2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review
THE NEW PIVOT SHUTTLE PUTS
THE FUN FACTOR INTO ORBIT
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Brian Niles
Months ago, we released a pretty detailed video and write up on the new 2021 Pivot Shuttle eMTB and what the updates should mean on the trail. Over the next few months, we spent a ton of time on this bike, phoning Pivot’s CEO Chris Cocalis, and learning the ins and outs of this bike. For those who recall our initial launch video, we had an issue with the rear tire hitting the seat tube on our media sample. After lots of digging, we learned that the shock had a slightly longer stroke and the linkage we had was the slightest bit off from production versions. This combination meant that under very hard bottom outs, our tire would barely touch the seat tube. Once we got an updated shock and linkage, the problem was no more, and we could focus our efforts on how much fun this bike is to ride.
Since we dove into all the updates and tech of the new 29er Pivot Shuttle in our first look, we’ll keep this review straight and to the point. Since the old Pivot Shuttle rode well, there wasn’t a huge need to totally throw out the whole bike and start over. Instead, focus was given to making this eBike more contemporary and in-line with others in the industry. When it came time to redesign the Shuttle, Pivot listened to what a lot of their customers and distributors overseas were asking for, 29-inch wheels and more range.
Upgrading to the Shimano STEPS EP8 drive unit helps give the new Shuttle a bit more power and offsets the weight gain accompanied by the large 726WH battery. The battery is easily removable via two hex bolts and if riders so chose, can replace the 726Wh with a 630Wh or 504Wh unit. The ability to swap battery sizes is really cool and means you can pack a lighter 504 in your pack for big epics without breaking your back, or simply run a 504Wh in the bike for after work hot laps while saving about 2lbs of weight. Speaking of power, Pivot moved the On/Off button and charge ports, which are very welcome updates.
Suspension updates are subtle but noticeable to the discerning rider. The 2021 Pivot Shuttle sports a new linkage design, which makes room for a Metric-length shock with a slightly more aggressive tune to control all 140mm of travel. One of our favorite mountain bikes out is the Pivot Switchblade, and we were stoked to learn that Pivot gave the new Shuttle the valving tune profile of the Switchblade, but adjusted to meet the demands of a heavier, faster eBike application. Up front the new Shuttle also has graduated from a Fox 36 to the new Fox 38 with 160mm of travel.
We really liked the geometry on this eMTB and still think it’s a great all-around handler. Pivot has often drawn criticism for being conservative in their geo, and while some message board engineers will always have something to say, we think the Shuttle is more than capable enough to handle the gnarliest stuff you’d ride a 140mm mountain bike on. Our size large has a 460mm reach, 74-degree seat tube angle, 64.3-degree head tube angle and 441mm chainstays. The reach is certainly on the shorter side for our 5’11 and six-foot riders, but the snappiness, ability to manual and playful demeanor are things we value highly on our local terrain. Depending on your terrain you could also enjoy the benefits of running a 27.5+ rear wheel. If we were regularly riding in Squamish on super steeps and high speed flow trails, perhaps an XL would be worthwhile, but for raw and rugged mountain biking on mountain bike trails, sometimes shorter is better. Still, we think 475 is the sweet spot for our height. One aspect of the geometry that did hang us up a bit was the stack height. Based heavily on requests from their European fans, Pivot Cycles added 10mm of stack height to the Shuttle’s head tube height combined with a lot of steerer tube spacers. We spent more time playing with stack height than anything else on this bike, which in a way is a big compliment, otherwise it’s just air it up and ride.