World Cup Burning Question: Why AREN'T You Running a High Pivot?

Mar 28, 2022
by James Smurthwaite  

High pivots were the talk of the town in Lourdes with new models from Cube, Commencal, Mondraker and more. But not every brand was so keen to jump on that latest trend, we took a lap round the pits to find out why.

Ruben Torenbeek, Managing Owner, Raaw

RAAW Mountain Bikes

What are your overall thoughts on the high pivot trend and why didn't you use one on your new frame?

I think the reason we haven’t gone for a high pivot layout that needs an idler in the end is that you do it for one benefit, for the better axle path. That maybe gives it a bit better bump absorption but you push all of the decisions of the frame layout in one direction. The construction of the frame is one thing to start with, if you have a very high pivot, that means that everything naturally builds up very high into the frame so that’s one big challenge to make it work in terms of stiffness and keeping the weight in a reasonable window. But then also there are more ways to make a very capable rear end and I think with the layout we have we keep doors open to be able to tune all the other characteristics of the rear end.

I think a bit more specifically, I think the thing I personally don’t really like about a high pivot bike is the growth of the rear end when you get into the travel. It’s this thing that exponentially gets worse. If you have a big impact it grows and then you dive into it and your bike gets longer and it becomes harder to handle, and then it builds up. I think that is the main thing. Our end grows quite a bit, I don’t know the exact number on the downhill bike but on the Madonna it’s 20mm.

Because your bike is sort of a high, low pivot, right?

Right, before the high pivot hype came, we used to say that we have a relatively high pivot layout that comes with a bit more anti squat, a bit more pedal kickback and those are things you can discuss about whether you like it or not but our experience is that we like a bit higher anti squat values and the pedal kickback is manageable. It would be nicer to not have it but in the grand scheme it’s acceptable.

There are other variables that you think are more important?

Exactly, it’s also just there’s so many aspects. I often think in terms of construction because we need to make the frame, that’s one thing and then the other thing is how it rides. But also making an idler work well, and making it work long term, it’s not easy. And there’s the issue with drag, there’s quite a bit to it. If brands go that route, with a high pivot, there’s quite a lot of challenges and downsides for one upside that you might even achieve with other solutions.


Have you tested high pivots?

Not with Raaw but I’ve actually ridden the Ghost downhill bike in 2011ish. I actually worked for Ghost at that point, it was my first job so I’ve ridden that bike quite a lot. I’ve also ridden quite a lot on the Zerode that had a super high pivot. But that Ghost I knew very well. It’s kind of funny because it was a 26” bike and if you see it now it looks old school but it had a lot that is now being picked up by brands. I had that in my memory of how that rode and it was definitely a bike that you needed to be very active on, you needed to work it hard. In rough stuff it was a good bike but it wasn’t an easy bike to ride.

So for you high pivot is more like a tool, it achieves a certain thing well but compromises on others?

It’s always that balance of all characteristics of the bike. Like you said, you have tools in your toolbox and that’s how we explain the adjustments we have in the downhill frame. It’s all like little tools that you can use to change the characteristics of the bike. The four bar link that we use on the Jib, Madonna and downhill bike just seems to be the best baseline to start from. Actually we were talking a bit with Neko about his bike and ours and we have very similar general layouts with maybe different detail solutions and Neko is currently I think pushing it especially in terms of progression pretty high but aware he’s on the high side. I think him doing that project we weren’t aware of it but it’s a nice confirmation for us.


So, can we expect to see a high pivot from Raaw?

In production, no. We’re very convinced of the concept we have right now. Maybe we’ll do testing at some point but there’s nothing in the making or something. But then a high pivot is a term describing a high pivot but there’s so many variations of how you could do that layout and I actually think we'll see the pivot heights coming down a bit. The Commencal has come down from what they used to have, that Zerode for example, that sort of pivot height you don’t see that much. Even if we were going to learn some more about the high pivot with idler combination then there is so many ways to implement that.

Gee Atherton, Atherton Bikes

What are your general thoughts on the high pivot stuff?

I think the high pivot idea is a legit idea. I remember having meetings with the Commencal guys back when we were with those guys about the idea and they’ve developed it over such a long time and they’ve done it well and you can see how it is working for them. I think the goal is what the high pivot delivers and in certain riding styles it is going to help and it is going to add a better ride.

Is it something you’ve tested?

Yeah, it is. I think the whole high pivot thing is not necessarily the only way to achieve what a high pivot delivers. Something we’ve been working on with DW6 with Dave Weagle is how the linkage works to deliver a similar outcome and that’s something we’re gong to be developing in future.

Photo: Dan Griffiths

Is it something that depends on the platform?

Yeah, I think so. It’s like anything, I think Commencal probably started the trend and did it well and I think there’s a lot of companies jumping on board and throwing a high pivot onto a bike and it doesn’t necessarily deliver the same outcome. It’s similar to the 29 wheel change, you can’t just slap a 29er onto any old frame and it works the way you want to. It’s like anything, if you want to do It well, it can work and if not, it’s not going to help.

This does feel similar to what happened with Trek and the 29er downhill bike, they'd been testing that for years.

And I think for these same companies it’s got to be a balance because you can’t ignore the trends if a certain trend comes along. It’s what people want, you can’t tell them no, that’s what they want so that’s what they’re going to find. The balance for them is not just throwing themselves into it, skipping long periods of testing to hit a target date. You have to go through that process of testing, developing, working with athletes over a long period of time so you know that, right, this is going on the bike and it’s as good as it can be.

