The Vault has served as Arizona based Pivot Cycles’ do-it-all drop bar bike for some time and will get an update for 2020.
Previous versions attempted to please everyone, with swappable dropout inserts, middle of the ‘groad’ geometry and provisions for both cantilever rim and disc brakes on the same frame.
While Pivot has given the Vault a complete overhaul, the most exciting feature is the Iso-Flex seatpost/seat tube. In the latest crop of gravel bikes, we are seeing all kinds of clever ways to dampen vibrations coming up through the frame, and the Vault is no different.
Essentially using an elastomer shim, said to weigh about 300g between the seat tube and seatpost, it isolates the seatpost from the frame and absorbs vibrations transmitted from the road.
The Iso-Flex insert is available in two sizes: a version designed to accept a 27.2mm post and a thinner version for a 30.9mm posts — ideal for those rowdy, ride in a cut off flannel shirt types who want to run a dropper in their gravel bike.
The elastomer sleeve sits inside the seat tube and is held in place with a lockring. Pivot says this system will take the sting out of washboard terrain while maintaining all the stiffness and efficiency of the carbon frame, which is claimed to weigh 998g.
Room for squish and taller riders
While the frame comes with a standard carbon fork, if your gravel adventures take you far enough off the beaten track to the point where you’re looking at adding a suspension fork, the new Vault has been designed with enough clearance to accommodate the crown of Fox’s AX Adventure Cross.
Speaking of the frame, it’s made using Pivot’s Hollow Core internal moulding. Instead of just relying on an inflatable bladder inside the mould, the carbon is laid up and compacted using solid foam tubes in addition to an air bladder to remove as much resin as possible and create a more consistent wall thickness.
The frameset features boxy tubing compared to its predecessor, and the layup and tube shaping have been optimised for the best possible stiffness in one plane and compliance in the another.
In Pivot’s own words, the new Vault allows for ‘gobs’ of tyre clearance, allowing for up to a 700c x 45mm or 650b x 2in rubber between the stays. Pivot has achieved this by increasing the bottom bracket drop by 5mm and lowering the chainstays on both sides.
With the extra room, you’d also expect longer chainstays. However, Pivot has actually chopped 5mm off, now measuring 420mm. The brand also tells us there should be room for crank-based power meters.
Other changes to geometry are minor, but Pivot has added a few millimetres to the reach and wheelbase in every size, and there is brand a new XL size for the tall folk among us.
Given that Pivot co-founder Chris Cocalis was one of the forces behind the BB386 EVO standard, it’s not surprising to find it on the new Vault.
Pivot says that using this standard increased torsional rigidity, strength and power transfer through the bottom bracket shell, while also helping with rear tyre clearances — there is also plenty of crank compatibility.
The seatpost features a removable front derailleur mount, should you want to run a subcompact 2x at the front, but if 1x is more your style, there is an integrated cover to keep things looking neat and tidy.
On the bottom of the BB there’s also a removable cover for easy Di2 battery access, and guiding cables through the frame.
The Vault sees two sets of bottle bosses inside the front triangle with an extra bolt on the down tube for multiple bottle mounting positions, as well as mounting points on the top tube for a bento style bag. The fork and rear triangle see hidden fender mounts too.
Pivot bikes have never been cheap but the new Vault comes in three builds: SRAM Force AXS with carbon wheels, which costs $6,699 / AU$9,999; Ultegra with alloy wheels priced at $5,199 / AU$7,999; and a frameset for $2,699 / AU$4,250. UK pricing is TBC.