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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz HTLT or a Pivot Switchblade???

    Hi Everyone,

    Looking to get a longer travel trail/enduro bike for rowdier terrain and occasional bike park duty. I currently have a short travel full suspension XC bike that I plan to keep, so this new addition would be for "bigger" days on the trail.

    I'm fairly new to MTB'ing (been doing it for two years now) so even though I had a chance to demo both bikes I can't say I have a favorite in terms of the ride. Unfortunately I wasn't able to demo both on the same terrain, but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I would really be able to choose a clear favorite unless I demoed both on the same trail back to back. The SB really struck me as an agile bike which I liked a lot. I was able to demo that bike on a trail I ride all the time. The HTLT was ridden on a trail I had never been before which made it tougher to objectively tell how the bike rode.

    The builds I'm looking at are the S build for the SC and the X01 build for the SB, essentially the same specs: Eagle GX, Fox Performance fork and shock.

    I'm leaning more towards the HTLT at this point for a couple reasons: the build I'm looking at is $900 cheaper and it doesn't use the boost spacing for hubs. I've already knocked the wheels out of true on my current bike and I'd like the flexibility to get a new wheelset if I need to for this new bike down the road.

    Curious what other riders thoughts are on these two. Also, for those of you that have been riding for a longer period of time, should I be concerned about the ability to get new wheels down the road for the SB? Any other thoughts on the bikes or specs?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    ... I'm not sure I would really be able to choose a clear favorite unless I demoed both on the same trail back to back. ...
    Also, what you like now might not be what you'd prefer once you gained experience riding bigger faster stuff on an appropriate bike.

    The current HTLT is boost. You can adapt most non-boost wheels to boost but not the other way around. IMO, boost is the current widely adopted "standard" and the large majority mtbs are boost. I bought a couple of bikes in the past few years and they are boost. I expect the next bike I buy will be boost...unless I wait a few years and there's yet another "standard".

    Anyway, between those two, I'd get the Pivot, if for no other reason I already own a '17 Santa Cruz (not a HTLT) and the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I've already been admiring the Mach 429 Trail.
    Do the math.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Also, what you like now might not be what you'd prefer once you gained experience riding bigger faster stuff on an appropriate bike.
    I have a feeling this will be the case. The different longer travel bikes I've demoed or rented have been great as an eye-opening experience, but a little tough to tell which would truly be a better long term bike. The one thing I do know is I don't dig 27.5 wheels.

    Didn't realize the HTLT also had a different hub spacing...glad to hear it's becoming standard.

  4. #4
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    Anyone else with experience on these two bikes have any advice?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    Anyone else with experience on these two bikes have any advice?
    I've test ridden both. The HTLT is a longer more stable bike. The SB is more nimble. Other than that, both are capable and peddle well. Where you ride might drive the decision.I prefer more nimble. But my preference shouldn't matter. What do you want in a bike beyond more capable than what you have?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I've test ridden both. The HTLT is a longer more stable bike. The SB is more nimble. Other than that, both are capable and peddle well. Where you ride might drive the decision.I prefer more nimble. But my preference shouldn't matter. What do you want in a bike beyond more capable than what you have?
    It's good to hear that you think the SB is more nimble as that affirms my initial feeling after testing it - it felt very playful which I loved. Couldn't really tell from the HTLT if it was more or less nimble in comparison as the demos were on different terrain and a month or so apart.

    I'd like something capable of hitting bigger terrain, playful (as opposed to more stable point and shoot kind of riding), and something that's more of an "all-rounder" as opposed to a hardcore enduro bike. I don't mind if I lose a little on downhill performance to gain a little more pedaling efficiency and nimbleness.

    I loved the playfulness of the SB which is what makes this decision so tricky...even though I've been leaning towards the HTLT, I could go either way and I'm sure I'd be happy either way.

  7. #7
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    I have a HTLT, it's by far the best thing i've ridden in 25 years of riding, the thing blows my mind! if you buy one and don't like it at least you'll sell it easily.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by redchoppa View Post
    I have a HTLT, it's by far the best thing i've ridden in 25 years of riding, the thing blows my mind! if you buy one and don't like it at least you'll sell it easily.
    Good to hear, thanks.

  9. #9
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    Tough choice...I'll go with Guerrilla Gravity Smash

    The SB uses Super Boost (157) rear hub/crank. Very few (any?) trail frames use this spacing, could be constraining moving forward.

    Santa Cruz, threaded bottom bracket; Pivot, pressfit.

    Santa Cruz, Asian frame; Pivot, Asian frame. GG, made in USA, cheaper.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post

    The SB uses Super Boost (157) rear hub/crank. Very few (any?) trail frames use this spacing, could be constraining moving forward.
    I am a little concerned about this...