Photo: Dan Griffiths

So is it unlikely Atherton Bikes will be releasing a high pivot bike soon?

I think it’s unlikely we are going to slap on a high pivot system that you’re seeing a lot of companies jump to but I think what the high pivot delivers, the wheel travel the high pivot delivers, that’s something we’re going to be focussing on and working on how we can incorporate that into the Atherton bikes in a good way that doesn’t compromise any other part of it.

Lyle Hyslop, Mechanic, Santa Cruz Syndicate & Seb Kemp, Global Brand Director, Santa Cruz

What are your general thoughts on high pivot system and have you tested it?

Seb: We’ve tried a lot of competitors' bikes and we have a lot of fabrication abilities at our disposal as well, so we can validate a lot of things and we always have.

Nina Hoffmann two places ahead of her plate in 7th.

Is it a tool that a brand could use but not a be all and end all of downhill bike design going forward?

Lyle: It depends what you’re trying to achieve. I think a lot of people tend to just see a high pivot bike and that’s all they know about it. It’s kind of the same, especially with racing, if anybody goes well, and they’ve got one thing, could be a brand of brake, a disc size a suspension design, as soon as people start going well, everyone’s just like, “mullets are the best, full 29ers are the best”. I mean you remember what it was like here in 2017?

I remember even more what it was like in Fort William the same year when you had people machining out fork arches and stuffing bigger wheels into frames…

Lyle: …and here we are five years later there’s now mullets, there’s full 29er. So it’s what works with each individual rider. Early high pivots I think were quite an extreme of bike design and I think the more people do it, the more they refine it to bring it away from that extreme. I think what we do personally is what Seb says, cover all bases, try everything that we think is worth trying and come up with our own package that best serves the riders needs and all the different tracks that we ride.

Could you tune VPP to offer similar characteristics?

Seb: Well every suspension design has advantages and disadvantages and is very tunable and the high pivot or mid high pivot or low high pivot or whatever it is this week has got some advantages but there is also disadvantages and you’re trading off on things.

Lyle: And you don’t have to step away from having a VPP bike to have a high pivot VPP bike. The VPP is just the system, you can have a high virtual pivot point, medium, low, it depends on the ride feedback that you get and the characteristics that you want.

Have any Syndicate riders expressed that they want to go that way?

Seb: In the past, because you see a lot of competitors or their colleagues or their peers trying things and they’re like, “that’s the thing” but a racer is a system and sometimes they can transfix on one particular thing when actually it’s the system that needs to be worked on. So we spend a lot of time with all the guys suspension testing and tuning and tyre system is worked on...

Lyle: ... We’ve got a good relationship with the engineers at Santa Cruz so me and Greg went and caught up with the engineers in Santa Cruz and it wasn’t "do you want an X,Y,Z bike?" It was, "I like this bike but I want it to do this, this and this better". I know Greg personally is like, “I don’t care what anybody else is riding, I’m riding this, I want this to be better”.

Greg Minnaar bracing for the harsh landing off the rock drop in the lower woods.

So you’re more focussed on characteristics of a bike rather than what makes it do that particular thing?

Yeah, it’s a complete package, if you’ve ever played around on Linkage and you say, “I want my axle path to do this”, all of a sudden everything else is like, “oh no that doesn’t …” It’s a constant compromise and balance of all the attributes fit together in a big package.

Patrice Afflatet, Scott Downhill Factory Team Manager

What do you think of the current trend, will it sticks round?

Well, I think it’s something that you may want to put on your bike if you have to sort some problems and what to make benefit of that on the anti rise, anti squat, so that could be interesting in that area. But given our current set up and geometry, we have a very limited anti rise and anti squat so we don’t see the real benefit of doing the high pivot with the current geometry.

What did you learn when Brendan had his high pivot set up.

Well, we learned that! When Brendan was on the former platform we learned about the action it has on the rear and on the braking and the anti-squat; we took this into account when designing the current platform, so we don’t have it on the current platform.

Yet another bike with an idler system. SCOTT s prototype is the latest to join the club.

Do you think there are advantages to that design?

As I say, we all try to have a bike that keeps rolling, that is having a good behaviour on travel, suspension and braking so that could help depending on your geometry, but you could also do that in other ways without having a high pivot so...


It’s a matter of balance of balance and compromise?

It’s always this. You have to find the best compromise that suits your requirement so yeah, it’s not mandatory to do a pulley and high pivot thing. There are quite a few other bikes that are not adding that.

For sure we are working on products, we are working on a future platform and we’ll see what we end up at, but it’s not mandatory for sure.

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Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 283 35
 Did Trump write that first santa cruz answer?
  • 231 284
flag thustlewhumber FL (Mar 28, 2022 at 13:20) (Below Threshold)
 Lets do Bidens version:

"We looked pivots and how they were created, by the, you know the, you know the thing."
  • 394 3
 We have the highest pivots, the very highest pivots, its beautiful, its a, its a, its a beautiful thing, this very high pivot. Everyone's talking about it. They're saying "very high pivot, beautiful.'
  • 194 2
 Why? Didn't you like it? Because it's a great answer. A very great answer. People around me always come up to me and say, hey man, that's a great answer. It's probably the greatest answer. Yes it is the greatest answer.
  • 69 130
flag kobold (Mar 28, 2022 at 14:16) (Below Threshold)
 @thustlewhumber: Downvoted even though the down voters know Biden can formulate one god damn sentence.
  • 105 0
 @Glenngineer: a strong man, very big man, came up to me with tears in his eyes and said "sir these are the highest pivots I've ever seen." This was a tough person, by the way, saw the pivot and started to cry
  • 138 11
 @kobold: Upvoted this because in your statement attempting to claim that someone can NOT formulate a sentence, you illustrated that YOU in fact can't formulate a sentence.
Your irony, intentional or otherwise, is highly appreciated.
  • 75 2
 @SunsPSD: I thought they were both funny. All politicians should received barbed comments from the populous. You don't need to pick a team and be a dick about it.
  • 39 0
 @nfontanella: And as I spoke with this man, very tough man, not as tough as me, but still, tough, you could tell he knew things, and as I stood there I thought to myself "Bearings!"
With all these high pivots, the very highest many say, we're going to need big bearings, great big bearings, maybe the greatest biglyist bearings in high pivot history. And I know bearings; well of course, I know a great many things, very knowledgeable guy, one of the knowledgeiabliest, and bearings are amongst them, amongst the many things I know a lot about.
  • 12 0
 @Corinthian: Lying dog-faced pony soldier.
  • 6 0
 Great group of comments right here. Haha
  • 9 0
 Kim has a high pivot. But I told him: My pivot is waaaaay higher. Hugely higher than yours. I told him. I did.
  • 5 0
 @nfontanella: his name was Corn Pop and he was a bad dude.
  • 3 0
 I have a pivot. He has a pivot too. Mine is probably bigger. Certainly. Some said it's the biggest pivot.
  • 8 1
 I'd have thought Trump would be better off writing copy for Scott, that way he can tell us all what's required to create a very stable Genius.
  • 104 5
 choose a pivot height and be a dick about it
  • 6 1
 If you don't run a high pivot you're an absolute IDIOT! High pivots are for people that don't like to turn or jump. Oh wait i was supposed to pick a pivot height too.
  • 25 1
 choose a dick and be a high pivot about it
  • 13 1
 Pick a high and pivot about a dick. Too far?
  • 3 0
 @andrewbmxmtb: Choose a high and pivot to be a dick about it.
  • 6 1
 Choose a pivot height and politicize it....
  • 9 0
 @PACNW-MTB: its clear to me that the companies who haven't come out with a high pivot design are afraid of something... perhaps they're scared of being exposed as the freedom hating pedophiles they are, and should be locked up along with crooked Hillary and the rest of the global elite.
  • 1 1
 @suspended-flesh: @suspended-flesh: Lol this is the Pinkbike comment section, the whole thing is about picking a thing and then being a dick about it.
  • 65 1
 I can see the future of mountain biking now. An AI camera system that identifies obstacles in it's path that actively changes the bike's pivot point, travel, tire psi, and seat height. Perfectly tuned to each inch of the trail. The bike will have a motor and be fully autonomous. The rider will be at home writing on their instagram and posting strava times their bike rode that day.
  • 32 1
 forgot to add, the bike will be bought on a generational loan and trailforks will require your house as collateral
  • 4 0
 Lol the camera thing is probably true
  • 9 0
 People want to go "mountain biking", but they don't want to pedal themselves up, or feel any bumps on the way down. Makes total sense.
  • 1 0
 As long as it has 3 NIPPLES...
  • 2 0
 @Moonie2123: Massively underrated comment right here. This one could be posted under nearly every article for the past decade!!
  • 42 4
 "And I think for these same companies it’s got to be a balance because you can’t ignore the trends if a certain trend comes along."

This is certainly true for brands but as a consumer I have no issue ignoring trends. I will keep a bike until I worry that I can't find parts for it. Bikes go pedal, and I don't need to fork over thousands of dollars for small increases in performance. If I spent thousands of dollars on physio I would probably see better performance returns than if I spent it on a bike.
  • 22 2
 I really feel like this is another "plus tires". Super popular right now and definitely has its uses but in a few years it won't be nearly as popular. Makes sense for dh bikes but not as much for trail bikes.
  • 23 2
 "Trends" are ignored all the time. Examples: floating brake mounts, the previous times that high-pivot came around, travel adjust forks, pop colors, the first time mullet wheels came around, room for water bottles inside the front-triangle.

