Pivot’s portfolio was already bursting at the seams at the beginning of the year; trail and enduro riders were spoilt for choice. Then in May the American brand presented the Pivot Mach 5.5, leaving us with one question: who the hell is going to buy this bike now? We have the answer.

Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon Pro XTR/XT | 160/140 mm (f/r) | kg 13.20 | € 7,399

The Pivot Mach 5.5 is a true rebel. During a political protest you would see it standing right at the front shouting, “F*%& the System!” The 5.5 rejects constraint and categorisation in the same way a teenager loathes his parents’ smug advice after a cocked-up math exam. This becomes clear just by looking at the key data: 140 mm travel at the back, a 160 mm fork, and chunky 2.6″ MAXXIS tires. Those who love thinking in boxes will get sweaty palms and a headache straight away. Is it still a trail bike, or is it toppling into the enduro folder? Are 2.6″ tires still considered a classic 27.5”, or should we call them Plus-Minus?

The Pivot Mach 5.5 in detail

Let’s analyse this situation bit by bit and try to get to the bottom of the bike’s secret. The heart of the Mach 5.5 is a carbon frame with a DW-link rear suspension, typical of Pivot bikes. DW stands for Dave Weagle, the father and inventor of the system. His DW-link is a dual-link system with a floating pivot point which – thanks to its strategically aligned links and bearing points – is exceptionally drive-neutral and remains active even under braking. In the case of the Mach 5.5, the suspension features 140 mm of travel controlled by a FOX FLOAT DPS shock.

In our opinion, it was a good move for Pivot to stick to standard 148 mm rear wheel spacing for their Mach 5.5 rather than opting for the Super Boost they had developed for their Switchblade. The bike also offers all necessary integration interfaces for the FOX Live Valve system, proving to be ready for the future of suspension technology – even though it’s still unknown when that system will be launched.

The newly designed mid-travel linkage design pushes the rocker into the frame triangle, making the damper extension redundant. On top of that it gives the bike a clean, straight-lined look.
Quiet = good!
The soft chainstay protector damps all noises coming from a slapping chain and makes the Pivot Mach 5.5 extremely quiet.
You could obviously ride the Mach 5.5 with thinner tires. Having said that, it’s important to choose a tire that is optimised for 35 mm-wide rims. MAXXIS tires, for example, come with a WT (Wide Trail) description.
Thank God, no Super Boost!
Exactly when the bike industry doesn’t need them, new standards pop up like mushrooms! It is all the more gratifying that Pivot relies on the now-widespread 148 mm axle for the rear end.

The first thing we notice on the frame of the Mach 5.5 are its straight lines, an unusual design feature for Pivot bikes. The sloped top tube in combination with the forward-shifted rocker link make it by far the best-looking bike in the portfolio of the American brand.
Now, you might think that this much aesthetic tidiness doesn’t suit the soul of a rebel? Nonsense! The Mach 5.5 is such a punk at heart, it even revolts against the rebel look!

Geometry of the Pivot Mach 5.5

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 356 mm 394 mm 425 mm 457 mm 495 mm
Top tube 558 mm 584 mm 617 mm 639 mm 667 mm
Head tupe 90 mm 105 mm 115 mm 125 mm 135 mm
Head angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Seat angle 73.8° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Height 340 mm 340 mm 340 mm 340 mm 340 mm
Wheelbase 1116 mm 1142 mm 1176 mm 1200 mm 1229 mm
Reach 390 mm 410 mm 440 mm 460 mm 485 mm
Stack 582 mm 596 mm 606 mm 615 mm 624 mm

Spec of the Pivot Mach 5.5

Fork FOX 36 Factory 160 mm – Boost
Rear Shock Fox Float Factory DPS EVOL 140 mm
Groupset Shimano XTR/XT
Brakes Shimano XT
Handlebar Phoenix Team Carbon 35 mm 760 mm
Stem Phoenix Team Enduro 35 45/55 mm
Seatpost Fox Transfer 125/150 mm
Tyres Maxxis Minion DHF WT 2.6/Maxxis Rekon WT 2.6 (v/h)
Wheelset DT Swiss M1700 35 mm
Weight kg 13.20
Price € 7,399

As we are used to seeing from Pivot, the Mach 5.5 comes in several build options, whereas wheels and shock can be individually upgraded. The model we tested comes with a juicy € 7,399 price tag and is still not the most expensive version available. Eager customers can splash out up to € 11,999 if they feel flush. Having said that, even the spec on our “simpler” test bike left nothing to be desired. The FOX 36 Factory EVOL fork is currently considered the benchmark and really impressed us with its super-sensitive response and very defined damping. The Shimano XTR/XT drivetrain is a proven classic too and is totally reliable. The only detail that bothered us is that last huge gear-jump on the 11–46t cassette.

