Over the past few months I’ve been hearing some chatter about a new Specialized e-bike rumored to tip the scales at only 38 pounds. As the brand was already leading the charge with lightweight e-bikes that didn’t come as a huge surprise, but weight aside, I knew very little about the bike until recently. Taking on a silhouette similar to the current Levo, which follows the form of the latest Stumpjumper, this new Levo SL looks familiar – on the surface anyway. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the downtube and motor area are a bit slimmer…small enough that it can make you do a double take and easily confuse it with a regular mountain bike. Mainly, it’s what’s inside that’s changed – compared to its standard Levo counterpart, which is the currently the lightest bike in the full power class, the Levo SL sheds 8.8 pounds. Arguably some of that weight loss may be due to parts spec, but the frame, motor and battery did lose a heck of a lot of weight. The size Large “Expert” spec shown here in test tipped the scales at just 38 pounds 12 ounces with a bottle cage and a fair bit of mud on it. It retails for $9,000… If it all sounds too good to be true, perhaps it is – all of that weight loss does come with a reduction of power and a shorter battery life as well. While the Levo and Kenevo “Full Power” bikes from Specialized boast 565 watts, the Levo SL features 240 watts – in simple terms Specialized dubs the different motors as “4X you” and “2X you” respectively. That’s a reference to a cyclist putting out roughly 240 watts of their own power. Anyhow, let’s dive in to the nitty gritty of this category breaking bike… Details 240 watts power 320Wh internal battery Up to 3.5 hours ride time ~2 hours and 35 minute charge time Range extender 160Wh battery available for an additional 1.5 hours at $450 USD 29″ wheels Boost hub spacing Metric shock spacing – 210mm X 52.5mm 150mm travel front and rear 2.3” recommended tire size 29″ wheels Eco, Trail and Turbo mode controlled via Mission Control App ~38.5 pounds size Large on our scale $9,000 / €8,699.00 Some how, some way – there is a battery and a motor in this bike… Much like the current Levo, its SuperLight sibling features a bar mounted toggle and a top tube mounted status/mode bar in lieu of a screen display. All of the data you’d want to view can be seen through the Mission Control App – leaving the cockpit clean and distraction free. Above left, hitting the +/- button toggles between the 3 modes (eco, trail and turbo), which is indicated in the circular led above the battery status, shown above right. The bike also features a walk mode – you can press the button with your thumb as it sits on the bottom of the mode adjustment collar. The motor is really nicely integrated into the bottom bracket area, with the charging port sitting just above the main pivot of the classic FSR system. Also pictured is a nice rubber fitting to prevent debris from getting munched up between the front and rear end. At this spec level the cockpit is pretty straightforward, but certainly nothing to scoff at – the aluminum in house bar and stem felt nice in terms of sweep and other dimensions, despite likely not being all that light weight…I do wish the bar was a full 800mm wide though. The grips were actually amazing – I’d run them on my own bike to be honest, and the average OEM grips belong in the trash, so that’s really saying something. The X-Fusion dropper seatpost was quite excellent with a smooth, nicely damped return and abundant stiffness due to its oversized 34.9 diameter. It’s paired to a Specialized Command lever, which is very ergonomic – mimicking a 1x shifter paddle. All in all, a very good cockpit. Aluminum Praxis cranks drive the 1.1 motor and drivetrain along with a well proven SRAM Eagle GX drivetrain, boasting a broad 500% range and crisp, snappy shifts. We’ve gotten accustomed to seeing the now broadly copied Specialized chainstay protetctor, which breaks up noise nicely. Also shown is an in house upper chain guide block to provide added security and keep things running on track. SRAM G2 RSC brakes feature a tool free, adjustable reach and pad contact bite point at the lever. The brakes are paired to a 200mm front rotor and a 180mm rear rotor. Specialized spec’d the stronger metallic compound brake pads over the standard “power” compound. Much like the current Stumpjumper, the Levo SL features the “Sidearm” asymmetrical frame design. There is an eccentric cam in the lower shock eyelet that allows you to toggle between low/slack and high/steep geometry settings. The bike has plenty clearance for a full sized water bottle and room for a piggy back shock as well. Running with the lightweight but sturdy theme, Specialized spec’d their Grid Trail casings with the Butcher up front and an Eliminator out back. Both tires are 2.3″ wide and Specialized doesn’t encourage going any wider out back. The bike rolls on Roval’s Traverse Carbon wheelset, offering excellent on-trail feel and a nice tire footprint and support via the 30mm inner diameter rims. Fox handles suspension duties front and rear on this, and all Levo SL models. Up front with the 34 Rhythm, and out back with a Float DPS EVOL, with a custom “Rx trail” tune. Geometry A quick look at the geometry chart below reveals the crucial numbers to all be nearly identical to the Stumpjumper with the exception of the bottom bracket, which is a bit higher, for improved clearance while pedaling as to be expected on an e-bike. These numbers are unfortunately all a bit dated, with a rather short 455mm reach (Size Large) and a fairly relaxed 74.6º seat angle. A longer reach and steeper seat angle would help both descending confidence and climbing body position respectively. At this point in time, the Stumpy and Levo lineup have yet to take on the improved “SBG” style geometry that the Enduro recently adopted, originally pioneered by Transition a few years ago. On the trail Having spent some time on a much heavier, but much more powerful e-bike recently, I realized right away that there is no sense in getting carried away with apples to oranges comparisons. Instead, I spent a great deal of my saddle time pondering who this bike is for. Compared to average high performance offerings, the Levo SL lands smack dab in the middle of a standard mountain bike and a standard full power e-mountain bike. This is true for weight, with the average trail/all mountain bike being roughly 30 pounds, an e-MTB with similar travel being around 50 pounds and this Levo SL coming