Moving put: We found the Les Fat to have a comfortable cockpit, even after we pointed the stem down and dropped the bars 5
to 10 millimeters. The Les Fat’s fit falls between that of a trailbike
and a cross-country bike, allowing riders to be slightly leaned
forward while still being comfortable and ready to tackle steep
descents. The 197-millimeter rear axle and 150-millimeter front,
coupled with a wide bottom bracket, may feel unusual to riders not
familiar with fat bikes. Riders new to fat bikes will get used to it
quickly, and current fat bikers will be more than pleased with the
Les Fat’s overall feel.
Climbing: The Pivot Les Fat climbs surprisingly well with
either size tires due to its stiff and efficient frame and fork. The
RockShox Bluto provided us with a stiff platform to get out of the
saddle, and the stiff carbon hardtail frame transferred power to the
ground well. Long climbs with either wheelset quickly revealed the
added weight, but rolling hills and even some punchy climbs were
shown no mercy by the Les Fat. For a big-tire bike, the Les Fat
has some serious gumption.
Cornering: Traction was no concern with either our 4-inch-
wide Maxxis Mammoth tires or our 3-inch-wide Maxxis Chronicle
tires, but handling was slightly affected. Our 4-inch-wide tires
steered slower, which wasn’t a bad thing—it just took some getting used to. A shorter stem could remedy the issue, but many
fat bikers are accustomed to the unique feel of big-tire steering
already. The 3-inch-wide tires, on the other hand, felt more natural, allowing us to toss the bike around on the trails easily. These
tires gave us the ability to go into corners just as fast, but seemed
to maintain speed better as we exited the turns. For foul-weather
riding, the fat tires had their benefits, but for a normal day on the
trails, the plus tires excelled.
Descending: The Les Fat is a trail-shredding machine in disguise. Equipped with 3-inch-plus-sized tires, the Les Fat rolled
faster, held traction well and offered snappier handling than with
the 4-inch-wide tires. Don’t be fooled, though; the fat tires still had
good descending capabilities. When fat tires entered the equation,
the Les Fat turned into a beast, ready to run over anything in its
path. With both wheel sizes, the RockShox Bluto was the unsung
hero, providing a plush feel with its 100 millimeters of travel.
Bottom line: don’t get in the Les Fat’s way.
Braking: Big tires need big brakes, which is why Pivot spec’d
SRAM Guide Ultimates on the Les Fat. These four-piston brakes
mean business and will stop any big-tire bike dead in its tracks.
Getting braking power to the ground is the next important issue,
and Maxxis’ Mammoth and Chronicle tires both did a great job of
grabbing the earth and stopping its rotation underneath our Les
Fat. During wheelset swaps we noticed the brakes needed a slight
adjustment, but with the Guide’s tool-free contact point adjuster,
we moved the dial a few clicks and were ready to go.
RockShox Bluto: The Les
Fat’s suspension fork gave
our test riders confidence
during descents and great
climbing efficiency during
Power to the wheel: The Les Fat’s drivetrain is top of the line
with SRAM’s smooth-shifting XX1 rear derailleur and E*Thirteen’s
fat bike-specific TRS crank.
Quick and nimble: Compared to fat tires, the 27.5-inch-
plus tires gave the Pivot Les Fat a quick and nimble feel on
singletrack. These tires rolled fast while still providing tons of
traction. The fat tires, however, excel in foul-weather conditions.