Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review



Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Max Rhulen

I’ve been a fan of the Pivot Switchblade long before this beautiful green machine showed up at our shop. In fact, I first hopped on a Switchblade at the official launch in Phoenix back in 2020. Since then, when friends, industry acquaintances or anyone else has asked me “What’s your favorite do-it-all bike?”, the Switchblade was always on my list. While it was on my list for performance, I didn’t exactly love the thought of dropping $8-10k on one myself. With the introduction of the Brunch Ride spec series, I can wholeheartedly say that I would no longer just pick this as my go-to bike if it was given to me. At $4,999, the Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride reviewed here, is now at a price point that I would be willing to step up to and drop my own money on. But that’s just my opinion, read on to see why the rest of our crew now thinks this may just be the best value bike in the do-it-all mountain bike category.  


• 142mm DW-Link Suspension
• 2-pos Geometry Flip Chip
• HTA 66
• STA 75.5 (effective)
• REACH 470 (Large)

Price: $4,999 – $11,499
Website: Pivotcycles.com


Pivot recently introduced the Brunch Ride builds as a way to help their dealers stay competitive, without devaluing their brand or the bikes currently in the field – a thoughtful gesture in many ways. Those who own and bought Pivot bikes for 8-10k aren’t now sitting on instantly devalued bikes like so many other brand owners, and similarly, bike shops can now offer their services, maintenance plans and dealer support at a price point many are spending with direct-to-consumer or value-minded brands.  

Now, before we get too many ruffled feathers telling us $5,000 is far from a “value” and reminding us that other brands offer $5,000 bikes with better wheel, brake or shifting specifications, we’d like to point out something we feel many customers overlook: frame and ride quality. There is an undeniable difference when examining a Pivot Cycles’ frame compared to any other consumer-direct value brand. Let’s detour for a moment.  

Mercedes-Benz offers their entry-level CLA sedan around $38,500-40,000. Meanwhile, the venerable Toyota Camry starts in the high 20s. If you upgrade the Toyota Camry to the XSE V6 package, retail price quickly hits the $37,500-$39,000 range, and yes, it’s a very nice and upgraded sedan, however it’s still a Toyota Camry. If you stepped into that same priced Mercedes-Benz CLA, you’d notice a difference right away. Not just the drive performance, the interior, the stitching of the seats, the steering wheel, the fit and finish of the interior panels would quickly remind you, you’re in a premium-level automobile, not a hopped-up Toyota Corolla. How does this relate to bikes?  

Well, apparently if a brand takes whatever mass produced, off-the-shelf bike they want, gives it some fancy marketing, slaps on SRAM T-Type AXS derailleur and price it at $5k, it’s the “best value in the out on the market.” Step out of that hopped-up Camry however, and you’ll see the Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride is a trail-shredding luxury machine that will give you pride of ownership not found in many other bikes at this price range.

So, what exactly makes this frame stand out? Let’s start with the paint and appearance. We’ve been fortunate enough to receive over 50 bikes a year for review, meaning we’ve put our hands on hundreds of bikes, from unboxing and building to riding and washing, and eventually reboxing them for return. Certain brands stand out from the others when it comes to frame alignment, paint quality, imperfections (or lack of), ride quality, tuning, engineering, and the fit and finish of the little bits. Things like frame protectors and cable insertion points are minor, but make a big difference to longevity and maintenance down the line. Pivot Cycles has long been known for their high prices, boutique brand experience and refined machines. You don’t get to become the “Dentist’s #1 pick” without having a product that passes the white glove and fluorescent light examination! [Sorry Pivot, we had to. =)

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review

FRAME CONSTRUCTION | Pivot’s Hollow Core is a process that sets their bikes apart from many, especially in the more affordable realm. Rather than using an inflatable bladder to mold their carbon, Pivot Cycles’ Hollow Core process is unique as the fibers are laid against a solid core for each size and tube, and it gives their higher-grade carbon reduced wrinkles and variation, and also reduces the chances of resin pooling. This all adds up to a reduced need to reinforce the frame to account for imperfections created by an inferior production process, leading to a more finely tuned stiffness and lighter weight.  

Furthermore, Pivot tunes each frame’s stiffness and strength ratios for average rider weights found on different sized frames. Sure, you may not get a seat tube angle that changes for every size, but we’d argue that having a properly tuned frame stiffness profile will make for a more enjoyable and faster ride, at least for those who value their time out of the saddle more than on the saddle.  

Moving away from frame construction and overall top-shelf appearance, Pivot engineering has chosen to focus efforts on areas that translate to gains on the trail instead of the chatrooms, for better or worse…We know some of their decisions have been inflammatory and make wheel selection or other component swapping concerns a reality, but it is what it is. Two examples are the Super Boost Plus rear axle and a Pressfit BB92 bottom bracket, which works with standard Q-Factor measurements down to 168mm and featuring a 56-57mm chainline. Pivot has a detailed FAQ section listing compatible options from Race Face, Wolf Tooth, OneUp and more on their website, if an upgrade is in your future. 

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review

Pivot gave the Switchblade sportier geometry compared to some of the moder-day sleds on the market. While it may not be for everybody, and it can get overwhelmed on the gnarliest of high-speed descents, the Switchblade is fast, precise, lively, and designed to carve trails with ease

BUILDS AND OPTIONS – Up until the release of the Brunch builds, found on the Mach 6 and Switchblade, Pivot’s bikes typically started at another tier of the price-spectrum and soared beyond the $10,000 mark with ease. On the Switchblade Brunch Ride, Pivot dug through the warehouse and order lists and put together a build they were still satisfied would provide a high-quality ride, but blended performance with a competitive value. 