Unfortunately, the cycling market in general is kind of image driven, no matter if the concept being displayed is actually good for a particular rider or not. "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" definitely applies, or even "Get printed/posted on Sunday, sell on Monday". And doubly so for "trendy" things that are easily noticeable: a high-pivot frame, a Santa Cruz frame (VPP is easy to spot), a Yeti frame (both turquoise and Switch), fat fork stanchions with a giant "3" and "8" or capital "ZEB" below them, titanium and/or oil-slick colors, Kashima on your fricking seatpost! Sure, most of these are great products and quite useful, but pretty sure many of them are sold more because they look like they do, as opposed to the actual utility provided to the rider.
  • 2 2
 @DylanH93: everyone sure loves their Forbidden bikes...
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I didn't, lasted less than 12 months. Most problematic bike I've ever owned. The benefits didn't outweigh the problems.
  • 1 0
 @jmpalmer: I'd love to hear more about your experience, problems, cons vs pros? They look sick but the increasing wheelbase when smashing the bike down and trying to pump up seems like it would feel all messed up. I imagine awesome for high speed bike park stuff but not the best trail bike?
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: Yeh you’re absolutely right and if I was riding bike park all day I’d have been more inclined to keep it. All day pedalling on it didn’t appeal! It did take some getting used to it lengthening for me, especially when jumping. I went through 3 linkages to stop the creaking. Idler cogs and bearings often, chainstay protectors (chain wears through it in highest gear), crush zone damage and the front shock mount bolt was too long from factory and pierced the carbon at specced torque amoung other issues…
  • 32 3
 "because our existing bike is competitive when we slap an ochain on it" seems like it might be closer to the truth for a lot of teams
  • 27 0
 I don't even have rear suspension
  • 46 0
 If we ever convert to full suspension we can say, "hi, pivots!"
  • 6 16
flag Pacificashredder (Mar 28, 2022 at 17:34) (Below Threshold)
 Full suspension is a crutch for the weak, just like gears and motors.
  • 1 0
 @ABhardtail: Haha. And they will also be high pivots, high above the ground, higher than Rotec's BB-concentric pivot and others.
  • 7 0
 @Pacificashredder: Back in my day their was no DH mountain biking, it was climbing both ways
  • 21 0
 I don’t buy a new bike often, but when I do #axlepath
  • 29 1
 I'm not buying until somebody brings back the forward axle path - I want to be propelled forward when I hit a bump. The company that first designed it was shut down and muzzled by big gubment because the first test rider was going mach 8 at the end of a rock garden and burst into flames. Facts.
  • 2 2
 @number44: thats a high pivot. forward axle path would make you go mach 8 but back up the mountain
  • 1 0
 @mjlee2003: Think how good it would be at climbing! Smile
  • 1 0
 So uh… What kind of axle path are we lookin’ at on this here bad boy?
  • 5 0
 My front wheel has an rearwards axle path. Pretty linear too. Pay me more and I'll make it sound even more special.
  • 1 0
 I don’t see how a rearward axle path of the increments they have makes a difference. The Trek session has 1cm max. rearward movement at 10cm into the vertical wheel travel. But at 10km / hour which is a pretty conservative speed, that axle path is moving forwards at 277.77cm per second. There is no way that backward motion can be perceivable at downhill speeds.
  • 2 0
 @jimfredo: it’s about the force on the obstacle to the wheel. If the wheel moves rearward it reduces this force by getting out of the way easier. If the wheel moves only up or forward it sends more force into the bike. Think of downsiding a jump vs a flat landing. Same idea. Higher speeds would exaggerate what is felt because it increases the force. In my example it’s like landing from higher.
  • 17 2
 Kind of get the feeling that commencal really put in the effort and testing to refine the system and most other brands are just slapping it on to follow the trend.
  • 4 0
 Like Norco, Range, Trek Session, Spartan, Force? These guys just slap em on?
  • 1 2
 Yeah, only Commensal has thought it through, they're like that, they got the best crew, the best R & D, the most resources, totally makes sense.

I believe the comments quoted in this article was talking about people like you!
  • 3 0

Yes, anything for the marketing department.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: it looks like you've ridden a druid? What did you think about it and why did you end up selling? I more so meant some of these other brands just slapping it on. Forbidden seems well thought out, Also not to snoop but man it looks like you've tried everything lol.
  • 1 0
 I have a Norco Range. It’s bloody incredible descending. I believe they have been making high pivot bikes for a while. They have 3 models in the stable and one of their engineers left to create Forbidden. They know more about high pivot than Commencal, they just don’t have as talented a rider which is what wins races, not the bike
  • 14 1
 As a hardtailer, do I need to wonder about that? My hips are a kind of high pivot somehow, aren't they?
  • 4 1
 I'd say the pivot is a virtual pivot on the line between the BB and the front axle. So quite low, but potentially a very long arm for a fairly vertical axle path some of the time.
  • 6 0
 No thats mid rigid pivot. You need to stiffen the hips and just use your neck.
  • 6 0
 Shakira has told me your hips don’t lie.
  • 1 2
 @justinfoil: No, high pivot does not equal “virtual pivot”. The term virtual pivot refers to a constantly changing instant center point. The way the high pivot achieves a slightly rearward axle path during the initial portion of its travel is due to the fact that by moving the pivot higher up into the frame you increase the length between the center of the rear axle and the center of the pivot point along with increasing the angle of that same line in relation to the X axis. This has the effect increasing the radius and the starting angle of travel. When the wheel moves up, it first begins to move backward as well due to its starting point and distance to the instant center. That’s it.
  • 1 0
 @fattyheadshok: what? I wasn't talking about actual high pivot anything. I was making a silly response to danstonQ's joke that hardtail are high pivot because his hips are high
  • 10 1
 I ran a high pivot last time they were in fashion and they’re great at some things and not so much for others. I don’t race world cups or even ride downhill bikes anymore so I prefer something a bit more fun to ride that doesn’t pull of lips weird. My high pivot liked to go extremely fast but it didn’t like being off the ground and felt unpredictable on take off and big landing. I totally get why someone would want a big high pivot DH bike though.
  • 7 3
 Bike are quite different from then and now.
  • 2 5
 @ybsurf: Do they have more wheels than back then or something?

Watch the Peaty video of old V10 V new, sit down and sigh at how much you have spent Smile
  • 9 0
 I tried both the Range and GT Force as framesets and messed around with them for ages.
Im an average rider and for the bike park(black and double) with increased speed and just smashing and running into things i think the HP was good.
However for My local trails and just wanting to have fun, it was struggle street, i was more drained and felt like i was riding a bus, If i jumped into a berm and tried to rail it quickly i could feel the laziness of the bike, kinda felt like a tank slapper.

Conclusion for me: If you ride like Phil kmetz as an all-rounder, then youll get away with HP on every trail but even he now changes back to his sensor often.
HP on a DH Race bike i can see as an F1 thing compared to real road cars.

