The Shuttle SL represents the Arizona-based brands debut entry into the increasingly popular ‘Super Light’ e-MTB category and ever since it was first unveiled late last year this bike certainly has been grabbing a lot of attention thanks to its striking appearance combined with a very impressive list of performance stats.
This is a bike that we were extremely excited to get our hands on for review here at the mag due to the fact that we are big fans of SL e-Bikes and we have always loved the way that Pivot’s ride out on the trails. Having now spent the past couple of months putting the Shuttle SL through its paces out on the trails does our man Blake feel that Pivot’s latest creation lives up to the stella hype and its equally matched price tag? Let’s find out…
Review // Blake Nielsen Photos // Matt Staggs
[E]:We’ve been lucky enough to review quite a few e-MTB’s that really don’t look like e-Bikes at all but almost undoubtedly this Shuttle SL tops this list thanks to its slim downtube and that microscopic motor which vanishes into the bottom bracket area. What were your first impressions of the bike when you pulled it out of the box?
Blake: The Shuttle SL almost creates a new category of “incognito” e-MTB’s. The way the motor & battery integrate into the frame, as well as their minuscule sizing make for one sleek package. As you would expect from a boutique brand like Pivot, the bike overall is finished to a very high standard & has plenty of nifty features through. It is certainly a beautiful piece of equipment, but that’s not all it has going for it!
Pivot always seem to give their bikes rather random amounts of rear travel, for instance this bike puts out 132mm out back. Whilst that figure equates to having less travel than most e-MTB’s because the Pivot utilises a clever DW-Linkage that the bike actually rides like it has more travel than it states on paper?
While the DW linkage is nothing new, it still serves to be one of the best performing systems on the market today. Across any type of bike too, short or long travel. The Shuttle SL does feel like it is more capable than other 130~mm travel bikes out there, yet it still retains a shorter travel, livelier feel on the trail. The DW linkage also have benefits beyond its performance, Pivot have always paid great attention to using larger bearings and pivots throughout giving them longer service life for a silky smooth ride with less maintenance.
Up front this particular spec comes with a 150mm travel fork, and so overall does the suspension on the bike handle whilst you’re out on the trails?
The 150mm Fox 36 on our test bike offers the perfect amount of front end feel compared to the rest of the bike, giving it an aggressive feel straight out of the gate but keeping the trail feel very smooth under your hands.
Interestingly Pivot have built the Shuttle SL around a pair of 29” wheels, does that decision seem to play to the bike’s strengths in terms of how it rides and what its overall personality feels like?
Up until their very recent, very prototype downhill bike, Pivot haven’t indulged in any mixed wheel bikes, which is unlike almost any other brand in the industry. The Shuttle SL staying a purebred 29er definitely sets the tone for how the bike rides.
It has a very efficient feeling to the way it encourages you to attack the trail. I think the larger rear wheel suits this bike greatly.
Tell us a bit about the geometry package that the engineer team have gone with for this bike?
The geo package on the Shuttle SL is somewhat conservative on the angle front, a 65.5° head tube angle and a 76.5° seat tube angle aren’t crazy numbers. It does have a fairly generous reach, but again depending on the frame size, they are nothing to sing about. This isn’t a bad thing, I feel like the proportions of the bike suit it’s intended “trail” riding personality very well, however if you’re into super modern geo, this may not be the bike for you.
This is the first time we’ve had a bike equipped with a Fazua motor on review here at the office and there’s obviously a huge amount of hype around the world about these things given how incredibly light weight and yet powerful they’re said to be. So, give us a run-down of how you found the Fazua ‘Ride 60’ to perform?
I think the Fazua motor is one of the top contenders for the best SL e-MTB motor on the market right now. With its tiny physical footprint within the frame & its svelte 1.96kg weight, it’s still crazy to me that it is packing 60nM of power! The Shuttle SL itself is very efficient under the pedals, so the combination of the two is super fun out on the trails. Coupled with the 430Wh battery, this makes for more ride time over any other SL we have had at the magazine before.
How would you describe the power delivery and grunt of the Ride 60 compared to other ‘SL’ motors?
The Ride 60 power unit feels very punchy, as with any “lower” powered motor, your gear choice has a big influence on how the assistance behaves. All in all though, the smooth power delivery feels natural on the trails, it does feel like a larger power output motor.
Whereas most e-MTB motors name their engine modes ‘Eco’ ‘Trail’ and ‘Boost’ Fazua are calling theirs ‘Breeze, River, and Rocket’. How do the 3 different modes ride and do they pretty much line up with the power deliveries from other motor brands?
Aside from the cool names, the three power modes align with the other big players in e-MTB motors to a tee basically, there isn’t any difference between the Fazua and it’s competitors on this front.
Coupled with the bike’s DW-Linkage that we mention before, how does the Shuttle SL feel to pedal when pointed up a hill?
The Shuttle SL is a very efficient package, although it doesn’t have a particularly steep seat tube angle it is still a comfortable place to be sat on the way up. The overall light weight of the bike and big backup of assistance make the meanest of climbs light work.
What are the Fazua’s controller and display like to live with?
Fazua have done well in that department, I still think that some of the mega brands have got slightly better ergonomics, but these preferences will be subjective to each rider anyway. Everything feels quality, I do like the minimalist feeling of things, this carries on throughout the bike, leaving people trail side who aren’t necessarily considering that it’s an e-MTB blasting past them on the way back up.
The Shuttle SL comes with a 430Wh internal battery which provides a bit more juice than most ‘SL’ e-MTB’s roll out the door with. Were you happy with how much power and ride time you were able to get out of the bike between charges?
Absolutely, for me personally and where I ride, 430wH was a great amount of juice to have for the steep climbs on those longer rides. It is a very impressive battery package, that much capacity at just 2.2kg and in such a tiny housing! It ticks all of the boxes that’s for sure.
What type of rider is the Shuttle SL going to suit the most would you say?
The Shuttle SL will suit a “trail” rider. While the bike is super capable for a 130mm travel rig, I do get the feeling that after a lot of riding at its limit on that front it would have some complaints. Someone who enjoys the longer adventure rides and exploring will thrive on this bike.
The big question; now that you’ve ridden quite a few SL e-MTB’s how does the Shuttle SL compare to some of those other bikes that you’ve liked a lot in the past?
Being on the shorter end of travel compared to most SL’s it’s hard to do a direct comparison. However, the Shuttle SL packs some serious punch in the overall weight/power/battery size competition, I’d say it trumps almost everything available in that comparison. It is also very near the top of the price point as well, but that’s what it takes to get top tier gear these days. As exciting as the Shuttle SL is, a longer travel version would excite a larger party of eager e-MTBers I think.
Dollars wise this is one of the most expensive SL e-Bikes on the market. Here in Oz the Shuttle SL is offered in 3 different build kits. The version we tested here is the ‘Ride SLX/XT’ model and it retails for $14995. Having spent the past few months riding it and getting to know the bike in your opinion does its performance and build quality live up to the outlay?
The performance of the bike as a total package truly is second to none. I have always been a fan of Pivot as a whole, they build their bikes in a way that they will perform for any type of rider or racer, but also be super reliable. While it is a lot of money, you are getting a bike that is nearly in a category of its own considering the numbers from the “E” side of things, it would be a tough pill to swallow going through the purchase if you didn’t have the chance to ride one beforehand, I think, but after living with it for a while I can say that there is no hype around this bike or motor package that is not deserved. It may not be the flashiest e-MTB out there, but it doesn’t need to be, it does exactly what you want and expect from it, every ride. [R]
Frame // Full carbon throughout w’ DW Link suspension design.