PIVOT SHUTTLE LT REVIEW – LONG TRAVEL ELECTRIC BIKE AWESOMENESS
All the travel, all the power, all the battery, all the fun.
PIVOT SHUTTLE LT REVIEW – LONG TRAVEL ELECTRIC BIKE AWESOMENESS
Pivot Cycles’ all-new Shuttle LT is the latest model in its evolving electric mountain bike line, and it comes with a distinct enduro attitude. And it should, because in a nutshell, this is really an electric-assist version of Pivot’s Firebird enduro model that impressed MBA’s wrecking crew when we tested it in the November 2021 issue. This eMTB has more travel and more aggressive geometry than its current Shuttle AM and Shuttle SL models.
Pivot opted for Shimano, their long-time component partner, to provide the power for the Shuttle LT using their EP8 motor. The EP8 motor is paired with a brand-new 756Wh battery manufactured by Darfon, a Shimano-certified supplier. Shimano offers warranty coverage for any related issues. The new battery is slimmer and more compact than previous Shuttle models, resulting in a smaller downtube. The battery is secured using the main carbon skid-plate bolt.
To position the battery lower in the downtube, Pivot raised the EP8 motor slightly and moved the lower shock mount forward. Although the shock is no longer parallel with the seat tube, Pivot assures that the bike’s kinematics remain the same. This placement centralizes the weight of the motor and battery, two of the heaviest components on an electric bike, for improved handling and feel while riding. This design also ensures a low standover height, which is comparable to or lower than Pivot’s Firebird model. The power button is located on the top tube, featuring a USB-C port for charging accessories and power.
The full-carbon frame features Pivot’s Cable Port system and an internal mechanism they internally call the “beaver tail,” which loads the cables when the battery is installed to keep them fixed and releases them for service when the battery is removed. Geometry is very Firebird-like with a 64-degree head angle, 76.5-degree seat angle and 468mm reach in its low flip chip position. The most significant difference in geometry is the Shuttle LT’s 441mm chainstay length across all sizes where the Firebird has size-specific lengths. This bike is also mullet compatible, thanks to the flip chip.
It is offered in sizes small through extra large. There is room for a large water bottle on all sizes, and there are also mounts under the top tube to mount accessories, such as Pivot’s Dock system tools. The frame comes in Northern Lights and Bass Boat Tri-Tone color options.
The Shuttle LT is offered in two builds: Ride and Team. The Shuttle Ride SLX/XT costs $9,899 and features Fox Performance-level suspension, while the Team XTR model that we tested costs $11,999 and comes with Factory-level Fox suspension. As the name suggests, it comes with a full Shimano XTR drivetrain and brakes.
adds a few unique specs to the Shuttle LT, such as 220mm front and 203mm rear Galfer rotors paired to the powerful four-piston brakes. Pivot also specs the Shuttle LT with Maxxis 2.5-inch Assegai tires front and rear mounted on DT Swiss eMTB-specific HX1501 wheels.
Pivot utilizes a dw-link rear suspension design to achieve 160mm of rear-wheel travel and chose a Fox Float X shock on all models. Up front you’ll find a 170mm-travel Factory-level Fox 38 with E-Tune. Fox says the E-Tune adds one air-spring volume spacer, reduces low-speed compression and adds high-speed compression.
This may be a bike built for the descents, but it’s surprisingly good on the climbs, too. And no, that’s not just because it’s an electric bike. The first thing we notice is that the seat angle and overall geometry put you in a powerful position. Next is the fact that it does a stellar job of propelling the bike forward with each pedal stroke, with or without the motor. Even with it turned off, the bike is shockingly good at going uphill.
The rear Assegai tire is not the fastest-rolling tread on the planet, but even so, we found ourselves using lower levels of assist to get up the same climbs as other bikes. And, it’s really good in the technical sections with big weight transfers and tricky grip situations. The rear wheel seems to just drive into the ground and lift the bike forward. The suspension is very supportive, keeping the bike up in its stroke and the crankarms off the rocks. Of all the bike’s attributes, its climbing prowess surprised us the most.
Another pleasant finding was a seemingly endless range. We consistently used less battery than on other bikes with similar battery size. We can only speculate that this is due to the efficient low-drag Shimano motor design and pedaling performance of the bike, but whatever the reason, we really like it.
