Pivot LES 27.5 Review


High School Usable

The Pivot LES 27.5 Mountain Bike was engineered with cross country riding in mind. This XC bike was designed to get your rider across the finish line. The LES 27.5 is perfect for someone entering into NICA’s junior development program or a high schooler who is already deep into their racing career. Without a doubt, it would be good for a weekend rider too! The Pivot LES 27.5 is an excellent bike for kids starting to race because of its lightweight build and accommodating sizes. Equally important, many MTB experts claim hard-tail bikes are the best for learning valuable techniques.

We demo’d an extra-small Pivot LES 27.5 Team XTR. This bike was kitted with a Fox Factory Stepcast 32 fork, Shimano XTR rear derailleur, shifter, and brakes. Additionally, 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. With this in mind, this bike was built to rip.

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Our test rider was 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. Hardtail bikes are lightweight 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.


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.

Stand-over height

The small and extra small frames feature shorter head tubes to create a lower stand-over height. The stand-over heights of 25.5in and 27in on the XS and SM frame sizes allow for shorter riders to comfortably ride without fear of the top tube. Thus, the Pivot LES 27.5 Mountain Bike is an excellent choice for young racers as it gives them the comfortable bike fit they need to rip around corners 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

The Pivot LES 27.5’s setup helps riders in many ways. For example, the exclusion of a front derailleur allows a clean handlebar situation. With the result that a young rider can 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. Young riders can learn the proper braking techniques with these stoppers. Our rider found it easy to practice one finger braking and was successfully moderating speed.

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. In contrast, it rose to the occasion to provide an amazing ride! The DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels are some of the lightest, yet most reliable wheels available. These wheels shave almost a pound off from DT Swiss’ entry level M1700 wheels. Coupled with a set of Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5 x 2.35 tires, this bike is 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.

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 is fun and less of a chore. Most important, our test rider loved how well the bike climbed. If your rider is used to a heavy full-suspension bike, their first time on this bike will feel almost weightless. For the same reason, 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.

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. Because of the short chainstay, smaller riders are not over encumbered by a long bike. Consequently, smaller riders can get their butt behind the saddle when needed. With the result that a rider will feel more comfortable descending technical and steep drops.

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

Summing Up The Pivot LES 27.5

All in all, this bike is versatile and ready to be ripped. The LES 27.5 has size options options for kids and adult riders. Of course, this bike features short chainstays and head tubes to give 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.

All things considered, we believe that the Pivot LES 27.5 is an amazing bike. Specifically, this bike would be appreciated by both new riders who want to pursue racing in high school and current NICA racers.

Racking up the Pivot LES 27.5
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