I sold both frames and dont regret it.
Would I buy anther? No.
do I recommend a HP? If you race DH bikes and like the idea, sure.

HP reminds me of the long reach trend, it has its place and thats usually only 5-10% of bikes when doing certain things.
  • 8 0
 this just means that in a couple years bike company engineers will rediscover dual link suspension and we can go through the whole DW vs VPP war all over again. then somebody will try to reinvent the linkage fork only to fail for the third time.
  • 9 0
 Would have been nice to hear a word from Canyon and Specialized considering the Lourdes podium...
Bruni in particular is always in the top positions (if not at the top) with his short, traditional bike....
  • 6 0
 lets get dan to do a 3d scan behind the numbers of the best dh bikes that have different approaches: Demo, Supreme, v10 and session. and neko's bike, because i think his 38t ochain setup is super smart and has the best middle ground between everything; its the best 4bar!

if i had to choose, i would go with the demo...looks low and mean. But i'm sure the commencal is the fastest, they've managed to create something special. i'm sure yeti will come back with a 6 bar dh bike
  • 2 0
 Agreed on Neko, that seems like a very clever approach.
  • 4 1
 I’m a very average rider and the Commencal is the best, most confidence inspiring DH bike I’ve ridden. I don’t think I want it on my trail bike where less drag, lighter weight and less complication are priorities for me.
  • 5 2
 Just out of curiosity: When you say, the Commencal is the most confidence inspiring one, how many DH bikes have you actually ridden as a point of comparison?
  • 6 1
 @Muscovir: Specialized, Pivot, Trek, Santa Cruz, Norco, Scott and Giant. I sold my last DH (Norco), and am going to buy one for the upcoming bike park season. The Commencal is the top of the list. Everyone has certain bikes that just feel right. I was immediately faster and more comfortable on the Commencal and that was a bone stock bike with no time to tune the suspension.
  • 8 0
 Nobody asked Pivot?
  • 4 1
 That's because you won't get a sensible answer out of Chris Cocalis... Mind you, he's the guy who was convinced that plus-tires were the future and who invented SuperBoostPlus for literally no good reason.
  • 3 0
 @Muscovir: lmao Pivot has made so many bad bets, but they seem to be walking back the Super Boost thing with the new Shadowcat (could they have picked a more midlife crisis name?!) being 148.
  • 3 0
 Should they have interviewed Commencal with their new mid pivot bike or Specialized, maybe Canyon?
They asked Santacruz so that takes care of that.
Think they did ok at the weekend...

High pivot was 2021, its mid pivot now because the same riders are going fast on their new bikes... Performance seems to be following the rider at WC level. Interesting.
  • 2 0
 It almost seems like the bike doesn't matter that much if one of the fastest racers on the planet is riding it...
  • 1 2
 @Muscovir: agreed. It is more about the rider than the bike at the World Cup level. I actually think the particular bike is more important for the average rider as we need all the confidence we can get.
  • 1 0
 Its interesting...

Ramble time.... lol

If the very top riders were 1% faster than those outside the top 20 then a bike that is 1% slower would make a big difference. But the weekend didnt show that!

There was 5s covering the top 10 on a 3 minute track, that is a big margin of 3% and the top 20 8s back which is nearly 5%, 45th was 13s back or just under 8% back.
The top 5 were on:

1. Commencal - Mid pivot
2. Specialized
3. Specialized
4. Commencal - Mid pivot
5. Canyon
6. Cube
7. Trek - High Pivot
8. Santacruz
9. Commencal - High Pivot ( I think he was on the old bike)
10. Saracen

The results seem to suggest that High Pivot is not the golden egg, but the rider plays such a massive part.

There are faster bikes and slower bikes, from experience (I have done a lot of testing), the difference is significant if a bike is "not fast" and can move you down the results sheet, but.... if you are already 3% up, then losing 2% of that advantage at the very top of the sport does not make the biggest difference.
If we were to look at the riders in that top 10 then we all know that they are either up and coming or very well established fast boys.
  • 24 19
 4 of the top 10 men on high pivots...3 of the top 5 women. Not sure the hype is real...
  • 39 6
 Implying those riders wouldn't be fast on other bikes. Also that was a French track with French riders mostly riding the same bike. Not a good statistical analysis.

What bike did Loic Bruni take to the overall in 2019 and 2021? What bike did Minnaar win world champs on at 39 years old?

High pivot has its merits, if its designed well, like any part of bike design really... But don't just point at numbers and say "number go up, good".
  • 21 0
 @lepigpen: Im saying the numbers are pretty low for them being as hyped as they have been...if it was 80-90% of the top results on HP sure...but its clearly not THAT superior.
  • 5 0
 @MikeyMT: I understood what you meant. I think the better way to state it would be to point out that 3 out of 5 bikes on the podium were FSR.

But someone would take any sentence and debate it.

I want them to toss in a big climb/sprint out of nowhere and watch all the high pivot people sprint their butts off without ripping a shoe off on the idler.
  • 6 1
 @MikeyMT: a decent metric is what are the privateers paying their own money to race at the World Cups.
  • 4 0
 I think Gee has a fair point. You can't just slap an idler onto a classic frame and hope for the best ! Commencal has a winning and proven platform because they have developped a chassis for this very purpose.
In the end there is not a single winning formula, but various ways to achieve a desired behaviour / charecteristics.
  • 9 0
 @DHhack: I disagree...they are all riding Commencals given bang for the buck.
  • 5 7
 @Aksel31: Interesting though, haven’t seen any evidence DW can replicate the wheelpath of a high pivot. If there are so many ways to achieve this particular wheelpath, how come everyone is using an idler? Isn’t it logical to assume that if there were so many ways around using an idler we would be seeing it? I think Gee sounds a bit clueless.
  • 5 1
 @emptybe-er: Depends how high you want that [virtual] pivot, how rearward you want the axle path, how much you want anti-squat to be delivered by chain tension and how much you want delivered from the acceleration forces, how much pedal kickback you're willing to deal with, etc ad infinitum.