    I would like to buy an American-made bike, but I'm also trying to support my LBS and this is what they offer.

  11. #11
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    I've ridden both a bunch. Was super close to buying a Hightower, until the very 1st time I rode the Switchblade. It wants to drag bars and pop off of everything. It is by far the most playful 29er I've ridden. It is more at home carving up trails than smashing through things, although it will gladly charge stupid lines. I am a smash through things kind of rider, so it compliments my style. Found a great deal on a used SB and loving it! Short of the blown x2 that felt like a turd and is now at Fox...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    I am a little concerned about this...

    I would like to buy an American-made bike, but I'm also trying to support my LBS and this is what they offer.
    157 is a downhill hub size. Pretty sure you can get a hub that good if you want to change it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    I am a little concerned about this...

    I would like to buy an American-made bike, but I'm also trying to support my LBS and this is what they offer.
    I know its not the bike you asked about, but Guerilla Gravity will work with/through your LBS (even if they don't offically sell GG) I have a Trail Pistol, and its the best trail bike I've ridden by far. If I had a need for a bike with 'more' I'd be looking at a Smash for sure. Plus, they are amazing people.

  14. #14
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    Can't comment on the HTLT as I haven't ridden one. I tried the original HT and ended up with a switchblade. I would agree with all of the comments above re the switchblade, I find it lively and poppy and it pedals really well. One of the reasons I chose it was for the 157 rear end. I'm 70kg and kept having to true the rear wheels on my 429. I literally couldn't keep them true for more than a couple of rides. I even had the rear flex enough to allow it to munch the rear derailer on a particularly fast and steep downhill run near me. 18 months on the Reynolds carbon wheel set and they are still perfectly true despite getting way more abuse than the stans hoops on the 429. You can use a sram xo 157dh hub to build an aftermarket wheel set. I have one on the shelf but not built a wheel up yet.

    I've also fitted a minus 2degree angle set to mine and for me it has made a great bike even better. No negative impact on climbing, much improved front end grip, fork performance and composure on steep chunky stuff.

    The switchblade sizing is what I would now class as quite conservative and at 5,10 I ride a large but would love me to try an XL to see how it compares. It wasn't an option when I ordered mine but I would like an X2 as although th dps has been faultless, it does get pretty hot on fast downhill runs and I think the capability of the bike warrants the X2.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rally Blue View Post
    I've ridden both a bunch. Was super close to buying a Hightower, until the very 1st time I rode the Switchblade. It wants to drag bars and pop off of everything. It is by far the most playful 29er I've ridden. It is more at home carving up trails than smashing through things, although it will gladly charge stupid lines. I am a smash through things kind of rider, so it compliments my style. Found a great deal on a used SB and loving it! Short of the blown x2 that felt like a turd and is now at Fox...
    This is good to hear as I was really struck by the bikes playfulness too. I'm actually leaning towards the SB now instead. Aside from the blown x2, does the amount of rear travel ever feel like an issue? Trying to decide which build to get: one with Performance or Factory shocks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pigglet13 View Post

    The switchblade sizing is what I would now class as quite conservative and at 5,10 I ride a large but would love me to try an XL to see how it compares. It wasn't an option when I ordered mine but I would like an X2 as although th dps has been faultless, it does get pretty hot on fast downhill runs and I think the capability of the bike warrants the X2.
    Interesting...I wonder if this is due to the bikes short chainstays and overall playfulness? I'm 6' with a long inseam and long arms and I demoed a large. It felt good to me, but I am hoping to get the owner of my LBS to weigh in on the sizing. Would prefer to go with a smaller size if it seems like a good fit.

    Just out of curiosity, how did the Hightower compare feel-wise to the SB? More neutral?

  17. #17
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    Get the hightower lt. Not only for the resale value but for the lifetime warranty and the great looking and feeling ride.

    All the pivot bikes I've demo'd have felt sluggish. Sluggish to turn, to pedal and to move around. IMO they also look ugly. I would never consider a pivot.

  18. #18
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    That Superboost rear end is what allows the very short chain stays on the SB and what makes it so nimble. It's probably not faster like that (short chain stays) but certainly more fun.

    I have ridden the standard HT and it's a darn good bicycle.

    I didn't think much about the standard being rare when the bike came out but it sort of bothers me now and might effect my decision if I was in the market at this time just cause I'd only consider 2 hubs, and I'm not certain if 321 or Onyx supports 157?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    Interesting...I wonder if this is due to the bikes short chainstays and overall playfulness? I'm 6' with a long inseam and long arms and I demoed a large. It felt good to me, but I am hoping to get the owner of my LBS to weigh in on the sizing. Would prefer to go with a smaller size if it seems like a good fit.

