What it does well: At a glance, the carbon fiber Pivot Vault looks a lot like the BMC: disc brakes and fat tires on a road bike. In actuality it’s a good example of the different approaches bike companies are taking to tackle this category. The shorter chainstays and lower bottom bracket height of the Vault come from the cyclocross world. That translates to better handling—your balance point is lower—in dirt. Our testers loved it on the XC singletrack in Carbondale. And you certainly could race it in a cyclocross race if that’s your thing.
What it does poorly: Our bike was built up with 33mm-wide Maxxis Mud Wrestler tires. You would not want to ride a century on those. This bike shines far brighter on gnarly roads and paths than on smooth pavement.
So who’s it for? Here’s a bike for gravel racing, adventure cycling, and the occasional cross race. 18.5 lbs.