A multi-link setup like DW6 (or Commencal's 6-bar) could provide an initial rearward path that then goes vertical to minimize the potentially unsettling feeling of rear center growing too fast, for example. The options are numerous.

Remember, Gee said they were talking with Dave Weagle, so you're actually saying Dave sounds clueless, and that's just not true.
  • 6 2
 @emptybe-er: Now you're speaking without extensive knowledge of Gee Atherton and Dave Weagle.

1. Weagle is a mad scientist of sorts, but he's actually quite brilliant when it comes to suspension, kinematics, weight bias, rider position, axle path, leverage ratio, brake input and so many other aspects of suspension design that your skull hurts if you've ever read any of his detailed explanations of how they all tie together.

It's something of a shame that he had exited the forums and comments section of websites. The details he gives the common man on what really and truly goes into designing a DW bike helped me understand dynamics I never knew existed.
  • 2 7
flag emptybe-er (Mar 28, 2022 at 22:04) (Below Threshold)
 @blowmyfuse: Maybe science is easier for me to understand? It kind of sounds like it. I mean you fail to understand numerical order requires using more than 1 number.
Logic is prerequisite to comprehension of extensive knowledge, a wise bird once told me.
  • 2 7
flag emptybe-er (Mar 28, 2022 at 22:11) (Below Threshold)
 @justinfoil: No, I said and meant Gee. But if Weagle can do it, where is it? Are the options so numerous that he just can’t decide which layout should be used to simplify the current high pivot/idler design? I mean is he a genius or not?
  • 2 0
 Yes and I agree that the hype isn't real. But yours is also a complete non-argument. Amaury Pierron, Loic Bruni, Finn Iles and Loris Vergier would be fast on literally any bike. They would win races on any wheelsize, any pivot height and any suspension layout. In their case, the bike, or the tech they are using, doesn't matter. I'd go so far as to say that Amaury Pierron could probably win a worldcup on a 2012 Kona Operator.
  • 2 6
flag Muscovir FL (Mar 29, 2022 at 5:22) (Below Threshold)
 @MikeyMT: It's the same with mullet wheels. They are a complete fad.

Literally everybody who has done serious testing on this matter, says that mullet setups don't make any sense if you are over 6ft tall. The conclusions range from "there's no benefit to running a mullet" to "a mullet setup is overall worse and slower than a 29er".
  • 3 2
 @emptybe-er: Oh I see. You're just one more troll. You should definitely spend more time shltting on decent people online .

You're so good at this pretend world of the internet.
  • 4 1
 @emptybe-er: I can’t believe I have to say this, because this should be like 2+2 for someone commenting so confidently on a suspension article, but adding an idler pulley does nothing whatsoever to create a rearward axel path. A rearward axel path is caused by the design on the rear suspension, and the rearward axel path itself is what created the need for an idler pulley by generating huge chain growth.

Notice that Gee did not say a single f*cking word about idlers or eliminating them, which makes it all the more confusing that you’re prattling on about idlers specifically. He is talking about generating a rearward path in a different way, but if he chooses to do so he will almost certainly use an idler or require some other method of managing chain growth. Those of us paying attention can think of a new alternative method for managing this in bike design that was revealed just last week.

If you don’t know a god-damned thing about a subject then just shut up and read the comments.
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: What about the riders who are under 6' tall? There are quite a few of them. Are you saying you know what suits these pro riders better than they do themselves?
  • 1 1
 @commental: No, I don't say that. What I do say though, is that lots of media outlets have done testing on this topic and in every test I've seen so far the editors came to the conclusion that there is basically no point in running a smaller rear wheel.
  • 1 1
 @Muscovir: It appears many riders at Lourdes had a different opinion. But hey, what would they know?
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: this is a good point
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: because media are NOT World Cup racers. They're not riding at the absolute edge of traction having to make purely panicked manuevers in a live or die situation where 1/10th of a second costs them an entire season.

That's what the smaller rear wheel does. No one debates that longer skis are faster. They are. Still gotta make 'em turn and if you mess up and are off STILL gotta make 'em turn.
  • 1 1
 @blowmyfuse: Racer's setups most of the time don't even make sense to other racers, let alone average riders. You can't extrapolate their setups to see what makes sense and what doesn't. It doesn't work like that.

You know what racers also aren't? Mechanical engineers. I do personally know engineers and testers of two brands who afte doing their own testing, called bullshit on the mullet fad and made the decision not to offer any of their bikes as mullets. And it's not just those two brands, but quite a few actually.
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: knowing riders' styles and how their bike is designed, some extrapolation can be done. Yeah, it's not perfect, so much is personal pref.

