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In a vacuum, it's easy to classify a mountain bike: measure the head tube angle, check the reach, and check the depth of travel. But vacuums suck, and Pivot's re-imagined Mach 5.5 Carbon Race XT 1x Complete Mountain Bike refuses to so easily be classified. It's titular 5.5in of DW Link travel and Switchblade-esque reach may suggest pure all-mountain bike at first, but the head tube angle rides the boundary of what we'd consider enduro slack. The bike is finished with a selection of kit from Shimano and Race Face. The build may lack the golden sheen of current one-by royalty, but makes up for the absence of shiny bling with the kind of bullheaded durability that better survives the occasional digger.
The slack head tube and surprisingly deep-feeling travel reward aggression in chunky stuff, but our favorite part of the bike may be the rear triangle. Or rather, it's what's happening between the rear and front triangles; DW-Link may never have shined brighter than on the Mach 5.5. It combines the same pivot cartridge bearing featured on models like the Phoenix, but it ditches the clevis altogether. That makes for less weight, a tighter back end, and a light-off-the-top feel that stays glued to the trail—a trait only enhanced by the addition of mid-plus tires and a steep seat tube. We expect a bike with such a long cockpit and a 66.5-degree head tube angle to leave us giddy on descents, but the suspension and 2.6in tires mean that it makes us just as happy while earning our laps on climbs.
- A climb-happy trail bike that drops in with bad intentions
- 5in of DW-Link suspension with light-off-the-top DH pedigree
- Removable front derailleur mount tidies up a one-by
- Longer, lower geometry than the previous version
- Steep seat tube and stubby stays keep climbing on point
- Boost spacing stiffens the rear wheel and allows truncated stays
- Pivot's carbon expertise protected by rubber frame guards
- Workhorse build kit shrugs off trail abuse
- Item #PIV0048
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I demoed a few other bikes, including a pivot mach 6, 29 tires before deciding on the 5.5. I am super stoked on this bike, I am coming from a 29er and really love the 27.5 wheels. I feels way more responsive and nimble than my old bike, it also corners a lot better than my previous bike.
I've taken it down all different terrain, including the Whole Enchilada in Moab and I was so happy to have this bike on that 30 mile day, it handled super well.
Makes me a better rider
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I demo'd and rented several bikes before deciding on the Mach 5.5. Tried Pivot's Switchblade, M4, M6, 429 Trail at the demo day, and also rode a Yeti SB5C several times, as well as SC Hightower (29 and 27.5+) and the Specialized Enduro. The Mach 5.5 stood out to me as more maneuverable compared to a 29r and also more forgiving, while less wheel bounce than the 27.5+. A bit more lively and responsive than the Enduro. I also liked the M6 a lot, but the M5.5 hit a sweet spot for me, plus it seemed more modern.
The toughest time - choosing between the two great colors! Went with the Black / Blue its a great choice.
After ~150 trail miles in the Raleigh, NC area I'm very pleased with the bike and the "Race" build. Of course lighter carbon wheels would be a sweet upgrade.
I have moderate MB experience, and came off a more xc style 29r hardtail, so I'm still getting used to this bike's capabilities and learning more techniques. The M5.5 lets me be more adventurous on my lines and encourages me to do more. I certainly have much more bike than skill at this time, but it remains comfortable and super-fun on just about anything.
On the downside, shorter crank arms would probably help limit the pedal and crank hits, and the cable below the BB sits unusually far away from the frame. It looks like it could get hung up on something. I think the extra length is to accommodate rear shock travel, but I haven't confirmed it's all necessary. It would have been nice to have internal routing or more secure cable attachment in this critical area.
The bike came super well packed, but UPS still managed to damage the derailleur. CC stepped up with a quick replacement.
For sizing, I'm 5-10, 175 lb male with 32" pants inseam and longer arms. The L fits me well, but still feels quite compact. I tried the M Switchblade, and it was way too small, so be careful about Pivot's sizing guidelines.
Finally, a shout out to Gearhead Emma Giebler for all her help with getting the bike ordered!
Quiver Killer? Yep!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This is honestly the bike that comes the closest to a quiver killer that I have ever ridden. I had the chance to ride it down in Moab, UT which offers a pretty wide range of riding styles, from smooth and sandy to chunky, rocky climbs and descents.
What Martina said is absolutely true, this is a bike that I would consider to be the Switchblade's little brother. It is a bit more nimble and quick than the switchblade, which to me felt like a "smash through things at high speed" style bike. It is a 27.5 wheeled bike, so the smaller wheel creates a smaller gyroscopic effect which makes it feel easier to move from turn to turn and maneuver in the air. At the same time, it runs the new 2.6" width, which gets you a wider contact patch without all the extra volume of a full on plus tire. I noticed much more grip without the sometimes vague and wobbly feeling often felt with full on plus tires.
The DW link suspension is incredibly planted and confident feeling, and feels nice and progressive with a solid ramp up to prevent bottom out on big hits. The way the rear triangle and links are designed lends an incredible amount of lateral stiffness, and prevents the rear end from feeling vague or flexy.
The slack headtube angle of 66.5 degrees combined with the sub 17 inch chainstays makes for a bike that is relatively easy to get the front end up for manuals or log hops. At the same time, the steepish seat angle of 73.5 degrees prevents front end lift on steep climbs, I did not find myself needing to get way over the front end on techy climbs. Running a Fox 36 fork with 160 travel, I was worried it would feel unbalanced, but I was 100% surprised in that it feels perfectly balanced, and having the extra squish in the front end really lets you open the bike up and hit things with reckless abandon.
Overall, the bike felt incredibly planted, confidence inspiring, and somehow still efficient. I'd highly recommend this bike to anyone looking for a true all mountain bike that pedals well, but still descends pretty much anything you could throw at it. I'm really strongly considering it as the next bike to add to my stable.
Please feel free to reach out to me any time, I would be happy to help out with questions or pricing on any of these bikes. 801.736.6396x2344