in just under 40 lbs. The same can be said for power, and unsurprisingly, in more ways than one, its on trail mannerisms split the middle as well. Starting with the motor and power transfer, perhaps the most glaring attribute is the lack of drag – pedaling the bike with the power turned off is surprisingly smooth compared to every other e-bike I’ve ridden. I’m not going to encourage you to ride where e-bikes where they aren’t legal, but there is a “stealth” mode where you can have the LED’s blacked out, and it is pretty hard to differentiate this bike from a standard MTB, visually speaking. The motor’s noise is pretty quiet, but a far cry from “silent” as Specialized claims. Power transfer is generally smooth without too much of a distinct drop off when you pause the pedals, however if the terrain allows I found it was better when I could just keep the pedals spinning. This was because unlike on a full power e-bike, even in turbo mode, you don’t get quite as much of a surge in power when you let off, then start pedaling again. You have to work for it a bit more in technical sections and you can’t just rely on the motor and power on the steep, techy climbs. This means that you’ll need a bit more finesse and a different approach altogether. All in all, I found the bike’s low weight to make it more manageable on my upper body and core when it came to throwing it around, but the lower power did mean more time sweating and working for it, especially in the eco and trail modes. Coming full circle, in terms of how much exercise you get, I think the bike lands somewhere between a standard trail bike and a full power e-bike. As far as the handling of the bike itself is concerned, despite now being a bit dated in terms of geometry (*read: size up if you’re in between sizes), I did find the Levo SL to be an incredibly lightfooted bike, with excellent handling attributes. This should come as no surprise as I felt the same way about the latest Stumpy. While it does fit on the small side, I do commend Specialized for the fact that the geometry is well balanced and adjustable. On trail I’ve certainly never been able to throw an e-bike around like this…it jumps, manuals and slaps turns better than any other battery powered bike I’ve ridden to date. With all of that in mind, despite being a mid travel 29″ bike it does have its limitations when things get gnarly – most of which I’d actually attribute to some of the spec, which was clearly chosen to make an impact by coming in at a freakishly low weight. Initially, I had my reservations about the idea of mounting a Fox 34 on the front of any e-bike, but it actually proved to be pretty damn good on trail and was rigid enough in all regards. It’s worth considering, despite being freakishly light, this bike still does weigh more than the average World Cup DH bike, so I’d prefer to see a piggyback reservoir on the rear shock to better manage heat on long descents. In the grand scheme of things, the suspension performed quite well and was tuned for the bike nicely. My main complaint was with the SRAM G2 brakes – I’ve never had an issue with them on my non e-bike(s), but even with the metallic pads, they’re outgunned on this bike. Code RSC’s come in at just 76 additional grams for a pair, and would have been far better suited to this application without phasing consumers. During my test time, I took the Levo SL on a very steep and fast trail of mine that drops 1,100 feet in well under a mile, and the brakes simply could not hang. Now, with that said I do think that Specialized have absolutely aced it with all of the rest of the spec. The drivetrain, cockpit, tires are all excellent, and the wheels are stellar – particularly given the price point. As a bonus, it also has a couple of nice Specialized bits that you won’t find elsewhere, like the SWAT CC tool and their brilliant bottle cage. It’s worth spelling out that you can’t really stray too far from what Specialized has chosen here in terms of the build so this bike might not be the best choice for tinkerers. Sure you could install a shock with a reservoir, Code brakes or a Fox 36 should you desire, but they made a point to say that you can’t overfork the bike, run a mixed wheel setup or install any tires that run much above 2.3″ in width. That said, brakes aside, I mainly got along with the spec, and wouldn’t change much, but feel obligated to pass that information on. Overall At the end of the day, looking at it through a personal lens, to be quite frank, I’m still not sure what to make of this bike. I recently acquired a personal e-bike, but did so for very utilitarian reasons: dig sessions deep in the woods, shooting photos with a heavy camera bag and jamming in 6 laps in an hour on a local ripper trail when there’s no way on earth that I’d have time for a big ride. The Levo SL wouldn’t really fit the bill for any of those tasks, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a technical marvel and a high performance machine that will surely appeal to a great many riders. At $16,5000, perhaps the flagship models will appeal fit dentists that want to get more of an exercise on their e-bike rides? Who knows… One thing is certain, Specialized hasn’t stopped innovating, breaking boundaries and creating new categories – for that they deserve the tip of a hat. If a full powered e-bike is a bit of overkill and you simply can’t stand trying to throw around a 50 pound e-bike, but you do want some power, then this bike should certainly appeal to you. Its lively nature and ultra light weight will make you forget you’re not riding a normal trail bike more often than you’d expect, and sometimes where you least expect. Pricing and Specs You can find the full spec sheets for all models of the Levo SL e-bikes here. www.specialized.com