I think the fact that a decent number of racers tried full 29 and then went to mullet shows that one size does not fit all. So a couple brands ditched their mullets, whatever. A bunch of other brands added mullets after their racers (and testers I'm assuming) said they were more comfortable on the smaller rear. It goes both ways, as with everything.
  • 2 1
 @justinfoil: Many riders will be extensively testing between wheel size options, then running whatever suits them best. I fail to understand why some people are so invested in saying they're wrong for doing that or that manufacturers are somehow ripping people off for giving them the same option.
Many smaller riders appreciate the way a 29" wheel rolls on the front, but find themselves getting buzzed by the rear tyre. For them mullets work.
Why do some people seem to get so bothered by mullets, but not other things in the industry that could be called out as "fads" like high pivots or plus tyres? Personally I'm happy with my bikes that I regularly ride (both 29" which work for me at 6'2") and I couldn't give a damn what others choose to buy/ride.
I have a 27.5 bike that's stored abroad waiting for my next trip. I'm planning on taking a 29" fork and front wheel with me to see if I prefer it. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. If I do then hopefully I'll be able to ignore anyone who calls me a sucker who's fallen for an industry scam if they see me riding something they have difficulty tolerating.
  • 1 1
 @Muscovir: "You know what racers also aren't? Mechanical engineers. I do personally know engineers and testers of two brands who afte doing their own testing, called bullshit on the mullet fad and made the decision not to offer any of their bikes as mullets. And it's not just those two brands, but quite a few actually."

Good for those morons! Guess their balls clear the saddle off the back on all the steep trails & never get sucked into the swingarm by their crotch when stuff gets hairy. So freaking proud of those arrogant Mothers. Really I am. Now if you want to go right over here and press the "I don't care" button -----> ╭∩╮(-_-)╭∩╮

You obviously know everything there is to know already so why debate. Just sit down. Swallow that load of mechanical engineering hotness you love so much and smile knowing you're superior to the entire World Cup circuit in every way. Beer
  • 8 2
 Just upgraded from a antiquated Horst link to a high pivot hardtail.
  • 1 0
 high pivot hardtail with a 220mm brake rotor on the back for the win
  • 1 0
 @threesixtykickflip: rotor is actually in the middle of the cranks for better weight distribution and less rolling mass attached to a solid drive single speed driveshaft.
  • 2 0
 Ok not an engineer but throwing this out there, what change if any would a high pivot bike with a double cog idler create, with one chain going to the front ring and the other chain on an “idler freehub” going to the cassette. The idler freehub might eliminate kickback? Would be a pretty heavy bike though.
  • 11 0
 Please don't ever design a bike.
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj: hey I warned you
  • 1 0
 @warmerdamj: stretchy chain
  • 1 0
 An attempt similar to what Trek does with ABP & DW did with Split pivot on Devinci.

They both theoretically partially take the brake out of the driveline & suspension forces. But they don't really.
  • 2 0
 I think if you look at the things Santa Cruz says about this being a trend and what Raaw says about the wheelbase growing which can make handling more difficult it brings the high pivot into a new light. Just like with mullets and the 24" rear fad from the early 2000s the high pivot crew only focuses on the positive. I never considered the high pivot getting harder to handle as the wheelbase grew, as HP companies only focus on this helping to be more stable at speed. But in reality that only applies in a strait high speed line. In a corner that can hurt your bike handling. Just like anything there is pros and cons. Even the wheel size battle, 29 inch wheels have better roll over. But they are slower to get going. If we only listen to the benefits from the people pushing the idea then everything is great, but there is some good points against HP in this article and it's nice to see some people are thinking beyond the surface benefits.
  • 2 0
 The question should be to the bike companies, (1) Do you believe an up and rearward axle path provides a smoother ride on long travel enduro and DH bikes? (2) So what is the axle path on your current long travel enduro and DH bikes?Isn't this the opposite of VPP? I think you would all see them avoid eye contact and squirm...
  • 2 0
 @canfieldbikes has been doing high-pivot bikes for more than 20 years and have it down to a science. Amazing ride without any of the drawbacks some of these answers seem to think are unavoidable compromises. They have good anti-squat, good braking, short chainstays, weight low in the frame, etc. New Jedi looks phenomenal.
  • 5 4
 As per loamwolf testing the 2022 norco range. from 8:00 on pretty good explanation of when the rear end gets long. and you have a feeling of getting thrown fwd.

in my neck of the woods and riding this is a no go for me
  • 9 9
 Lmao the dude can barely ride a bike and his opinion is supposed to matter? If you like going fast then HP is for you. If you're a jibbrr than don't even think about it. And get 650b wheels. Really not that hard to grasp
  • 3 4
 Because your center of gravity gets effectively shifted forwards within the wheelbase. It's not just a "feeling" someone has, it's physics.
  • 3 2
 For pure DH, seems like a well engineered high pivot is fastest. But, "slapping a high pivot on" won't do it. And I'm not sure it's the best solution even for enduro bikes. Current Megatower (for example) is already kind of numb until you're going stupid fast.

But hey, "market demand" kept us on lousy 71/73 geometry, long stems, etc. until a handful of BC riders demanded bikes that rode well instead of looking a certain way. If we end up plagued with poorly performing high pivot downcountry bikes it's because the "market" of mountain bike buyers can be kinda dumb.
  • 1 3
 I mean mullets are a thing despite being completely nonsensical. So that is a definite yes on your hypothesis.
  • 4 0
 I am, both my 2001 Schwinn Straight 8 and 2011 Canfield Jedi have high pivot
  • 3 2
 "I think the whole high pivot thing is not necessarily the only way to achieve what a high pivot delivers."

