Mar 31, 2023
Pivot Shuttle LT 29 Ride SLX/XT review
The Shuttle LT is Pivot’s longest-travel, biggest battery capacity ebike
The Shuttle LT is Pivot's longest-travel, biggest battery capacity ebike designed for enduro riding
This competition is now closed
By Alex Evans
Published: June 2, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Pivot's Shuttle LT 29 is the American brand's newest full-power electric mountain bike, boasting a full carbon fibre construction, 160mm of DW-Link suspension travel and Shimano's EP8 motor.
Running on 29in wheels front and rear, the Shuttle LT has been inspired by Pivot's Firebird enduro bike, with hard-hitting adjustable geometry thanks to a flip chip.
Boosting its all-day riding credentials is a 756Wh battery, built by third-party battery manufacturer Darfon and located within the fully sealed down tube.
Built from carbon fibre using Pivot's proprietary moulding technology, the Shuttle LT has smooth, uninterrupted lines. Its cables are routed internally via ports at the top of the down tube.
Inside the front triangle (size large) is space for a 750ml water bottle, plus there are accessory mounts on the underside of the top tube.
Along with ribbed chain slap protection, the Shuttle LT uses SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger and ultra-wide Super Boost 157mm rear-axle spacing.
Its 160mm of travel is delivered by a co-rotating DW-Link design, where the shock is compressed from the top only. Built into the shock is a sag indicator to help make setup easier.
The Shuttle LT's kinematics have been built around both coil and air-sprung shocks, with the Float X on this model coming fitted with a 0.3in cubed volume-reducer spacer.
Shimano's 85Nm, 250W EP8 electric bike motor is paired with a large 756Wh battery, stored within the down tube. The on/off switch, located on the top of the top tube, has a USB-C accessory charging port.
Although the frame's down tube is totally enclosed, battery removal is still possible by pivoting the skid plate backwards, where the battery then slides out the bottom.
Thanks to a flip chip on the swingarm to upper-rocker pivot, the Shuttle LT's geometry is adjustable between high and low settings.
This adjusts seat and head tube angles by 0.5 degrees from 77 degrees (low) to 77.5 degrees (high), and from 64 degrees (low) to 64.5 degrees (high) respectively.
Bottom bracket height shifts by 5mm, going from 352mm to 357mm, while some of the other figures, such as the chainstay length, also change, but by much less.
In the four-size range (S to XL), reach figures start at 445mm and lift to 510mm, with the size large on test here touting a 488mm (low) figure.
The Shuttle LT's geometry figures have, like many bikes on the market, converged on a sweet spot for enduro-style riding, with the only outlier being a fairly high bottom bracket for a 160mm-travel bike.
The Ride SLX/XT version of the Shuttle LT is the lower-specced and less costly of two offerings.
It features Fox's 170mm-travel 38 Performance fork with GRIP damper and Fox's Performance Float X rear shock.
These are matched with a Shimano Deore M6100 (cassette and chain), SLX M7100 (shifter) and XT M8100 (derailleur) drivetrain mix. Shimano's four-piston SLX M7120 brakes with Galfer 223mm (f) and 203mm (r) rotors take care of stopping.
There's an e*thirteen Vario dropper post with 150-180mm of adjustable travel (size large), a Pivot Pro E-Bike (L and XL only) saddle and kit from Pivot house brand Phoenix, including the bar, stem, grips and headset.
DT Swiss’ ebike-specific H1900 wheels are wrapped in Maxxis Assegai rubber, with both front and rear 2.5x29in tyres using EXO+ casings and MaxxTerra compounds.
This size-large test bike, without pedals, weighed 23.71kg.
I tested the Pivot Shuttle LT in Scotland's Tweed Valley, home to some of the UK's best enduro riding and racing; the area hosting the UK's round of the Enduro World Series (EDR).
I took to the same trails used for the EDR to put the Shuttle through its paces in some of the UK's worst, most challenging conditions.
Using Pivot's installed sag guide, I Inflated the rear shock to 190psi and kept the factory-installed 0.3in cubed volume reducer fitted. This gave 29.23 per cent of shaft sag. I set the external rebound damping to fully open.
I inflated the Fox 38 to 98psi and left the three factory-installed volume-reducer spacers, giving 30mm or 17.65 per cent sag. I set the rebound damping to taste, which was -9/10 clicks from fully closed.
