Mach 5.5 Carbon Pro XTR Complete Mountain Bike
If we were to take a vote to find out what the ideal weekend consists of throughout the Competitive Cyclist office, chances are strong that the results would land almost unanimously at high climbs up the Wasatch Mountains to our East, followed by rock-gobbling descents that dwarf the downhills in our Arkansas roots. And while a few years back we'd have to pick between a bike that's ready to take on the climbs, or a bike built for descents, we're fortunate to live in a time where bikes have gotten progressively better at both, and Pivot's Mach 5.5 Carbon Pro XTR Complete Mountain Bike provides just the pedaling platform we yearn for in both applications. It features progressive geometry that's longer, slacker, and lower, like we've seen in many other bikes these days, but partners this up with the coveted DW-link suspension designed to gobble up square-edge hits, rock rolls, and root-latticed singletrack. To be frank, we just call it "damn capable" and "stupid fun," making it a worthy rig for aggressive riders demanding their bike climb like a goat and descend with remarkable composure across the rough stuff.
The Mach 5.5 Carbon retains the sought-after attributes of the DW-Link suspension platform, namely the ability to claw up the steepest, chunkiest climbs and soak up square-edge hits with unbelievable composure on the way down. Once you've reached the summit after a lengthy climb, 5.5 inches of rear travel gobbles up loose rocks and smooths out successive square-edge hits when you're bombing downhill at high speeds. It's all party up front, with 6 inches of travel instilling confidence for rallying over rough sections littered with boulders, loose rocks, and speed-impeding root sections. This 20-millimeter disparity between front and rear travel gives you a bit more efficiency for pedaling, but with extra plushness up front for cleaning notoriously technical stretches of trail.
Realizing the industry is ever-shifting, it makes perfect sense to see the Mach 5.5 Carbon with a slacker, longer, and lower geometry for riders seeking unflappable composure at high speeds. The 66.5-degree head tube angle offers stability on descents, without being overly slack or wandering excessively on sustained climbs with steep, punchy sections. Just a tick shorter in the front than the notoriously long and slack Firebird, the Mach 5.5 Carbon's long top tube gives you ample cockpit room, which is especially welcome if you have a longer reach. This longer front end is complemented with snappy-short 16.93-inch chainstays. Shorter chainstays provide greater maneuverability for cleaning tight corners and uphill sections, as well as lifting the front up and over trail obstacles.
A few key details make the Mach 5.5 Carbon a truly stand-out trail bike. Delving into its carbon frame construction, Pivot employs their proprietary hollow core internal molding process with an optimized lay-up of high-modulus carbon for the lightest weight possible. This method produces a feathery-light frame (claimed as low as 5.7lb) that approaches Mach 429 SL Carbon territory, but with the strength and stiffness of the enduro-bred Mach 6. In the rear triangle, both the seat and chainstays clear tires of 2.6 inches, which is a nice benefit for riders seeking added bump compliance and cornering grip of high volume trail tires.
This particular build enjoys the crisp shifting and ultra-light efficiency and capable blend of Shimano's XT and XTR 12-speed drivetrain with a Race Face Aeffect crankset for stiffness in the front. This new 12-speed drivetrain features a massive 10 to 516-tooth cassette for plentiful low-end when you're spinning up steep climbs and pedaling across long stretches of trail with undulating terrain. The FOX 36 Factory fork is impressively stiff, lending precise tracking for picking apart rough sections of trail and plunging into steep descents.
- Pivot's enduro-to-trail steed gets a new paint job and 12-speed
- 5.5in of bump-gobbling, edge-smoothing DW-Link travel
- 6in up front for conquering rowdy descents and rough terrain
- 27.5in hoops provide nimble handling and a playful feel
- Progressive trail geometry is longer, lower, slacker
- High-modulus carbon frame is lightweight and stiff
- Clears 2.6in Wide Trail tires for impressive traction
- Shimano XT/XTR 12-speed drivetrain offers massive 51t bailout cog