Dream Bike Build: High-Pivot From the Scottish Highlands

The Scots are known for whisky, the loch ness monster, and now, high-pivot mountain bikes. Today, I take a Deviate Highlander 150 frame and turn it into my dream enduro rig.

Deviate Highlander 150 dream high pivot MTB build

Written by
Bruce Lin

Published on

Posted in
Bikes

High-pivot bikes are so hot right now. It seems like every other week, another brand jumps on the bandwagon and releases a bike with this new (but sorta old) suspension technology. So here I am, riding a non-high-pivot bike built in some long-forgotten time (it’s a 2019 model). With a season full of gnarly trails on the horizon, I think it’s time I get on the bandwagon and experience what all the hype is about. 

The goal of today’s dream build is to create the ultimate high-pivot enduro bike. This bike will need to handle everything from my local lunch loop to gnarly Big Mountain Enduro racing. What I came up with is a beautiful, blue, Scottish-bred trail weapon.

High-pivot MTB frame

Deviate Highlander 150

[product-block handle="deviate-highlander-150-frame-large"/] 

I need something a bit more exotic than a Cannondale or Norco, so I’ve gone to the land of bagpipes and scotch whisky. Deviate is a small Scottish company, and like a good indie band, it was strumming the high-pivot chords before it was cool. Its latest 150mm travel Highlander 150 was one of the earliest high-pivot trail bikes on the market, and among high-pivots, it’s one of the highest. The idler pulley is positioned nearly halfway up the seat tube, giving you an ultra-plush rearward axle path that easily soaks up bumps and excels on chunky terrain. To cap off its downhill credentials it uses 29” wheels, a slack 65-degree headtube, long reach, and a highly-tunable Cane Creek DB Kitsuma shock. 

[button]Shop MTB frames[/button]

Fork

Fox Factory 36

[product-block handle="/nc_2021-fox-factory-36-grip2-fork-160mm"/] 

To match the Cane Creek DB Kitsuma shock, this dream build needs a beefy fork with an equally advanced damper. Enter the Fox Factory 36 with 160mm of travel and the Grip2 damper. The redesigned 36 has stiffer lowers that use a floating axle and bleeder valves to keep it feeling plush and stiction free. The Grip2 damper provides adjustable high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping, so suspension geeks can dial it in to suit the roughest tracks. 

[button]Shop MTB forks[/button]

Wheels & tires

Revel RW30 MTB wheels

[product-block handle="revel-rw30-industry-nine-hydra-boost-carbon-tubeless-29-wheelset"/]

Maxxis Minion DHF DoubleDown - $99.99 (x2)
CushCore XC Tire Insert Set - $149.00

My first instinct with dream builds is to get ENVE wheels. But for this “indie” Deviate frame, I think going with an “indie” wheel manufacturer will be a nice touch. That’s why I picked the Revel RW30 wheels. I actually ride these wheels on my current bike, and I love the stiff but well-damped feel, as well as the instant engagement of the Industry Nine Hydra hubs. Plus, they’re made in America, have a generous warranty, and the Fusion-Fiber rims are recyclable if I manage to blow them up. The chances of that happening are low though, since I’m installing some tough Maxxis Minions with the DoubleDown casing and supplementing them with CushCore XC tire inserts. 

[button]Shop MTB wheels[/button]

Drivetrain

SRAM Eagle XX1 X01 drivetrainSRAM XX1 Eagle Rear Derailleur - $305.99
SRAM XX1 Eagle Shifter - $169.99
SRAM X01 Eagle Cassette - $384.99
Truvativ Stylo Crankset - $89.99
SRAM DUB Bottom Bracket - $38.99
CeramicSpeed UFO KMC Chain 12-speed - $139.99

To reach the highest echelon of dream builds, I’d need a fully wireless SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS group. Unfortunately, supply chain issues have struck again, and we currently don’t have any AXS shifters in stock (check back later though because our inventory is constantly changing). Oh well, I guess I’ll have to “settle” for an XX1/X01 Eagle mechanical drivetrain. Poor me! To make things a bit more special, I’ll drop some extra coin on a low-friction CeramicSpeed UFO chain. I’m a full-on wax convert now and the pre-prepped UFO chain will make it easy to keep my drivetrain and the Highlander's massive idler pulley pristinely clean

[button]Shop components[/button]

Brakes

SRAM G2 Ultimate MTB brakesSRAM G2 Ultimate Front - $285.99
SRAM G2 Ultimate Rear - $285.99
SRAM Centerline 220mm Rotor - $55.99
SRAM Centerline 203mm Rotor - $55.99

When it’s time to anchor up on a steep downhill, I want brakes with ample modulation and power. SRAM’s G2 Ultimates use solid 4-piston calipers that have great feel and some extra bling in the form of carbon levers and titanium hardware. Pair them with a massive 220/203mm rotor combo and they’ll have no problem staying cool on long descents and slowing down my 190-pound carcass. 