After trying the Shuttle LT in its high-geometry setting, I moved it to the low position, where I left it for the duration of the test period.
The Pivot Shuttle LT has a commanding seated climbing position, feeling tall and long, and creating a stable and predictable platform to ride.
Its long top tube increases the amount of weight through your hands, lowering your body towards the handlebars compared to bikes with shorter top tubes.
However, a generous stack height offers some balance, effectively bringing the front of the bike closer to the rider, reducing the amount they need to lower their shoulders to the bars.
This isn't enough to turn the Shuttle LT's more aggressive, trail-focused riding position into a more upright one, archetypal of the gravity-focused riding this bike has been designed for.
Positively, by putting you in this riding position the Shuttle LT spreads your weight evenly between the axles, giving it a balanced feel even when scaling seriously steep sections.
Along with the steep seat tube angle that places your hips almost directly above the bottom bracket, rather than over the rear wheel, it also improves traction.
Feeding power into the rear tyre only needs small weight shifts. The Shuttle's size means there's a large margin for error before the front wheel lifts or the rear one spins; big or accidental movements on the bike don't result in a quick loss of control.
A generous bottom bracket height gives plenty of ground clearance. Staying on the gas in rough, technical or janky sections doesn't lead to pedal strikes, helping keep speed high.
Fortunately, the rear suspension is competent and capable enough to handle high-speed charging into gnarly terrain.
The Float X Performance shock flutters in and out of its beginning stroke, providing plenty of comfort but also traction as it absorbs the trail's contours.
Deeper into its travel, it ramps up smoothly. This takes the sting out of bigger, chunkier impacts without eating too far into the rear end's travel, maintaining the bike's geometry.
Pivot's Pro E-Bike saddle – that's fitted to the large and extra-large models – is comfortable with a large, flat profile. The brand's Factory Lock-On grips are soft and tacky, offering impressive comfort and grip.
Thanks to Pivot's third-party Darfon-branded battery, the Shuttle LT has a 756Wh capacity, up on Shimano's standard 630Wh unit.
This extends the Shuttle's range, where, using exclusively Eco mode, I was able to regularly exceed 2,500m of ascent on a single charge. In Trail mode, that drops to around 2,000m and Boost reduces it to around 1,500m, depending on weather and trail conditions.
The extra battery capacity hasn't significantly increased the bike's weight. The Shuttle LT is one of the lightest enduro-focused electric mountain bikes you can buy.
Shimano's EP8 motor certainly has plenty of power and torque, and its assistance feels more natural than Bosch's Performance Line CX; it tapers down the harder you pedal. This might suit the way some people expect their ebike to behave, but others might prefer the extra, continued assistance of the Bosch.
Downhill, the Shuttle LT's high front end is well proportioned, with the relatively tall bottom bracket and long 488mm reach offering plenty of balance.
It has a comfortable hand-to-feet relationship, making you feel in the bike rather than on it, despite seeming quite high above the ground.
Your weight is distributed evenly between the wheels, too. This improves grip and control when it matters the most.
It feels like a big bike, though, where handling is slow but stability is abundant.
On flat-out, fast, rough and gnarly sections, the Shuttle LT holds its own. Chassis pitch is minimal – the front and rear wheels remain impressively level with the horizon over choppy terrain – helping improve confidence and control, but also outright speed.
Its supple and smooth suspension is super-active on small bumps and has enough ramp to cushion bigger impacts. You can comfortably plough your own path through rough terrain on the Shuttle LT, the bike doing an incredible job of insulating you from the worst of the trail.
Being passive at high speeds gets the most from it, leaving the bike to do most of the work.
Its bottom bracket height amplifies this; the risk of pedal strikes is limited, helping you concentrate on riding quicker.
In slower terrain, however, this straight-line stability makes it a bit of a handful.
Turn in speeds are slow and swapping from its tyres’ edges as you change direction feels lethargic.
It feels heavier than its actual weight, where big, overt weight changes and movements are needed to get it weaving through tight sections of trail.
Once you get the hang of this, and are committed to riding so actively, it can be muscled quickly around 180-degree switchbacks or between tightly packed trees, it just requires plenty of effort.
Performance on steeper terrain mimics its high-speed stability. The high front end means you can load it up to drive grip with little penance. The long-travel, super-plush GRIP damper Fox 38 is up to the job, supporting bike and rider weight.
