Today, Pivot Cycles released a dramatically updated carbon Vault, but the new bike refuses to be pigeon-holed into being just a gravel bike. The new Vault aims to be your cyclocross bike, road bike and gravel bike, without compromise.
We first spied the bike at Sea Otter, then at Dirty Kanza and hours later under Jamey Driscoll as he whizzed by at Lost and Found. Now we have official details of the latest quiver-killer from Pivot.
Longer, Lower, Shorter and a Bump Up in Clearance
Pivot took its popular Vault frameset and stretched out the front-center, shortened the rear and dropped the bottom bracket a bit. Bikes gained a bit in reach, while they sit 5mm lower due to an increased bottom bracket drop.
New Pivot Vault owners likely won’t notice the lower bottom bracket because they’ll offset it by enjoying the frame’s compatibility with bigger, high-volume tires.
More tire clearance means Pivot lengthened the chainstays, right? Surprisingly, Pivot did the opposite. It dropped both of the Vault’s chainstays and made their effective length 5mm shorter.
The shaped, dropped chainstays paired with the 86mm-wide 386EVO bottom bracket shell adds up to massive tire clearance. It’s bumped up to 700c x 47mm, or 650b x 2.0″. For mudders like the Pivot-sponsored Courtenay McFadden, Grant Ellwood and Jamey Driscoll, that’s a ton of clearance around 33mm cyclocross tires.
The dropped non-drive-side chainstay also helps with tire clearance and compatibility with non-drive-side power meter crank arms including those from Stages and Shimano.
[caption id="attachment_136455" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] We first spied Pivot’s all-new versatile Vault cyclocross/gravel bike with its dual dropped chainstays at Sea Otter. © Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]
Pivot didn’t just add reach and tire clearance. It also added an extra size that looks like it’s aimed at the taller folks. While the old Vault had four frame sizes, the new Vault has five, with a new XL frameset.
Less Bump for Your Rump
The company also added vibration absorption out back, but unlike Cannondale or Trek, it avoided relying on its namesake for compliance—no pivot here. Instead, Pivot added a 56-gram rubber insert to isolate the seat post from the seat tube and surface vibrations.
[caption id="attachment_136462" align="aligncenter" width="1188"] Pivot’s all-new versatile Vault cyclocross/gravel bike boasts Pivot’s patent-pending ISO FLEX insert to isolate the seat post from vibration. It relies on a standard splined bottom bracket tool for removal. © Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]
The patent-pending insert, called ISO FLEX, pairs with a compliant Pivot Cycles carbon post to serve up rider comfort, while the rest of the Vault frame aims to deliver stiff, efficient power transfer.
[caption id="attachment_136457" align="aligncenter" width="1173"] Pivot’s all-new versatile Vault cyclocross/gravel bike features the patent-pending ISO FLEX vibration-absorbing insert. We got our first sneak peek at Sea Otter. © Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]
Think adding the ISO FLEX insert makes for a heavy frame? Pivot says the insert weighs less than 60 grams, and a size medium frame weighs under 1,000 grams. That’s a whopping 300 grams lighter than the previous Vault (or 2/3 of a pound for imperial thinkers).
Worried that the plush rear will make for an out-of-balance ride due to a rigid front end? Pivot aims to please, and has designed its frame to allow for ample clearance for a Fox AX Adventure Cross suspension fork’s crown.
Drop Baby, Drop
Pivot’s ISO FLEX system not only isolates a 27.2mm seat post from road or gravel vibration, it also offers a 30.9mm option that expands dropper post options for those looking to get down for the big descents.
The 30.9mm option has less vibration-absorbing material and a harder durometer than the 27.2mm option, but should please riders who aren’t satisfied with the 27.2mm dropper posts on the market.
That being said, the 27.2mm ISO FLEX insert offers a plusher ride than the 30.9mm option.
The new Vault comes with the 27.2mm ISO FLEX insert as original equipment, but Pivot offers its 30.9mm ISO FLEX insert is an aftermarket accessory that will soon be available from Pivot’s web store.
Pivot thankfully designed the ISO FLEX insert to rely on common tools. A splined bottom bracket tool like the Park BBT-9 is all you need to swap out the insert.
Accessories and Options
A do-it-all bike wouldn’t live up to its billing if it couldn’t accept modern accessories.
The new Vault is ready to haul year ’round with a top tube bag mount, three-bolt adventure mount on the down tube and hidden fender mounts, yet remains true to its racing heritage in that it’s not fully covered in frame barnacles for every possible contraption.
Want to run two chainrings? Pivot offers an Ultegra 2x build, and claims its ultra-stiff front derailleur mount delivers great shifting. Prefer the single ring life? The mount disappears with an integrated cover.
Aspire to run Shimano Di2? The port under the down tube offers space for a battery and allows for easy internal wiring.
[caption id="attachment_136456" align="aligncenter" width="1251"] Pivot’s all-new versatile Vault cyclocross/gravel bike has a port by the bottom bracket to assist with the all-internal routing, and store a Di2 battery. © Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]
Shimano Ultegra Gravel, or SRAM AXS eTap ’Cross?
Pivot offers the new Vault as a $2699 frameset, as a Shimano “Pro Ultegra” mechanical 2x build for $5199, or with a SRAM “Team Force” AXS eTap 1x build for $6699.
The Ultegra build looks gravel ready, with a Praxis Zayante crankset with 49/32 rings and an 11-34 cassette. The DT Swiss CR 1600 Spline wheels roll on Maxxis Rambler 40mm gravel tires.
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The SRAM Force AXS eTap build also rolls on Rambler gravel tires, but appears more cyclocross-oriented to our eyes. It matches a SRAM Force 1 DUB crankset with a 36t X-Sync II ring with a 10-33 SRAM Force 12-speed cassette.
The 36/33 low gear may not be low enough for weekend gravel adventurers, but should be plenty low enough for most cyclocross racers. If not, owners could always convert their steed to “a mullet bike” with an Eagle rear derailleur and 10-50 cassette, but that would be a pricey upgrade.
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We’ve said it many times before, but it’s worth saying again. While we understand why big bike companies chase the latest trends and market bikes specific to niches, most of our readers don’t buy bikes looking to constrain themselves to riding only one season of the year, in just one discipline or on just one surface.
Pivot’s goal of “uncompromising versatility” with its new Vault looks like it should please cyclists who like to race or go fast, whether that’s on gravel, pavement or between the tape on a cyclocross course.
We anxiously await our test bike to see if such versatility brings compromises, or if Pivot Cycles found the magic formula.
Thankfully readers don’t have to wait, as select dealers already have the bikes available.
More info: pivotcycles.com
Pivot promotes the Vault’s versatility with its promo video below:
Pivot Cycles All-New Vault Photo Gallery: