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Size-Specific Design and Ride Tuning

When it comes to cycling, one size does not fit all. At Pivot Cycles, we understand the importance of crafting bikes that offer the same incredible ride experience across a wide range of sizes, from XS to XL.

Flex/Stiffness Profile

Crafting the ideal flex and stiffness profile is a calculated process at Pivot Cycles. We focus on finding the right balance, ensuring critical areas like the bottom bracket offer the ideal stiffness to efficiently transfer pedal power to the wheel without energy loss due to flex. Our commitment to precise and predictable handling extends to using compact, stiff links and a one-piece rear triangle, contributing to the overall frame stiffness and resulting in a bike that offers exceptional control and responsiveness. 

Intentional flex is introduced to provide compliance, reducing rider fatigue and enhancing overall comfort. This balance ensures our bikes remain easy to handle, even in challenging terrain or when the rider is tired. For example, in the case of the Firebird, we adjusted stiffness based on pro rider feedback, fine-tuning the frame’s feel and flex to provide immediate feedback while making it more forgiving when fatigue sets in. At Pivot Cycles, it’s all about delivering an efficient and enjoyable ride. 

Focus on Tuning

Central to our design philosophy is the quest for the right flex in each frame. We treat each frame size as a distinct entity, rather than simply scaling up or down from a medium-sized model. Our approach involves hundreds of individual pieces within each triangle, allowing fine-tuning down to the level of individual piece. This meticulous process ensures that each frame size is treated as its own unique bike, finely attuned to the rider’s needs.

Our process includes specific tests for each frame size, along with size-specific stiffness goals for each test. This ensures that the frame’s flex aligns precisely with the requirements of the rider for that particular size. In a world where using the same size tubes and carbon layup schedule for every frame would result in smaller frames being considerably stiffer than their larger counterparts, we go the extra mile to fine-tune the flex characteristics. The result is a consistent and comfortable feel across all sizes, delivering an exceptional ride experience for every rider.

Tuning for Rider Size

To cater to riders of different sizes, our bikes are tuned using unique cross-sections for the tubes and distinct carbon layup schedules for each size. Smaller cross-sections allow for more flex, while larger ones result in less. Altering the layup schedule involves adding or removing carbon material or changing the angle of the carbon fiber layers. This dynamic approach to frame design allows us to ensure that riders of all sizes experience the perfect balance of stiffness and comfort.  

E-Bike Frame Tuning

At Pivot Cycles, we bring the same level of dedication and precision to e-bike frame tuning as we do to our analog bikes. Our e-bike models, such as the Shuttle SL, Shuttle AM and Shuttle LT, closely mirror the stiffness of their analog counterparts. While we don’t disclose specific figures due to varying testing methods, our e-bikes consistently deliver a familiar ride, regardless of battery size and power. Achieving this uniformity requires rigorous material testing and the careful mounting and isolation of the battery. We employ a blend of durometer rubber, foams and carbon-reinforced nylon hard mounts to preserve the proper flex characteristics of the frame while making sure the battery is safe and secure. The outcome is e-bikes that ride much like their traditional counterparts, ensuring a playful and versatile experience, regardless of the power source. 

Suspension Kinematics

The behavior of a bike’s suspension is a crucial element of our design process. We adjust suspension kinematics based on the type of bike and our design goals. For bikes where chainstay length varies with size, suspension kinematics naturally change. However, we modify pivot points to ensure optimal curves for each size.  

 We optimize the kinematics for each frame size based on a rider’s center of gravity and average saddle height per size to ensure consistent suspension kinematics for every size rider. When it comes to accommodating a wide range of rider weights, we develop shock tunes with a range of adjustability to handle riders from 110lbs-230lbs and then are able to rely on shock air pressure/spring weight and volume spacer tuning to accommodate a wide range of rider sizes and weights.  

What Remains Consistent

While much is adjusted to cater to different rider sizes, some elements remain constant. Geometry numbers, seat post/seat tube diameters, pivot bearing sizes, headtube diameters, bottom bracket dimensions, general frame features and cable routing rarely change with size. These stable components provide a foundation for customization, ensuring the perfect fit for riders of all sizes.  

Even water bottle options are considered on a size-by-size basis, acknowledging the differences in available space inside and outside the frame for each size.  

Pivot Cycles’ commitment to Size Specific Design and Ride Tuning underscores our dedication to crafting bikes that cater to the unique needs of riders across a wide range of sizes. By adjusting factors like frame flex, carbon layup and suspension kinematics, we ensure that every rider can experience the exceptional ride quality that has become synonymous with Pivot Cycles. It’s not just about building bikes; it’s about creating unforgettable cycling experiences for everyone, regardless of their size.