With the 2024 Pivot Switchblade, it’s all about evolution instead of revolution. The do-it-all mountain bike, as Pivot call it, should be capable of handling everything from flowing singletrack to big-hitting bike park lines without compromising on the climbs. But can the Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission deliver on this promise?
Identical twins couldn’t look more similar than the 2024 Pivot Switchblade and its predecessor. They’re both marketed as all-rounders, excelling at everything from relaxed post-work sessions to weekends in the bike park. To that end, you’ve got 29″ wheels and Pivot’s signature DW-link rear suspension, delivering 142 mm travel. This is combined with a 160 mm fork up front.
As you might expect, the price of the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission is as superlative as the marketing, coming in at a whopping € 11,999. However, they’re also offering slightly more affordable models, and you can call yourself the proud owner of a new Switchblade starting from € 6,599.
But what’s changed in the 2024 Switchblade? You might miss it the first time, but at second glance, you’ll notice that Pivot have fine-tuned the geometry of the Switchblade. The DW-link rear linkage and its kinematics have also been revised, with Pivot claiming that they’ve incorporated some of the race genes of their Firebird enduro bike.
The 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission in detail
Yes, the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission is expensive, but it also boasts many nifty details and makes a high-quality first impression. Apart from the seat stays, the full carbon frame is characterised by straight and edgy lines, resulting in a coherent overall look.
There is a generously sized protector on the down tube, which extends far up the frame to protect your Switchblade from flying rocks and debris. The drive-side chainstay and seat stay are just as well protected, keeping the bike nice and quiet. A small rubber flap prevents dirt from getting stuck in the main pivot, saving your frame from the fate of producing crushed stone.
The new Switchblade has internally routed cables that only pop out briefly as they transition from the main frame to the rear end. However, they tend to rattle a bit at this transition due to a lack of cable guides. You can remedy this by resorting to a bit of slapper tape. Not a fan of headset cable routing? Rejoice. Pivot rely on conventional internal routing with cable ports behind the head tube. The cables are clamped down at the entry and exit points to prevent them from rattling. If you’ve got no cables running through the ports, you can close them off with plugs provided by Pivot – brilliant!
Even if Pivot haven’t jumped onto the integrated storage compartment bandwagon yet, you don’t have to make do without tools and water on the Switchblade. To stay hydrated, there’s enough space for a bottle cage on the down tube that will accommodate all conventional bottle sizes. And you’ll find a tool mount on the top tube. Besides the classic tool mounts or straps that you’ll find on the market, Pivot offers five different models that they’ve developed in collaboration with Topeak. The mounts will let you carry either a spare tube, CO₂ cartridges, a multi-tool, or a combination of these. But they are only available to owners of a Pivot.
The components of the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission
For our test bike, Pivot weren’t satisfied with anything but top-shelf components, which you would expect at a price of € 11,999. This has allowed Pivot to build the bike in such a way that it tips the scales at just 14.15 kg. Up front, you get a classy FOX 36 Factory fork with the GRIP2 damper, while the 142 mm of rear travel is managed by a FOX Factory FLOAT X air shock. Both can be fine-tuned to meet your needs, and deliver first-class trail performance. You will also find a small yet very practical detail on the shock: a sag indicator. This makes it easier to set up, so you can hit the trails sooner.
The wireless SRAM XX Eagle Transmission also delivers top-class trail performance. The derailleur bolts directly to the frame without a derailleur hanger and offers precise shifting under load. The 170 mm travel RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post works on the same wireless protocol as the shifter. It ensures a clean look and offers damn fast saddle height adjustment, though it’s too short for a modern MTB with this frame size. It restricts your freedom of movement unnecessarily on the trail.
The SRAM CODE Ultimate Stealth four-piston brakes provide decent stopping power. To prevent the brake line from rattling against the stem or head tube, Pivot have designed neat little guides that hold it in place. The brakes are combined with SRAM Centerline rotors measuring 200 mm in diameter in the front and 180 mm in the rear. We recommend upgrading to a 200 mm model at the rear as well, so you don’t run the risk of overheating brakes on long descents.
