The Pivot Shadowcat trail bike is poised to be a genre-blending quiver-killer 

The Shadowcat is the brand’s new 27.5in-wheel trail bike 

Pivot Shadowcat Action Shot in a field

Pivot has announced its new trail bike, the Shadowcat, designed with a focus on low weight and versatility across a range of terrain.

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The carbon fibre Shadowcat uses 27.5in wheels, bucking the trend towards 29ers, and sports 160mm of suspension travel at the front and 140mm out back.

Starting at $6,199 in the Race XT build, the Shadowcat will replace the Mach 5.5 in Pivot’s range.

Long travel, conservative geometry

Pivot Shadowcat against a desert background
The Pivot Shadowcat looks ready to pounce on the trails.
Pivot Cycles

Pivot has stuck steadfastly with 27.5in wheels on the new Shadowcat, despite a general industry-wide shift towards 29in wheels for most trail and enduro bikes. The result, according to the brand, is a bike that offers a more playful and agile ride than a 29er.

The Shadowcat features a 65.8-degree head tube angle and 76-degree seat tube angle. The reach comes in at 460mm on a size medium. Pivot says that, with the geometry of the bike, it was looking to “meld super-confident handling with lightning-fast reflexes”.

These numbers initially might not sound particularly progressive on paper compared to the Shadowcat’s competition. There has been a shift to more progressive geometry, which translates to efficient yet confident handling on descents while retaining nimble steering, rather than relying on a shorter reach and longer stem.

Comparable bikes from other manufacturers include the Santa Cruz 5010 and Transition Scout.

The 5010 features 140mm travel at the front and 130mm at the back, and sports a 65.4-degree head tube angle and a 77.4-degree seat tube angle – figures that are both slacker and steeper respectively than the Shadowcat’s figures. The reach is slightly shorter at 450mm.

The Transition Scout is a slightly meatier frame, with 150mm travel at the front and 140mm at the rear. The head tube slackens to 64 degrees and the seat tube is a fraction slacker than the 5010 at 77.2 degrees. The reach is identical in a size medium at 460mm.

So why is the Shadowcat’s geometry, on paper, more conservative considering it has more suspension travel?

The Pivot Shadowcat's top tube against a desert background
The Shadowcat is designed to combine both the lightning speed and slower hunting prowess of a cheetah.
Pivot Cycles

Although Pivot says the Shadowcat is designed for capability on technical terrain, with its longer suspension travel, the brand says it has also been designed to be efficient and agile for cross-country riding. This is why the geometry may not seem as up-to-date as its competitors on paper, because it’s performing a wider range of duties.

The Shadowcat will be available in four sizes and has been designed specifically to accommodate smaller riders. It features a low standover due to its vertically mounted shock (more on that shortly), and riders upwards of 4ft 10in will be able to fit the new frame, according to Pivot.

FrameXSSML
Wheel size (inches)27.527.527.527.5
Head tube angle (degrees)65.865.865.865.8
Effective seat tube angle (degrees)76767676
Effective top tube length (mm)569595627650
Head tube length (mm)85110120130
Seat tube length (mm)343368394432
Bottom bracket drop (mm)17171717
Chainstay length (mm)430430430430
Standover height (mm)624638657671
Wheelbase (mm)1,1421,1721,2061,230
Reach (mm)410430460480
Stack (mm)582605614623

Lightweight in mind, versatile in nature

Front end of the Pivot Shadowcat against a field
The frame uses an integrated headset to shave weight.
Pivot Cycles

The Shadowcat features a full carbon fibre chassis, as is typical for Pivot. There are no tiered frame options in order to achieve a lower price point – you’re getting the same carbon frame no matter the spec.

The brand says it has scaled the wall thicknesses of the tubes across all of the sizes to ensure optimal riding characteristics.

Pivot also claims it has made advancements in the carbon fibre manufacturing process to achieve a lower frame weight, but does not specify what those advancements are. Weight has also been shaved at the headset area with an integrated headset cup.

Pivot says the Shadowcat weighs less than the brand’s Trail 429 frame and within 45g of the featherlight Mach 4 SL.

Pivot hasn’t provided an exact weight for the Shadowcat frame, but the Mach 4 SL was claimed to start at 1,845g when it was announced.

Vertical shock layout of the Pivot Shadowcat
The vertical layout of the DW-link driven shock.
Pivot Cycles

Like the brand’s existing bikes, the Shadowcat uses a DW-link suspension system. The brand says this is for pedalling efficiency and to eliminate pedal bob during hard efforts.

Pivot says it designed the bike around a vertical shock layout to improve stiffness and reduce weight. In addition, it also allows for cleaner Fox Live Valve integration.

The final benefit of vertically mounting the shock is the bottle cage clearance. Pivot says a large bottle fits on all sizes.

Pivot also includes mounting points for its ‘Dock Tool’, a utility system for carrying spares designed in collaboration with Topeak. This can be fitted either on the underside of the top tube or under the down tube towards the bottom-bracket area.

Other features of the Shadowcat include the use of a SRAM UDH universal derailleur hanger for trouble-free replacement and thoughtful frame protection features such as the moulded chainstay protector.

Pivot Shadowcat specs and prices

Pack shot of Pivot Shadowcat Team XTR
Pivot Shadowcat Team XTR in Danger Fruit.
Pivot Cycles

The full Pivot Shadowcat range will be available in the USA and some European territories. The Australian range is limited to certain Shimano builds.

In the UK, the Shadowcat will only be available in the Pro XT build with an additional carbon wheel upgrade option.

Pivot Shadowcat Race XT

  • Fork: Fox Performance 36, GRIP Damper, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Performance Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 with XT M8100 rear derailleur and Race Face Ride chainset
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1900 with 370 hub
  • Price: $6,199 / €6,449 / AU$9,999

Pivot Shadowcat Race X01

  • Fork: Fox Performance 36, GRIP Damper, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Performance Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle with X01 Eagle rear derailleur
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RE, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1900 with 370 hub
  • Price: $6,599 / €6,849

Pivot Shadowcat Pro XT / XTR

  • Fork: Fox Factory 36, FIT4, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 with XTR M9100 rear derailleur and Race Face Aeffect R chainset
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8120, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XM1700 with 350 hub
  • Price: $7,599 / €7,849 / AU$11,449 / £7,500
  • With carbon wheel upgrade to Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile with Industry Nine hub: $8,949 / €8,849 / £8,850
  • With Fox Live Valve with stock wheels: $9,699 / €9,949
  • With Fox Live Valve and carbon wheel upgrade: $11,049 / €10,949

Pivot Shadowcat Pro X01

  • Fork: Fox Factory 36, FIT4, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano X01 Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XM1700 with 350 hub
  • Price: $8,199 / €8,449
  • With carbon wheel upgrade to Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile with Industry Nine hub: $9,549 / €9,449
  • With Fox Live Valve with stock wheels: $10,299 / €10,549
  • With Fox Live Valve and carbon wheel upgrade: $11,649 / €11,549

Pivot Shadowcat Team XTR

  • Fork: Fox Factory 36, FIT4, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR M9100 with Race Face Next R chainset
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR M9120, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile Trail with Industry Nine hub
  • Price: $9,799 / €9,649 / AU$14,999
  • With Fox Live Valve: $11,899 / €11,749
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Pivot Shadowcat Team XX1 AXS

  • Fork: Fox Factory 36, FIT4, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 Ultimate, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Reynolds Blacklabel Low Profile Trail with Industry Nine hub
  • Price: $11,499 / €11,349
  • With Fox Live Valve: $13,599 / €13,449