The Pivot Mach 5.5 on the trail

But enough theory – how does the bike actually ride? As soon as you swing your leg over the saddle, you engage “sofa-mode.” Slippers, pyjamas and Netflix! Oh no, hold on, that’s not what it’s about! Still, the riding position feels very comfortable: it’s fairly upright with a great balance between seat and bar height. The wide tires coupled with sensitive suspension make for an extra boost of comfort. Despite feeling smooth as silk, even in the open position the rear end never bobs, nor does it wallow on steep climbs.
The Pivot unleashes its full uphill potential on technical climbs, rolling over obstacles rather than getting caught on them, making tricky sections easily manageable, and propelling you forward efficiently with each pedal stroke. If we were allowed one little alteration, we would make the seat angle slightly steeper to allow for a more centred riding position – especially when running a longer saddle extension. Having said that, the Pivot is still more of a trail bike than a sedate enduro bike.

  The Mach 5.5 shows its true strengths on twisty and technical climbs.

Over the last few months we tested the Mach 5.5 in a variety of situations, logging everything from relaxed all-day tours on flowy trails to long days shredding bike parks. All of our test riders agreed on the same feeling when describing its downhill handling: this bike means “Get on and feel good!” There is no need for a ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ phase, as the Pivot feels very balanced and provides tons of fun from the word “go.” While the Mach 5.5 isn’t the most composed bike on the market, reaching its limitations when picking wild lines through rough rock gardens, it still always remains in control without unpleasant surprises or sudden loss of grip. It’s actually pretty good at raising its hand and politely asking you to take it a little easier. In comparison with the Switchblade, the Mach 5.5 is a little more agile thanks to its smaller wheels; the Switchblade, on the other hand, is more stable when riding at high speeds.

  2.6″-wide tires aren’t the weapon of choice for KOM-hunters, but those aren’t the sort of riders Pivot wants to target with their Mach 5.5.

On the whole, the concept of 2.6″-wide tires left us with a very positive impression. With the added air volume, the wide tires manage to impress with noticeably more comfort (even on flowy trails), better damping properties, and more grip in most riding situations. However, there are also some drawbacks. To avoid fixing punctures all the time, we had to run the same pressure we would use on a traditional 2.4″-wide tire (minimum 1.5 bar front/1.7 bar rear). Also, the wide tires clog up quicker in the mud and make the handling feel slightly less direct. Yes, the MAXXIS Rekon rolls fast, but unfortunately it lacks side-traction and only offers limited amounts of grip. We would prefer a Minion DHF as a rear wheel option. For more active riders, we recommend swapping the 2.6″ tires with the slightly narrower 2.5″-WT version.

Helmet Specialized Ambush |
Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker PRIZM Trail |Jersey Mons Royale Redwood ¾ | Shorts Alpinestars Pathfinder

Despite the additional 20 mm of travel up front, the rear end of the Mach 5.5 never seems to struggle, keeping up nicely with the front-end performance. The plush rear generates tons of grip and widely contributes to the superb handling of the bike, still feeling very lively and sending plenty of feedback. It keeps composed on berms and rollers without diving too deep into its travel and makes for a pleasant and direct feeling. Pulling manuals and performing other playful riding tricks feels effortless.


On the one hand, the Pivot Mach 5.5 rejects any form of categorisation. On the other, it is the very champion of a very specific category: it’s a mountain bike – and a damn good one too! It climbs incredibly well and is fun, safe, and comfortable to ride when pointing the nose downhill. It’s a dream come true for everyone looking for the perfect companion for every situation in their riding life. Unfortunately, because of its hefty price tag, it will also only remain a dream for most.


– It’s the very definition of balance
– A mighty tool, especially on technical climbs
– Extremely fine looks and great workmanship
– Top-notch chassis


– Price
– Rear tire lacks grip

Value for Money

More information at: pivotcycles.com

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Words: Photos: Boris Beyer