The Pivot Vault is the Arizona-based company's first non-mountain bike. Made in the Far East, it's a unique carbon cyclocross bike that can be configured to run disc or cantilever brakes, with threaded inserts for the canti mounts that are almost invisible.
- BUY IF… You want a frame you can rely on for great 'cross performance
The innovations don't stop at different braking setups. To allow for conventional or disc hubs, the rear dropouts incorporate replaceable aluminium inserts that convert the spacing to 130 or 135mm, there's internal cable routing for mechanical or electronic systems, and at the heart of the bike is a BB386 EVO bottom bracket shell - a Chris Cocalis (Pivot Cycles founder) design.
The 86mm wide shell is the perfect foundation for the huge down-tube and beefy chainstays, allowing the stays to be both rigid and widely spaced for maximum possible cyclocross tyre clearance.
FSA's SL-K Light carbon chainset is a UK-only upgrade, and its 30mm axle builds on the solidity of the frame design to give surging acceleration you can really feel, even with low tyre pressures. Bottom bracket stiffness noticeably exceeds that of our usual BB30 carbon 'cross machine, with racy responses and intuitive reactions making things lively, helped by the US-influenced lower bottom bracket height and compact wheelbase.
Whether tearing down a rutted track, finessing a technical slow corner or cruising tarmac, the Vault's handling is reassuringly faultless, stable and incisively accurate in every situation, its 1 1/2in lower bearing headset and oversized fork crown proving impervious to flex.
The Vault is optimised for disc brakes, and TRP's Hy/Rd cable-operated hydraulic callipers have the performance of a full hydraulic system with the set-up simplicity of cables.
The brakes aren't the lightest, but the Stan's wheels, though supplied with inner-tubes, are tubeless-ready and run as such will save some rotational mass and increase grip. The Kenda tyres fitted are best suited to gravel and dry conditions, so we swapped them for something more mud-friendly.
Shimano's 11-speed Ultegra has finely-weighted shifting and refined operation, and the FSA finishing kit balances ergonomics, strength and comfort well. The Vault is superbly accomplished, with vice-free, confident performance from one of the most advanced framesets available.