THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION
If we’re being totally honest, before we were asked by Pivot if we wanted to try some 27.5 bikes out, we didn’t really have any interest in riding smaller wheeled bikes. Sure, we like Mullet setups on our eMTBs and some DH bikes, but at this point we believed that 29ers had gotten so good that we would never want to give up that speed and efficiency through the rough. We also didn’t really think that there would that big of a difference in how the bikes would handle or accelerate, and we certainly didn’t think there’d be gains made to the climbing performance by going down in wheel size. Alas, we were wrong, at least in some instances. And, while our Dissected features are far from product reviews, what we did quickly realize is that it’s been too long since we’ve ridden a 27.5” bike, because hot damn are they a lot of fun! On top of that, the acceleration and climbing power on technical climbs was noticeable in a way we didn’t think would be.
Now, we’re not saying we’re gonna sell all our 29ers and make the switch, but so far, we’re definitely excited to spend more time on these bikes and enjoy all the smiles they bring. What has stood out so far is the ability to accelerate the bike in climbing scenarios, whether it’s between ledges and steps up in terrain or out of a corner to build up momentum for a feature, both of our riders dismissed how big of a difference it would be to “spin up” those smaller wheels, but it was one of the easiest things to decipher on the trail. Other big standouts were clearance over the bike and tires for playing around on the bike or moving the bike in weird ways beneath us. Whether it was styling a jump, tire taps or any other creative jib, the smaller wheelsize makes direction changes (on or off the ground) much snappier. Finally, we noticed increased speeds when it came to riding old-school trails, you know, the type where modern bikes and riders say, “There’s no flow on the trail.” Flat, awkward corners and switchbacks that were made decades ago by animals or hikers who didn’t know 63-degree head tube angles and 495mm reaches were optimal for MTB performance became a lot more fun! Instead of coming to near stops we were able to drop the outside foot and exit those corners with speed and a smile.
Over the next few months we’ll continue to put time aboard Pivot’s 27.5 bikes as we work on a long-term review focused more on the performance of the particular model, how they stack up to the field and what we think of them individually, but at this point, we can walk away from this experience saying, not only is 27.5 not dead, it may be making a comeback!