Pivot Mach 5.5 Review
How much travel is too much?
This past summer I reviewed Pivot’s 100mm Mach 4 SL, the 120mm Trail 429, and recently I had the chance to test the 140mm Pivot Mach 5.5. How do these bikes compare? What is the best bike for Southern Ontario? How much travel is too much? Read on to find out!
The Mach 5.5 that I tested is the entry-level SLX/XT build. It comes with the Fox Factory 36 Performance fork (sadly no shiny Kashima coating). This fork performs well out of the box, but colleagues have had issues with the ‘performance’ version of this fork (over the factory version) after a season of riding. Fortunately, it’s been fine after a month of riding, so time will tell. Somewhat surprisingly, the Mach 5.5 comes with the upgraded Fox Factory Float DPX2 rear shock. The DPX2, along with the Pivot DW link suspension is the crown jewel of this bike. It provides great small bump sensitivity and adjustment that allow you to really dial in the ride.
The Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain works reliably, however, is spec’d low compared to comparable bikes. The cranks are Race Face Aeffect (175mm for the size medium) with a 30t chainring, paired to a 11-46t Shimano cassette. More than enough gearing for climbing. The SLX brakes also perform well, with almost as much stopping power as their more expensive XT cousins. Blindfolded, I would suggest that most people would have a hard time telling the difference. The 180mm rotors, front and rear don’t hurt either!
The Pivot Pheonix branded cockpit (760mm aluminum riser bar and 50mm stem) along with the Pheonix branded WTB saddle is relatively bland for a bike with a $6000 CDN price tag, but they are up to the task, and certainly, don’t take away from the ride quality. The 150mm Fox Transfer dropper post, the same as on the Mach 4 SL and the Trail 429, is one of the better droppers on the market, and it’s great to see the Fox spec’d across the Pivot line.
The big drawback of this bike in my mind is the wheelset. The Sun Ringle Duroroc 40mm wheelset is mated to huge 2.6” Maxxis Minion / Rekon tires. While no doubt bombproof, the wheelset/tire combo creates a sluggish feel when accelerating.
On the Trails
Pivot labels the Mach 5.5 as ‘the ultimate trail bike’. But it’s a lot of bike for Southern Ontario. If you’re more used to riding XC and aggressive trail bikes, the Mach 5.5 takes a little getting used to in tight singletrack. It doesn’t snap around corners like the Trail 429. But on the downhills, there’s no hiding it, this bike is unparalleled fun! The 140mm feels more like 160, which gives the bike a burly feel. It plows through rocky/rutted terrain. In fact, I had so much fun on this bike, that I bought one for myself.
The Mach 5.5 is definitely a lot of bike for Southern Ontario, but it’s a blast to ride, and that’s all that really matters.
Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, Giant Trance, or perhaps the Ibis Mojo HD5. However, the Pivot will likely feel like a bigger travel bike due to the smooth DW linkage.
- Fantastic frame and the Fox Float DPX2 is ultra-smooth, with great small bump sensitivity
- Goes downhill like a rocketship
- Sun Ringle / 2.6” Maxxis tire combo is sluggish
- Lower spec for the price point.