Pivot Cycles was launched in 2007 with the aluminum Mach 4 and 5. According to founder and chief engineer Chris Cocalis this new trail bike builds on that original legacy, one of constantly innovating. The brand’s first carbon bike was the Mach 5.7. “In 2011 we launched Mach 5.7 Carbon as a 2012 product and that was a defining moment for us,” said Cocalis.
The new Mach 5.5 Carbon builds on that and is what he considers to be the quintessential trail bike, as in not defined as a pro enduro race rig (though it’s certainly capable of being one) but a bike that hits where the market is going with longer travel, all-day trail bikes for any and all sassy, big mountain riding that might often include as much climbing as descending.
The 5.5 frame has 140 mm of travel matched to a 160 mm travel fork. While there is certainly some updates to the dw-link platform the other big news that makes the bike unique is a calibration with Reynolds wheels to create a 27.5 Pivot-only branded carbon wheelset that has a 36 mm wide width matched to an all-new 27.5 x 2.6” Maxxis Rekon EXO TR rear tire and Minion DHF EXO TR front tire. In regards to tire size, Cocalis is very quick to point out this is in no way supposed to be considered 27plus but rather a bike that utilizes new opportunities with wider rims and tires to maximize wheel and tire compatibility for optimum traction and performance. It won’t fit plus-size tires but feel free to use anything from 27.5 x 2.1″ up to 2.6″ (which is an amazing tire combo by the way).
Pivot evolved its mid-travel dw-link system, making it more compact while still using the same rear shock pivot cartridge bearing found on longer travel clevis designs including the Firebird and Phoenix. The suspension is designed to maximize pedal efficiency while still settling deep into its travel on descents. This ideology shows, and is felt on the trail because it’s based on the wide variety of terrain in Arizona where Pivot does a majority of its prototype testing—there’s tricky square edged hits on the descents as well as the climbs and a vast array of rock steps, lips and big drops that litter the area. There’s also no lack of big send-it jumps and gaps to challenge team racers on downhills during testing locally and elsewhere.
Geometry wise, the Mach 5.5 is geared towards long and low, similar to the 29er Switchblade (it also has a top tube that’s almost 2 inches longer than the Mach 6 Carbon). It has a 66.5 degree head angle, 73.5 degree seat angle, 16.9 inch chainstays and a lengthy 24.28 inch top tube (size Medium). This combo results in balanced, firmly planted and speedy uphill capabilities without sacrificing downhill finesse. It threads a fine line of being lively yet stable at any speed.
Concerning sizes and fit, Cocalis says the sizes are intentionally close with recommended heights overlapping so riders aren’t wedged into their usual sizes and can base choices on riding style, preferred reach and stem length. “You can go up a size for an even longer reach if that’s your style and still get a good fit or go smaller for a more nimble ride,” he said.
Though test time was limited it was on a host of Moab’s most rugged trails and the 5.5 delivered as promised. It’s an exceptionally fun all-day bike that’s ready for anything you throw at it–especially since it’s based on one of the best suspension platforms available. Throughout the test session it felt right in the sweet spot of pedaling efficiency and soak-up-the-bumps prowess. With so much pedaling involved during the course of the day the 140 mm / 160 mm combo never felt under gunned–more like just right after rounding the corner of a long, energy sapping downhill and looking straight ahead at a long, tricky climb. Overall positioning felt centered for precise handling and super-fun responsiveness. As suspension designs evolve and the concept of what the perfect trail bike is initial impressions and smart money would suggest the Pivot 5.5 Carbon will likely to be proven to be at the forefront.
Nuts and Bolts
Frame details include a removable front derailleur mount for single or double chainrings, internal routing for shifters, brakes and droppers with no internal tubes so you can route anyway you want and the frame ports clamp tight to keep cables taught. There’s a large port under the bottom bracket for easy installation. And, all sizes including Xtra Small can fit a wattle bottle in the mainframe triangle. Additionally, the 5.5 has a port on the left stay behind the rotor (shown above, left) for the Fox Live Valve electronic accelerometer suspension system when it becomes available to the public in the future (there was a fully functional 5.5 with the system at the launch but no rides or photos were allowed).
According to Cocalis, the Mach 5.5 Carbon frame matches the Mach 6 Carbon’s durability at a weight near the Mach 429 SL Carbon. “The Mach 5.5 Carbon is available as a complete bike, with builds weighing under 27 pounds including a dropper post and with frame weights that are as low as 5.2 pounds with the shock,” he claims.
Besides being available as a frame only for $3,099, there will be a variety of build offerings in red or black ranging in price from $8,200 to $4,899. They are: Team XTR 1x, Team XX1 Eagle, Pro X01 Eagle, Pro XTR/XT 2x, Pro XTR/XT 1x and Race XT 1x. Team builds include the Reynolds 27.5 x 36mm Carbon with Industry Nine hub wheelset while Pro builds come with aluminum DT Swiss M1700 and a 35mm diameter but have the Reynolds wheels as an upgrade for an additional cost. The Race build gets a Sun Ringle Duroc 40 wheelset with no upgrade options. All models have the same Maxxis tires and all models save for the Race build have a FOX Float Factory DPS EVOL shock and Fox 36 Factory fork. A shock upgrade to a 2018 Fox Float X2 is also available for $399 on the Team and Pro kits. These bikes are available now.
Mach 5.5 Carbon Features
- 140 mm dw-link rear suspension with Pivot’s mid-travel specific linkage design
- Designed for forks up to 160mm travel. All Pivot complete builds come with a 160 mm travel fork
- Designed to fit 27.5 x 2.1″ to 2.6″ tires. All complete bikes spec’d with new Maxxis 2.6″ Wide Trail Tires
- Features Pivot’s new long and low geometry
- 430 mm (16.9 inch) chainstays (2 mm longer than the Pivot Switchblade).
- 12 x 148 mm Boost rear spacing, 110 mm Boost fork spacing
- 180 mm post mount rear disc brake
- Every size clears a full size water bottle inside the front triangle including XS
- Available in 5 sizes from XS to XL
- 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
Mach 5.5 Carbon geometry