What’s the point of lightweight eMTBs anyway, I wondered in the text just six or seven months ago. The real question was, why not just go for a full-powered, weighted eMTB, when weight doesn’t really matter anymore?
At a press event for Pivot where we were invited to check out their new long-travel Shuttle LT e-bike and lightweight mid-travel Shuttle SL e-bike, I was hoping to find out. I’ve ridden a few heavy, long e-bikes, and like the planted feel, long battery life, and power from the bigger motors, but this Pivot Shuttle SL ride would be my first experience with anything in the same category as the Orbea Rise or the Trek Fuel EXe. Sure, there’s the Specialized Turbo Levo SL, but that bike seemed to fall right in the middle, and its light weight was achieved in part through components that were lighter than should have been specified at the time. .
How is this new culture different? The Rise, Fuel EXe and now the Shuttle SL look very modest. They have sleeker and quieter motors, slimmer downtubes and batteries, excellent component specs, and are lighter than ever. The Pivot Shuttle SL has 132mm rear travel and a 140mm or 150mm fork.
About Pivot Shuttle SL
For the new Shuttle SL, with builds that weigh just 36.25 lbs, Pivot has partnered with Fazua to use their new Ride 60 motor. German brand Fazua is relatively new to the US market, and Pivot has become the one of the bike’s first launch partners, although their first partnership was actually on the E-Vault gravel bike which launched in 2020.
The Ride 60 has a torque of 60 Nm and a maximum power of 450 W. The motor weighs 1.96 kg. The battery weighs 1.1kg and has a capacity of 430Wh – much smaller than the LT – but with the lighter weight you don’t need as much power.
Many e-bikes, many of which use Shimano’s EP8 system, work the same way with an up/down controller, but Fazua has a new perspective with its Ring Control remote. The Ring Control works as an up/down lever with the mode selector twisting up or down to turn the bike on, select one of three power modes, or get a quick boost in power.
If you’re a new e-bike motor company, there’s no point in being exactly like everyone else. Fazua names their three modes Breeze, River and Rocket. Breeze is like a downwind and River is “progressive and very athletic,” responding to rider power and delivering more power when you need it. Rocket is the most powerful mode. Riders can also access a Boost mode at any power level by pushing the Ring Control up for four seconds. Then the Ride 60 goes into a ten-second burst of power.
These modes are all adjustable in the Fazua app and the bikes also receive updates through the app. The motor has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity. Passenger assistance is available through QBP in Minnesota.
On the suspension front, Pivot says the Shuttle SL’s DW-Link was dialed in to eliminate pedal bob during hard pedaling efforts. The Shuttle SL uses Pivot’s vertical shock orientation for a more compact frame design, better water bottle clearance and low standover height.
The lightest World Cup build uses a 140mm Fox 34 Factory fork while the Ride and Pro builds use a 150mm Fox 36.
Pivot said they wanted the Shuttle LS to be like their Trail 429 with a light and responsive, quick and nimble feel, and a feel that parallels analog mountain bikes.
The geometry in its low bottom bracket setting starts with a 65° head tube angle and 76° seat tube angle, low standover height, and fairly long reach and wheelbase. For a medium, the reach is 465mm and the wheelbase is 1,223mm.
The wheelbase is a bit longer than the Trail 429 and the head tube angle is slacker, but the reach is similar. While the Trail 429 may have inspired the Pivot Shuttle SL, it also seems to draw inspiration from the stability and aggressiveness of the Switchblade.
Driving impressions of the Pivot Shuttle SL
We had the opportunity to try the Shuttle SL on a section of the Monarch Crest route known as the Rainbow Trail. It’s fast and smooth, with a bit of tech here and there, perfect for a mid-travel bike like the Shuttle SL.
The look and feel of the Shuttle SL is comparable to other Pivots. It’s light—for an e-bike—and it has that bomber-straight line appearance where the head tube drops straight into the top tube and then down to the rear axle. Without any power buttons on the top tube, I examined the bike and the cockpit trying to find where I could turn the bike on.
Being all too familiar with bike lights, phones, and other types of electronics, this came to mind. Push the ring control up for a few seconds and the bike comes to life.
