2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review


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.

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

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.

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

Back when we rode the first Pivot Shuttle for our very first eMTB Shootout in 2019, this bike impressed us. Since then however, the bike fell off the back as brands quickly cranked out updates and better looking eBikes with bigger batteries, modern geometry and other features making them more desirable to lots of consumers. While Pivot didn’t do a ton to make the new Pivot Shuttle much better in the looks department, we know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the performance and features certainly have us focusing on more than the bulbous downtube. While the comments in previous posts clearly show that many people are turned off by the looks, we spent more time focusing on the performance on-trail so we’ll focus on that.

Whether we’re reviewing analog bikes or eBikes, one of the things we focus on is how natural and quickly can we feel at home on the bike. It is something that is much easier to achieve on lighter analog bikes, but some brands can nail it on the E-side. Pivot is one of those brands. Aside from our handlebar height issues, the new Pivot Shuttle felt like our trusty companion after the first corner. It bobs, pops and snaps with ease and almost reads your mind on the trail. No doubt this has to do with the shorter reach, chainstays and overall suspension tune, but either way, all of our testers enjoyed the non-existent learning curve of the Shuttle.

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

With that comfort came confidence to ride hard, fast and big. This resulted in us quickly pushing this 140/160mm eMTB into territory that required some suspension adjustments. Obviously when brands decide on tunes they have to take the general public and their terrain into account, this means that riders who are heavier, regularly ride super gnarly terrain, or are faster than the average Joe, will likely need to adjust their suspension. It’s certainly not a big deal and is something that every rider in the motorcycle riding world is aware of. We increased the size of our shock’s volume reducer to .8 and then eventually settled on the .95 size. This gave us the progression we needed for bigger hits, higher speeds and landing drops to flattish landings. If you’re unsure how to install a volume reducer, we suggest you check out this super detailed and easy How To video.

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

With the suspension set we could push this bike hard into the 150/160mm territory and were pleased to say the bike held it’s own. It did really well and riders rarely felt like the shorter travel held them back compared to longer-legged enduro eMTBs. On more regular terrain, the Shuttle was an absolute treat, popping and boosting from corner to corner, or feature to feature. It corners well and stays pretty well planted when you need it to, but will get airborne when you need it to without too much exertion. Pivot Cycles have done a really good job making this eMTB fun to ride.

When it came time to climb and navigate flatter terrain, the shorter reach and competent geometry had us charging hard. We could focus on putting power down and picking lines around obstacles without too much fear of hanging up or striking pedals. The EP8 works great and had us spinning up the trails with ease although we did log into the Shimano E-Tube app to modify the power curve as we felt Pivot’s tune was a bit conservative compared to other bikes we’ve been testing. Luckily that’s a five minute process and really cranked up the speed and power for our ‘All Boost All the Time’ crew.

2021 Pivot Shuttle Long-Term Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

Alright, there are two major things we know readers are going to point out when reading this review: Price and looks. Looks are a entirely personal choice so we’ll leave that out of our comparison, but we will say that we’d love to see the next Shuttle look as cool as Pivot’s non-E bikes. Budget is another subjective topic and Pivot Cycles has never apologized for their place as a lust-worthy brand that has the tech and riding performance to back their premium. For an XTR-level bike with Fox Factory goodies and other top-shelf components, they’re certainly not the highest priced eMTB on the market, ala Specialized’s Levo.

When we step away from the debatables and focus on the ride quality, experience and fun factor, it’s easy for our crew to say the Pivot Shuttle is a very kick-ass machine. Without a doubt, the Pivot Shuttle can hang with the best eMTBs on the market in this travel category, and we’d even say up to 150mm of rear wheel travel. While we would have loved to put this bike up against the rest in our 2021 eMTB Shootout and we know countless of you have asked us, after being burned by another media outlet mis-categorizing a bike in a shootout, Pivot has created a no group review policy, so we had to leave the Shuttle at home. While we know that’s a bummer for you, the reality is it made a really tough decision for our testers a little easier as having one more insanely fun and capable eMTB in the mix would have only added to our challenge.

Simply put, if the looks and price tag aren’t deal breakers for you, then the Pivot Shuttle is pretty high on our recommendation list. It is one of the livelier and most playful eMTBs out and we really enjoy how capable it is on a variety of terrain. The short reach may be an issue for taller riders or those looking to have that super long and stable feel for super high-speed or modern trails, but if you ride techy, jibby or tighter trails, this thing will leave the stretch limousines in the dust.

Price: $11,699
Weight: 49lbs 4oz
Website: PivotCycles.com


Frame: Carbon, 140mm
Fork: Fox Factory E-MTB 38 29″, 44mm offset, GRIP2 – 160mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2

Drive Unit:
Shimano Steps DU-EP800
Battery: Darfon 726 Wh

Brakes: Shimano XTR M9120 4-piston
Shifter: Shimano XTR M9100 12-Speed
Handlebar: Phoenix Team Low Rise Carbon
Headset: Pivot Precision Sealed Cartridge
Stem: Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Saddle: Pivot Pro E-Bike
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory Series 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD-LG), 175mm (XL)

Wheels: DT Swiss EB 1535
Front tire: Maxxis Assegai DHF 29″ x 2.5″ TR, EXO+, 3C
Rear tire: Maxxis Minion DHRII 29″ x 2.4″ TR, MAXXTERRA, EXO+, 3C

Cassette: SRAM XG1295 12 speed 10-52t
Cranks: Shimano XT M8150 w/ Shimano E-MTB 34t
Derailleur: Shimano XTR SGS 12-Speed

We Dig

Suspension feel is dialed
All around capabilities
29 or 27.5+
Fits multiple battery sizes

We Don’t

Price tag
Short reach will be issue for some


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