The Rule Breaker
For being so free-form on the trail, the mountain bike industry sure loves categorizations, with head tube angles and suspension travel so often cited as the be-all end-all of what a bike can be used for. Lately, claiming to redefine categories—or defy categorization altogether—has also become a popular industry calling card, but few bikes manage to actually defy immediate classification like Pivot's new Mach 5.5 Carbon Mountain Bike Frame. Its ample 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. Maybe it's the fact that it clears 2.6in tires, or maybe it's the eagre pedal-ability of DW-Link suspension, but whatever the case, the Mach 5.5 really does (ahem) defy categorizations.
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 stoked on descents, but the traction on loose and rocky climbs from the suspension and tire clearance mean that it makes us just as happy while earning our laps.
- A trail bike frame that climbs as well as it drops in
- 5.5in 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 Mach 6
- 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
- Clears 2.6in tires and a full-sized water bottle in the front triangle