For the cockpit, Pivot rely on in-house components. The Phoenix Team stem is combined with a Phoenix Team carbon handlebar. A small yet nice touch is that Pivot adapt the handlebar width to suit the frame size. The smallest XS frame comes with a 760 mm handlebar, whereas the largest XL frame comes with an 800 mm wide version. All other sizes come specced with a 780 mm handlebar. Besides the handlebar width, Pivot also adapt the carbon layup of the different frame sizes, keeping the stiffness and handling consistent regardless of rider size.
– a bit of slapper tape to quieten the brake hose
– aluminium handlebar for more compliance
The MAXXIS tires should ensure sufficient grip. They consist of a Minion DHF at the front, and a Minion DHR II at the rear. Both have to make do with EXO+ casing. To make the most of the bike’s potential and protect the fancy NEWMEN ADVANCED SL A.30 carbon wheels, we recommend upgrading to a more robust casing at the rear, like a MAXXIS’ Doubledown. In addition to the casing, the tires rely on the same rubber compound – MaxxTerra. While this is a good fit on the rear due to its lower rolling resistance, it provides little grip up front, where we would have preferred the softer MaxxGrip compound.
Typical of Pivot, they designed the frame around a 157 mm Super Boost hub at the rear. Doing so promises added stiffness and strength, though it also creates problems with the availability of spare parts. Since Pivot are one of just a handful of manufacturers that don’t use the 148 mm Boost standard, the market for Super Boost is severely limited.
Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission
Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X Factory 150 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS 170 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE Ultimate Stealth 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Eagle Transmission XX 1x12
Stem Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail mm
Handlebar PhoenixTeam Low Rise Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset Newmen Advanced SL A.30 29"
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF MaxxTerra EXO+/DHR II MaxxTerra EXO+ ****
Size XS S M L XL
The different builds of the 2024 Pivot Switchblade
The 2024 Pivot Switchblade is available in ten different builds, which are divided into the three levels: Team, Pro and Ride. For the most affordable model, you’ll have to cough up € 6,599, whereas the flagship model on test will set you back by € 11,999.
In terms of suspension, the two higher-end Team and Pro builds get FOX Factory damping. The Ride models have to make do with FOX Performance suspension. The GRIP damper of the Performance fork is easier to adjust, and still performs decently on the trail.
While the Team builds all come with a carbon NEWMEN wheelset, the slightly cheaper Pro models give you the choice between a carbon or aluminium NEWMEN wheelset.
All of the builds let you choose between a SRAM or Shimano groupset. Thus, the wireless SRAM Eagle Transmission drivetrain is combined with matching SRAM CODE four-piston brakes. Alternatively, you can opt for a mechanical Shimano drivetrain, paired with the matching Shimano brakes.
On the Pro and Ride build variants, the drivetrain gets a visual upgrade by way of a higher-end derailleur. On the Pro version, for example, the XT groupset is combined with an XTR derailleur. That’s not a bad thing as such, but the expensive XT derailleur hardly offers any benefits when combined with the limited functionality of the SLX trigger on the Ride build, so you’re being swindled.
But wait, there’s more! Except for the flagship SRAM build, all models come specced with a mechanical FOX dropper post. And in frame size L, you get a 200 mm travel version, ensuring ample freedom of movement.
Finally, you can choose between the BLUE NEPTUNE and STEALTH MOJAVE finish. There is the € 250 more expensive Pink Neon version too, which is limited to 300 bikes, and is exclusive to the Team and Pro models with carbon wheelsets.
The geometry of the 2024 Pivot Switchblade
The new Pivot Switchblade will be available in five sizes, ranging from XS to XL. Just like they adapt the handlebar width, Pivot use different, size-specific carbon lay-ups. This allows them to keep the handling consistent across all frame sizes.
The geometry is slightly longer and slacker than its predecessor. However, the reach growth is smaller in the three most popular sizes: M, L and XL. This reduces the likelihood of being caught between two sizes while also allowing most riders to choose the frame size according to the wheelbase length that suits their riding style. The short seat tube also helps with this, measuring just 432 mm on the frame size L on test, combined with a reach of 488 mm. Fortunately, Pivot offer builds with mechanical dropper posts, which offer significantly more drop than the Reverb AXS, and therefore maximum freedom of movement.