It was nearly four years ago when the original Pivot Switchblade hit the market. Using a carbon fibre frame and dw-link suspension, the Switchblade was built from the ground-up as an All Mountain bike that could happily take 29in or 27.5+ wheels. It was one of the earliest full suspension mountain bikes on the market to do so, and it was also the very first bike to feature the controversial Super Boost 157x12mm rear hub spacing. The original Pivot Switchblade first hit the scene back in 2016. The wider hub and chainline allowed Pivot to keep the rear chainstays ridiculously short (428mm), while offering enormous tyre clearance. The frame itself was an engineering marvel, and when we tested and reviewed the Switchblade, we were impressed with both the efficiency and effectiveness of its 135mm of rear travel. Fast-forward a few years, and as innovative as the Switchblade was when it first debuted, its swoopy frame design has been starting to show its age. The 140mm travel All Mountain 29er market is of course an important segment for a boutique bike company like Pivot Cycles, and the Arizona-based brand needed something lust-worthy to slot in between the current Trail 429 (120mm) and Firebird 29 (162mm) – two models that have enjoyed terrific commercial success for Pivot. The solution to Pivot’s Goldilocks problem? A completely revamped Switchblade. As you’ll see though, not much has carried over aside from the name. Four years on, and Pivot is ready to unleash the new Switchblade. The New Pivot Switchblade With nearly three years of development behind it, the new Switchblade emerges in 2020 with an entirely new carbon fibre chassis that is free from the swoopy-droopy lines of old, favouring straighter and sharper tube shapes instead. Of course this helps to reduce weight, though we think you’ll agree that it’s created a vastly better looking bike too. The new Switchblade has been designed specifically for a 160mm travel fork, and rear travel has been lifted to 142mm on the rear. It still utilises a dw-link suspension design, but the shock now mounts vertically in front of the seat tube, just like the Mach 4 SL. Without the additional shock clevis, it’s simpler and lighter, and it also allows the top tube to be stripped of excess carbon, since it no longer needs to brace the end of the shock. Pivot has changed the shock orientation, though the dual-link suspension platform remains. Furthermore, the more compact shock layout sees a reduction in standover height. So much so that a new XS frame size has been added to the range, which we’re told will fit riders down to just 152cm (5ft) tall. And good news for pack-phobic riders – all frame sizes, including the XS, will take a full-size water bottle inside the mainframe. Yiew! Just like the original, the new Switchblade will accommodate 29in or 27.5+ wheels. However, there’s now a geometry adjustment chip in the upper rocker pivot that offers high (27.5+) and low (29in) positions. The new frame has more chainring clearance, more heel clearance, and it can run narrower cranks down to a 168mm Q-Factor. Despite this, tyre clearance is still huge – you’ve got room for big 29×2.6in or 27.5×2.8in rubber in the back. With the updated layout, the new Switchblade has gotten a touch lighter. Pivot claims a small frame without the shock weighs 2.57kg, so expect that to be right around 3kg by the time you add the Fox Float DPX2 rear shock. The Switchblade retains the 157x12mm thru-axle dropouts along with 29/27.5+ wheelsize compatibility. The swingarm has more heel clearance, more tyre clearance, and more chainring clearance too. Custom Suspension During the development phase, Cocalis and his engineering team went through 20 different iterations for the Switchblade’s design, much of which was spent fine-tuning the rear suspension performance and getting the shock dialled in to suit. Given Pivot’s close working relationship with Fox Racing Shox, the DPX2 piggyback shock was an obvious shock for an All Mountain bike like the Switchblade. Cocalis had mixed results with the DPX2 shock though, and generally preferred the more poppy and lively feel of the non-piggybacked DPS shock. In order to achieve that same feel, while still benefitting from the traction-rich and more consistent descending performance of the DPX2 shock, Cocalis’s team went to Fox and ended up completely redesigning the compression circuit. We’re not just talking shim stacks here either, but rather an all new base valve design and selector plate that’s designed to improve oil flow. Ten samples later, and the Switchblade now has a shock that looks like a DPX2, but has a little extra special sauce on the inside. It looks like a DPX2 shock, but the insides are a little different. Also worth noting is that the shock is the first trunnion mount that Pivot has ever employed. With the vertical orientation, the trunnion mount helps to pack more stroke into a shorter eye-to-eye length. The result is a compact arrangement that sees the rocker link driving the rear shock via two big cartridge bearings. The leverage rate has been made more progressive to improve support for the huckers, and it also means the Switchblade is coil shock-friendly. Massaged Geometry Given that Pivot already has a successful enduro race bike in the Firebird 29, Cocalis was conscious that he didn’t need another one. Instead, he wanted the Switchblade to be a true All Mountain bike. Something that was capable enough for enduro-style riding, but still handy and comfortable enough for all-day pedalling too. As such, the Switchblade’s geometry has received a gentle massage rather than a radical reorientation. The head angle slackens by over a full degree to 66º, while reach measurements have grown by 10-20mm per size. To improve the pedalling position, the seat angle has been steepened by over a degree to 75.5º. There’s half a degree of adjustment in those angles by flipping the geometry chip. Brought over from the Firebird 29, this two-position chip is keyed into the frame and raises or lowers the BB height by 6mm. Further adjustment can be had by running a taller lower headset cup (just like the old Switchblade), which would lift and slacken the front of the bike. On the note of adjustability, you can choose between 29in or 27.5+ wheelsize setups, and Pivot will offer both across all six of its build kits for the Switchblade – just like the Trail 429 and Firebird 29. However, the Switchblade is the first Pivot model that has been actively promoted as being Reverse Mullet ready, which means you can run a regular 29in wheel on the front and a 27.5in wheel on the back. Along with the flip chip and headset cups, there’s a tonne of options to explore for those who want to. Other numbers to note include the 430mm rear centre length, which is actually 2mm longer than the old bike, but still quite compact. You’ll also see that the seat tubes have gotten significantly shorter, and Pivot has straightened it out to allow for greater insertion depth when running longer dropper posts. Dropper travel is specific to each size though – the XS size gets a 100mm post while the XL goes up to 175mm (the longest currently available in the Fox Transfer). Likewise, the cockpit setup also changes for each size. Bar width ranges from 760-800mm, and