WHICH BIKE AND WHY IN VERBIER | ALPINEROOTS MTB
Bike options in Verbier are tough. Do you pick Downhill, Enduro, XC, Gravel or Road? Road biking, mountain biking and all biking has begun in Valais, Switzerland for summer 2021. Verbier and it’s lifts are open!
The usual Verbier bike shops are open so that you can rent bikes any day of the week. As always, our partners at Mountain Air have a selection of new bikes for this season. They have enduro, downhill and electric mountain bikes with heavy support from Giant and Liv Bikes. Backside Verbier also have a fine selection of enduro mountain bikes including Santa Cruz bikes for rental, which is unusual for the Alps.
I personally have 3 bikes and would like to tell you about each one and why I have them.
3 Bikes And The Reasons Why
- PIVOT SWITCHBLADE – I’ve had this bike since March last year and it is my every day do everything bike. It slays in the Verbier Bikepark. Climbing is efficient with its DW Link, it’s great on single tracks and handles all the rough on the way down with its stiff SuperBoost back end.
- SCOTT GENIUS E-RIDE 920 – E-Mountain Bikes are a must have in the Swiss Alps. They can be used if you haven’t got much time but still want to enjoy the mountains. Alternatively they are a huge asset when the lifts are closed in the off season. My Scott Genius E-Ride 920 feels so planted you sometimes forget you are riding an Ebike. It’s a great looking bike and it does its job well.
- GIANT DEFY COMPOSITE – Comfortable and reliable. Road biking has become a social sport with its easy going attitude. Friends that aren’t able to come down some of the gnarly trails of Verbier can jump on a road bike and ride up a mountain climb. You can ride with a friend who isn’t as technically able as you are. It’s always a good catch up on the climbs, as long as you’re fit enough to pedal and talk. It allows people who wouldn’t normally ride together to do exactly that.
THE PIVOT SWITCHBLADE
This bike is amazing! The best bike I have ever ridden. It climbs so well and descends even better. Did I say this bike was good? Buying this bike from Matt at Dirtworks in Malvern, UK was one of the best things I’ve done.
Before, I’ve owned a PIVOT FIREBIRD(2017) and before that an ORANGE FIVE. The jump in confidence and speed from the Orange to the Pivot was insane. This Switchblade is just next level and the build quality is unbeatable. As you can imagine this bike is my favourite of the 3 because it just works so well. No rattles or excess trail noise just the sweet buzz from the Industry nine hubs on the Reynolds carbon rims.
Switchbacks are a dream on this bike with super short chain stays and direct steering from the short head tube. It would be hard to find a better bike suited to alpine terrain like the mountains we have here in Verbier.
Riding with a friend on his Scott Spark RC, we climbed up on the Bruson side of the valley opposite to Verbier. The route we took included road, gravel and loose single track uphill and then some undulation. The video below shows a high single track around the side of the mountain. We travelled just over 28km and climbed a total height of 1400m. I managed to hold my own against the XC bike that my friend was riding and then blew him away on the descent.
High Alpine Singletrack with Verbier Town to the Right
The E-Bike SCOTT GENIUS ERIDE 920
Needless to say, this bike climbs well. It feels planted on both the climbs and descents mountain biking in Verbier. The glued to the floor like feeling is great for climbing. The front of the bike stays where it should be and doesn’t wander like other bikes on the market. I got this bike direct from SCOTT Sports in Switzerland. Comparing this bike to other bikes similarly priced I feel this is the best bang for your buck when buying an EMTB. Loaded with Shimano XT components and Fox Shocks front and rear you feel it’s money well spent. The grip of this bike is next level with Schwalbe 2.6 tires you can plough through most things and come out upright.
I opted for this instead of the Scott Ransom eRIDE because I wanted to ride more technical single trail climbs. With a slightly steeper head tube so I can keep the front wheel from lifting in the trickier sections. The only let down to this bike is that it comes with a shock without a piggy back on it. This makes the shock heat up too much which I see to be a problem in the future (hope I don’t pop the shock too soon). Check out our E-bike blog.
Riding with a friend on his Giant Trance EMTB we set off on an adventure towards Zermatt. In tour mode on my Bosche powered bike I climbed up 2440m on a single battery. The loop was over 60km long and wouldn’t have been possible without having an extreme level of fitness. The possibilities of these bikes are amazing.
EMTB – Scott Genius ERIDE 920
THE GIANT DEFY COMPOSITE
Weight matters! I have had my Giant road bike nearly 10 years now. Over the years I have made small adjustments but last year it was time for an upgrade. I replaced the entire Shimano 105 groupset with a brand-new Ultegra R8000 Groupset. I also bought a new set of DT-SWISS Dicut wheels. With these new pieces and a few extra bits, I managed to get the weight of my bike to around 7-8kg. Needless to say, this bike climbs well now it is so lightweight.
The annual hill climb to the Mauvoisin Dam is tough and you need a light bike for the ascent. I completed the hill challenge in under an hour, beating a good friend from Haut Velo. Adam runs a road bike tour company and knows all that is road biking here in Switzerland.
These bikes are the bare minimum for people who love biking in the Alps. Of course there is always the rule of N+1 if you have enough space and money, but being a mountain bike guide in Verbier spending my days riding with clients and coaching them means that this is my selection.
Here at Alpine Roots we love all types of biking and to be fair there is no such thing as too many bikes! It’s great fun all over the mountain, riding everything, with everyone.
Be on the look out for the new PIVOT FIREBIRD 2022, I know I will be!