PIVOT MACH 5.5
Words & Photos by Andrew Lee
Pivot bills the Mach 5.5 as a Plus-tired do it all machine, but as skeptics, we’re tired of hearing every brand’s bold claims about the ultimate all around performing bike. Despite our skepticism, we have spent lots of time on different Pivot models over the years We were excited to see how the bike would stack up in today’s competitive field. The Pivot Mach 5.5 was born from the roots of the Mach 5.7 and maintains Pivot’s signature stiffness and aggressive demeanor.
Sporting 5.5 inches, or 140mm of DW-Link travel, our test bike came equipped with a Shimano XT/XTR blend. The XT shifter and brakes paired with an XTR derailleur are a great option for riders wanting to blend performance with some practicality. Race Face Aeffect cranks and a 30-tooth chainring direct power to the DT Swiss M1700 wheelset.
The 35mm wide wheels are wide enough to optimize the profile of the Maxxis 2.6 Minion DHF and Rekon rear. Fox Shox spec includes: a 150mm Transfer seatpost, 160mm Factory Fit4 36 and a Kashima DPS shock. Pivot specs a branded WTB Vigo saddle, PadLoc grips and Pivot’s own 35mm diameter, 760mm wide carbon bars with a 55mm stem. Overall the build does not disappoint. We spent plenty of time inspecting the bike as we assembled it in our stand and feel that Pivot does a great job of offering a tight package all around. I set the sag according to Pivot’s handy sag meter on the rear shock and I was ready to ride.
As with any new bike, there’s almost always some tinkering and tuning required before we feel totally at home. The Mach 5.5 was pretty straightforward however. Tire pressure proved to be our most time consuming endeavor in the tune process. Finding their happy place was highly dependent on riding style and terrain. We’ll get into that later.
First I’d like to highlight the contact points. The PadLoc grips and WTB Vigo saddle deserve a little more attention. If you haven’t ridden a bike with PadLoc’s or even grabbed a pair at a bike shop, they are definitely unique. The goal of PadLoc is to offer a secure grip with extra padding under the outside edge of the palm. PadLoc grips rely on an angle cut bar end that works as a rotational stop and open void for the extra padding.
The design is neat and there is no denying the benefits in comfort. The extra squish may not be something everyone loves but on long descents it was a welcome feature. My only negative note is that I felt I had to scoot my hands outboard of my normal riding position to utilize the extra padding. My hands are pretty average in size, I typically wear a medium or Large glove, but perhaps I’m just not an end of the grip rider.
The WTB Vigo saddle is worth mentioning also as I found it to be very comfortable. It is a welcome to change to so many of the OE saddles getting spec’d these days. Even though It does come with a small weight penalty, I’ll gladly trade the few extra grams for some extra cush on my tush when I head out for long trail rides.
One slight critique in the spec relates to the stem length. Pivot specs a 45mm stem on the XS-MD sized bikes and a 55mm for the L-XL on the 5.5. Given the 465mm reach on our large, I ended up putting on a 45mm stem of my own on. It instantly made the bike feel more comfortable, and is something I think could have been spec’d from the get go. While it did climb a touch better with the 55mm, it was just too long for me, and the increased confidence on the descents was worth the slight climbing penalty.