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First Look: 2022 Pivot Shadowcat - A New 27.5" Trail Bike

Mar 1, 2022
by Henry Quinney  


Today, Pivot releases a new bike in its range - the Shadowcat. While it may tick off a lot of the attributes you would expect from a mid-travel trail bike in 2022, such as progressive geometry and a focus on both fun and efficiency, there is one notable exception that might just have you clutching your pearls - this isn't a 29er.

The 27.5"-wheeled bike, Pivot claim, is all about fun. It's a replacement for the Mach 5.5 and works around a 140mm, DW-link chassis while also coming in a weight "less than a lot of dedicated XC machines". It's also worth noting the new frame weighs less than the current 429 frame, and a mere 45g more than their Mach 4SL.
Pivot Shadowcat Details

• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Travel: 140 (r) / 160mm (f)
• Carbon Frame
• 65.8° head angle
• Chainstay length: 430mm
• Reach: 410, 430, 460, 480mm
• From $6,199 to $13,599 USD
• Two Frame Colours
• Live Valve Compatible
pivotcycles.com


It's hard not to be too glib and take some of the claims of the new bike with a lot of salt. In fact, as exciting a prospect this mid-travel bike is, its information sheet does read like a parody of a press release from just a year or two ago. For instance, "Seriously, it’s as if people have forgotten just how awesome 27.5” wheels can be. Shadowcat is here to remind everyone of that awesomeness. Big wheels may roll beautifully, but if you really want to get rowdy, 27.5” is where it’s at" feels like something Gareth Yoghurtbottom would have perhaps written. In fact, the theme continues throughout with mentions of eye-blink direction changes, cheetahs, stewards of nature, and even Usain Bolt at one point.


Credit where it is due, there are enough mounts to fit two bottle cages, although admittedly not at the same time.

Frame Details

All that to one side, the sleek looking frame that features a low-slung top tube to maximise fit options for riders. The vertically mounted shock allows a large sized bottle to fit on any size and will mate well with Fox Live Valve, should you have it on your bike.

To look at the frame, it clearly has the same design cues as a lot of the recent Pivots, and in some ways resembles a very svelte Firebird. The cables are all internally routed, the headset is integrated, there is ample chainslap and downtube protection, as well as a SRAM UDH. It is also compatible with Pivot's Dock Tool storage system, which can fit a Topeak tool onto the frame. Unlike the Firebird, this bike uses a Boost 148mm rear axle.

In a word - sleek.

Pivot says that their carbon utilises independent strength to weight analysis for each frame size, which helps achieve consistent metrics for the frame. Custom-tuned carbon also helps scale the stiffness across all sizes, instead of following a one-size-fits-all approach. This should mean that, if we take on some broad assumptions in relation to rider weight being relative to stature, then each Shadowcat frame should ride the same irrespective of size. Similarly, the bike can be custom-built via Pivot to let the rider have the exact spec they want.

The bike is available in Danger Fruit or Blue Mirage.


Geometry


The bike's geometry looks to be more about versatility than any single focus. That said, with reasonably large reach numbers throughout and a few interesting dimensions it should be an adept descender, too. Pivot are aiming for this bike to be fun and capable, and not just the latter. To double down on this ethos, the bike comes with short 430mm chainstays, which should make it very easy to get your weight over the rear axle.

All that said, the 76 degree seat tube angle, which is by no means slack, does contribute to a large effective top tube which might make it feel quite big, even if only when sat down and seated. At 650mm for a size large, it's maybe around 30mm longer than other bikes with a similar intended purpose. For instance, the Giant Trance X, which also has 27.5" wheels, roughly the same amount of travel, and similar intentions, has an effective top tube of 622mm in the low position. In my experience, it can feel slightly disjointed to ride a bike that has two very different characters depending on whether you're seated or standing, and that cuts both ways, for instance with long-reach enduro bikes that have ultra-short top tubes.

The low stack height, combined with the aforementioned seat tube, could make this bike a very versatile machine that will feel at home on fast, flowing singletrack as well as being able to dabble with, and have fun on, steeper, more technical trails.

The short rear center should make throwing your weight around even easier.

Build Options

Pivot includes Race, Pro and Team build options, as well as wheel options on several builds. There are 8 stock options overall, including the $13,599 Live Valve XX1 AXS build. Below, is a selection of the Race and Pro options.


Race XT - $6,199

Rear Shock - Fox Performance Float DPS
Fork - Fox Performance 36 27.5”, 44mm offset, GRIP - 160mm
Headset - Pivot Precision Sealed Integrated Cartridge
Rear Mech - Shimano XT M8100 SGS 12-Speed
Shifter - Shimano SLX M7100 ISPEC EV 12-Speed
Brakes - Shimano SLX M7120 4-piston w/ 180mm rotors
Cranks - Race Face Ride 32t
Bars - Phoenix Race Low Rise Aluminum - 780mm
Stem - Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Seatpost - Fox Transfer Performance Elite 125mm (XS), 150mm (SM), 175mm (MD-LG)
Saddle - Phoenix WTB Race High Tail Trail (XS, SM), Phoenix WTB Race Vigo (MD-LG)
Cassette - Shimano SLX M7100 10-51t
Wheels - DT Swiss M1900 w/ DT Swiss 370 hub, 30mm
Tires - Maxxis Dissector 27.5” x 2.4” TR, EXO


