First Ride Report: The New 2024 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.


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.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade

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.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade

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.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade

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.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade


So, how did the new Switchblade perform? I was quite impressed to be honest. The first day was a bit of a challenge as the rain and puddles transformed the desert trails of South Mountain into a survival experience. Still, it gave me enough information about the bike to have some key takeaways for Day 2.

I first noticed that climbing was both improved and a bit problematic at the same time. Traction from the rear end was amazing. Yes, I know it was wet, but I’m speaking more about the rear shock’s performance. I could feel the shock and rear tire sit in as I put power down to crawl up some of the technical and steep rock gardens. There is one particular section of climb – I believe it’s called Widowmaker – that I love and dread equally. When it came time to breathe deep and put power down, I could feel the suppleness and traction changes quite instantly. I felt the rear wheel sort of scoot back and out of the way and stay there while the shock squatted into the travel and just let the tire hug the ground. The downside to that, combined with the slightly lower BB and 175mm cranks, meant that I was hitting crank arms and pedals a little bit more than I would have liked. I think a 170mm crank would likely be a good call, or running the bike in the high position if you live for technical climbs with obstacles and crux moves.

The next things I noticed on Day 1 were the length and head tube angle. The reach was longer for sure but didn’t turn me off. It allowed me to move around a bit more, feel a bit more stable on the descents but wasn’t overly long on the tight and technical switchbacks or turns of the desert trails. I really like 475mm reach on general purpose mountain bikes, but 480mm is still comfortable for me at 5’11. It’s certainly in a nice spot of compromise for those who want nimbleness and stability.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade

For Day 2 on the trail, my goal was to get the rear shock feeling a bit better. It was cold, wet and slow for Day 1, so I welcomed the dry and sunny conditions of Day 2. After that first ride, I learned that Pivot made changes to progression, suspension and kinematics compared to the last generation Switchblade. On the last generation I ran a .7in volume reducer size in the Fox Float X. For this generation, Pivot specs .5in of spacers. They do this in the form of a .4” and .1” stacked together for ease of customization. Pivot had Jim Norman of Fox Shox on hand as well as long-time Fox athlete and all around whiz on two wheels, Bryn Atkinson. We agreed that experimenting with a removal of the .1” reducer to experiment with more shock volume could get me the increased suppleness on square edge hits I was looking for.

To my delight, it seemed like we were on the right track as we made a few more adjustments to the fork and shock over Day 2’s ride and I felt like I got the bike exactly where I wanted it. Surprisingly too, I might add, I found that the .4” volume spacer was enough to keep me from harsh bottom outs on the desert trails of Hawe’s trailhead, but still gave me the sensitive off-the-top feel on the high speed chatter we encountered. When we get out bike for a long term review, we’ll begin with the .4” spacer to see how it handles our home trails with larger jumps and berms, and see if that’s still the preferred setup. It seems the tuning to the bike’s kinematics really did change the need to run such aggressive volume reducer tuning in the shock. This is a good thing.

First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade

As with all of our first ride reviews, two days aboard a bike are rarely enough for us to endorse a bike entirely. We love to put our test bikes under various riders, different trail types and conditions to see how they perform over a wide variety of trails and for different styles of riders. Of course, we also need to see how they hold up under some repeated use.

What we can say after two solid days of riding however is that Pivot did a really good job of walking the line while updating the Switchblade. It’s a struggle to feel the need to update a bike to please consumers who don’t want to buy an “old” bike. But when you’ve got something that works so good, you also don’t want to mess it up! I believe Pivot did just enough on the new Switchblade to entice riders who may have felt the last gen was a bit too conservative, without turning off existing Switchblade lovers like me. The playfulness is still there for the most part and the increases in comfort and downhill prowess are noticeable enough to make me feel it was worth it for that slightly longer reach and wheelbase. I look forward to getting one of these for a long term review in the future as it will likely be one of my new favorites based on what I’ve felt so far.

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First Ride Report: The New 2024 Pivot Switchblade


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