Pivot LES 27.5 Review

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High School Usable

The Pivot LES 27.5 was engineered with cross country riding in mind and it was designed to get you across the finish line. It is perfect for someone entering into NICA’s junior development program or a high schooler who is already deep into their racing career. Honestly, it would be good for a weekend rider too! This is an excellent bike for kids starting to race because of its lightweight build and accommodating sizes. On top of that, many MTB experts claim hardtails are the best for learning valuable techniques.

The setup we got to demo was an extra-small Pivot LES 27.5 Team XTR. Kitted with a Fox Factory Stepcast 32 fork, Shimano XTR rear derailleur, shifter, and brakes. Along with that, a Race Face Next SL 34T Crankset, Pivot’s Phoenix Team Flat Carbon handlebars (30.75 in), an 11-speed cassette with a 46t big ring, center lock disc brakes. Lastly, we had a WTB saddle, DT Swiss XMC 1200 Wheels, and Maxxis Ardent Race tires 27.5 x 2.35. As you can tell, this thing was built to rip.

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Our test rider was only 12 years old, 60 inches tall, and 80lbs with all his gear on. According to Pivot, the bike fits riders between 4’10’’ (58 inches) and 6’1’’ (73 inches). Based on average heights, the LES 27.5 would be great for some 11 year old kids but mostly kids who are 12 and up. This paired with the lightweight nature of a hardtail makes for easy climbing and tight handling. Making it perfect for a new or experienced rider.

Your state level NICA league may have a partnership in place with Pivot so registered athletes and coaches can get discounts on Pivot bikes. We suggest contacting your league to see if you qualify.

Geometry

One of the main features of Pivot’s LES 27.5 that makes it so exciting is the short chainstays. No matter which size you are riding, the bike rocks a 16.77 inch chainstay. This allows riders to move with agility through a XC course or through a short track course. The bike also houses an oversized, box-section downtube and bottom bracket area. Paired with its Boost 110mm and 148mm front and rear spacing and the chainstay, the LES 27.5 provides a stiff yet forgiving ride quality.

Both of the smaller sizes feature shorter head tubes to create more stand-over height. With stand-over heights of 25.5in and 27in on the XS and SM frame sizes, smaller riders have great opportunity. This allows for young riders to center themselves in athletic positions without fear of the top tube. Making the LES 27.5 great for young racers as it gives them all they need to rip around a corner or descend steep drops.

Pivot LES 27.5 getometry
Pivot LES 27.5 geometry data

Click the image above to enlarge it

What The Pros Say About The Pivot LES 27.5

Our family’s experience with this bike was great, but just don’t take our word for it. We were lucky enough to communicate with a couple of Pivot’s sponsored pro riders and here is what they told us about one of their favorite mountain bikes.

Kait Boyle - Pivot rider

Kait Boyle

“Getting on a 27.5 hardtail gave me the opportunity to feel like I could ride a bike that had the efficiency of a hardtail, but also the maneuverability of a 27.5 trail bike.”

Chloe Woodruff

Chloe Woodruff

Just prior to her UCI XC Short Track win in the Czech Republic, Chloe Woodruff said, “The LES 27.5 is a fantastic bike and the XS is a great option for younger riders.”

Chloe Woodruff’s Pivot LES 27.5 From 2018’s Albstadt World Cup

Chloe Woodruff's Pivot LES 27.5

Cockpit, Suspension and Wheels

The LES 27.5 has a simple and clean cockpit. With beautiful full-length, internal cable routing, young riders don’t have to worry about cables getting in the way. This also presents an additional DIY learning opportunity for how to route and thread internal housing when the need arises.

Pivot LES 27.5 review

Learning to ride in a racing situation is optimal with this bike’s setup. The exclusion of a front derailleur allows a clean handlebar situation. This helps a young rider to focus on the trail – keeping their hands ready when needed.

Pivot LES 27.5 rear brake mount
Carbon wheels on Pivot LES 27.5

Our demo came kitted with Shimano XTR M9100 brakes which continues the lightweight, nimble, and responsive theme that this bike screams. Young riders can learn the best techniques with these stoppers such as one finger braking and the different situations that call for rear or front braking.