We had a steady climb on the service road for a while before reaching the start of Rainbow. The SL handles well on climbs like this and I had a fast, steady pace on the service lane. There is an apparent feel when the Ride 60 engine starts. It’s not harsh or clunky, but it didn’t feel as seamless as the Shimano system we used the day before on the Shuttle LT.
The Ride 60 is very quiet, however, and blends into the SL, masking its pedal-assist intentions.
On steep climbs, the Ride 60 also didn’t match the power of the Shimano EP8 I rode the day before. Rocket mode puts you in a solid position to tackle steep hills, and Fazua said power output can be tweaked at the expense of battery, but even on the heaviest bike I felt I had more power at my disposal for tough climbs.
Boost mode is a fun way to tackle the climbs, though. If you see a hill ahead of you and use Boost mode, it provides ten seconds of maximum power for uphill sprints.
Climbing the SL feels as airy as the Trail 429 does, however. The rear suspension keeps the rider high and doesn’t bog down in their suspension under tension.
For much of my time on the SL that day, it was easy to forget I was on an e-bike. The handling matches an analog bike, and so does the weight. For the most part, the SL handles like an unpowered bike. Over a few hairier sections of Rainbow Trail with high-speed stretches and steep rock gardens, the SL charged without flinching. The bike quickly picks up speed, holds it and spins on the rails.
By the end of our 20-mile ride, I had about 60 percent range left. The SL drained battery life faster than the LT, but there’s still plenty of life left for big adventures, and Fazua should soon have a range extender for the bike.
Problems with the Fazua Ride 60
Unfortunately, quite a few riders in our group that day had issues with the Ride 60. It started with sticky ring controls. Pressing the remote upwards would cause the small lever to stick slightly in that position. Although it was a minor annoyance on our test day, Pivot said they were able to pull out a puck that was interfering with the ring bouncing into position.
The second most noticeable thing, and one that could also be fixed quickly, was engine lag. It was while going down and out of the drains that I noticed the lag. I wasn’t pedaling downhill in the drainage, but coming up the trail on a technical climb, the engine felt like it took up to two seconds to start. It’s not long, but when you expect the bike to ride smoothly and you’re pedaling a 38lb bike up a technical climb, it takes unexpected muscle.
Pivot said they are waiting for Fazua to release a firmware update available the first week of October which will fix the problem. Shuttle SL buyers can ask their local dealer to update the bike.
The most unfortunate event, however, was when several of our engines randomly shut off and did not immediately re-ignite. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason why the Ride 60 did this. The folks at Pivot and Fazua were upset and frustrated and worked urgently to resolve the issue. Pivot cares a lot about the quality of their bikes and this was a particular setback given the timing. Pivot said they’ve been testing the bikes for months with no issues.
This ride was in late August and I recently reached out to Pivot before press time for an update. Chris Cocalis said a firmware update should be available on October 7 to fix the issue. The team found that the battery had “slept soundly” and wasn’t waking up, and that supposedly unplugging the battery and plugging it back in would help, but that shouldn’t be a problem after October 7.
As unfortunate as the issues were, Pivot and Fazua were deeply concerned to fix them as quickly as possible and it looks like they were able to sort them out.
Who is it for ?
At the end of the press camp, we wondered if we would choose the Shuttle LT or SL. I really enjoyed the SL and it’s an exciting bike because it shows that e-bikes are changing very quickly. They become lighter and the geometry is corrected. The bikes come very close to analog bikes in handling and weight and bikes like the LT might be too much for some. The tongue-in-cheek slogan of the LT is “enough is enough”, but for some, too much can be too much.
I’m in the LT camp though, and at the end of the day, long-travel e-bikes with the power to skip a lift or a ride to the top of a gnarly trail are what I love. After all, it’s a shuttle.
But for people who want a high-end e-bike for trail use and aren’t into gnarly descents and do a mix of everything, the Pivot Shuttle SL seems like a great bike.
The Pivot Shuttle SL is an exciting development for the future of e-bikes. The Fazua Ride 60’s electric assist is subtle and smooth, and the Shuttle SL resembles Pivot’s trail bikes; light, stiff, fast and confident. People looking for a versatile trail e-bike will not be disappointed.
- Agile and fast handling
- Feels like an analog bike on the descents
- Barely resembles an e-bike
Advantages and disadvantages of the Pivot Shuttle SL
- Not as powerful as a larger e-bike