stem length is 35-45mm. Even the saddle is different – bigger sizes come with a WTB Pro Vigo saddle, while the XS and SM sizes get the WTB Pro Hightail Trail. The latter of which has a specific cutout at the rear to allow for more tyre clearance when the rear shock hits full travel – an important consideration on a long travel 29er fitted with a dropper post. All Switchblade models come with a Fox Transfer dropper post. The Lineup Pivot will offer the Switchblade in six different spec levels, all of which are centred around the same carbon fibre chassis. Regardless of price point, all models come with a 160mm travel Fox 36 fork on the front, and the custom Float DPX2 shock on the back. You also get the same Maxxis Minion tyre combo, with a 2.5in DHF on the front and a 2.4in DHR II on the rear. They’re wrapped around 30mm wide rims and slowed down by big 4-piston brakes with a 200mm rotor on the front. Pivot takes care of the cockpit, with its own Phoenix-branded low-rise bars, forged alloy stem and new lock-on grips. Stem length is 45mm on all frame sizes, except for the XS, which comes with a 35mm stem. As mentioned above, each Switchblade can be had in 29in or 27.5+ setups, though Pivot expects the vast majority of sales to go with the big wheel setup. There’s a $2,000 carbon wheel upgrade available on the Race and Pro models, which otherwise come with alloy DT Swiss hoops as stock. You can also choose to upgrade to Fox Live Valve, as Pivot has engineered the Switchblade frame to easily integrate the electronic suspension package. The upgrade price? A cool $3,000. For those doing the math, that means the absolute top-of-the-range Switchblade, complete with SRAM XX1 AXS and Fox Live Valve will sell for $19,999. If that’s just a little too much pocket change for you, the good news is that entry point is considerably lower at $8,999 for the Race XT model. If you want the best, this is it – a Switchblade Team with SRAM XX1 AXS wireless shifting and seatpost dropping, along with the optional Fox Live Valve upgrade. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Team XX1 AXS Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Factory Series, 185x55mm Wheels | Reynolds Black Label Enduro Wide Trail, 30mm Inner Rim Width, Industry Nine Hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1×12 w/XX1 32T Carbon Crankset & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM G2 Ultimate 4-Piston w/203mm Front & 180mm Rear CenterLock Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Carbon, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Factory Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $16,999 ($19,999 w/Fox Live Valve) For a Shimano build, the Switchblade Team comes with an XTR 1×12 drivetrain, 4-piston brakes, carbon Reynolds wheels and a Race Face Next R crankset. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Team XTR Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Factory Series, 185x55mm Wheels | Reynolds Black Label Enduro Wide Trail, 30mm Inner Rim Width, Industry Nine Hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | Shimano XTR 1×12 w/Race Face Next R 32T Carbon Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano XTR M9120 4-Piston w/203mm Front & 180mm Rear CenterLock Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Carbon, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Factory Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $14,999 The Pro X01 build kit still gets Kashima suspension, though moves to alloy wheels as stock. You can still upgrade these to carbon for $2,000 if you fancy. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Pro X01 Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Factory Series, 185x55mm Wheels | DT Swiss M1700, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 w/X01 32T Crankset & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM G2 RSC 4-Piston w/200mm Front & 180mm Rear CenterLock Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Carbon, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Factory Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $11,999 We expect the Switchblade Pro XT/XTR will likely be the most popular option of the lot. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Pro XT/XTR Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Factory Series, 185x55mm Wheels | DT Swiss M1700, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | Shimano XT M8100 1×12 w/Race Face Aeffect R 32T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano Deore XT M8120 4-Piston w/203mm Front & 180mm Rear CenterLock Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Carbon, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Factory Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $10,999 Skipping the Kashima suspension, the Switchblade Race X01 kit brings the price down below the $10K mark. Just. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Race X01 Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Performance Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Performance Series, 185x55mm Wheels | DT Swiss M1900, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | SRAM GX/X01 Eagle 1×12 w/GX Eagle 32T Crankset & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Guide RE 4-Piston w/200mm Front & 180mm Rear 6-Bolt Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Alloy, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Performance Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $9,999 Using exactly the same carbon chassis as the XTR/XX1 builds, the Switchblade Race XT is the entry-point into the range. 2020 Pivot Switchblade Race XT Frame | Hollow Core Carbon Fibre, 142mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Performance Series, GRIP2 Damper, 44mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Performance Series, 185x55mm Wheels | DT Swiss M1900, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.5WT Front & DHR II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | Shimano SLX/XT 1×12 w/Race Face Ride 32T Crankset & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | Shimano SLX M7120 4-Piston w/203mm Front & 180mm Rear 6-Bolt Rotors Bar | Phoenix Low Rise Alloy, Width: 760mm (XS), 780mm (SM-LG), 800mm (XL) Seatpost | Fox Transfer, Performance Series, Travel: 100mm (XS), 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 175mm (LG/XL) RRP | $8,999 We’ve been riding the new Pivot Switchblade for the past week – click here to read the review. As you’ve no doubt gathered, there are a lot of changes on this new bike. For more detail on how those changes are felt on the trail, be sure to check out our first ride review of the new 2020 Pivot Switchblade right here. For availability info and details on your nearest Pivot stockist, get in touch with Aussie Pivot distributor, Jet Black Products. Otherwise, be sure to tell us what you think about the new Switchblade in the comments below – we’d love to hear what your thoughts on it, and feel free to leave us any questions you might have too. Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post First Look | Pivot Cycles Launches All-New Switchblade For 2020 appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
