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).
We’ve had a couple test riders on the Pivot Shuttle and have ridden it on SoCal singletrack and trails in the Oregon woods. The feedback from testers has been almost unanimously positive, which is a rare achievement for a bike here at Loam Wolf. The Shuttle is a truly capable and nimble climber.
Compared to the other e-bikes I’ve ridden, the Pivot Shuttle definitely performs the most like a regular bike when it comes to handling and playfulness on the trail. Whether it was transferring airs from one side of the trail to the other, manualing water bars or gapping over chunky features on the trail, the Shuttle let us get places other e-bikes have not. The performance gains are a combination of the weight, high-end spec and geometry. At 45 pounds the Shuttle is pounds lighter than any other eMTB we’ve ridden, and it really gets us excited for the day e-bikes break 40 pounds. It’s like we time warped back to DH bike days 12 years ago!
A brand like Pivot doesn’t approach anything with a half-assed effort, and the Shuttle is no different. It’s clear that they went above and beyond to ensure the Shuttle not only rides well compared to other e-bikes, but also compared to normal bikes. Aside from the geometry, the time Pivot spent to optimize the Shuttle’s suspension tune was worth the effort. This bike tackles chunder just as well as it does a steep, techy descent or high-speed pedaly sections.
If you live for the steeps, both up and down, the short chainstays may be something worth considering as they’re a double-edged sword. If you’re a tight techy rider who loves manuals and slamming the back end into the corners, or navigating tight terrain, then the Shuttle will be right in your wheelhouse. If you’re a rider looking to tackle terrain you couldn’t dream of climbing on a normal bike while seated or reaching land speed records down Kamikaze-inspired fire roads, the short stays will be a hindrance.
Chili Dog, who’s about 6’3” (a bit oversized for our size large) felt the chainstays were a little short for super steep climbs, especially with the bike in Boost mode. We think this may have to do with him needing the seat post to be exposed and essentially shifting his center of gravity much farther off the back compared to our 6-foot and under test riders, but it’s worth noting.
While it may not have the climbing traction or stability of the longer rear-ended e-bikes like the Trek Powerfly, it’s a sacrifice many riders would be happy to make in favor of a more lively, snappy ride.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Without a doubt the Pivot Shuttle is one of, if not the best e-bike we’ve ridden thus far. Admittedly we’re newcomers to the e-bike game but have decades of experience riding and racing pedal-powered mountain bikes. We are also very familiar with Pivot’s traditional MTB offerings. The Shuttle has a few really great things going for it: it is the lightest OE spec’d e-bike we’ve ridden, it has a very short and playful rear end, which makes it nimble and light feeling on the trail, and it has a slack head angle for downhill confidence.
If you value a long rear end for steep hill climb competitions with your buds and Kamikaze-inspired fire road descents at 40mph, the playful demeanor of the Shuttle may not be for you. For those who are looking for an e-bike that snaps, moves, manuals and plays as close to a mountain bike as possible, then this bike should definitely be on your list. Of course, that’s if you can swallow the premium price tag that goes along with the high-end spec and performance.
Pivot chose to build the best Shuttle possible, and because of that one model option it’s an all out premium affair. There certainly are other brands out there with more appealing price tags, but only you can decide if the price to performance ratio is something you’ll truly notice. We certainly noticed the performance but still have a hard time justifying $9,999. It was hard for me to believe that I actually purchased this bike just to review it, but now that I have it in my garage, I’m not sure I want to let it go.
Short Rear End
Slack Head Angle
It’s 10 Grand
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