    Just out of curiosity, how did the Hightower compare feel-wise to the SB? More neutral?
    It was the first gen HT I demoed and it just didn't feel quite as nimble as the switchblade or as efficient but by the same token didn't really feel any more stable.
    It was only a shortish ride which is never going to give you a full impression but the switchblade just felt a more capable bike.
    Yes the short chain stays do definitely make for snappy handling and manualling.
    Both great bikes, you pay a your money and takes your choice.

  20. #20
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    As a shorter rider, I was bitten by the shorter WB/more nimble bike purchase a few times. Once on a Troy and twice on a Stumpy 29. To create more of a gap between your two bikes, consider the HTLT. I am absolutely in love with this bike man. Once I got the suspension dialed, which took a bit longer than my last two bikes, it just rips and added stability when things get either a) chunky or b)fast, which is what I was looking for. I recently went from a 2 bike quiver to a 1 bike sword. Not looking back. The HTLT is the best bike I've ever owned man. HTLT XE build.
    Santa Cruz HTLT

  21. #21
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    I would love to demo a HTLT! Seems like it would be a great all around capable bike. However I recently picked up a Switchblade and after 7years of being on a hardatail Im absolutely stoked about this bike. Mine is the x01 with reynolds 27.5+ wheels. I have always liked the 29er so I just got a set of wer1 agents laced to onyx 157 hubs. I was able to demo the switchblade and I knew after that ride that was the bike for me. Playful, great pedaler, super stiff, and felt like a monster truck but also didnt give up any agility! Originally was looking more into the 429 trail and bikes with similar travel so happy I didnt! Im 5 11 and ride a Large, it feels spot on to me. Pivot is a great brand and now offers a 10yr warranty. I dont think you can go wrong either way. As for the 157 spacing it seems a lot of people get hung up on this just because its not widely produced YET. I think there is a chance down the road that more manufactures adopt it as well as i can see the benefits of it and the industry is constantly changing looking for an edge.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, even though the HTLT looks like an awesome bike, I've decide to go with SB. The nimble/playful character of it just seems to fun to pass up.

  23. #23
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    Hey man, what do you think of your Switchblade so far?

  24. #24
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    Hey svinyard, haven't logged on in a bit. The bike is pretty rad, no regrets so far on the choice. The bike begs to go fast and just chews up gnarly, rocky trails. The only bummer is that I wish I had more time to ride! Also, this bike will make you want to ride all the nastiest trails you can find. Everything else will feel boring by comparison. Hope this helps!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Tough choice...I'll go with Guerrilla Gravity Smash

    The SB uses Super Boost (157) rear hub/crank. Very few (any?) trail frames use this spacing, could be constraining moving forward.

    Santa Cruz, threaded bottom bracket; Pivot, pressfit.

    Santa Cruz, Asian frame; Pivot, Asian frame. GG, made in USA, cheaper.
    I knew someone would beat me to it!

    I would go with the smash as well. At the $5k pricepoint for the santacruz you can do a mostly custom built smash and place value where you actually want it. Go on their website and check it out!

    (I am ordering my smash on March 1st)
    Guerrilla Gravity BAMF
    Smash

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Tough choice...I'll go with Guerrilla Gravity Smash

    The SB uses Super Boost (157) rear hub/crank. Very few (any?) trail frames use this spacing, could be constraining moving forward.

    Santa Cruz, threaded bottom bracket; Pivot, pressfit.

    Santa Cruz, Asian frame; Pivot, Asian frame. GG, made in USA, cheaper.
    I was recently in the same situation...needed a new bike & was considering all of the above (actually a SC HT, not LT)...went with the SC. The GG Smash was very attractive being made in the US & customizable fabrication. What ultimately swayed me was the better build for a complete bike the SC offered over the GG, and the ridiculously good warranty SC offers. I even opted for the upgraded carbon Reserve wheelset because of it. My reservations regarding the Pivot were the press-fit BB & rear hub width.
    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    Hi Everyone,


    Looking to get a longer travel trail/enduro bike for rowdier terrain and occasional bike park duty. I currently have a short travel full suspension XC bike that I plan to keep, so this new addition would be for "bigger" days on the trail.


    I'm fairly new to MTB'ing (been doing it for two years now) so even though I had a chance to demo both bikes I can't say I have a favorite in terms of the ride. Unfortunately I wasn't able to demo both on the same terrain, but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I would really be able to choose a clear favorite unless I demoed both on the same trail back to back. The SB really struck me as an agile bike which I liked a lot. I was able to demo that bike on a trail I ride all the time. The HTLT was ridden on a trail I had never been before which made it tougher to objectively tell how the bike rode.


    The builds I'm looking at are the S build for the SC and the X01 build for the SB, essentially the same specs: Eagle GX, Fox Performance fork and shock.