Kashima coated fork on Pivot LES 27.5

The Pivot LES 27.5 comes ready for the tough XC terrain. We tested in a desert landscape fully stocked with sharp rocks and pointy plants. One fear of riding on a hardtail is that the wheels and tires get put under immense pressure. Our LES 27.5 didn’t buckle under the pressure. Instead, it rose to the occasion to provide an amazing ride! With the DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels, you can rest assured that you have some of the lightest, yet most reliable wheels available. Shaving almost a pound off from DT Swiss’ entry level M1700 wheels, the XMC 1200’s are among the best around. Coupled with a set of Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5 x 2.35 tires, any rider will be ready to climb or descend.

Pivot LES 27.5 Carbon Sizes For Your MTB Kid

This chart is just a general overview. You should always get assistance from a professional who can perform a proper bike fit.

X-SmallSmallMediumLarge
Approx. Rider Height4’10" – 5’5”5’4” – 5’9”5’8” – 5’11”5’10” – 6’1”

Riding the Pivot LES 27.5

Coming in at 12 years old and 80 pounds with his gear, our rider looked experienced and fast on the LES 27.5. To test the bike, we took it out in St. George, Utah which is a typical desert riding environment. This type of terrain can be very difficult. Steep drops, sharp rocks, and sandy corners are frequent, yet our rider and bike handled it very well.

Pedaling this bike seems to be more fun and less of a chore. In fact, the thing our test rider loved the most was how well the bike climbed. If you are used to a heavy full-suspension bike, your first time on this bike will almost feel like the bike is propelling you up the trail. This is one of the reasons this bike would be ideal for a new cross country racer. It is great for building strength while also allowing the rider to climb technical ascents without getting discouraged.

Attributing to the great ability to climb, the LES 27.5 is stiff and extremely efficient. Every ounce of energy you put into this bike comes back in the wheels turning. Opposed to a full-suspension bike where a rider’s energy can go into the rear suspension, this bike helps young riders finish longer cross-country rides.

Kid riding XS Pivot LEX 27.5
Pivot LES 27.5 review - it's a climber

“This bike only weighed about 20lbs and the gearing made it super easy to pedal and climb steep hills.”

Mountain Biking With Kids Test Rider

Now the fun part, the descent! With a bike like the LES 27.5, young riders can drop in with confidence. Starting with the short chainstay, riders are not over encumbered by a long bike. This allows smaller riders to get their butt behind the saddle when needed. This makes descending technical and steep drops more comfortable and plausible.

Descending stairs with the Pivot LES 27.5
Climbing tough terrain on the Pivot LES 27.5

Summing Up The Pivot LES 27.5

After all is said and done, this bike is versatile and ready to be ripped. With options for young and adult riders, the LES 27.5 can fit most rider’s needs. Our demo found that this would be an amazing bike for either new riders who want to pursue racing in high school or current NICA cross country racers.

Whether a high school or middle school racer, this bike features short chainstays and head tubes giving young riders the ability to ride steep and technical terrain. Where many bikes steal your energy output in the suspension, the LES 27.5 puts all your energy to good use. Getting you up and down the mountain again and again… and again. In the end, although this is a great bike in general, it is definitely tuned for XC riders. Be sure to do your research before purchasing and even see if your local shop will allow you to test ride. Just pick the bike that best fits you and your riding style.

Racking up the Pivot LES 27.5
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Father’s Day 2019 – Dad Bike Checks

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Father's Day bike checks - 2019

A lot of you enjoyed our Mother’s Day Bike Checks post last month so we thought we’d follow it up with one ferda-dads. We reached out to several father’s across the mtb plains and we’d like to say thanks to all those who took the time to brag about their bikes and kids.

Kris “Krispy” Baughman And His Pivot Firebird

Pivot Firebird - Kris Baughman

I’ve been a fan of Pivot ever since the company was founded. My son and I have been riding Pivot’s bikes for years. The DW-Link suspension and amount of engineering that has gone into the brand is among the best in the business. Because of this, my Firebird 29er has a good look to it and it fits me nicely.

