Working with carbon actually changed how we built aluminum bikes. We realized that we needed to develop entirely new aluminum frame building techniques if we wanted to create the same kind of advanced tube shaping and ride quality we’d achieved with carbon. So that’s what we did.
This is the next generation of aluminum. Our state-of-the-art hydroforming methods allow us to achieve extremely precise wall thicknesses and complex, multi-axis tube shaping. And, yes, while that sounds a bit geeky, those advances absolutely improve strength, stiffness and your ability to always pick a line and stick it.
In fact, our aluminum frames offer nearly the same strength and stiffness as our carbon frames. What’s more, the Switchblade Aluminum utilizes the same ultra-stiff clevis and linkage, and large, suspension specific, EnduroMax bearings as its carbon brother, for best-in-class power transfer and handling.
The Switchblade boasts both the shortest chainstays in its class (for agile handling) and more clearance for wide tires than any competitor. Putting these two holy grails of bike design into a single frame design enables you to experience both unmatched high-speed stability through chunky terrain and effortless split-second manuals over seemingly impossible obstacles.
Our Super Boost Plus rear spacing deserves a lot of the credit here for making all this possible and while we’re on the subject, it also improves frame stiffness, wheel durability and lets you use a front derailleur while you’re at it. Want to run a 29er set-up to achieve maximum rollover and quick handling? Go for it. Looking for unrivaled traction and a more forgiving, stable ride quality in loose, rocky conditions? Choose one of our 27.5-plus tire and wheel build kits.
29 or 27.5-plus—the Switchblade is brilliant in both wheel sizes.
Thanks to Dave Weagle’s dw‐link® rear suspension, the Switchblade takes the suffering out of the steepest, rockiest climbs. The suspension is amazingly efficient, yet supple and active, providing you with all the traction you need to clean the trickiest technical sections. The Switchblade is the rare bike that shines on the toughest downhill tracks yet never sacrifices a shred of climbing ability.
The Switchblade is an absolute weapon on the steepest and roughest descents. Its chassis takes more than a few cues from our gravity bikes. The Switchblade’s double wishbone rear triangle is damn close to what you’ll find on our World Cup DH bike—the Phoenix. The ultra-stiff linkage design? It’s what you’ll find on our Mach 6 and Firebird enduro models. The end result is the absolute stiffest frameset available in the trail category—giving you precise control and the ability to tackle new terrain every time you ride.
No surprise, the suspension plays a big role here as well. Because the Switchblade’s dw‐link® rear suspension doesn’t squat or bob under pedaling force, we are able to lower the bottom bracket height and slacken the head angle to achieve the best performance in high speed and technical sections while still maintaining the precise handling and “poppy” ride that makes a great trail bike so much fun.
Rear suspension duties are aptly handled by a Fox Float DPS shock tuned specifically for the Switchblade’s dual personality. The new Float DPS features improved bump absorption and a firm lockout. The new DPS damper offers three on-the-fly lever adjustments – Open, Medium and Firm—to cover anything the trail throws your way. The shock’s EVOL air sleeve significantly reduces the amount of force required to initiate travel, which results in the ultimate small bump compliance and better bottom-out resistance. Finally, we’ve paired the Switchblade’s excellent rear suspension with the latest 160mm Fox 36 – the perfect fork for trail riders who seek complete control over the most aggressive terrain.