PIVOT SHUTTLE RACE GX 29 REVIEW
Words by Drew Rohde | Action Photos by Dusten Ryen
The Pivot Shuttle eMTB is a legend in the ebike space. At the time of its release it was one of, if not the lightest ebike available and also held the spot as one of the most expensive eMTBs on the market. Despite the early resistors and sticker shock, Pivot was selling out of Shuttles shipment after shipment. At the request of their dealers, Pivot was tasked with creating a Shuttle at a lower price point, so the Shuttle GX was released. Retailing for $7,999, it’s far from a budget-friendly bike, but Pivot isn’t really about that life. They are happy being the aspirational brand, focused on building bikes the way they want to, and for the most part, that way is pretty damn good.
While there is no denying the Pivot Shuttle was a class leader when released, a lot has changed since then. Would the relatively minor updates to the Shuttle keep it relevant or will the electric arms race leave this bike in the dust like an analog rider on a fire road full of ebikes. Let’s find out!
Editorial Note: You may notice that our bike is actually equipped with Shimano XT instead of SRAM’s GX drivetrain. Pivot made a running change after we received our bike and all new Pivot Shuttle Race models will come with GX components.
We reviewed the top of the line Pivot Shuttle Team two years ago and were quite impressed with its on-trail performance, for the most part. Some of the issues we had two years ago are still present and even more pressing as battery size and motor refinement have improved greatly. Especially in the last eight months. Pivot specs both Shuttle models with a Shimano Steps E8000 drive unit and Shimano Steps 504Wh battery. A system that still works great but is past it’s prime. While the Shimano Steps system still works reliably, offers nice support and feels pretty good, the 504Wh battery is quickly being surpassed by 625Wh and 700Wh battery-equipped bikes that offer greater range and power. This may not be a huge issue if you value a lighter and more playful bike over range, but it’s worth noting.
Pivot’s more affordable Shuttle GX saw a mid-season change in spec, which leads to some discrepancies in the build we’re testing versus what customers are now able to buy. The 140mm Shuttle GX 29 comes spec’d with a Fox Performance Float DPX2 shock and a Fox Performance eMTB GRIP 36 fork, with 160mm of travel. SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed derailleur works with a SRAM NX Eagle shifter and SRAM PG-1210 10-50t cassette to get riders up and down the trail. Shimano MT520 4-piston brakes handle stopping duties but we would have loved to see larger rotors on the bike since it’s a hard charger on the descents. Twenty-nine-inch DT Swiss EB 1935 wheels spin inside Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II tires, however the Pivot Shuttle will also work with 27.5” wheels.
Geometry on the Pivot Shuttle is capable and well-rounded, although some of the numbers haven’t quite kept up with the trends, which isn’t always a bad thing. Our size large come with a 459mm reach, 625mm stack height, 1,230mm wheelbase and 438mm chainstays. The headtube angle sits at 65.2 degrees with a 74-degree seat tube and 363mm bottom bracket height. Our testers got along with the geometry pretty well but wouldn’t have complained if the seat tube was a little steeper.
We’ve passed the Pivot Shuttle around to riders in Oregon and Southern California for testing over the last six months and have been having a lot of fun on it. We’ve pushed the limits of battery life and travel on this 140/160mm eMTB.
All of our testers greatly appreciated Pivot’s move to larger wheels and a longer travel fork on the Shuttle. The DW-Link suspension is incredibly capable, very composed and offered confidence and stability beyond what we’d expect from a 140mm bike. Pivot worked with Fox to custom valve the rear shock for the demands of an eMTB and to complement their DW-Link system, and it looks like they nailed the tune. The 160mm fork and larger wheels also allowed our testers to push the bike harder, jump deeper and stay off the brakes more, which was good since the small rotors would quickly overheat.
The Pivot Shuttle’s geometry keeps the bike nimble enough to be fun and playful without being sluggish on a majority of trails. The riding around Phoenix, Arizona, Pivot’s home turf, is littered with technical trails, tight turns, flat corners with tall rocks and obstacles. Throw in some high-speed descending, punchy climbs and you’ve got a pretty dialed spot to develop a well-rounded bike. Much of our terrain was similar and we even made some trips to ride some secret and legendary PNW trails that are about as steep and rowdy as they get. Our testers all had fun on the Pivot Shuttle and felt that the bike could hang with the best of them. The only real complaints were the brake fade and the fact that whoever was on the Shuttle couldn’t go back up for a fifth lap when riders on bikes with bigger batteries could. With all the bikes and gear we have to test, we’ve come up with a saying, more like an ethos, “All Boost, all the time!” It pretty much means that when we’re out riding, we are banging out as much vert, mileage and downhill time as we can get as quickly as we can. Our last test ride aboard the Pivot Shuttle was roughly 18 miles and packed 2,700 feet of climbing. At the bottom of the last descent, the battery was flashing red while our other riders had anywhere from 21-37% battery left on bikes with larger batteries.
If you don’t regularly ride in Boost, don’t have a ton of vert, or aren’t concerned with longer range rides, then perhaps our critiques of the battery won’t be an issue. Instead, the bike’s super fun and capable demeanor will win you over. It certainly impressed us.
The Wolf’s Last Word
When the Pivot Shuttle hit the market, it was the pinnacle of the eMTB world. Since then other bikes have been unveiled, new motor and battery systems have evolved and what we expect from a top shelf ebike has too. From a riding perspective, the Pivot Shuttle is on the mark. It is capable, well-rounded and can hang with anything else on the market. The DW-Link suspension is tuned very well, it can handle hits, pedal well on flat trail, climb up techy terrain and is a lot of fun to jump. Despite all the praise on the bike’s performance, the Shimano Steps unit, mainly the 504Wh battery, is ultimately the deal-breaker when it comes to our testers walking into the garage full of similarly capable eMTBs. We all agreed that if there was a Bosch Gen 4 system, or a competitive Shimano system with a larger battery, the Pivot Shuttle would easily be one of our go-to bikes. But, as we’ve all learned from the laptop computer, cell phone and electronics market in general, evolution is fast and relentless.
Weight: 45.73 Lbs
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Frame: Carbon; 140mm
Fork: Fox Performance E-MTB 36 29″ – 160mm
Shock: Fox Performance Float DPX2
Battery: Shimano 504Wh
Drive Unit: Shimano Steps DU-E8000
Brakes: Shimano MT520
Handlebar: Phoenix Race Low Rise Al – 750mm
Stem: Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Headset: Pivot Precision Sealed Cartridge
Shifter: Sram NX Eagle 12-Speed
Seatpost: KS Rage I 150mm
Saddle: Phoenix WTB Race Vigo
Wheels: DT Swiss EB 1935, 30mm
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 29″ x 2.5″ TR, EXO+, 3CT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II 29″ x 2.4″ TR, EXO+, 3CT
Cassette: Sram PG-1210 10-50t
Cranks: Shimano E8000 w/ Sram Eagle EMTB 34t
Derailleur: Sram GX Eagle 12-Speed
Lotta Damn Fun!
Ready to Charge the Trails
Shimano 504Wh Battery
STEPS E8000 is Outdated
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