After some additional modifications, this bike works very well for me and my style of riding. After throwing on a 27.5 rear wheel that gives me a little more tire clearance in the rear end I’ve noticed improved handling in tight turns.

My soon-to-be wife, Leslie and I have founded the RaceKraft MTB team. It is a gravity focused group of teenagers. Along with the trail and park riding, we also cover off-bike training and mental preparation. It’s great to be riding with this group of kids. Our season finale will be participating at the 2019 MTB Nationals in Winter Park next month.

Jeff Burgner And The Rocky Mountain Instinct

Rocky Mountain Instinct - Bike check

It’s Father’s day, so let’s talk bikes. If your family is like ours, then you have groms that love to shred the gnar. In order for dad to shred just as hard (or at least try to), you’ll need a bike that’s capable of a lot of things. For me it is a long travel 29er. A bike that you can take to the bike park with the kids, or go on an extended adventure ride, and get out there. The Rocky Mountain Instinct bc edition was the choice for me.

The Instinct bc comes in two models. The Alloy 50, and the race ready Carbon 90. The Alloy 50 is the obvious choice for me, as it is what I consider a fairly priced mountain bike with a solid build, and great suspension. It’s an aluminum framed machine that comes with some burly fox suspension. A Fox float 36, with 160 mm travel, and grip damper in front. Bring up the rear is a Fox Float dpx2 with 155 mm travel. This my first bike with a piggy back shock, and man are they nice. Sealed cartridge bearings are the norm on all the pivots. With this bike, I’ve upgraded to the Sram Eagle 12spd, gx build which is just a great advance in bike technology. The dropper is Fox, branded as a Raceface turbine. It’s a well engineered piece of equipment that’s a pleasure to sit on. All of this radness gets you going and feeling loose. That usually means slow down! In order to do so 4 piston Sram Guide RE brakes with some monster truck 200 mm rotors do the trick. Some other bling on the Instinct bc I think is coo, are the DT Swiss rear hub, and the WTB race saddle. Details, details they can get boring, I get it. So then, how does it ride?

For me the Instinct bc rides freaking awesome. It climbs like you think a 29er should, has a bottle cage inside the frame, descends like a boss, and can hit jumps with the groms. The suspension is plush, and gloss metal flake brown color of the Alloy 50 rocks. It’s something I can pedal the extensive single track in the high mountains of northern Utah, and rally on some of the more chunky terrain in Southern Utah, but that will have to wait for winter. I’m really stoked on the Rocky Mountain Instinct bc Edition Alloy 50 so far, can’t wait to pile on the miles this summer. Hopefully the @huck_it_cru will see you on the trails. The @huck_it_cru would like to thanks Slim and Knobbys bike shop, (@slimandknobbys) our local bike shop for being rad and supporting mountain biking in Heber, Utah.

Rocky Mountain Instinct - Father's Day bike check 2019
Old car and Rocky Mountain Instinct
The trail ahead of a Rocky Mountain Instinct

Follow Jeff and his family: @huck_it_cru | @carson_shreds  | @hurricane_cam_  | @freeformpix

Jeff would like to thank his local bike shop: @slimandknobbys

Dre Hestler And His Rocky Mountain Instinct

Dre Hestler - Father's Day Bike Checks

I have two kids both boys, age 6 and 9, it’s awesome to see what is available now compared to 5 years ago – we finally have some great choices out there for kids. I’m running my daily rider here. It’s more of a team build than stock, but what the heck – it’s just the way I like it. My son’s bike check on his Rocky Mountain Reaper will be published soon.