Race X01 - $ 6,599

Rear Shock - Fox Performance Float DPS
Fork - Fox Performance 36 27.5”, 44mm offset, GRIP - 160mm
Headset - Pivot Precision Sealed Integrated Cartridge
Rear Mech - Sram X01 Eagle 12-Speed
Shifter - Sram GX Eagle 12-Speed
Brakes - Sram Guide RE 4-piston w/ 180mm Rotors
Cranks - Sram Descendant 7k Eagle DUB 32t
Bars - Phoenix Race Low Rise Aluminum - 780mm
Stem - Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Seatpost - Fox Transfer Performance Elite 125mm (XS), 150mm (SM), 175mm (MD-LG)
Saddle - Phoenix WTB Race High Tail Trail (XS, SM), Phoenix WTB Race Vigo (MD-LG)
Cassette - Sram XG-1275 10-52t
Wheels - DT Swiss M1900 w/ DT Swiss 370 hub, 30mm
Tires - Maxxis Dissector 27.5” x 2.4” TR, EXO


Pro XT-XTR Alloy Wheels

Pro XT/XTR - $7,599

Rear Shock - Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork - Fox Factory 36 27.5”, 44mm offset, GRIP - 160mm
Headset - Pivot Precision Sealed Integrated Cartridge
Rear Mech - Shimano XTR M9100 SGS 12-Speed
Shifter - Shimano XT M8100 ISPEC EV 12-Speed
Brakes - Shimano XT M8120 4-piston w/ 180mm rotors
Cranks - Race Face Æffect R 32t
Bars - Phoenix Race Low Rise Carbon - 760mm (XS-SM) 780mm (MD-LG)
Stem - Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Seatpost - Fox Transfer Factory 125mm (XS), 150mm (SM), 175mm (MD-LG)
Saddle - Phoenix WTB Race High Tail Trail (XS, SM), Phoenix WTB Race Vigo (MD-LG)
Cassette - Shimano XT M8100 10-51t
Wheels - DT Swiss XM1700 w/ DT Swiss 350 hub & 36t Star Ratchet 30mm
Wheel Option - Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile Trail w/ Industry Nine hub, 32mm
Tires - Maxxis Dissector 27.5” x 2.4” TR, EXO


Pro X01 - $8,199

Rear Shock - Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork - Fox Factory 36 27.5”, 44mm offset, GRIP - 160mm
Headset - Pivot Precision Sealed Integrated Cartridge
Rear Mech - Sram X01 Eagle 12-Speed
Shifter - Sram X01 Eagle 12-Speed
Brakes - Sram G2 RSC 4-piston w/ 180mm Rotors
Cranks - Sram X01 Eagle DUB 32t
Bars - Phoenix Race Low Rise Carbon - 760mm (XS-SM) 780mm (MD-LG)
Stem - Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail
Seatpost - Fox Transfer Factory 125mm (XS), 150mm (SM), 175mm (MD-LG)
Saddle - Phoenix WTB Race High Tail Trail (XS, SM), Phoenix WTB Race Vigo (MD-LG)
Cassette - Sram XG-1275 10-52t
Wheels - DT Swiss XM1700 w/ DT Swiss 350 hub & 36t Star Ratchet 30mm
Wheel Option - Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile Trail w/ Industry Nine hub, 32mm
Tires - Maxxis Dissector 27.5” x 2.4” TR, EXO



The Shadowcat is available now through Pivot Dealers worldwide.


15 Comments

  • 3 0
 This bike seems decent spec, if still a bit COVID-priced (like most things nowadays). No SX/NX crap.
How does the top spec model justify its $7,400 markup? That's more than the price of the base model EXTRA. Does it come included with a mechanic? Lifetime shuttle service? Does it pick-up your children from school for you?
  • 6 0
 This has shot straight to the top of my shopping list. Long live 27.5!
  • 5 0
 27,5" looks so weird now.
Or is just the saddle too big?
  • 1 0
 Looks weird cuz nowadays you can see 29ers everywhere. Nothing wrong with this. I just hope bike industry keeps these 2 wheel sizes for us, and those (ugly) 36ers will be just for museums, with the following tag: "a wrong direction of bike evolution"
  • 1 0
 True. And yes, that saddle looks like big and ugly indeed.

I don’t know what it is but 9 out of 10 bikes look way less good in the catalogue shots than that they do in real life or say in a proper side profile shot with a long lens out in the wild..
  • 1 0
 @DutchmanPhotos: yeah, that saddle is awful!!!
  • 3 0
 Nothing against slx, but calling an XT model a bike with full slx but the derailleur is pretty lame
  • 4 0
 That's a move straight out of the 90s!
  • 1 0
 Same for the X01 model. Only the rear mech is X01, the rest is GX.
  • 2 0
 Another thing that’s got me clutching my pearls is the price
  • 2 0
 Looks superb - reminds me of the Transition Spur
  • 1 0
 Danger fruit, what a colour name. I want one just for that.
'oh, nice bike, what colour is that?'
'DANGER FRUIT'
  • 1 0
 Marin Service Course in Fairfax, CA has them in stock! @marinservicecourse
  • 1 0
 I learned a new phrase (as so often with Henry): clutching your pearls
  • 1 0
 Shit name

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