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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
What a rocket! Even stationary, the new Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon cuts a fine figure.

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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
The new Mid-Travel-Linkage design transports the rocker arm into the frame and gets rid of the rear shock lengthening found on the Mach 6.
Pivot Mach 5.5
Typical for Pivot, the Mach 5.5 Carbon also has the DW-Link rear suspension design.
Pivot Mach 5.5
Ssh! Pivot have relied on a new, more cushioned material for the chainstays, seatstays, and downtube to ensure the bike rides without a murmur.
Pivot Mach 5.5
The new Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon has 140 mm rear suspension and 160 mm up front.
Pivot Mach 5.5
These oversized cable entry ports simplify the task of routing cables. Rattling is avoided by clamping the cables down.
Pivot Mach 5.5
The rear shock is directly attached to the rocker arm.
Pivot Mach 5.5
Forward-thinking – There’s no current purpose for the cover above the rear shock but it has been conceived for the FOX Live system.

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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
Mega practical – all of the frames have a bottle cage mount.
Pivot Mach 5.5
Move on, no new standards here thankfully!

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.

Size XS S M L XL
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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
There’s a FOX 36 fork with 160 mm travel and EVOL air chamber working up front on the Mach 5.5 Carbon.
Pivot Mach 5.5
The 35 mm-wide rims give a plush home to the 2.6″ tires. Experience has taught us that the profil of 2.4″ tires isn’t perfect on such wide rims.
Pivot Mach 5.5
The PadLoc grips are reputed to be even more vibration-friendly than other grips out there thanks to their design that employs more rubber on the ends of the grips and the dual compound rubber used on the exterior.
Pivot Mach 5.5
The Phoenix cockpit looks good and measures up nicely!
Pivot Mach 5.5
Bling Bling – the XTR drivetrain shifts well and the 11-46t cassette gives a decent gear range.
Pivot Mach 5.5
Good to see that the Mach 5.5 also has a sag indicator like the rest of the Pivot bikes.

Das Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon auf dem Trail

If you’re looking for an agile bike for fun rides then this certainly fits the bill.

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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
Braaap – drilling out those corners on the Mach 5.5 Carbon with a lot of speed!

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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
The wide tires give masses of traction on techy trails, but lack line definition in the mud.

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.

Pivot Mach 5.5
What a beauty!

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.

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Words: Photos: Boris Beyer