  • Rocky Mountain Instinct BC large, 155mm rear and 160mm front
  • New Coil Fox DHX2 Coil: Hmmm will this make me faster, cause I have to keep up to the kids? Plus the Fox 36 Grip 2, yes harder to dial in, but well worth the effort.
  • New XTR: Drive train and brakes. Wow is all I have to say. Yes things do get better, arguably since my 6/7 speed XT and full rigid bike with toe clips circa 1987.
  • Race Face: Grips, bars and stem – fatter grips for my dad hands and just cut down my bars to 780. Ran 800 for the last 2 years, but hit too many trees. 50mm stem, keeping things tight and inline.
  • Maxxis Tires: Nothing but the best for grip and traction – EXO always and 2.5 WT Minion DHF 3C up front and 2.4 DHR II EXO 3C rear. Grip and traction all day long.
  • Fox Transfer Post: Just moved to a 175 because I could and haven’t really found the steeps that are needed. But it’s only been a week, eh!
  • Outfit: 7 Mesh Eldorado Top and Glidepath shorts. Love the style and functionality. These guys are dialed. All their products ring with authenticity.
  • Smith Session Helmet and Ryder’s Anti-Fog Roam eyewear sitting in a super dorky dad position.
  • Shimano AM9 shoes: They’re a little bit soft, but great contact with the pedals – clipped in for sure. Year round comfort – race or ride!!
  • Pedals: XTR, again. Yes things get better and better, lucky-us mountain bikers!
  • One Up: This is what you can’t see. The EDS tool in the head tube and Tube strap keeping things tight-n-ready on my EveryDay Carry (EDC). Still haven’t plugged the pump in yet. Still thinking fashion, but I carry it in my pocket.

Dan Klein And Evil Bikes

I’ve always loved riding bikes, my parents drove me all over Wisconsin to race cross-country in the WORS series when I was a teen. I had the coolest bike ever, a 1997 carbon-fiber Trek 9800 with an ultralight RockShox SID fork! Fast forwards 20 years, and I live near Seattle, WA with my lovely wife (Judy) and we have two amazing kids (Nory and Elo). Our family is 100% bike crazy.

It all started with the kids were tiny, like age 2. At first, Judy and I would run behind the kids to help push them up the hills on Boot Camp at Duthie. When they got too fast to chase, I needed a bike to keep up. I had been away from biking for a while during school, and was totally shocked to see that the local stores didn’t have even one carbon fiber hard tail for sale – hah! All the bikes were full suspension nonsense with long, low, and slack geometry – looked slow to me, but I figured I’d give it a try. I started on a Transition Scout, thinking I wouldn’t need much bike to ride with the fam. It was great, but the kids quickly started going bigger and faster, and got heavy into downhill racing through Sweetlines.

Now that Elo is 8 and Nory 10, they’re crazy good and I struggle to keep up. To compensate, I upgraded to an Evil Insurgent LB and also built an Evil Faction 2 dirt jumper, although Judy will quickly point out that we technically share the DJ. The Insurgent is a special bike, the back end is super light and stiff, I can float through rock gardens or just pop over them – wow! It sends jumps like a dream too, however not quite as well as the dirt jumper. The Faction 2 is the first bike I’ve ever built from the frame up, including the wheels, fun!

Riding bikes has become our family passion, we spend every free second on the trails and even got a giant van to allow us to spend more time out in the woods. We still love local trails such as Redmond Bike Park, Duthie, Tokul, Raging River, and Tiger Mountain, but our favorite place to ride is Whistler. You can follow our adventures on Instagram @djklein, and maybe we’ll see you out on the trails soon!

Steve Lloyd And Norco Bikes

Steve Lloyd and his sons

Our family has chosen biking to be our bonding time. Ever since I become a dad I knew I wanted to teach my kids to ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors through biking. There has been learning curves to figure out what works and what is best for us as a family as far as bikes go. When I was searching as to what bikes were available for kids and at a price range I could afford I started looking at Norco.

The Fluid lineup was fairly new but looked like it would be a good fit for Weston. We anded up getting him the Norco Fluid 24 inch full suspension bike. From the moment he got on it things changed. He knew he was on a big boy bike now. He had always been hesitant on jumping bigger jumps with his hard tail he had been riding before, but it was full send time to him now. The bike has real working suspension and a pedaling platform that also worked really well. I was stoked to say the least. West could pedal anything I could. Trails like the crest were possible for my 8 year old to shred now. Me being a huge fan of Norco because of these little bikes opened a door way for us to start working with Norco as a family. I ended up getting a Norco Range 29 which I love. The bike not only pedals and shreds trail well, but it jumps extremely well. It has become my new bike for shredding I street.