CRAZY LENNY’S E-BIKES We learned about Crazy Lenny’s bike shop from Ravi Kempaiah, whom we covered (April 2018) for his e-bike world-record ride from Madison, Wisconsin, to San Diego, California. Len Mattioli, aka “Crazy Lenny,” has been into cycling his entire life. He’s ridden across the U.S., from east to west. He’s even ridden through Death Valley in the summertime when temperatures are insanely hot. One day on that ride in the late afternoon, he stopped in Furnace Creek. The temperature was a scalding 117 degrees. He has been a career salesman, selling appliances in a business called American TV, going back to 1968. He eventually had 15 stores throughout the Midwest. Over the years, between work and riding, he started to develop arthritis in his knees and hips. As his arthritis started getting worse, his orthopedists were saying they could fix one knee and might have to replace the other. Len didn’t think either of those were for him, so he refused, and they told him he wouldn’t be able to ride. A friend suggested Len try an e-bike. He tried a Schwinn Tailwind, and it was love at first pedal stroke. He also started offering e-bikes as a premium to people who bought an appliance or a television from him. INSIDE THE STORE After Lenny opened up his first bike shop, he loved it so much that he sold his appliance business. The first shop was a small space, and he started off with an initial purchase of 360 Schwinn Tailwinds. “What differentiates one store from another? The quality of the salespeople.” Soon enough he expanded and moved to a bigger 12,000-square-foot space in Madison, Wisconsin, with about 2/3 of that space devoted to the display of e-bikes, and the rest of the space is used for bike maintenance and storage. He has also opened a second store in Winter Garden, Florida. Their best-selling brands are Bulls, Haibike, Easy Motion/BH, Izip, Pedego, Stromer, Magnum and EG. Lenny’s shops carry 24 brands in total and keep around 200–220 different bikes on display in the showroom. You can’t sell what you can’t show, so they show as close to everything that they carry as they will fit. Last year Lenny did a booming business, selling over 3000 bikes. Incredibly, Lenny is on track to surpass last year’s sales success this year. Their website tagline is “Everybody knows you can buy an e-bike for less at Crazy Lenny’s.” They are known for selling bikes below MSRP, which has gotten them into some hot water with some brands. Since they don’t advertise their prices online, you have to give them your e-mail address to find a price. PHILOSOPHY Len has two strong beliefs that direct how he runs his business. He believes in paying his employees well, partly via commission, and he believes in advertising. Despite how successful he’s been, Lenny knows that selling e-bikes is not easy, and there is a strong emphasis on making sure the employees have solid knowledge of e-bikes and the ability to convey that to customers without confusing them. To help this along, the shop has weekly meetings to discuss things like, what people are looking for, what are the important price points, and what features make customers more excited about buying a bike? When you talk to Len, you can feel how much he cares about people, and his employees reflect that as well. They have meetings to improve their knowledge to pass that along to customers. Their mission is to match the right bike to the customer. “Despite how successful he’s been, Lenny knows that selling e-bikes is not easy, and there is a strong emphasis on making sure the employees have solid knowledge of e-bikes.” Len believes that advertising is a great way to get their message out. It is obviously working, as their sales show. “What differentiates one store from another?” Lenny will ask before offering an answer: “It’s the quality of the salespeople. The quality of the salespeople can be talked about very nicely in ads.” They have closeout sales listed on their website, which are sometimes older stock that they need to liquidate. They also offer a “crazy deal” on their website, which is whatever happens to be a budget deal at the moment and changes over time. They offer a complete tune-up for $95, which includes brake adjustment, derailleur adjustment, wheel truing, checking the electronics and battery, safety inspection, and more, not including any parts needed. RENTALS The shop offers short demo rides on bikes to give customers an idea of how the bikes ride. You can also simply rent a bike from them, starting at $60 for four hours. Shorter rides have a $45 minimum. That’s certainly a great way to see Madison or Orlando. Best of all, Lenny offers zero-percent financing on e-bikes, and they can ship most of their bikes anywhere. www.crazylennysebikes.com THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google. Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Subscribe Here For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com The post CRAZY LENNY’S E-BIKES appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
