FIRST RIDE REVIEW
THE NEW PIVOT SWITCHBLADE
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Jens Staudt
When we first heard that there would be a new 2024 Pivot Switchblade coming out just a couple of months ago, we had just finished a long term review of the last generation Pivot Switchblade Brunch Ride edition bike. Just after that review, it won an award for our end-of-year Editor’s Pick, as one of the best value and do-it-all mountain bikes out there. My experience on the Pivot Switchblade is pretty deep as I attended the first media camp for the previous generation on the same trails of South Mountain in Tempe, Arizona. From that first ride to my time at home and then the updated Brunch Ride edition, I loved the Pivot Switchblade’s ability to blend XC-like performance with a playful demeanor and downhill capability. It made it more like a Swiss Army Knife than a purposeful dagger. I was afraid that Pivot would feel the pressure of comment sections and consumer demands to update the Switchblade to a bike that was, you guessed it, “Longer, lower, slacker and packing more travel than ever before!” These are things that can be beneficial, but are also polarizing for those who still want to pedal and ride anything beyond purpose-built, new school high-speed mountain bike trails. So, it was with nervous excitement that I packed my bags and flew down to Phoenix, Arizona, to spend some time aboard the 2024 Pivot Switchblade.
WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE 2024 PIVOT SWITCHBLADE
GEOMETRY | In typical Pivot Cycles fashion – and actually the same way we approach all our bike testin – we did not look or get presented the numbers and details of the new Switchblade until after we had ridden it. We’re big believers in the power of suggestion, and the mind can certainly have us feeling or experiencing things that may not be there, but charts convince us are true.
That said, there were some validating moments at the product presentation, when the things I believed to be experiencing on the trail had reason and support. Beyond that validation however, was a sense of relief. Sure, the Switchblade had been “modernized” to feature a longer reach, slacker head tube angle, size-specific chainstays and yes, a lower bottom bracket height. But, the changes were enough that they made a difference on the trail without being too detrimental to the things I loved about the last generation of Switchblade. On the flipside, those who felt the last generation was too conservative, will likely be pleased that the bike’s numbers are now a bit more enticing.
Numbers are relatively close across many of the dimensions of the new Pivot Switchblade. The biggest differences come in the reach and overall wheelbase measurements. The size large grew 10mm in reach and combined with the slacker head tube angle, gives a 26mm longer wheelbase.
SUSPENSION | Travel on the Switchblade remains the same with 142mm of DW-Link travel out back with 160mm of travel up front. What’s new however are updated kinematics and transformed linkages.
Pivot engineers sought to bring some of the Firebird’s bump-eating capabilities to the smaller sibling with a slightly more rearward axle path. The lower link is slightly longer and works with the revised kinematics to offer what Pivot claims is a bike with better small bump compliance, more traction and improved bottom out resistance. We’ll touch on that more below in the ride impressions, but it’s safe to say they have succeeded in those goals.
FRAME DETAILS | Some things carry over on the new 2024 Pivot Switchblade. A High/Low geometry adjusting flip chip, the attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship Pivot owners know are just a couple. The new Switchblade is also mixed-wheel compatible; has size-specific chainstays, and a size-specific tuned carbon layup to give consistent ride feel across the size range.
Pivot’s Proprietary Ride Tuning process is pretty cool, and offers riders of all sizes the best bet of having a frame that’s tuned for their weight. Each frame size goes through their own strength-to-weight analysis to achieve the desired ride quality and performance metrics Pivot designers intended. Each frame size has its own layup schedule, tube thickness and profile, so the strength, weight and stiffness should be just enough, without being too much.
Pivot frames also feature their versatile Dock Tool system. This feature continues to improve rider experience as more and more options for tool, pump and accessory storage get added.
BUILD KITS | Pivot will offer several build options, with the Pro and Team level bikes coming with Fox Factory suspension. The Ride Level builds will come with Fox Performance suspension. And for the SRAM fans out there you’ll be excited to see more than just Shimano build kits on the 2024 Switchblade. SRAM Eagle bikes will be available as well.
If you’re looking for something loud, a vintage bike but or want to play the long game on MTB memorabilia, the Pivot Switchblade Talon edition will likely be one for the books! We’re even considering throwing our own money down on one to decorate the office. This neon pink affair will be an attention grabber at the least, and a long-term collectible at the best. Only 350 of these eye-melting Switchblades will be available, so we’d suggest contacting your local dealer if you’re interested.