The chainstays are short, measuring 431 mm in frame sizes XS to M. In size L, however, they grow by 1 mm to 432 mm, and to 436 mm on the size XL frame. At 65.2°, the head angle has been slackened somewhat, putting it about midfield, which is what we would expect on a modern trail bike. Not too steep, nor too slack. Thanks to a flip chip on the seat stays, you can adjust the bike to suit your needs. Flipping the chip changes almost all the geometry values, though it has the biggest effect on the bottom bracket height and head angle. We rode the Switchblade almost exclusively in a low setting. The Switchblade is also compatible with a smaller 27.5″ rear wheel. For a mullet setup, Pivot recommend putting the flip chip in the high setting.
The 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission on the trails
If you swing your leg over the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission, you will be welcomed with a comfortable and upright sitting position. While it places a little more weight on your hands on level terrain, the front wheel stays planted on the climbs. That way you always remain in control and follow your chosen line to the summit. The DW-link rear suspension remains efficient on the climbs and doesn’t bob around noticeably as you pedal. Nevertheless, it remains active enough to generate grip. It also frees up travel in the case of ledges or ruts.
When the trail tilts downwards, you’ll find yourself nicely balanced aboard the Switchblade, which will quickly make you feel at home. On the one hand, this is due to the centred riding position and, on the other hand, to the tall front end, which largely counteracts any feeling of going over the bars. Nevertheless, you don’t have to actively shift your weight forward to generate grip on the front wheel when riding slalom through the trees.
The firm suspension combined with all those carbon components ensures a playful character and very direct handling. The Switchblade demands you to be active on the bike, which you’ll be rewarded for generously. You can generate tons of speed by pumping the bike over rollers or through berms, and you can catch air off the smallest lip. Switching to more loamy, rooty, and conditions, the suspension will still provide loads of grip and absorb big impacts with ease. Experienced riders will also enjoy the direct feedback from the trail, though it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
The Switchblade’s direct and responsive handling isn’t very forgiving of rider errors. As such, the Switchblade demands an experienced and skilled rider to realise its full potential. If you can hit your chosen lines reliably, you’ll be damn fast, no matter how rough the trail.
Nevertheless, the Pivot Switchblade demands an active riding style, and prefers jumping over rock gardens rather than ploughing through them. In return, you get light-footed handling, and there’s no corner or inside line that’s too tight. Spontaneous line change? No problem!
Active riding can be fun for experienced riders, but the bike’s responsiveness drains you of energy, too. The stiff carbon components result in unmitigated feedback, passing small vibrations on to the rider. Therefore, long descents become a feat of strength, and you’re likely to suffer from arm pump sooner. The solution here is the slightly more affordable Pro build with an aluminium wheelset. A skinnier 31.8 mm aluminium handlebar can also help.
Who is the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission for?
Of course, the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission appeals to design lovers and Pivot fans. It’s particularly suitable for experienced riders who want a playful bike and never miss a gym session in the off-season. The Switchblade feels most comfortable on flow trails and moderate singletrack, where it will encourage to pump where you can and catch air at every opportunity. However, that’s not to say it will shy away from rough trails – it’s easily capable of keeping up enduro bikes if you’ve got the skills. But if you tend to ride full-blast over bombed-out bike park tracks, you’ll be better off with something like the Firebird.
Our conclusion on the 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission
The 2024 Pivot Switchblade Team XX AXS Transmission is a playful all-rounder. With an active riding style, the bike is almost guaranteed to put a grin on your face: whether on simple trails during your post-work session, shaped flow lines in the bike park, or technical singletrack somewhere in the Alps. The Switchblade also climbs well, thanks to a comfortable riding position and efficient rear suspension, inviting you to go on epic, all-day rides.
- confidence inspiring
- excellent suspension
- classy design
- efficient climber
- tires don’t do justice to the bike’s potential
- the cables rattle slightly
- can feel too direct and too stiff
For more information visit Pivot.com
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Words: Sebastian Dirscherl Photos: Peter Walker