There’s a major issue with the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon: it just can’t be categorized. With 160 mm front travel, it excludes itself willingly from the trail bike moniker, but its 140 mm belligerently shuts off the enduro tag. Then its 2.6″-wide tires are neither plus-size, nor the regular fare for a 27.5″ bike. If anything, this bike is the epitome of a two-finger salute to bike categories. But in eschewing conventional labels, it also throws up the question of who might actually want to ride this?
It’s no secret that the American bike developer and Pivot founder Chris Cocalis is somewhat of a genius when it comes to bike design, but it might come as news to some that he’s also a seriously keen rider and his first bikes that he built were actually named after a cartoon series. As part of the Mach 5 line-up, which pays homage to the eponymously named car from the Speed Racer cartoon, today’s Mach 5.5 is the newest addition to the collection.
The Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon in detail
As the name suggests, 5.5 refers to the bike’s travel, with 5.5 roughly equivalent to 140 mm. In classic Pivot style, the Mach 5.5 relies on the DW-Link system, which not only lends the bike serious efficiency when it comes to its suspension and ignorance of pedal influence, but also a great wheel path. Pivot have adopted a new carbon lay-up consisting of high module carbon fibres, which are reputed to nail the balance of high stiffness and a low weight.
Carrying its weight well, Pivot have stated that the frame weighs in at 2.35 kg including the rear shock. The cables are routed into the frame through large entry ports. On the downtube there’s a slot where you can integrate a Di2 battery. Above the rear shock and around the rear end, there are rubber covers conceived for the imminent introduction of the FOX Live system. The frame has been optimized for use with a 160 mm fork and 27.5″ tires measuring up to 2.6” width. There’s also front mech compatibility if you feel the need for a double chainring.
The geometry of the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon
Pivot don’t want to exclude anyone from a piece of the stoke, so that’s why the new Mach 5.5 Carbon is being launched in 5 sizes (from XS to XL). It shows masses of investment, as each size has a different mold that has to be produced. The Mach 5.5 demonstrates some very typical modern geometry, with a satisfyingly long 460 mm reach for the size L frame, relatively short and snappy 430 mm chainstays and a decent middle-of-the-road 66.5° head angle.
|Seat tube [B]||356 mm||394 mm||425 mm||457 mm||495 mm|
|Top tube [A]||558 mm||584 mm||617 mm||639 mm||667 mm|
|Head tube||90 mm||105 mm||115 mm||125 mm||135 mm|
|Head angle [F]||66.5 °||66.5 °||66.5 °||66.5 °||66.5 °|
|Seat angle [E]||73.8 °||73.5 °||73.5 °||73.5 °||73.5 °|
|Chainstay [C]||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm|
|BB Height||340 mm||340 mm||340 mm||340 mm||340 mm|
|Wheelbase [D]||1116 mm||1142 mm||1176 mm||1200 mm||1229 mm|
|Reach [G]||390 mm||410 mm||440 mm||460 mm||485 mm|
|Stack [H]||582 mm||596 mm||606 mm||615 mm||624 mm|
The spec of the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon
True to form, Pivot are dropping the Mach 5.5 in countless build specs and with a host of upgrade options. There are nine options in total, with prices ranging from € 5,899 to € 11,999. We’ve been testing a mid-range model costing € 7,399 that sports lustrous FOX Factory suspension, a Shimano XT/XTR drivetrain and XT brakes. All of the models feature the new, covet-worthy Phoenix stem and bars with PadLoc technology. The bike comes in 2 different colourways, either red or stealth black. Check out the Pivot website for the full listings of the specs.
Das Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon auf dem Trail
At the product presentation we were stoked to test out the brand new Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon for a packed half-day at Bikepark Oberammergau. With a spectacularly tuned manmade flow trail, a jump line and multiple natural trails, this bike park served up the ultimate testing ground to properly put the versatility of this bike through the wringer. Riding a size large, our test rider’s height of 180 cm put him nicely central on the bike. The dropper toptube gives a ton of space to throw your weight around the bike, while the 27.5″ wheels and its not-overly-extreme geometry contribute to a really playful handling package. The weight distribution between the two wheels is right on point, which turns the bike into a devilishly good cornerer. The rear end is really plush and gives really good ground feedback, so if you’re looking for an agile bike for fun rides then this certainly fits the bill.
The bike keeps it composure at high speeds, and it’s always easy to wind it back down if the ride gets too wild. The Mach 5.5 isn’t the burliest, throw-it-down-the-trails type bike around, but Pivot have other models to fulfill that duty. The 2.6″-wide tires on the stock 35 mm rims feel super wide but still generate great grip and a palpable sense of definition on the trails. On really soft ground it felt a little like they lacked stability on the sides to hold their line, but we’ll have to keep testing them in the long-term to see what their limits are, what sort of terrain is their forte, and whether narrower tires would be as at home on those wide rims. Climbing wasn’t really on the agenda, but the Mach 5.5 Carbon showed a hell of a lot of promise on the little ascents that we did encounter. The riding position and super efficient rear end are largely to thanks for its climbing credentials.
The first ride impression was super promising, which is precisely why we subsequently packed up the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon straight into the van and hauled it back to our HQ! Stay tuned for an in-depth test of this label-defying bike, where we’ll put its versatility truly on the line and see how those wide tires fare on different ground conditions.
Our thoughts on the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon
So far it looks like the new Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon is a real good-time gifter. It’s as if you’re getting your hands on a more agile 27.5″ version of the Switchblade, which then steals the show from the current Mach 6 Carbon. Both on climbs and descents, our initial test ride has left a bold and hugely promising first impression that confirms how prescribed categories are redundant when you’ve got such a damn good mountain bike. Just a shame about the price!
The availability of the Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon
The bike is available right now. By clicking on the form below you can search for Pivot test days in your area, or even organize your own test ride at a time and location that suits you.
PS: Readers' Survey 2017 - Give feedback, win awesome prizes: We're giving away an exclusive Trek Slash 2018 in top spec! Click here to take part now!
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Boris Beyer