    I'm leaning more towards the HTLT at this point for a couple reasons: the build I'm looking at is $900 cheaper and it doesn't use the boost spacing for hubs. I've already knocked the wheels out of true on my current bike and I'd like the flexibility to get a new wheelset if I need to for this new bike down the road.


    Curious what other riders thoughts are on these two. Also, for those of you that have been riding for a longer period of time, should I be concerned about the ability to get new wheels down the road for the SB? Any other thoughts on the bikes or specs?


    Thanks
    I didn't ride the HT LT, but several rides on the HT vs. the Pivot & did not find the Pivot to be more nimble at all. Since the Pivot SB & SC HT have the same rear travel & 29/27+ wheel options, why are you comparing the HT LT to the Pivot?

    ​EDIT: Didn't notice how old the post was.


  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jncarpenter View Post
    Since the Pivot SB & SC HT have the same rear travel & 29/27+ wheel options, why are you comparing the HT LT to the Pivot?

    ​EDIT: Didn't notice how old the post was.
    I knew I wanted something in the longer travel range. With 135 in the back the SB definitely falls in the cracks a bit between truly long travel 29ers and medium travel bikes, still I like how capable the bike feels with its Fox 36.

    To me the rear end feels short and playful. It's easy to get the front wheel up and the rear wheel in the air or around tight corners.

    I'm not interested in 27.5+ wheelsets right now, so I didn't mind that the HTLT can't run them. That's why I was looking at these two bikes...

  28. #28
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    I went with a 2018 HTLT S-Build and after riding/analyzing the bike market to death. It's really hard to make a decision unless you physically ride the bikes you are considering. Seat tube angle, head tube angle, reach, and just overall feel are variables in the equation. The one thing that I found to be true with the HTLT is that it climbs VERY well and smashes through stuff painlessly with the 29 x 2.4 tires. I have not noticed any agility concerns with the HTLT. The only thing that bugs me a little is the 780mm bars. They are pretty wide for many of the trails I ride. I'll probably cut them down a bit this spring.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by eman555 View Post
    I knew I wanted something in the longer travel range. With 135 in the back the SB definitely falls in the cracks a bit between truly long travel 29ers and medium travel bikes, still I like how capable the bike feels with its Fox 36.

    To me the rear end feels short and playful. It's easy to get the front wheel up and the rear wheel in the air or around tight corners.

    I'm not interested in 27.5+ wheelsets right now, so I didn't mind that the HTLT can't run them. That's why I was looking at these two bikes...
    I was simply saying, on paper, the HT & SB are very close geometry-wise (save a bit more reach & .2" less CS on the SB). Same travel, and both can run the 2 different wheel formats.


  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver54 View Post
    The only thing that bugs me a little is the 780mm bars. They are pretty wide for many of the trails I ride. I'll probably cut them down a bit this spring.
    I ordered an S build and the 780mm bars are the only thing I had the bike shop swap for me, except it was for 800mm bars. I ride on the east coast and have developed a talent for smacking trees with my bars and not crashing.

  31. #31
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    Why compare a 150mm SC to a 135mm Pivot?

    Based on your description, I'd go with the 150mm bike, either a HTLT or one of Pivot's longer travel offerings.

  32. #32
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    I've put about 200 miles on my LT so far. It is an absolute beast on chunky trails...but is happy and capable to romp up a steep or long or both climb w a very decent attitude.

    Bikes are very good these days...this one ticks MANY boxes though. It does nothing poorly...except cost a lot.

    I didn't choose a Pivot because (dumb reason) they look complicated and the sizing isn't quite what I need.

    Aside from that...I love my Tallboy3 and knew the LT is a burlier good time than that...and oh boy..is it.

    Lifetime warranty on frame and bearings and rims is hard to pass up too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz HTLT or a Pivot Switchblade???-img_0202.jpg  


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    I've had my HTLT for a week now. I have much more confidence on the descents and jumps. It felt very natural right off the bat. It pedals very efficiently. The only negative is the slack seat tube angle. Maybe it's not an issue for most people but with my 36" inseam I end up further back than I'd like. Steep technical climbing is more of a challenge than I expected despite how efficient it is.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I've had my HTLT for a week now. I have much more confidence on the descents and jumps. It felt very natural right off the bat. It pedals very efficiently. The only negative is the slack seat tube angle. Maybe it's not an issue for most people but with my 36" inseam I end up further back than I'd like. Steep technical climbing is more of a challenge than I expected despite how efficient it is.
    How low are your bars? With the fork so much taller, I was able to drop the stem 20mm. Made a huge difference for me on the climbs.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre View Post
    How low are your bars? With the fork so much taller, I was able to drop the stem 20mm. Made a huge difference for me on the climbs.
    I haven't measured it yet but I think the bars are about an inch lower than the seat. I might try removing a spacer from under the stem.

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