It’s been weeks now and I still dream about this bike…

Pivot Les 27.5 Carbon Review

Pivot Cycles, the bike brand known for the amazing full suspension designs started making the hardtail Les in 2012 in a 29er size. This year Pivot has adopted most of the key characteristics of the 29er version to the smaller wheelsize of the 27.5. Let’s just say that it is fan-freaking-tastic.

Specs from Pivot’s Website

FramePivot LES 27.5 Carbon
ForkFOX 32 27.5" 100 FIT CTD Trail Adjust Kashima
ShiftersShimano XT
Front DerailleurShimano XT Direct Mount
Rear DerailleurShimano XTR 10spd Shadow Plus
BrakesShimano XT
Brake LeversShimano XT
CassetteShimano XT M770 11-36 10spd
ChainShimano XT HG-95 10spd
Crankset Shimano XT 24/38t
Bottom BracketPress Fit 92 (PF92)
WheelsDT Swiss 27.5 350 SPLINE ONE XR Tubeless
TiresKenda Karma 2.0

The bike that I rode was identical to what is listed in the XT/XTR Pro spec from the Pivot Website.

How It Rides

The Pivot Les 27.5 Carbon is one of the best bikes I have ever ridden. On par with the Niner Jet 9 RDO and the Felt Edict Nine in terms of bikes I am just in awe of.

Let’s start with something that really stood out to me about this bike. It’s personality.

It’s what???

Yeah, personality. I’m fully convinced that every bike has a personality all its own. The geometry of the bike and the way it rides all adds up to the bikes overall personality. A more sane or normal person would probably call it “characteristics” but I am neither sane nor normal and I prefer calling it personality.

The Pivot Les 27.5 Carbon’s personality is very unique. I don’t often ride a hardtail that seems to beg me to rail corners like a full suspension. I also don’t usually feel the need to ride straight over/through the roughest parts of a trail on a hardtail. But for whatever reason the Les seemed overly eager. And I can’t lie, giving in to that pressure didn’t just feel good, it felt reeeeeeaally good. In truth, probably too good since I came back from the demo with a flat rear tire and a grin from ear to ear.

Overall, it’s like the Pivot Les adopted the personality of its full suspension brothers and genuinely thinks it might be a FS. Please nobody correct it!

The carbon fiber frame on the Les just seemed to devour small bumps like no hardtail I’ve ever ridden while still being as stiff as a board. Compared to others like the Giant XTC 27.5 or Marin Team CXR Pro it was like the Les had an inch of travel soaking up bumps like a sponge. There was no chatter from the frame and it was the smoothest ride I’ve ever had on a hardtail. Pivot makes some ridiculously great bikes and this is definitely no exception.

Starting out were some of the tight, twisting and rooted sections of the trail. The 27.5″ wheels floated through them like a hot knife through butter. I’m actually starting to really enjoy how the 27.5’s handle on our local Texas trails. A very pleasant surprise and quite a change of opinion since my first review of the new wheelsize a few months ago.

Next came the straightaways and the gradual climbs in the fields at Erwin Park. This is where I expected the Pivot Les to be excellent and it definitely lived up to the expectations. The power transfer on any hardtail is just incredible, but I felt quicker and faster on this than any other I have ridden. Once you thought about putting the hammer down you could immediately feel the bike take off. It’s like powering the bike with rocket fuel as you start ripping up trail.

Overall Thoughts on the Pivot Les 27.5 Carbon

I’m in love with this bike, as if you couldn’t tell from all the gushing above.

The Pivot Les 27.5 Carbon is an incredible race day bike and a joy to ride for anyone not wanting to go to a full suspension. It’s fast, quick and incredibly light. I rode this bike rough, as evidenced by the flat tire, but it was just so much fun. If you get this bike, make sure you go tubeless and you won’t have the flat problem I did. This bike is Excellent and highly, highly recommended.

I definitely recommend you get to a local dealer or a Pivot demo in your area to test ride one for yourself because your ride may be massively different from mine. There are so many variables that go into the best bike for each individual. You won’t know what’s best for your preferences until you get on a bike and try it, so treat yourself to a fun days demo and get out there to test some bikes.

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