Fox Factory suspension is found front and rear with a 160mm 36 GRIP2 fork and Float X rear shock. Pivot ships the Switchblade as a 29er however it can be run as a mixed-wheel (Mullet) or even a Plus-sized bike. The Brunch Ride comes with DT Swiss M1900 wheels and 370 hubs that are wrapped in Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR 2 MaxxTerra tires. Drivetrain duties are handled by Shimano’s SLX M7100 12-speed shifter and an XT 8100 derailleur. SRAM Code R 4-piston brakes control the speed via 200mm and 180mm Centerline rotors.  

The cockpit is made up of Pivot’s in-house Phoenix Team Enduro stem and Race alloy handlebar with their Factor lock on grips, which we love. A WTB High Tail Trail Race saddle sits atop a Fox Transfer Factory post with 200mm of travel (size large). All in all, there’s not much on this build that shouts out for attention, while some could argue Performance level suspension and a nicer brake or wheel spec would be a worthwhile trade, and we don’t necessarily disagree, this bike has held up well and rides incredibly, which we’ll get into below.  

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review


Although Sean has heard me mention the Switchblade enough over the years, he’s never ridden one, and I was anxious to have him be the first person to ride it. He did unbox it and build it up after all, so it seemed natural he got the honor of putting it to dirt first. Furthermore, Sean had just spent a good portion of the summer riding a YT Capra and Canyon Spectral, both of which he really liked, a lot. During the build Sean made statements about how much nicer the frame was, the finish, quality and appearance all impressed him way more than any other bike in this price range.  

Once the bike hit the trail the impressions only continued to improve. “By the middle of my second day on the bike I realized how much better this bike rode than others in the category,” Sean reported back. When I asked him if he ever had a moment when he was on-trail and reflected back on my comments over the years about how sweet this bike was he replied, “Almost instantly, and daily,” with a smile.  

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review

After some initial break-in rides the Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride came with us to Guatemala for a 9-day adventure mission. Over the week we put the Switchblade on everything from beautifully groomed bike park flow trails to ancient Mayan hiking trails and rock steps down vertical mountain sides. We also pedaled through and shredded down overgrown trails used by local farmers who climb into the mountains to tend to their crops. While some riders were crushing toes, riding timidly between the overgrown shrubbery or having to come to near-complete stops to navigate switchbacks, the higher, snappier Switchblade kept our toes straight and our corners fast. As riders who appreciate rugged, mountain bike trails, we enjoyed the capabilities of the Switchblade as a mountain bike.  

When it came time to pedal the Switchblade, the DW-Link suspension platform held its own. The 142mm of travel did a nice job of remaining comfortable yet efficient. The bike does have a bit of pedal-bob during really hard exertions, but the climb switch is easily accessible and allows for an extra level of platform if needed. Overall, we’d rate the bike as a competent pedaler that blends comfort, traction and support nicely.  

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

We have extolled Pivot and the Switchblade so far, but that does not mean it is the perfect bike for everyone. Regarding the spec, some riders may criticize the Code R brakes, and to be honest, we are not big fans, however this particular set has held up very well. We also dented the rear wheel pretty easily, thanks in small part to the thin Exo + tire casing. From a performance standpoint, our testers occasionally found the limits of the Switchblade’s downhill capabilities, usually it was on terrain and at speeds that an enduro bike would be more welcome than a 142mm/160mm trail to all mountain bike would be on. If a full-face helmet is your go-to helmet, perhaps the Mach 6 or Firebird would be more appropriate options. Specifically, it was not the travel that held the bike back but the geometry, as it had riders feeling a bit skittish at very high speeds or while chattering over the gnarliest descents in the bike park. Again, places this bike is not exactly designed to live in. For riders who are looking for the steepest seat tube angle, lowest BB, slackest head tube and a long reach, the Switchblade will also be a hard-sell.

If, however, you are looking for a do-it-all bike that can either billy-goat around natural, ungroomed trails or can be as exact as a surgeon’s scalpel on the trail, the Switchblade is a standout, especially at this price point. Whether you want to ride casually on general mountain bike trails or you are an advanced-level rider who loves to actively pop, pump, jib and slam your bike around the trail, Pivot’s Switchblade is fast and sharp as a tack, just as the name suggests.

Price: $4,999;  
Weight: 32.3lbs (Large) ;  
Website: Pivotcycles.com 

Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride Review


Frame: Ultra-Light Hollow Core Carbon | 142mm
Fork:Fox Factory 36 29″ GRIP2 | 160mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float X

Headset: Pivot Precision Sealed Cartridge
SRAM Code R 4-piston | 200/180mm
Handlebar: Phoenix Race Low Rise Aluminum
Stem: Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Seatpost:Fox Transfer Factory | 125mm (XS), 150mm (SM), 175mm (MD), 200mm (LG-XL)
Saddle: WTB Volt

Wheels: DT Swiss M1900
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 29″ x 2.5″ WT, 3C, EXO+, MAXXTERRA
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHRII 29″ x 2.4″ WT, TR, 3C, EXO+, MAXXTERRA

Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100 10-51t
Cranks: Race Face Æffect R 32t
Shifter: Shimano SLX M7100 ISPEC EV 12-Speed
Derailleur: Shimano XT M8100 SGS 12-Speed

We Dig

Boutique looks at DTC price
Dealer support and service
Unmatched fit and finish at this price
Lively, active and fun ride characteristic
Suspension versatility

We Don’t

Spec can always be criticized, but it did well.
Geometry not for everyone


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