A new job and a beaten-down bike crystallized the moment to acquire a demo Pivot Switchblade in 2017. A glorious moment! Despite loving everything about the bike and being a much better bike than I arguably need for my skill level – I’ve longed for a return to the hubs that graced the old whip, the Industry 9.
Choosing a wheel
Not sure when I’d heard about or seen the Danny MacAskill video/promo for the Santa Cruz Reserve wheels. In short, he’s challenged to break the wheels, so he drops the pressure on the tires, starts hitting concrete edges, blocks, and stairs – wheel first at full throttle – eventually with a fully flat tire -and then without a tire at all! The best product demo of all time! I had to get it. Now, eventually, he broke it – which only adds to the integrity of the demo challenge.
Lifetime warranty – that’s hard to beat on something that will get this much beating. I can’t throw 20% of what Danny threw down in that video – except with the advantage of my increased weight.
A great guy, Mark, runs the great local bike shop Centraal Cycle, which features Santa Cruz products. While struggling to catch him and his crew during a trail encounter, I threw out the idea of a pair of these hoops.
Covid era shortages and three months later – and he expertly built up a set of these for my ride. It was not a stock option – with Superboost spacing on the Pivot Switchblade. Mark set me up with spoke choices that perfectly matched my preferences and the local riding conditions.
The Hub is as Important
I was equally and possibly more excited for the ratcheting spec of the i9 Hyrda Super Boost hub – which around these parts is a game-changer when maneuvering the rocky sections. With .52 degrees of engagement versus the 5 to 10 degrees of your average hub.
There is a quiet confidence in a carbon wheel. We hit a ton of rocks around here – and the ability to just hit without worry boosts the confidence – while the dampened sound (imagined?) makes it all a bit smoother. Does it make a difference? After three months of use – I’m surprised how many things I cleaned 10% of the time have turned into 50% of the time. It’s that good. It’s hub too, it’s also new rubber, and it’s the effect of WANTING to believe it matters. Hard to rule that out.
During a major session up in the Slate Valley Trails of VT – these wheels were the wind beneath my wings. That kind of cheesy love. And – the first time a Bette Midler reference happened in a MTB blog. Ha.