Pivot revives the carbon singlespeed hardtail

Pivot's LES is one of the very few contemporary carbon 29ers which can run singlespeed
Pivot's LES singlespeed is light and can clear '2.35 width rear tyres (image credit: Pivot) (Image credit: Pivot)

Pivot has launched an extremely niche version of its LES racing hardtail, which should have deep appeal to those riders who don’t believe in gears, as it reintroduces singlespeed to the LES frameset. 

A dedicated XC racing bike, the LES is designed to be light and enable its rider to power up climbs and cover terrain with maximum efficiency. Pivot updated the LES recently, but with the new specification, one of this hardtail’s most appealing features disappeared: its ability to run singlespeed.

Although singlespeed riders are a minority, they do constitute one of the most committed mountain bike groupings. These mountain bikers prefer the simplicity of having only one gear, for its lighter weight, straighter chain line and lower associated maintenance compared to a traditional geared drivetrain.  

Pivot has now reintroduced singlespeed functionality to its LES, by refitting the brand’s clever sliding dropouts to the 2020 specification LES frame. With its unique sliding dropout system, you can have simplified chain tensioning, without annoyance, yet the frame retains the capability to fit a derailleur and run a geared set up.

The Pivot LES singlespeed uses a Swinger II dropout system, which holds a 148mm rear axle in place. To adjust chain tension, you simply loosen twin oversized bolts on each side, which relaxes the Swinger II system and allow index screws to adjust your sliding dropout position.

Singlespeed bikes are a very niche market and Pivot is one of the very few brands which offer a dedicated singlespeed frame (with sliding dropout convenience) in carbon. The medium size frame, with the Swinger II dropouts in pace, weights 1346g.

The only real difference between the LES and this new Singlepeed variant is weight, with the singlespeed version being 301g heavier, owing to the presence of that Swinger II dropout system. All other fundamental frame features are similar. That means an XC orientated 69.5-degree head angle (forked at 100mm) and compact geometry, which prioritises a powerful climbing position.

If you desire to convert your LES Singlespeed to a super-efficient winter singletrack weapon, Pivot’s headtube specification is rated to run a 130mm front fork. And the 30.9mm seat tube will accommodate a host of dropper seatpost options, with internal cable routing.

If you desire a modern 29er singlespeed, in carbon, this latest Pivot LES singlespeed frame starts at $2099, with a full build priced at $4699.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for MBR.com, Off-Road.cc and Cycling News.