Today Marzocchi has launched a new Bomber Z1 coil fork. Details inside from Marzocchi. MARZOCCHI LAUNCHES BOMBER Z1 COIL FORK & COIL CONVERSION KIT As terrain and riding styles have gotten rowdier and rowdier, and bikes have gotten more and more capable, the need for bomber suspension that feels buttery and bottomless has never been greater. The industry has fondly embraced recent trends towards coil-sprung rear shocks yet none of the major players have stepped forth with a complete coil fork system. Up until now, that is.\ Riders have been asking for it, Marzocchi heard the call and has proudly delivered. The new Z1 Coil builds on the legacy of the single crown fork that started the revolution all the way back in the ‘90s – the O.G. Bomber Z1 Coil. The new Bomber Z1 Coil delivers the same no-nonsense, super dependable, great feeling suspension that riders have come to expect from Marzocchi over the years. Starting with the stout and proven 36mm chassis of the modern-day Bomber Z1, the new Z1 Coil retains the renowned and simple to dial-in Grip damper but swaps out the air spring assembly for the most advanced coil spring system Marzocchi has ever made. At the heart of this new coil system is an ultra-lightweight tempered silicon-chromium steel spring (available in 4 spring rates to suit a wide range of riders); coupled with a noise management system for near silent performance; an integrated air assist for progression and bottom out control; and an external preload adjuster to dial in sag and firmness off the top. Travel can easily be changed in 10mm increments from 150-180mm (depending on wheel size) via included, reconfigurable internal spacers. All of these features plus an industry-leading 125 hour recommended service interval (for both lower legs and damper), combine to deliver what every rider wants: maximum fun and minimum hassle. With an MSRP of $749 USD, you won’t need a second mortgage to get your mitts on top-shelf suspenders. What if I already have a new Z1 with an air spring but I would prefer the coil spring, you might be asking? We’ve got you covered! We’re offering coil conversion kits, also in 4 choices of spring rate. $175 United States smackaroos gets you a no holds barred coil conversion kit that was designed by the same team that designed the fork, so you know it’s going to work exactly as intended and not mess with your factory warranty. Complete coil forks are available now and coil conversion kits will be available in mid-February. And of course we will continue to offer the air-sprung version of the Z1 because as E40 once said, “everybody got choices”. There are tons of other nerdy technical details about the new Z1 Coil that we won’t bore you with here, because press releases are already plenty boring as is. That said, if you’re one of those engineer types who wants to know all of that stuff you can find it – and much more Q: Do I have to buy the complete Z1 coil fork or can I upgrade my existing Z1 to a coil spring? A: Nope! Parts are readily available to easily convert the spring side of your existing fork, and the damper side is identical between coil and air-sprung models. Total cost to convert is $175 USD. Once converted to coil you cannot convert back to air. Q: Why doesn’t this system have a secondary air spring like some other more expensive coil conversion kits on the market? A: Our coil spring system utilizes captured air and oil within the fork’s spring side lower leg to not only lubricate the chassis but also to function as a secondary air spring, providing progressivity and bottom-out resistance, and eliminating the need for any additional type of air spring or bottom-out damper. Q: Can I adjust the progressivity/bottom-out resistance? A: No, this feature is set from the factory and tuned to an ideal spring curve. Q: How much heavier is the coil spring vs. air spring? A: The only real difference in weight is the coil spring itself. The delta between a Z1 coil fork and a Z1 air fork is roughly 250-350 grams, depending on spring rate. Q: Do I have to buy extra parts to change the travel of my coil fork? A: Nope! Travel can be easily changed by re-orienting (included) internal spacers as noted in the included manual. Q: Is your coil conversion kit compatible with any other forks beside the Z1? A: This kit was designed exclusively for the Z1. It is also compatible with the Fox 36 Rhythm series fork. It is not compatible with any other series of Fox 36 forks, such as Factory, Performance Elite, or Performance. Q: Do you plan to offer coil conversion kits for other fork models in the future? A: Quite possibly! Time will tell… Q: What does the preload adjuster dial do? A: Spring preload allows you to increase or decrease spring force to achieve the proper sag setting. Spring preload does not affect spring rate or the shape of the spring curve. TECH SPECS Chassis: 36 mm Springs available: Soft, Medium, Firm, X-Firm Travel: 150 (29 only), 160, 170, 180 (27.5 only) Wheel: 27.5 or 29 Axle: 15QRx110 Damping: GRIP (compression + rebound) Spring: Tempered Silicon-Chromium Steel Steerer: 1.5 Tapered Aluminum Stanchions: Ø36 mm Black Anodized Rake: 37 (27.5 only), 44, 51 (29 only) Color: Matte Black or Gloss Red Starting Weight Complete Fork: 2,525 g Availability: January 14th, 2020 MSRP Z1 Coil fork: $749 USD MSRP Conversion Kit w/o coil spring (Plunger Kit): $130 USD MSRP Coil Spring: $45 USD
Following the widespread popularity of their lauded 2FO Flat shoe from 2017, Specialized announced a clipless successor – aptly named the 2FO Clip 2.0. We got our hands on, and feet into a pair a few months back, which means we’ve been able to spend some time in them as the seasons change from warm to wintry. Details $160 USD 350 grams per shoe (size 42) 3 colors – Black, white, red Extended 2-bolt cleat pocket Sizes 36-49 EU From the top down, the 2F0 Clip 2.0 looks a lot like its flat pedal sibling…because it is. The upper is essentially the same, it’s in the sole where things actually begin to differ… From top left, clockwise: As its aimed at the gravity end of the sport, the 2FO has a sturdy, extra long cleat pocket which allows riders to position the cleats further back, which makes it easier to drop your heels when descending. The “Body Geometry” footbed is nicely contoured and extra supportive. A look at the cuffs reveals dense padding at the ankles, improving both comfort and protection. Lastly, “Lacelock” tabs keep the laces from getting mixed up in your drivetrain. Above: a great deal of mesh can be found throughout the shoe, to help with ventilation. There is also some porous padding behind the mesh fabric for protection and structure. Below: lined up with the other side of the mesh, there is a decent amount of perforation so heat and moisture can exit the shoe. The 2FO Clip 2.0 outsole gets its own pattern compared to other current Specialized clipless offerings as well as its flat pedal sibling. The “SlipNot” rubber strikes a nice balance of grip and durability. It’s worth noting – the compound on offer here is quite a bit firmer than the one featured on the 2FO Flat – we’ll get into that more, later. Out back you’ll find pull tabs for an assist with getting the shoes on. The EVA midsole (in grey) offers dense cushioning. On the trail Unsurprisingly I chose the same size (44.5) to test this clipless version as I did in the