[button]Shop MTB brakes[/button]

Cockpit

Deviate Highlander MTB cockpitFox Factory Transfer Dropper Seatpost 150mm - $359.99
Wolf Tooth ReMote - $69.95
Chromag HiFi 35 Stem - $39.99
Race Face Next R Handlebars - $179.99
ODI Elite Pro Grips - $28.99
Fizik Alpaca Gravita X5 Saddle - $98.99

To finish things off, we need a Fox Factory Transfer dropper with the gold Kashima treatment to match the fork. I’ll get a blue Chromag stem to match the blue frame, and add my favorite Race Face Next R handlebars and ODI Elite Pro grips. For my backside, I want to try the new Fizik Alpaca Gravita, a stubby gravity-oriented saddle that’s comfortable for pedaling but becomes invisible on technical descents.  

[button]Shop Accessories[/button]

Total Cost: $8,830.75

This bike might seem super expensive, but for a high-end dream build, it’s actually reasonable. You’re getting an exotic, full-carbon, high-pivot frame equipped with top-of-the-line suspension, wheels, and drivetrain components. With this set-up you’ll dominate the gnarliest trails, or at least look like you can. 

Will this custom-built Deviate Highlander get me on an enduro podium this year? Uh… I don’t know. But once I line up at the start gate, the plush high-pivot might make me feel a bit brave. Imbued with some Scottish fighting spirit, I can stare down my opponents and utter the immortal words of Connor MacLeod: “There can be only one.”   

[button]Shop mountain bikes[/button]

More from Bikes

  • Race to Summer: Kick-Start Your Dream MTB Build
    Race to Summer: Kick-Start Your Dream MTB Build
    Bikes

    Race to Summer: Kick-Start Your Dream MTB Build

  • Santa Cruz Showdown: 2020 Hightower vs. 2017 Hightower
    Santa Cruz Showdown: 2020 Hightower vs. 2017 Hightower
    Bikes

    Santa Cruz Showdown: 2020 Hightower vs. 2017 Hightower

  • Race to Summer: Kick-Start Your Dream Road Build
    Race to Summer: Kick Start Your Dream Road Build
    Bikes

    Race to Summer: Kick-Start Your Dream Road Build

  • Why I Bought A Specialized Aethos
    Why I Bought A Specialized Aethos
    Bikes

    Why I Bought A Specialized Aethos

  • Dream Bike Quiver: Limited Editions Only
    Dream Quiver of limited edition bikes
    Bikes

    Dream Bike Quiver: Limited Editions Only

  • Q: What Bike Is Criminally Underrated?
    Q: What Bike Is Criminally Underrated?
    Bikes

    Q: What Bike Is Criminally Underrated?

  • Dueling Diverges: The 2021 vs. 2015 Specialized Diverge
    Dueling Diverges: The 2021 vs. 2015 Specialized Diverge
    Bikes

    Dueling Diverges: The 2021 vs. 2015 Specialized Diverge

  • Q: What's Your Dream One-Bike Quiver?
    Q: What's Your Dream One-Bike Quiver?
    Bikes

    Q: What's Your Dream One-Bike Quiver?

  • The Rare and Stunning Colnago C59 Ottanta
    The Rare and Stunning Colnago C59 Ottanta
    Bikes

    The Rare and Stunning Colnago C59 Ottanta

  • Dream Bike Quiver: Spring-y Bikes
    Dream Bike Quiver: Springy Bikes
    Bikes

    Dream Bike Quiver: Spring-y Bikes

  • Best-Selling Bikes of 2022 (So Far)
    Best selling used bikes of winter 2022
    Bikes

    Best-Selling Bikes of 2022 (So Far)

New Arrivals

SHOP BIKES

Newsletter Sign Up