Maxxis’ MaxxTerra-compound Assegai front tyre isn't the grippiest in wet or greasy conditions when compared to the MaxxGrip version, and I’m unsure why Pivot hasn't specced a MaxxGrip on the front at least.
While the EXO+ casing tyre makes sense on the front, it's less suited to the rear. I’d happily trade in a few grams of weight for a chunkier DoubleDown or DH-casing rear.
Although aimed at similar types of riding, the Shuttle LT and Transition Repeater are like chalk and cheese.
While the Repeater feels low, short and nimble, the Shuttle is tall and long with much slower handling.
Which one is right for you will depend on the type of terrain you ride; people who spend most of their time on tight, twisty trails will probably prefer the Repeater, while those who love going fast are going to like the Shuttle.
Neither are terrible on the type of terrain they don't excel on, but they do have limitations.
Price is another consideration. Both have carbon frames and Performance-level rear shocks, along with a mix of house-brand and branded components. The Pivot's Shimano drivetrain is more refined than SRAM's NX Eagle, and the GRIP damper in the Pivot's Fox 38 – while sitting at the bottom of the fork's range – is the standout performer.
Top that off with a bigger battery and geometry adjustment, and you’re making significant headway to justifying the extra cost of the Shuttle LT over the Repeater NX.
The Repeater's broader performance band, its fantastic suspension and chunkier, grippier tyres, along with a lower asking price, all push the odds in its favour overall.
The Shuttle LT is a great bike for big, fast or steep terrain. Its long-travel suspension gobbles up bumps while providing gentle but important ramp-up deeper into its travel. The GRIP damper in Fox's 38 fork is a stand-out performer.
It's not without its faults though. Its hard-charging stability sacrifices agility when the trails tighten, requiring more work from the rider to get it heading in the right direction. MaxxTerra compound, EXO+ casing tyres aren't hugely suited to wet or greasy terrain, or the speeds it can hit.
Its cost is certainly a factor, especially when you compare it to the Nukeproof Megawatt, but the performance it offers helps to justify it.
There are going to be plenty of people who ride the sort of terrain the Shuttle LT is best suited to, but outside of that type of riding it has limits, especially when you compare it to bikes that excel everywhere.
Full-power, high-performance, gravity-focused ebikes need to behave like mini-DH bikes on the descents, but provide a comfortable, brisk and efficient means to climb back up.
A gutsy motor will do the heavy lifting when ascending, but little can mitigate poor geometry, bad spec choices and sub-standard suspension.
When searching for your perfect full-power ebike, we recommend going big on travel (150mm plus), battery capacity (630Wh or more) and motor power (85Nm or above).
Spot-on geometry will improve both uphill and downhill performance; steep seat tube angles, mid-length chainstays and slack head angles are all desirable.
Senior technical editor Alex tested eight full-power eMTBs on his home trails in Scotland's Tweed Valley, home to the UK's round of the Enduro World Cup and the 2023 XC Olympic and Marathon World Championships.
Testing happened from November to late March, subjecting the bikes to some of the harshest weather conditions known.
The pedigree and scope of the terrain on his doorstep is second to none, helping Alex push our eight bikes to their limits. Riding them back-to-back separated the strong from the weak and finally, a winner was chosen.
Thanks to our sponsors Crankbrothers, MET helmets, Bluegrass Protection, Supernatural Dolceacqua, Le Shuttle and BikePark Wales for their support of Bike of the Year.
Senior technical editor
Alex Evans is BikeRadar's senior mountain bike technical editor. He started racing downhill at the tender age of 11 before going on to compete across Europe. Alex moved to Morzine in the French Alps at 19 to pursue a career as a bike bum and clocked up an enormous amount of riding. Hitting those famous tracks day in, day out for eight years, he broke more bikes than he can remember. Alex then moved back to the UK and put his vast knowledge of mountain biking to good use by landing a job working for MBUK magazine as features editor. Since working for MBUK, Alex's focus has moved to bike tech. He's one of BikeRadar's lead testers and knows how to push bikes and products to the limit, searching out the equipment that represents the best value for money. Alex is also a dedicated eMTB rider, and still dabbles in racing of a sort, doing his best to top the Strava leaderboard on the steepest, gnarliest and twistiest trails the Tweed Valley has to offer – just for fun, of course. Alex is also a regular on the BikeRadar YouTube channel and BikeRadar podcast.❚