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First Ride: Pivot’s All-New Mach 5.5 Carbon

Pivot reinvents its do-it-all trail bike

Pivot Cycles launched into the high-end mountain bike scene in 2007 with its Mach 4 and Mach 5 full-suspension, alloy cross-country and trail bikes. The Mach 5.7 Carbon came a few years later, which as their first carbon bike was so popular it essentially doubled the size of the company.

It's been a few years since Pivot’s had a modern, 130- to 140-millimeter-travel, non-29er bike in their line, which opened the door for the Mach 5.5. I spent a couple days riding a size medium of the super-playful new bike in Moab.


Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon Frame & Build Details

Like all of Pivot’s full-suspension offerings, the entirely carbon Mach 5.5 frame utilizes the dw-link design to operate its 140 millimeters of rear wheel travel, which is mated to a 160-millimeter-travel fork. It features Pivot's long-and-low geometry and still makes room for a bottle inside the front triangle.

The results of Pivot’s R&D process led to them speccing Maxxis' Wide Trail 2.6" Minion DHF front tire and 2.6" Rekon rear tire combination. These are designed around rims in the 35-millimeter internal range, and provide tons of traction and rollover advantages, without the wallow and bounce often experienced with plus tires. For those not interested in bigger rubber, the Mach 5.5 Carbon can run any 27.5 tire combination, from 2.1-2.6 inches.

The Maxxis Minion DHF 2.6" tire handles a lot more like a regular DHF tire than a Plus size version.

Pivot incorporated the same shock clevis and pivot cartridge bearing design found on their longer-travel Firebird and Phoenix models. Enduro Max bearings are used throughout. The Mach 5.5 also gets a removable front derailleur mount for riders who want to run Shimano's new side-swing front derailleur system, as well as full Di2 electronic integration. Cable routing for the shifter, brake and dropper runs internally, sans internal tubes, via the Pivot Cable Port system. Other essential details include rubber frame protection in key places and a 180-mil post-mount rear brake.

The Mach 5.5's attention to detail is remarkable. Little things like how the internal cable routing can be pulled taught and tightened down in place to prevent the hoses and cables from rattling inside the frame can go unnoticed.

The Mach 5.5 is claimed to match the Mach 6 Carbon in terms of durability, while achieving the svelte weight of their Mach 429 SL frame. The lightest-claimed weight for a complete Mach 5.5 equipped with a dropper post is under 27 pounds, with frame weights as low as 5.2 pounds.


Build Details and Pricing

Speaking of completes, the Mach 5.5 comes in a whopping nine different Shimano or SRAM configurations ranging in price from $4,899 to $10,199. Framesets go for $3,099. Each Mach 5.5 is equipped with Pivot's own Phoenix cockpit compentry, featuring a 35-mil clamp carbon handlebar on eight of the nine models, plus Pivot stems. Although Pivot's component line was specifically designed to optimize their own bike models, the impressive and still growing line of bars, stems, grips, and saddles are available aftermarket at the Pivot website and through their dealers.

The Mach 5.5 Carbon uses Boost 148 x 12mm hub/wheel spacing.

Along with nine complete build offerings, Pivot offers a variety of upgrades for their Team and Pro kits. Hard-charging riders seeking optimized shock absorption on rowdy trails and big hits can go opt for Fox Float X2 shock (additional $399) over the standard, in-line Fox Float DPS EVOL shock. All Mach 5.5 Team builds are equipped with the Reynolds carbon wheels with the 36-millimeter internal width, and each complete Pro-level build can be upgraded to the Reynolds wheels for $1300.

Most upper guides on the market will fit the Mach 5.5, and can be mounted to the ISCG '05 tabs.


Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon Ride Impressions

With eye-catching lines and remarkable attention to detail throughout, the new Mach 5.5 is one of those rare bikes that looks like something special even when it's standing still. Although I only rode it for a few hours in total, a few key riding characteristics stood out: how well it pedaled, its agility and its ability to absorb harsh impacts at speed.

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Dw-link has long been one of the best-pedaling trail-bike suspension designs, and the Mach 5.5 demonstrated that to still be true. We did some demanding climbs over a lot of momentum-sucking Moab terrain, yet I rarely felt obligated to reach down and flip the shock lever into the pedal platform mode. On some smoother sections of trail I did run the Fox DPS shock in the middle trail pedal mode, which made the efficient machine even punchier when on the gas.

Moab’s rugged trails are brutal on bikes, however the agile-handling Mach 5.5 carved through the twisting lines with precision. For as nimble as it handled, when it came time to charge chundery terrain the bike absorbed harsh impacts and encouraged me to look for terrain features to challenge its capabilities. Two long, demanding rides can tell a person a lot about a bike, and so far I’m looking forward to putting more time in on the Mach 5.5.

See all Mach 5.5 models here.


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