flat version and again found them to be true to size. Oddly enough, I felt like the toe box in these shoes was ever so slightly less wide compared the flat pedal version. That’s fine as they are still generously roomy – which could also be a consequence of the fact that I didn’t feel the need to snug the laces down as much since the sole is stiffer and more supportive. Speaking of the sole, as far as power transfer goes, I found the 2FO Clip 2.0 shoes to be a standout. There is very little flex in the sole and they provide excellent support for your feet. This of course did mean that walkability was slightly inhibited as the shoe doesn’t conform to every inconsistency in the terra firma you find yourself on. While we’re on the topic of traction – the outsole’s compound is not as soft as the flat pedal version. Rather, it’s aimed less at letting pins dig deep into it and more at durability and longevity. Again, this meant that the shoes weren’t quite as grippy off bike, but they were pretty middle of the road as far as those things go. One area where these shoes are simply untouchable is their toe protection. The molded rubber topsole integrates a very sturdy toe bumper, offering the best protection I’ve ridden to date. The rubber paneling also cleans up really well – unlike leather, fabric or a combination of the two. During the muddy winter days lately, I’ve actually been hosing the outside of these shoes off right after washing my bike each ride. If I’m careful, minimal water gets into the shoes and by the time I wake up the next day, they’re dry and ready for action – a testament to how well they manage moisture. One thing I will say is that due to all that rubber, the 2FO Clip 2.0 shoes can feel a little warm on the hot, sunny days. As far as getting clipped in and out, early on I had a bit of a hard time with my Time ATAC Speciale pedals as they pressed into the soles a bit. With testing in mind, I opted to see how they’d break in on their own and decided not to trim the soles. After 2-3 rides they broke in and felt perfect. There is something about the shape of the sole and the cleat pocket that made it very easy for the pedal and cleat to “find” one another, even in hectic, awkward moments and in bad conditions. As far as some of the technical details and features go, I’m a big fan of the flatlock lacing as it keeps the laces from getting all bunged up and twisted, plus their flat shape is easy on the hands. The lacelock tabs keep things tidy and have been snugged up and improved over past iterations. The support on offer from the insole is far better than what you’ll find in most MTB shoes, with a nice contour…But if you want to take things a step further, I’d recommend heading to a Specialized dealer and checking out the Body Geometry SL footbeds. Whether you have high arches, flat feel or anywhere in between, those insoles can be quite beneficial in my opinion. Lastly, the padding in the ankle cuff and the tongue is just right in terms of density, thickness and shape – there is just enough protection there without feeling bulky. Although it sounds somewhat contradictory, the foam padding itself is airy, but also has a surprising amount of structure to it. Overall At the end of the day, I’m pretty hard pressed to find any flaws in the 2FO Clip 2.0. For what it’s worth, I’ve gotten along with Specialized shoes quite well over the years in general and think they do a great job on the whole. That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that these shoes are aimed at a more gravity oriented crowd, so if you’re looking for something a bit lighter and more minimalist, perhaps consider their Boa laced counterpart. But as for the 2FO Clip 2.0; the comfort, padding, support and features have been flawless. The shoes can run ever so slightly warm, but on the same token they fare far better than most in bad conditions and have superior toe protection. As far as the stiffness and power transfer goes, they offer brilliant support and rigidity, but making it a classic give and take story, that does come at the expense of slightly hampered walkability when you’re off bike and bush whacking. All in all, I’ve been riding a handful of shoes this year and so far these are my all around top pick at the moment, especially now that wetter winter riding is here. www.specialized.com
The latest full suspension mountain bike to be pulled out of a big cardboard box at Flow HQ is this bright orange and blue Orbea Occam. Brand new for the 2020 model year, the Occam has been distilled into a pure do-all-the-things trail bike, with Orbea eliminating the TR and AM variants of the previous incarnation. Instead, the new Occam is simply called…err…the Occam. It’s now built solely around 29in wheels, features 140mm of rear wheel travel. You can pair that to either a 140mm or 150mm travel fork, and like every Orbea model, there are about a zillion customisation options available through the MyO program. Ooh what do we have here then? Now You See Me, Now You Don’t! The most distinctive aspect of the new Occam is its asymmetric chassis, which employs a reinforcing strut that connects the middle of the downtube to partway up the seat tube. As well as cutting a unique profile, the strut helps to strength and stiffen the pivot platform for the main rocker linkage. Furthermore, the rocker link is rolling on an oversized splined axle that claims to reduce twisting as the suspension crushes through the travel. Orbea offers the Occam in both alloy and carbon frame options, and they all feature the same distinctive shape, along with internal cable routing, frame protection, and the Concentric Boost rear suspension platform. You can also fit a water bottle inside the mainframe, but you’ll only be reaching for it with your left hand, whether you like it or not. The 2020 Orbea Occam has been repurposed into a proper trail bike with 29in wheels, 140mm of rear travel and a 140-150mm travel fork. Orbea Occam Geometry There’s been a hefty and predictable update to the Occam’s geometry, with the seat tube angle getting significantly steeper, while the front end had gotten longer and slacker. Orbea has also moved to a reduced-offset fork, and has lengthened the chainstays to 440mm. All-up, it’s got a bigger footprint that should give it more high-speed chops. Fork offset: 44mm Head angle: 66° Seat angle: 77° Reach: 425mm (S), 450mm (M), 474mm (L), 500mm (XL) Seat tube: 381mm (S), 419mm (M), 457mm (L), 508mm (XL) Chainstay length: 440mm BB drop: 35mm BB height: 336mm Descending