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Uphill flow: The Pivot Shuttle e-MTB is a ride to the top

Published August 30, 2017

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — The launch of Pivot's Shimano STEPS-powered electric mountain bike, the Shuttle, was so successful that the company has ordered another production run as it is already halfway through its first batch of bikes.

But don't expect the Shuttle to be available in North America anytime soon. Company founder Chris Cocalis says cultural differences between European mountain bikers and their North American cousins will keep the Shuttle out of the U.S. market, at least initially.

“In Europe to be a core mountain bike brand means you offer electric mountain bikes and are pushing the technology. That's the complete opposite of the U.S., where core culture is against anything electric,” Cocalis said.

The confusion over e-MTB trail access also raises its own issues with selling the bike in North America, Cocalis added.

The $12,000 list price might limit the Shuttle's appeal to the North American market. However, the $10,000-and-higher e-MTB market in Europe is robust.

The Shuttle’s low 44-pound weight, which is about 5 pounds below its competitors, and its DW-Link suspension tuned specifically for electric assistance seem to have caught the industry’s attention.

“You can imagine what adding the power of an electric motor to pedaling does to induce squat and bob in a suspension design,” Cocalis said. “To counteract this, most companies stiffen up suspension settings to keep bikes from bobbing going uphill. But this makes them harsh riding downhill. We are able to resist squat by tuning the suspension so it still rides supple downhill, which is something riders comment on.”

Pivot calls out its Super Boost dropout spec as a factor in keeping the Shuttle's weight down. DT Swiss makes e-MTB specific wheels with a beefier rim to better handle the speed and added weight of an e-MTB than what the wheel maker uses for non-powered bikes. The proprietary wheels DT built for Shuttle use its lighter non-powered rims, which end up being stronger because of Super Boost's wider bracing angle.

The company also trimmed weight by stripping Shimano's external battery of unnecessary parts and hiding it inside the Shuttle's downtube.

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