Barely a fortnight ago, we received an incoming call from the chaps at Pivot’s UK distributor, Upgrade Bikes. The guys were super excited about a new bike, but were being all secretive and rather tight lipped about it all. After several unsuccessful attempts to wrestle out some clues, we conceded defeat and jumped in the Singletrack Magical Mystery Van for a trip down to a very soggy Forest Of Dean to hang out with the Upgrade Bikes crew and to see what all the fuss was about.
While we were down at the Forest Of Dean (did I mention it was raining?), Pivot was hosting similar media-only events elsewhere around the world (likely in much drier and warmer conditions…) for a truly global launch of the latest addition to the Pivot family. So why this carefully coordinated media attack on the mountain bike market?
As it turned out, they were certainly justified in their excitement. And as of today, we can now lift the lid on the brand new bike from US brand Pivot Cycles; the Mach 5.5
This, is the brand new Mach 5.5. It’s a completely new bike that has been designed and engineered from the ground up. It’s made almost entirely of carbon fibre, and it uses 27.5in wheels and features 140mm of travel out back via the dw-link™ suspension design. In terms of the current Pivot Cycles lineup, the Mach 5.5 slots in neatly between the current Mach 4 and Mach 6, and Pivot is pitching this as a fun do-it-all trail bike.
Before we were allowed to take the Mach 5.5 out into the woods for a little Alone Time™, the Pivot crew gave us the lowdown on the design, features and some of the other finer details apparent on the new frame. As the spiritual successor to the popular Mach 5.7, Pivot and Upgrade Bikes certainly have some high hopes for the Mach 5.5, which is pitched as a lightweight, yet rugged trail bike that aims to balance efficient climbing speed, while retaining playful handling for enjoying the rougher stuff on the way back down. And looking at the specs, the Mach 5.5 would appear to have all the right ingredients to be the perfect UK trail centre machine.
“The New Mach 5.5 Carbon builds on the legacy of our renowned Mach 5.7 Carbon as the quintessential trail bike. With 140mm of dw-link™ rear travel, it sticks to and claws up just about anything, with unparalleled pedaling efficiency. On descents, the Mach 5.5 Carbon’s incredible square edge bump performance and 160mm travel Fox 36 fork enables you to conquer terrain that makes other bikes cower. It’s a bike that inspires you to climb while looking forward to the descents and that begs you to push your limits while putting a smile on your face.” – Pivot Cycles.
Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon Features
- 140mm dw-link™ rear suspension with Pivot’s mid-travel specific linkage design
- Designed for forks up to 160mm travel
- 27.5in wheels with extra clearance for larger tire sizes
- Designed to fit 27.5 X 2.1” to 2.6” tires. Complete bikes spec’d with new Maxxis 2.6 Wide Trail Tires on 35mm wide rims
- Features Pivot’s new long and low geometry
- 66.5º head angle
- 73.5º seat tube angle
- Short 430mm (16.9in) chainstays
- 12x148mm Boost rear spacing for maximum stiffness and control.
- 180mm rear post mount disc brake
- Every size clears a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle
- Pivot Cable Port system for easy internal routing of shifters, brakes and droppers and full Di2 Integration
- Front derailleur compatible with Pivot’s stealth E-Type mounting system
- New ultra quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection
- Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Looking at the Mach 5.5 from the side on you can see straight away that it has playful intentions. The Firetruck Red model pictured above is actually a large size frame, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a smaller bike due to the huge amounts of standover. The line the dropped top tube takes into the seatstay makes for a really nice and clean profile.
That sloping top tube is part of Pivot’s new long and low geometry ethos. Aesthetically it’s a very pleasing design, but it’s also very practical too. Keeping the standover lower means that riders can opt to move up a size for a longer reach and not sacrifice manoeuvrability. Pivot was also keen to point out that each of the 5 sizes available (XS, S, M, L, XL) have enough room for a full-size water bottle mounted in the main frame – ideal if you don’t want to carry a pack.