In short, the Shuttle LT is a downhill ripper. You can pretty much take what we said about the Firebird in our review and apply it here. One of those shared traits is, the harder you push both bikes, the better they work. The extra weight of the ebike makes it a bit more planted and forgiving at lower speeds, but it really comes alive when you push it hard. Similar to the Firebird, the Shuttle LT is versatile and can go from being a plow to a nimble trail ninja in a matter of moments. Its suspension is both supple and supportive, with reserves to handle unexpected drops or deep holes. Additionally, the Shuttle SL has an abundance of pop and energy on the trail.
Corners are especially rewarding. After testing a size-large Firebird and same-size Shuttle LT at Pivot’s introduction, we decided to size down to a medium in hopes to trade a little bit of that straight-line stability for cornering agility, and that’s exactly what we got. It’s incredibly nimble for such a big travel bike and the superb suspension kept everybody happy, even when charging at high speeds in a straight line. With a 471mm reach on the size medium, evenour tall, 6-foot-plus test riders got along well with it and preferred the size down.
WHAT DID WE LOVE?
We really enjoyed the seemingly endless range that the big battery and efficient platform provides. This bike also handles exceptionally well overall and is far more versatile than you probably think. Braking on this bike is well above average, thanks to the massive 223mm front and 203mm rear Galfer rotors. The front and rear Maxxis Assegai tires are also a standout spec that really enhance the overall ride of the bike.
WHAT DID WE HATE?
The Shimano EP8 motor on our test bike made a lot of its characteristic noises. This is somewhat odd, because when we first tested one of these bikes at Pivot’s launch in Colorado, it was very quiet. Pedaling the bike is dead silent, but as soon as you coast, the motor starts clacking. It’s not a reliability issue, just a bit annoying and something we hope Shimano addresses in future iterations of its motor design, because it’s excellent otherwise. We also hate the five-bar battery-level indicator when many others come with an actual percentage of remaining battery level.
With plentiful, well-tuned suspension; seemingly telepathic handling; and Shimano’s smooth, powerful nature, there is a lot to love about the Shuttle LT. Compared to similar bikes in its class, it just has an overall feel of refinement that leaves little to be desired and a lot to love. Even though it’s an enduro eMTB that thrives on the aggressive descents, the Shuttle LT is a surprisingly versatile bike that can embarrass even shorter-travel models on the climbs. It’s not an inexpensive bike, but if you can get past the sticker shock, the ride is well worth the price of admission.
PIVOT SHUTTLE LT TEAM XTR
CATEGORY: eMTB Enduro
WHEEL SIZE: 29″
SUSPENSION: 170mm (front), 160mm (rear)
Weight: 50.4 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
Frame tested: Carbon fiber, 160mm travel
Motor: Shimano EP8
Battery: Darfon 756 Wh
Shock: Fox Factory Float X
Fork: Fox Factory Float eMTB 38, GRIP2 damper, 170mm travel
Wheelset: DT Swiss Hybrid HX1501
Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29×2.5″ TR, EXO+, 3C front and rear
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory Series (175mm travel)
Saddle: Phoenix WTB Pro Volt (medium width)
Handlebar: Phoenix Team Low Rise Carbon
Stem: Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Grips: Phoenix Factory lock-on
Headset: Pivot Phoenix
Brakes: Shimano XTR M9120 4-piston
Rotors: Galfer 223mm (f)/203mm (r)
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR M9100 SGS 12-speed
Shifters: Shimano XTR M9100 ISPEC EV 12-speed
Crankset: Shimano XT M8150 eMTB
Cassette: Shimano XT M8100 12-speed 10-51t
Chain: Shimano CN-M8100 12-speed
GEOMETRY SIZE LARGE:
Head tube angle: 64–64.6°
Effective seat tube angle: 76.5–77°
Reach: 468–471mm (18.4–18.5″)
Stack: 640–644mm (25.2–25.4″)
Bottom bracket height: 352–357mm (13.9–14.1″)
Chainstay length: 441–439mm (17.4–17.3″)
Wheelbase: 1,257–1,245mm (49.5–49″)