New Pivot Shuttle LT eMTB Cruises Up, Slays the Downs [First Ride Review]

The Pivot Shuttle LT is a long-travel electric mountain bike that features a big battery and a Shimano EP8 drive system.
Pivot Shuttle LT on the trail.
Photo: Matt Jones

Just a few weeks ago, Pivot Cycles released the lightweight, mid-travel Shuttle SL eMTB, and today they released its counterpart, the Shuttle LT, a long-travel version for their new Shuttle family of eMTBs. Before August 2022, the Shuttle was one model only, with 140mm of rear travel and a 160mm fork.

Now the brand will have the SL, a 132mm trail e-bike with with a 140/150mm fork; the new Shuttle LT, a 160mm e-bike with a 170mm fork; and the mid-travel Shuttle which they are re-dubbing the Shuttle AM.

Like other Pivot bikes released in recent years, the shock orientation moves to a vertical layout and opens up frame space. Pivot says that the layout helps them get a more compact frame design with a lower standover height and it uses less material.

Pivot Shuttle LT electric mountain bike
Photo: Matt Miller

The Shuttle LT battery gains about 30 watt hours compared to the Shuttle AM and now has a 756Wh battery. Unlike the Shuttle SL, which uses a Fazua motor, the LT uses a Shimano EP8 drive unit which has been placed “strategically lowered in the Shuttle LT’s downtube,” says Pivot. “Not only does the design ease battery removal, but also adjusts the center of mass to enhance handling, feel, and rider confidence.”

The LT uses a Shimano-certified Darfon battery which freed up some design room for Pivot and helped them engineer a slimmer downtube with a less chunky appearance.

Geometry on the LT starts with a 64° head tube angle and a 76.5° seat tube angle for a size medium. The larger sizes steepen by a half-degree. The wheelbase on a medium is 1,257mm long and grows by about an inch on each size. The reach on a medium is 468mm and the size differences are about 20mm.

The LT gets a burly build kit including Shimano XTR 4-piston brakes, 220mm/203mm rotors F/R, 2.5″ wide Maxxis tires, and DT Swiss eMTB wheels.

The Shuttle LT is available in two colors and sizes S-XL. The Ride build, one of two on offer, comes with a Fox Performance 38 fork, a Float X shock, and a Shimano drivetrain consisting of XT, SLX, and Deore components for $9,899. The Team build comes with a Fox Factory fork, a Factory Float X shock, and a Shimano drivetrain with XTR, and XT components for $11,999. For more information visit the Pivot Cycles website.

First impressions of the Pivot Shuttle LT

Photo: Matt Jones

I spent a day on the Shuttle LT and the Shuttle SL on different sections of Colorado’s famed Monarch Crest. For our first day on the Shuttle LT we ripped down one of the chunkier and more technical sections, Green’s Creek.

The Green’s Creek trail is about six miles long and loses 3,000 feet of elevation. The first part of the descent is steep and drags you over stuttering square-edged rocks through narrow trees. It opens up and smooths out a little in the middle section, though you are still darting over or around bowling-ball-sized rocks and swaths of roots, and in the final section, the trail opens up and kicks you off drains and shoots through aspen groves. It was a great trail to try out the LT.

The Pivot Shuttle LT uses Shimano’s latest Steps EP8 motor and the power transfer is subtle and smooth. There are three assist modes on the LT — Eco, Trail, and Boost — and I bounced between all three on different parts of the trail. I also alternated my riding style between what another journalist called “smash” and “finesse” pedaling along the Crest trail at 12,000 feet.

Do you either smash over the rocks or weave through/float over them? Pivot specced the LT with 160mm Shimano cranks so the LT can surely smash while you keep the cranks turning and worry less about rock strikes. The DW-link suspension made the job easier floating over smaller rocks under pedal power too.

While it may not seem quite as important on an e-bike, the DW-Link feels as good on the LT as it does on any other Pivot. The suspension feels smooth and efficient under power and doesn’t get bogged down on pedal-assisted sprints or climbs. At 12,000 feet, it was nice to spin at a high cadence for a change.

Photo: Matt Jones

Dropping into Greens, we were met with steep rock gardens and creek crossings through tight gates of trees. For being a 160mm travel e-bike with a 170mm fork, I was surprised by how agile the LT was and how easily it could be wrangled.

A few factors make up the LT’s handling: a 64° HTA, 441mm chainstays, a 1,257mm wheelbase (med.), and 468mm of reach (med.). So the LT is a long bike, though its chainstays are right in analog bike territory which makes it easier to whip around. With a 690mm standover height, this big e-bike has a pretty low profile.

Part of the swift handling that the LT holds might also be credited to the stiff feel that most Pivots have; turn the bars and the frame and rear wheel quickly follow.

I wasn’t ready for big gaps or jumps on the LT the first day, but a few other riders looked good swinging it in the air. The kinematics are supportive enough to push off of kickers and edges without mushing into the travel.

On faster parts of the trail toward the end, with a mix of loose dirt and rock and a few small drops, the LT tracked great and kept its speed effortlessly.

When we got to the bottom, after a 26-mile ride with 800 feet of climbing, I hadn’t put a dent in the battery life. Granted, there was not that much climbing during the ride and there is a pretty strong correlation between elevation gain and e-bike battery usage, it was nice to see that the needle hadn’t really moved at all.

Component check

That little power button pops up for access to a USB-C port. Photo: Matt Jones

Our group piloted the $12,000 Team XTR build, and while 12 grand isn’t cheap by any measure, considering the bike is a) a full carbon Pivot, b) an e-bike, and c) has a flashy Fox Factory/Shimano XTR build kit, the price could have been worse.

On this build, I don’t have many complaints. Everything worked great. Pivot specced 223mm rotors up front and a 203mm rotor in the rear and I had enough stopping power anywhere I needed it.

My one complaint is a wider diameter grip, and about half the group was split on these. Pivot increased their grip size on new bikes after hearing from riders that they would like something wider. My hands are on the smaller size and after riding the heavier bike over some repetitive techy sections, my forearms were on fire. The next day on the Shuttle SL, I swapped to some smaller grips and my hands were much happier.

Photo: Matt Jones

Everything about the Shimano motor ran smoothly. The engagement was seamless and the motor was quiet aside from a subtle hum. The modes were easy to switch between, though the remote does take a little more space on the handlebar and I would have liked my brake lever and dropper lever out a little more.

Looking on the $9,899 build (I recently tested a long travel analog bike that cost the same amount) it looks like a great spec too. There are 4-piston SLX brakes and they happen to be the same thing as the XTRs but with a more modest finish, so you get the same stopping power. There is an e13 Vario post — solid choice and I have had good experiences with the post before. For the drivetrain, there are some Deore parts where it makes sense, like the cassette and chain, while the shifter is SLX and the derailleur is XT.

Closing thoughts

Photo: Matt Jones

The Pivot Shuttle LT is my kinda e-bike, and it may be your kind too. The geometry is indistinguishable from any other long-travel mountain bike at the moment and with a buttery-smooth motor and a long range battery, the Shuttle LT is ready for just about anything. The ride quality is reminiscent of other Pivots I have ridden. The suspension is efficient, supportive, and has great traction and the bike… rides like a bike. What more can you really ask for?