Long and low geometry also gives the Mach 5.5 a 66.5º head angle, 73.5º seat tube (73.8º on the XS) and a reach of 460mm for a large frame and a generous 485mm on the XL. These are quite contemporary numbers compared to some other bikes on the market, but the long and low geometry does add flexibility when choosing your size.
Geometry is just part of the all-new package. The “mid-travel” suspension system was also designed from the ground up, and once again Pivot went to Dave Weagle for a dw-link™ suspension design. Pivot told us that they design their bikes from the suspension out, so there shouldn’t be any compromises in suspension performance here, however that no-nonsense approach to linkage placement has meant the seat tube isn’t quite a full-length one. Instead, it juts out just underneath the upper pivot, where the round tube morphs into a box-shaped junction with the PF92 bottom bracket shell.
140mm of travel is pushed up through the short 430mm rear end and controlled by a 2018 Fox Float DPS EVOL rear shock with custom tuning. Each pivot, including the rear shock pivot, gets an Enduro Max cartridge bearing which Pivots tells us is about as high a quality as you can get. The low rotational friction inside the Enduro Max bearings purportedly increase small bump compliance, as well as longevity too.
Taming the terrain up front is a set of 2018 Fox Float 36 forks with a rock gobbling 160mm of travel and super slick Kashima coating.
Wanting to create a light but durable frame, Pivot engineered a new carbon layup for the Mach 5.5. Despite the carbon tubes in the main frame being burly as all get-out, the claimed frame weight is an impressive 5.2lbs (2.36kg), while complete bikes can be built up to weigh as litle as 27lbs with a dropper!
Looking at the frame in more detail, you’ll come across plenty of very clever features that help to future-proof it and make it compatible with new technologies.
Beneath the downtube, for example, you’ll find a small compartment where a Shimano Di2 battery neatly lives.
And if you cast your eyes towards the rear of the frame and you’ll come across another neat rubber blank on the inside of the chainstay. Who knows what this is for… perhaps some yet to be launched Fox Live suspension system?…
Another neat feature is the Mach 5.5’s front derailleur compatibility. Out of the box, all 5.5’s come as 1x, but using an optional adapter plate you choose to run a Shimano e-type mech on the bike. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Mach 5.5 also gets the Pivot Cable Port system; a highly customisable internal routing system enabling you to cable up your bike however you want. Each cable/hose enters the carbon frame through neat cable ports that actually clamp them in position. This stops unwanted movement and helps to keep things quiet. Another sound dampening feature is the ultra quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection.
Keeping with the most up to date standards, Pivot has gone for a 35mm diameter handlebar and stem combo, and have also worked with WTB to spec the PadLoc grips. These grips require the handlebar to have a wedge cut out which they lock into. You can read more about WTB PadLoc grips here.
Tyre clearance can sometimes be an issue on bikes that aren’t designed for the UK’s damp conditions, but Pivot has checked that too. The Mach 5.5 is good for tyres from 2.1in all the way to 2.6in and will come equipped with 2.6in wide Maxxis tyres on 35mm rims out of the box for those who are into the emerging plus-minus tyre standard. Alternatively, just run regular 2.3/2.4in tyres and enjoy bucketloads of mud clearance.
Speaking of wheels, Pivot has been given early access to Reynold’s new carbon rims. This is an exclusive optional extra on the Mach 5.5 Race XT, Pro XTR, and Pro X01 Eagle and comes as standard on top end bikes. On the bikes we were riding, the Mach 5.5 was spec’d with DT Swiss Spine 35 wheels instead.
That brings us nicely to the pricing. If you fancy building a Mach 5.5 Carbon up from scratch then you can buy the frame only (in either black or red) for £3300. Complete bike prices begin at £4850 for the Mach 5.5 Carbon Race XT rising to a cool £9000 for the Mach 5.5 Carbon Team XTR Di2 2X complete with Reynolds carbon wheels.
Full details and specifications of the new Mach 5.5 can be found over on the Pivot Cycles website, and if you have any questions, then let us know by chucking them in to the comments section below. If you want to find your nearest Pivot dealer in the UK, then hit up the lovely people at Upgrade Bikes for all you need to know.