into the abyss! The asymmetric frame profile looks cool, and you can still fit a water bottle in there. What Occams Can We Get Down Under? Basically all of them! There are eight Orbea Occam models available for us Aussies, with pricing starting at $4,499 for the alloy Occam H30, and going up to $11,999 for the carbon Occam M-LTD. You can also get a standalone carbon frameset with a Fox Float DPX2 shock for $4,999 if you fancy building up your own bike. Alternatively, the top two Occam models (M-LTD and M10) can be customised via the MyO program. Be prepared though, because there’s a ridiculous number of paint combinations available. Since every Orbea is painted and built to order in the company’s Basque-based facility, this process doesn’t cost you a single dollar more – Orbea offers the custom paint at no extra charge. It’ll just take a few extra weeks to arrive, providing you can wait that long. We’re testing the Occam M10 in the stock configuration. There’s a bunch of upgrade options if you fancy though. 2020 Orbea Occam M10 The bike we’ve got on test is the Orbea Occam M10, which will sell in Australia for $8,299 in its stock configuration. If you want to jazz things up, the standard upgrades include a Fox 36 GRIP2 150mm fork (+$261), DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels (+$1,746), a Crank Brothers Highline dropper post (+$278). You can even change the tyre spec and the fork’s thru-axle if you so desire. Frame | OMR Carbon Fibre, Concentric Boost Suspension Design, 140mm Travel Fork | Fox 34 Float, Factory Series, FIT4 Damper, 44mm Offset, 140mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2 EVOL, Factory Series, 210x50mm Wheels | DT Swiss XM-1650, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis High Roller II 3C EXO 2.5in Front & Rekon EXO 2.4in Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore XT M8100 1×12 w/XT 32T Cranks & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano Deore XT M8120 4-piston, 180mm Rotors Bar | Race Face Next R Carbon, 20mm Rise, 780mm Width Stem | Race Face Aeffect R, Length: 45mm (S/M), 55mm (L/XL) Seatpost | OC2 Dropper Post, 31.6mm Diameter, 125-170mm Travel Saddle | Fizik Taiga, K:ium rails RRP | $8,299 How will the Occam stack up against bikes like the Specialized Stumpjumper and Trek Fuel EX? Mick has just gotten back from a whirlwind tour of Derby and Falls Creek, where he was able to put the Orbea Occam M10 through a barrage of trail riding to see just how capable it is. He’ll be giving the bike a good rip around his local test trails in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for his thoughts on this bright blue Basque beast. In the meantime, you can get more info on the Orbea Occam range and see all those crazy customisation options via the Orbea website. Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post On Test | The 2020 Orbea Occam M10 Brings Some (Much Needed) Spanish Flair To Flow HQ appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
It takes a while for the dust to settle from Red Bull Rampage and once things mellow out a bit there’s time to stitch together a few remaining sequences that may have gotten passed over following the hectic event. Here are a handful of some the bigger moves that went down at the Super Bowl of MTB… Since Brendog was one of the more talked about riders yet again, we may as well start with him. This death chute was in between his canyon gap and his lower jumps. Aside from a sprinkle of water, no prep work was done to the chute to make it more rideable, despite the erosion it’s seen in the last year. Carson Storch went early on and put down a seriously good run. He landed this massive 360 twice near the bottom of his run, but on the second time around he over rotated and blew out his rear tire. T-Mac flipped this sizable drop mid-mountain. It had a very technical entrance and a punchy little lip on it, but he greased it both times. Rampage first timer Emil Johannson nailed this suicide no-hander on a massive drop that he shared with Reed Boggs and Reece Wallace near the bottom of the hill. Considering how infrequently he rides DH bikes, the kid definitely put on a show and turned heads. Much like last year, Tom Van Steenbergen pulled off one of the biggest flat drop flips in history. His landing this year was a bit smoother than last year, which made everyone feel a bit better. Scary stuff… Another angle of a small section of Brendog’s death chute. I’m not going to lie – it was pretty unnerving taking this shot in a precarious postition with 220 pounds of bike and rider blowing by me inches away. Brett Rheeder’s big move was higher up the hill, with a Flat Drop Flip Can earning him the Best Trick Award, but this big opposite 360 was quite sick. Oppo 3’s can look awkward, but Brett knows how to make them look good. Unfortunately this wasn’t Cam Zink’s year – he intended to 360 this drop that he shared with Carson Storch and Kyle Strait, but crashes further up the hill would relegate him to straight airs after blown runs. Ethan Nell’s drop takes off right next to Tom Van Steenbergen’s, but is about 2 feet lower. The take off and how it lines up with the landing (tech!) makes it no less impressive though. T-Mac had the biggest drop on the hill lower down. It’s also likely the most technically difficult with his handlebar being just a few inches from a rock wall just after the takeoff. This time he came up a bit short, but still rode it out nicely. Brendog’s infamous canyon gap flip. Crappy flat landing, horrendous backside and a run in through a rock gap that leaves about 3 inches on each side of the handlebar. No thanks! Brandon Semenuk’s winning move. He flipped this double drop, which hadn’t really been done before until he pioneered it last year. Check out the yank in the first frame…So so so gnarly. Zero room for error once he gets into it too.
“This video was originally supposed to release in early September but after the crash at Worlds, myself, Shimano and the crew at Anthill Films decided that we should postpone it until I knew more about my injury. I’m now happy to say I’m doing great in my rehabilitation and feeling stronger every day. I’ve been blessed with immeasurable support from fans around the world, the mountain bike community, my friends, my family and my girlfriend Lucy. So many people have sent me messages and well wishes, it really has gotten me inspired to come back to downhill racing sooner and stronger. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” — Brook (Bulldog) MacDonald