Climbing One of the very first things I noticed about the Pivot Mach 5.5 was how active the rear suspension is. The DW-Link rear end truly smooths out the trail and tracks the ground exceptionally. Thanks to the efficiency of the DW-Link and Fox shock, I found myself leaving the shock unlocked most of the time. Sensitivity and power transfer are definitely strengths that made lasting impressions on each and every climb.
Descending Much to my surprise, I managed to snake a few Strava PR’s on this bike– something I was not anticipating. The 5.5 didn’t feel as fast as my personal mid-travel 29er, but the clocks don’t lie and I had shaved off a few seconds on some of my favorite local trails.
Anytime I got to run this bike wide open down some chunky technical terrain we both came out happier. Begging for more, it loved when the trail got rough and urged to me keep off the brakes. Obviously a 140 bike has limits, but the Mach 5.5 does a great job exceeding the typical 140mm bar. Only in very extreme circumstances did the 140mm of rear travel have trouble keeping up with the 160mm fork.
On smoother, flow trails and compressions, I enjoyed the supportive mid-stroke. It keeps the bike feeling confident under high load situations like lips, berms and g-outs. A progressive ramp near the end of the stroke makes big hits disappear. If you keep the bike in its intended usage zone, the DPS shock is an excellent choice. Everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
The one area of contention with one of the other testers is the Plus tires. There is no denying they offer improved traction in certain conditions and also really smooth out the chatter, they leave precise riders with a vague feeling when trying to thread the needle or making minor line adjustments mid-turn. The roll is also noticeable when cornering hard in a berm or loading into a lip. The 2.6 rubber also adds significant rotational mass, which is immediately noticeable on the trail. If this were our personal ride, we’d swap out some 2.4 or 2.5 tires for most trails and keep the Plus rubber around for super rocky or washboardy trails where the extra volume would help tame the ride. We also feel for most riders that aren’t throwing the bike around, or looking for ultimate precision in line selection, the Plus tires do increase traction and make the bike more forgiving. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
The Wolf’s Last Word
With a burly 160mm fork leading the charge, the Pivot Mach 5.5 is a very capable trail bike. Modern geometry features like a 66.5-degree head angle, 465mm reach and 430mm chainstays help blend high-speed confidence, low-speed playfullness with all around trail efficiency well. It is a very good bike that could cater to anyone from an aggressive trail rider, XC rider wanting more confidence for descents or an enduro racer who doesn’t race on terrain that requires 160mm front and back.
While some of my fellow friends and testers have billed me as a die hard Wagon Wheeler, I have no problem admitting that I really like this 27.5er. In fact I may have even shed a couple tears as I boxed it up for return. The Mach 5.5 never let me down. Pivot builds a quality bike, and while some might say you pay for it, I think it’s worth it. Plus they do have a pretty generous range of bikes for a variety of budgets. If you’ve been eyeballing the 5.5 we can definitely give it a Loam Wolf stamp of approval.
Weight: 29.2 lbs