FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS: PIVOT SHUTTLE SL LIGHTWEIGHT ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN BIKE
A heavy hitting flyweight
Pivot Cycles launched its all-new Shuttle SL electric mountain bike while we were testing Trek’s new Fuel EXe. As impressive as the new Trek is, on paper the Shuttle SL had it covered in nearly every metric. The Shuttle SL is lighter, has more power, and more battery capacity so we were eager to see if those claimed live up to the hype. We finally got our chance to see what the Shuttle SL is all about on a secotion of Colorado’s Rainbow trail. Pivot claims that the Shuttle SL weighs as little as 36.1 lbs in a size medium putting it in a class of it’s own in the lightweight mid powered electric bike category.
The Shuttle SL is an electric mountain bike powered by a Fazua Ride 60 drive unit that delivers 60 newton meters of torque and 450 watts of peak power. It has a perminatly mounted 430 watt-hour battery and we just learned that Fazua will soon offer a 215 Wh. range extender that connects to the bottle bosses via a Fidlock bracket that allows for quick swaps between the battery and bottle cage. According to Pivot, making the main battery fixed saved over a pound versus making it removable. Fazua claims that the motor weighs 4.3 lbs. (1.9 Kg) and the battery 4.8 lbs. (2.2Kg).
The Shuttle SL features 132mm of dw-link suspension travel and a full carbon frame. Geometry is trail focused and adjustable via an upper link and seatstay pivot flip-chip. The head angle ranges from 65-65.5 degrees while the seat tube angle is 76-76.5 degrees in small through large while the XL features a steeper one at 76.8 in low and 77.2 in high. Reach for a size large in low is a roomy but not extreme 478mm. Chainstay lengths are frame size specific. In the low setting small and medium have 432mm chainstays, 434mm in size large, and 438mm in size extra large.
Pivot will offer the Shuttle SL in four builds ranging in price from $8,299 for a Ride SLX/XT build with 150mm travel Fox 36 fork and Float X shock to $11,999 for the Team World Cup model with 140mm travel Fox 34 fork, DPS shock, and XTR drivetrain. According to Pivot, the Ride and Race spec models weigh 40 pounds, Team 38 pounds and World Cup just 36.1 pounds.
FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS
We were able to gout out on a short Shuttle SL Team XTR build test ride on the Rainbow trail just outside of Salida Colorado. The very first thing that stood out is how light this bike is. We did not have a scale with us but the 38 pound claimed weight for this model seems accurate. The next thing is how cool and functionla the Fazua Ring Control remote is. This is where you turn the bike on and off and select modes. Not only is it the most ergonomic remote lever we have ever used, it is very easy to find and operate with your thumb even in rough terrain. Simply put, every electric mountain bike should come with something like this.
Another thing that really stands out is the lack of friction with the motor off. Fazua claims about 5 Nm of measured resistance. It feels a lot like a Pinion gearbox in terms of energy loss – so in other words, not very much.
We did not modify Pivot’s standard power profile settings but in Fazua’s app and computer based Toolbox software, all three of the main assist modes can be tweaked: Breeze, River, and Rocket. There is also a Boost function that increases assist to the full 450 watts for ten seconds while riding or four seconds from a stop. There is also a walk mode for off-the-bike assist.
This is a very quiet motor and bicycle overall. There is very little in the way of noise or vibration in the lower modes and just a bit in Rocket.
With so little motor friction, light overall bike weight and efficient feeling suspension, it was fairly easy to keep up with the group even with the motor off. Bumping up to Breeze and River modes was necessary for the steeper sections of the two track climb to the trailhead. Power is smooth and organic feeling overall. Once we got onto the rolling Rainbow trail singletrack, Rocket mode was used more often revealing a surpringly powerful system. Both on paper and on the trail is not all that far off of most full powered eMTBs.
Handling and overall bike feel is extraordinary for an electric mountain bike. It’s light and nimble feeling compared to its full powered cousins. We rode the bike in the low geometry setting. With 132mm of rear travel and 150mm of front, capability on the trail is right at the middle of the trail category maybe flirting with all mountian in some situations. It’s eager to play an pop off of trailside features while seemingly punching above it’s class in the rough.
So, How does it compare to the Trek Fuel EXe? It’s lighter, seemingly more powerful and while it’s tough to say how it compares in range without directly comparing it in the exact same conditions, it would appear to have better range too.
The only two places it might fall short is in noise output but just by a hair and we really like Trek’s top tube display. Fazua’s system is ANT+ compatible so it will work with Garmin devices but the Fuel’s display is nicely integrated. We will save our definitive thoughts on overall performance and comparisons after we get a long term test bike but the mid powered lightweight electric mountian bike market is heating up and there is a new Sheriff in town.
To learn more about the Shuttle SL check out Pivot’s podcast about the bike and visit their website.