If we're talking about square edge bump absorption, low pedal kickback, and stable wheelbase at compression, I'm afraid the high pivot thing is the only way to achieve what a high pivot delivers.
  • 1 0
 Interesting would be to also talk to companies who tried the high pivot (outside of a gearbox configuration) and then moved away from it. Trek had a high pivot Diesel and the Session 10, but the subsequent Session 8 didn't have it (though the current Session does have it again). Orange has been experimenting with a high pivot design too though I think it has never become a production bike. So yeah, what did they find and what put them off?
  • 1 0
 Anybody that has been riding long enough, already spent time on a hpp. Almost every early full suspension bike were hpp (or fsr). it has been proven again and again that hpp have serious drawbacks, I think the smartest brand are trying to think on how to address these drawbacks when everybody else is just moving the pivot
  • 4 3
 High pivots are only better as plow bikes They are not playful jump bikes. Combined with the extra drag and bearing maintenance, I'm good... Yes, I've owned 3 high pivot bikes in the past.
  • 1 1

I only had to ride a Druid for a month to draw the same conclusion. High pivot = Plow

If you can wrap your head around how a high pivot makes a bike ride, then it's easier to decide a high pivot is for you.

I liken the high pivot suspension feel to walking in sand: Sand is soft and cushy, but try a dynamic move and it will be muted.
  • 1 0
 You think they are only plow bikes, you haven't ridden a well executed high-pivot. Canfield Jedi plows better than anything, but will also change direction on a dime and jump like a dream.
  • 1 0
 @DCS1138: In comparison to a well executed other suspension design, they are not better jump bikes. Corner, ok the Jedi is very low slung, low center of gravity. I owned two Jedi s btw. I know them well.
  • 2 0
 Because the high pivot is the most fad fad that ever fadded. Are we just going to add a jockey wheel ever year now and call it innovative?
  • 1 0
 Hmm wondering about idlers, kickback and all that. What about a remote or such for free hub engagement? Just thinking aloud I guess.
  • 3 0
 Every time I hear High Pivot I think about the Balfa BB7...
  • 1 0
 Cause real MTBeez keep thier early 2000's DH/Freeride machines and stick to 'em cause at least then we look cooler than you.

Also, it's a dumb question.
  • 4 1
 "Why aren't are you running a high pivot?" "cause f*ck 'em, that's why!"
  • 2 0
 The OG of high pivot technology.....
  • 2 0
 How come Pivot does not have a high pivot? Or are they running a low pivot on a Pivot?
  • 2 1
 minimum cost for max profits is pivots way. botique brand life.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: and high prices Wink
  • 1 0
 @veljko: my point lol. nothing pivot makes interest me, many say the new firebird suspension is worse than the previous
  • 2 0
 Question for Ruben at Raaw: would the O-chain bring an added benefit to your design, like Nekos bike?
  • 4 0
 It's on our list for testing, but in theory it could be a good fit for our suspension design. The same with STFU's to reduce chainslap and the effect that might have on the cranks.
  • 3 0
 Marketing $'s > R&D $'s = High Pivot
  • 1 0
 Give me the high speed handling of that rearward axle path but without the wallowing feeling when you try to pop off lips/rocks or when riding technical climbs.
  • 2 0
 Mainly because i still have a bike from 2012 lol
  • 3 2
 Cause it's a fad people they come and they go..but they do get lemmings to follow
  • 3 1
 What's a high pivot? Will my hardtail work without one?
  • 2 0
 High pivot? Sounds like a Colorado thing......
  • 1 0
 This is an interesting read, let's have more of this kind of content please Pinkbike - asking the right questions.
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite Please do a "Burning Question" segment about mullet setups!
  • 1 0
 Tomorrow I'll gonna test it! ->
  • 1 0
 Snoop Dogg’s pivot is HIGH

Ain’t gonna lie, i’d love to experiment with a druid to see what all the fuss is about
  • 1 0
 How do you know I'm not running a high pivot, are you spying on me?
  • 3 4
 If both men’s and women’s winners continue to be on high pivots this year the hemming and hawing will probably wrap up pretty quickly.
  • 3 2
 And the 3 of top 5 not on high-pivot doesn't mean anything? Are you saying the bike matters that much? That Amaury or Benoit couldn't win on another bike?
  • 4 1
 @justinfoil: absolutely. 100%. I’m saying all those things.
  • 2 2
 @justinfoil: When you get to World Cup level and races are won by a tenth of a second the bike does matter a lot.
  • 1 0
 All this chat makes me wana get my K9 outta the loft !
  • 4 0
 Your robot dog?
  • 4 3
 I am not running a high pivot because of pedaling efficiency mostly.
  • 2 2
 Putting a big rear rotor on your bike will make more of a difference than the high pivot.
  • 2 0
 Name doesn't check out...
  • 1 0
 Or an aluminium frame for the matter...
  • 2 0
 My pivot is always high.
  • 1 0
 what's a high pivot? (asking for a friend who has a BMX background)
  • 2 1
 Is it a must to have a high pivot or this is just a fad?
  • 1 0
 imho HP bikes are very niche, and suits only certain trails
  • 7 7
 I like high pivots lets just agree they look nice Smile
  • 2 2
 And more friction, and parts to replace...
  • 2 1
 Too expensive
  • 1 0
  • 7 10
 Because high pivot bikes pedals like shit without a lockout or platform shock, so it really depends how pedally the teack is. DH is mostly not pedally
  • 10 1
 That's just wrong. Preventing "pedal like shit" is large part of why (almost) all the latest high-pivots also have idlers.
  • 4 1
 My Druid with a coil pedals perfectly fine
  • 2 2
 @pisgahgnar: but it only has small person size travel.

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