Last year we had a goal as a family to do bike packing. We created a video about our experience. It was an amazing time to be biking the backcountry with family and sharing the outdoors with my kids. The experiences of spending time with your kids in the outdoors is irreplaceable and I am so stoked to have it as a tool to parent.

Although biking is not cheap and getting kids nice bikes is something hard to justify sometimes, I am a huge believer that the experiences you have riding as a family will create strong bonds that can’t be broken. Our family is super close. Its because we have chosen to spend our time in the outdoors together.

Steve Lloyd and son - Father's Day bike checks 2019

Follow Steve and his boys: @lloydboys

Steve would like to thank: @norcobicycles | @sweetwoodsmokehouse  | @peakrefuel  | @envecomposites  | @demonddirt

Brett Thompson And The Santa Cruz Megatower

Father's Day bike checks -Santa Cruz Megatower

I got my first mountain bike in 1989 during my senior year of high school. It was a Trek 820 and the word “Antelope” was on it somewhere. Other things I remember about the bike include its rigid frame, cantilever brakes, straight-up geometry, pink plastic water bottle cage, infinite gears and yes- even a Blackburn Mtn. Rack. I believe I picked it up for around $800. A quick inflation rate check makes that about $1,600 in modern USD. Shortly after I got my bike, I got to go over the bars on Moab’s Slickrock trail. It was wonderful. That trail was the Studio 54 of 1980’s mountain biking.

Fast forward a few decades and it’s amazing how much bikes have changed. Materials and components have resulted in high-performance machines that cost thousands of dollars more than a suitable car. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful for these modern two-wheeled accoutrements. They’re all on display with the 2019 Santa Cruz Megatower.

This bike is way beyond my abilities but I can still enjoy it. The geometry is comfortable and that makes for suitable pedaling. My 12 year old just said “It’s magical an looks good”. I agree. The magic is in the suspension and dropper. The Eagle drive train makes the 29inch wheels go round. The Megatower’s brakes are pretty cool, too.

Santa Cruz Megatower - rear shock
Santa Cruz Megatower - rear brake
Santa Cruz Megatower - dropper lever

Ben Webster And Pivot Cycles

Ben Webster and Family - Father's Day bike checks, Pivot Cycles

The mountain bike has been a big part of my life for over 20 years. When my wife and I started a family we wanted a big family and I wanted the mountain bike to be a part of our lifestyle. So since they could saddle up on a strider they have been riding some kind of 2 wheel magic. Building a fleet of bikes for my kids has been a moving target for the past couple years, trying to adapt to growth spurts and phases. Until a certain height, with a growing family it was hard to find extra money for more than department store bikes, but they have always had a bike to ride. A few years ago as the market shifted verily quick from 26” inch to 27.5 inch wheels, I was able to get 26” product on closeout just as our oldest son was getting into the XS 26” sizing.

The line up now consists of a Pivot Mach 5.7 alloy 26” in XS(fits my 11 YO son), Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon 26” in Small(15 YO just grew out of it, will be passed onto the next one), Comencal Meta HT 24” (Fits my 10 YO son), and the latest add is a Pivot Mach 4 Carbon 27.5 for my 15 year son. He just completed his first full season of XC racing and really enjoyed it and wanted a bike geared more towards that end to pursue it further.

I am currently riding a Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon with Fox Live. With so many bikes in the house already, I want to have one mountain bike that is fun while riding with my kids on greens but can turn around and rally with friends on the more technical black trails of South Mountain. The M5.5C does all of it, and does it with a smile on its face and mine. With the Fox Live suspension, its capabilities are further expanded in both directions, with even more XC pedaling capabilities and a plusher feeling from the constantly active rear shock. I chose Shimano XT for the drivetrain and Reynolds carbon/Industry 9 wheels with Maxxis Minion F&R for tires.

Ben Webster's son - Pivot bikes
Webster boys mountain biking in the desert
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