CJSuspension
7 min readDec 21, 2021

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You met the CJ Suspension staff in our last post, and now you get to meet the bikes!

BIKE CHECK : KURT MCDONALD : 2020 PIVOT SHUTTLE

Kurt has been lucky enough to be riding one of Eddie’s Pivot Shuttle e-bikes for the past wee while, and has set it up with some components and upgrades you won’t find on a regular stock Pivot Shuttle.

Let’s touch base on the e-bike topic first. Here at CJ Suspension we believe that modern-day, aggressive, all-mountain style e-bikes are the ultimate form of mountain bike. If you haven’t had an opportunity to ride one to its full potential then your opinion on e-bikes doesn’t matter. Talk to anyone who has taken one for a proper ride on trails they are familiar with and they will 100 percent agree that it was one of the funnest rides they have ever had. E-bikes are far beyond what some people claim as “cheating” or “taking the fun out of biking". E-biking is completely on its own level. It’s the opportunity to go ride your favorite track at the top of that massive hill on your half hour lunch break. It’s the opportunity to go ride 5 different tracks on 5 different massive hills on your day off instead of just the 1 or 2 tracks. You get to do more of the best part of mountain biking.

When Kurt first started to ride his e-bike he thought the catch would be that it didn’t descend as well as his regular Enduro bike (Pivot Firebird 29) but he was quickly proven wrong. E-bikes have no pedal kick-back when moving through its suspension travel so it makes the rider feel super planted on the bike. The extra weight of the motor and battery is centered and low so it works as beneficial weight giving endless traction and control. Those high off-camber lines become easy to execute, and jumping feels like you have the air stability of a heavier DH bike. Just a whole lot of YES PLEASE!

KURTS 2020 PIVOT SHUTTLE : CUSTOM BUILD : 29ER

  • FRAME : 2020 PIVOT SHUTTLE. 140MM TRAVEL. SIZE MEDIUM.
  • MOTOR : SHIMANO STEPS E8000
  • FORK : FOX 36. 160MM TRAVEL. VORSPRUNG SMASHPOT COIL SPRING CONVERSION SYSTEM. WSS LFD WIPER SEAL KIT. WPL BATH AND DAMPER OIL. FOX FIT 4 DAMPER WITH VORSPRUNG FRACTIVE TUNING KIT.

This is a very very very capable fork. Which is what an e-bike of this caliber needs!

The Vorsprung Fractive Tuning kit offers custom compression valving tailored for individual rider preferences and requirements. The Fractive kit eliminates the 3 position compression switch and converts into a HSC adjuster. The fork now has usable HSC and LSC adjustment, paired with the custom valving tune you get much more support through the travel instead of “blowing through it” which is exactly what an e-bike needs! More grip and control naturally come with these improvements.

The Vorsprung Smashpot coil spring conversion upgrade has been the biggest game changer for Kurt since riding this bike. Since Day 1 on the Shuttle, Kurt was struggling with finding a comfortable air pressure set up. E-bikes naturally need 10-20 PSI more air pressure (depending on make and model of fork) than regular bikes because of the extra overall weight of the bike. However, more air pressure gives you more lower leg pneumatic ramp which really effected the small bump sensitivity. On top of that, even with the extra air pressure added to reach 20% sag, once on trail the fork would sit far beyond the sag point because of the extra forced moving weight of the bike. He added more volume reducers to help with the mid stroke support but was only to discover a super heavy “wall” at bottom out. Kurt was losing small bump traction while also dealing with his front end diving in corners, not an enjoyable combo!

Day 1 at CJ Suspension he fitted the Smashpot and all the issues were resolved. Coil springs give you zero spring rate variation when compressing through its travel, which allows more mid-stroke support and consistency. Add in Vorsprungs externally adjustable hydraulic bottom out resistance technology which is a speed sensitive shimmed valve that engages progressively and seamlessly in the last 50mm of travel, bringing the fork to a smooth and controlled stop in the deep end, Kurt had immediately ironed out all the issues he was having with his stock set up. Pair these things up with the forever plush, small bump sensitivity that coil springs are known for and you have the dream set up. Modern air spring technology and Vorsprung upgrades like the Luftkappe and Secus have started to iron out these paticular points, but what you get from the Smashpot coil is zero stiction or friction from moving seals inside the spring, and a lasting plush feel without moving seals drying up and wearing out. Set and forget type of set up, and your fork will feel fresh right up until it’s next service interval. Bloody beautiful!

The Smashpot created a feel Kurt could have only dreamt of beforehand. Super plush beginning stroke and endless small bump sensitivity, extra mid stroke support which keeps the ride balanced in the travel and no front end dive, then the beauty of the externally adjustable bottom out support to smoothen out the end stroke. Plush and predictable, tunable and bottomless. The Smashpot is a great up-grade for all bikes but Kurt’s convinced that it is a must have up-grade for e-bikes.

Both the Vorsprung Fractive and Smashpot are available at CJ Suspension, aswell as the WSS LFD Wiper kits and WPL Suspension oil.

  • SHOCK : FOX FACTORY FLOAT X2
  • SEATPOST : FOX FACTORY TRANSFER 175MM
  • SADDLE : DEITY
  • HANDLEBAR : DEITY BLACKLABEL, 780MM WIDE, 38MM RISE, 31.8MM CLAMP SIZE.
  • STEM : DEITY BLACKLABEL 50MM LENGTH
  • GRIPS : REVGRIPS PRO SYSTEM 32.5MM

Kurt has been running the Revgrip Pros well before he started working for CJ. He was first introduced to them by Reece Wilson (2020 World DH Champ) when they worked together on the Bergamont Factory Team in 2017. Reece was an early ambassador for the Revgrips brand, and one day out of the blue asked Kurt to fit them to his race bike. One car park test later and Kurt was convinced. It was the tread pattern and comfort of the grips compound that Kurt liked, and once on the trail the shock absorbing technology was a bonus! Kurt runs the minimum amount of float (no tuning washers) and the “Race" inserts which are the softest compound insert. These grips are available at CJ Suspension.

  • BRAKES : HAYES DOMINION A4.
  • DERAILLEUR : SHIMANO XT 12 SPEED
  • SHIFTER : SHIMANO XTR 12 SPEED
  • CASSETTE : SHIMANO XT 12 SPEED 11-52T
  • CRANKS : SHIMANO XT E BIKE
  • WHEELS : REYNOLDS BLACK LABEL DH CARBON RIMS, LACED TO INDUSTRY 9 HYDRA HUBS.
  • TYRE INSERT : CUSH CORE IN THE REAR
  • TYRES : MAXXIS ASSEGAI DH FRONT, MAXXIS MINION DHF REAR
  • CHAINSTAY PROTECTION : STFU 12 SPEED

The Shuttle was already a super quiet bike, and this product eliminated any left over noises so now it is a super silent rig. You can purchase STFU chain stay protection from CJ Suspension.

All products that Kurt specs with his bikes he genuinely trusts and is confident riding with them. Their is a special feeling when you get to ride a bike and every component has earnt its place with the rider. Some would say that it’s satisfaction at its finest.

Beautiful.

Photo credit: Ryan Lucas @ Social Focus NZ

Links to feature products

Vorsprung Smashpot coil spring conversion upgrade

Vorsprung Fractive Tuning kit

Revgrip Pro System

STFU BIKE

cjsuspension.co.nz

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CJSuspension

Specialising in MTB Suspension for the Oceania region and Distributing major brands such as Revgrips, OCHAIN, WSS, WPL, Vorsprung, RacingBros + MORE!