2020 Pivot Switchblade First Ride Report – Southern Utah

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New Pivot Switchblade first ride report.
Chris Castle, doing a little Southern Utah testing on the new 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er.

2020 Pivot Switchblade First Ride: the new 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er is here! Looking back over the past five years, it’s hard to think of another mountain bike that stirred things up quite as much as the original Pivot Switchblade. Our first shipment of 2020 Switchblade 29ers arrived about a week ago and we invited Chris Castle, owner of Advenduro Tours , a local mountain bike tour business, to break it in and give us his first impressions.

For more information including complete specs, geometry and pricing, visit our 2020 Pivot Switchblade bike page.

Full bike photo - 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er.
The first thing you notice when you see the new Switchblade is the clean, classic look.

The first thing you notice about the new Switchblade is the classic design of the carbon frame. Chris said, “Out of the box, the new Switchblade takes me back to a time of clean straight lines. It’s very reminiscent of the bikes I longed for many years ago. But the Pivot Switchblade has incredibly smooth blends in every nook and cranny of its frame – it’s in a category of its own as far as design aesthetic. To put it simply, it’s one of the best looking bikes out there.”

Like the original Switchblade, the 2020 bike is available with either 27.5+ or 29er wheels. If you’ve been considering a big wheel in the front and a 27.5 wheel in the back, the new Switchblade is also mullet-ready. Travel has been increased to 142mm in the rear and a 160mm fork is now standard. The reconfigured DW Link plus a new shock tune make the bike more active off the top with increased progression at the end of the stroke for an overall plusher feel.

New Pivot Switchblade - front end and fork detail photo.
160mm Fox 36 fork – 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er.
DW Link detail photo - 2020 Pivot Switchblade.
Updated DW Link configuration with vertical shock mount on the new 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er.

Geometry has been updated, as well. There’s a flip-chip for adjustability and the 66° (slack position) head tube angle is over a degree slacker than the original. The seat tube angle is a degree steeper for more comfortable climbing and the wheelbase and reach have been stretched out to current standards.  The result is a super-versatile bike that’s significantly more comfortable on the ups and sendier on the downs. Pivot calls it “beyond all-mountain”. We say this way too much, but the 2020 Pivot Switchblade could be the new best all-rounder trail bike for Hurricane and Southern Utah.

For its inaugural ride, we took the new Switchblade to the Boy Scout Trails, arguably the toughest, most technical trails in the Hurricane area. Boy Scout doesn’t have huge jumps or drops but it’s relentlessly challenging with tons of small to medium chunk to get over and through – there’s no relaxing when you’re riding the Boy Scout Trails. On a side note – Boy Scout is also one of our go-to rides when everything else is wet. It’s got tons of rock and the trails hold up really well when everything else is saturated and sloppy.

A rocky corner on Hurricane's Boy Scout Trails.
Chris Castle of Advenduro Tours, navigating one of Boy Scout’s steep, rocky switchbacks on the new Pivot Switchblade 29er.
A rocky uphill move on Hurricane, Utah's Boy Scout Trails.
The 2020 Switchblade 29er’s steep seat tube angle, efficient DW Link suspension and big wheels make technical uphills easy-peasy.

Chris was enthusiastic about the new Switchblade from the start: “Boy Scout is very technical, with punchy climbs, tight switchbacks, and lots of square edge-rocks. It’s perfect for a 2020 Pivot Switchblade first ride report and a great location for testing the new Switchblade 29er’s “enduro” capabilities. I’ve been riding a 27.5 Pivot Firebird for the last 3.5 years, so the 29-inch wheels were a big change. The improved rollover of the big wheels was immediately apparent and I found I was able to ride over obstacles at slower speeds without getting hung up. Besides the wheels, the most noticeable advantage of new Switchblade is the aggressive, 75.5° (slack position) seat post angle. It’s a full degree steeper than my Firebird and the previous Switchblade. The steep seat tube angle coupled with the Pivot’s efficient DW Link suspension made it very easy to simply pedal over technical features that I would normally have to manual and push over with my Firebird. With most bikes I feel a tendency to fall backwards when cranking very steep technical features, but with the Switchblade, you can drop a gear and just pedal right through them.”

Tight, rocky switchbacks on Hurricane's Boy Scout Trails.
Short chainstays and a slack (but not too slack) head angle mean the new Switchblade makes quick work of tight, technical switchbacks.

Another performance highlight Chris noticed was the headtube angle. “It’s a degree steeper than my Firebird, but still plenty slack for aggressive trail riding. I was also surprised by how well it handled tight turns. For example, there are several tight switchbacks on Boy Scout that can be challenging for 29-inch wheels. However, the Switchblade’s short, 431mm chainstays allowed me to charge through those same turns, just like I would on my 27.5 Firebird!”

Hitting a small rock drop on the 2020 Pivot Switchblade.
Bigger and sketchier than it looks – but no problem for the 2020 Switchblade 29er and a competent pilot.

The Boy Scout Trails are a tough test for any bike. If Chris was comfortable riding the new Switchblade 29er on Boy Scout’s anti-flow, you can be confident it’s built to handle anything Hurricane has to offer, except maybe, Flying Monkey – and a really good rider would do fine on the Monkey, as well. The 2020 Switchblade is pretty much a perfect all-rounder. The big wheels, longer, slacker geometry, steeper seat angle and updated DW Link suspension make it even more versatile and capable than the original Switchblade – a bike designed to be the ultimate all-in-one quiver killer. If you’re coming to Hurricane and want one bike that’s ready for absolutely anything, look no further. The 2020 Pivot Switchblade will take you from JEM to Little Creek to Grafton and leave you grinning and wanting more.  

Chris Castle with the new 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er mountain bike.
Look at that smile. It looks like Chris liked the new Switchblade!

For more technical information about the new Switchblade, including rental rate, specs, geometry, photos and pricing, visit our 2020 Pivot Switchblade bike page.

Thanks a lot to Chris Castle for helping us out with this 2020 Pivot Switchblade first ride report! Visit Chris’s web site, Advenduro Tours, to build your own custom guided trip or sign up for one of their mountain bike clinics, guided mountain bike tours or moto adventures.  

Boy Scout Trails with Quail Lake, Red Cliffs and Pine Valley Mountain in the background.
The new 2020 Pivot Switchblade 29er – in Pivot’s words, it’s, “Beyond All-Mountain.” And so is the landscape at Hurricane’s Boy Scout Trails!

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