider weight and terrain. Regardless, battery life was more than acceptable even on long rides with lots of climbing.
Shimano’s new four piston XT brakes proved very promising, however we had problems with the rear out of the box. Perhaps the pads or rotor were contaminated somewhere along the line but they had almost zero bite. After cleaning the rotor thoroughly and replacing the pads, the rear brake got closer to matching the front’s impressive stopping power, but it was a bummer nonetheless.
Cockpit setup on the Pivot Shuttle is a mix of in-house Phoenix Team components like their bar, stem, grips and saddle. A Fox Transfer post comes in either a 125mm (size small frames) or 150mm (medium and up frames).