The Mach 5, one of our favorite trailbikes since we tested the first version in 2008, got a complete makeover for 2011. But what was this .7 stuff? The Mach 5.7 got less than an inch of additional travel, which seemed to position it in some weird no man’s land between true 6-inch-travel, all-mountain bikes and sporty 5-inch-travel trailbikes. After hitting one home run after another with bikes like the venerable Mach 5, the continually sold-out Mach 429 29er, and the long-travel Firebird that won’t allow a 4-inch-travel bike to leave it on the climbs, Pivot’s Mach 5.7 looked at best to be a solid line drive to center. Not so. Pivot swings for the fence and again connects.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
This is a hard one to answer, because it is the rider more than the bike that determines its application. The Mach 5.7 is obviously intended for the trail rider who wants a hassle-free, set-it-and-forget-it suspension design; lively performance; and go-long comfort. Still, it is not hard to imagine the bike being pressed into service for endurance and cross-country racing, or Downieville-style, rough-and-rugged gravity events.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Mach 5.7’s aluminum frame’s curvy top tube eliminates the need for a seat tube brace. Pivot added a more robust downtube and a tapered head tube and fork steerer. Forged-aluminum bits at each frame junction reduce weight. The shock mounts, dropouts, bridges and rocker arms have all been redesigned to shave weight, and a hollow two-piece structure replaces the C section that triangulated the Mach 5 swingarm. The head tube angle has been slightly modified, and the bottom bracket is lower than last year. This all results in our medium Mach 5.7 weighing a little less than the small-sized Mach 5 last tested. Comparing apples to apples, Pivot reduced the frame weight by half a pound.
Pivot parts: Interrupted derailleur cable housing improves on already great shifting performance. Hardware details abound. The Pivot saddle by WTB is perfect for trail riding. The sag-o-meter doesn’t lie.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Pivot offers eight build kits, from the $3600 XT/SLX kit to the $6699 SRAM XX kit. We built up our Mach 5.7 with Pivot’s Shimano XTR Ultralite kit. The Shimano XTR brakes (with their cool little brake pad heat fins) and 2×10 drivetrain are stunning. The Fox shock is valved specifically to work with Pivot’s take on the dw-link rear suspension. The headset top cap, seatpost clamp and SL Carbon lower dw-link are nicely color-coordinated. The Kenda 2.3-inch-wide Slant Six is a brand-new and slightly wider version of the Slant Six tire we tested (and fell for) in the December 2010 issue. The custom-made-for-Pivot DT Swiss rims are very similar to the DT Swiss XR 1450s, but built with Aerolite spokes, red Pro Lock nipples (to match the red anodized parts on the frame) and 240S Center Lock hubs. Also, the spoke-lacing pattern is 2-cross front and 2-cross non-drive side (3-cross drive), because Pivot believes it builds a stiffer wheel and is slightly lighter than a 3-cross.
SHIMANO XTR UP CLOSE
Our Pivot Mach 5.7 was built with Shimano’s latest XTR group. The components are like greyhound/pit bull mix: tough and elegant at the same time. While the true test of a component group is finished a year or two down the trail, our initial encounter makes us want this to be a long-term relationship.
Servo-matic: The XTR Trail lever is the first XTR lever equipped with Servo-Wave, which delivers more power with adjustable one-finger braking. The levels fit many riders without any complaints. A rare accomplishment.
Ten on command: Shimano’s XTR rear derailleur is optimized for their 10-cog cassette. Riders may complain about the “antiquated” mountain bike chain and cog drivetrain, but no internal hub transmission comes close to the lightweight shifting performance, which is efficient and durable, of this system.
Air cooling: The Shimano XTR Trail brakes use a full-ceramic piston and Ice Technology radiator brake pads to help dissipate heat (a brakes worst enemy other than chain lube).
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Pivot supplies a sag-o-meter tool for setting the rear suspension sag. Trust it. Set the fork sag to about 1 inch, and you are ready to shove off.
Moving out: The rider feels ideally centered in the Mach 5.7, and we were stoked that the longer-travel version retains all the amazing pedaling performance of the Mach 5. All of it. It has the Mach 5’s signature firm-pedaling platform, which encourages the 5.7 rider to throw down a little extra effort, because the bike pays him back with interest. The bike is slim and low beneath the rider.
Hammering: Again, the firm-pedaling platform eggs the rider on. The only time we employed the shock’s ProPedal was on smooth, fast sections while pushing a tall gear. Even then, we used the softest of the three ProPedal settings.
Cornering: The Mach 5.7 steers with a light feel, and thanks to a lower bottom-bracket height, it is a better handling package than the Mach 5. That and the additional travel allows the rear suspension to settle into its sweet spot faster and with more ease than the Mach 5. On more than one occasion, we caught ourselves railing through a corner where we usually tap the brakes. The bike’s tuned suspension and the frame’s lateral rigidity allow you to be a better rider right away.
Climbing: The 5.7 is more forgiving than the Mach 5 on technical climbs. The Mach 5 would give up traction if the rider wasn’t in tune with body English and pedaling torque. The new suspension offers more bite in these situations, allowing the rider more margin for error.
Descending: The Mach 5.7 ups its descending game. That little bit of extra travel allows the rider to dip past the firm-pedaling platform of the suspension travel into the sweet spot. This portion of the rear suspension’s travel is more responsive to the trail’s surface, seeming to track the dips and bumps like a bike with far more travel. That is not something we could say about the Mach 5. This wider sweet spot also slackens the bike’s geometry slightly, making it a more comfortable and controllable descender.
Braking: The all-new Shimano XTR brakes are superb in this application. They offer great power through controlled modulation. The Pivot’s rear suspension is not influenced by braking forces, adding to the brake’s effectiveness.
Better yet: We loved the Pivot Mach 5, and the 5.7 steps it up another level. Watching the evolution of the dw-link rear suspension isn’t as exciting as riding it. Pivot understands the needs of trail riders and delivers with the 5.7.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The bike needs nothing. Honestly, this is a bike we could ride untouched for the next five years. No doubt. The Shimano XTR 2×10 drivetrain gets an MBA special merit award, because it is perfect for this bike and deserves credit for the Mach 5.7’s success. You always feel like you are in the right gear, and if the trail changes, a quick tap on the shifter gets you quickly and smoothly to the next perfect gear. There were so many times when we could handle a surprise around a corner with ease because of the drivetrain’s quickness and precision. We were blown away by the traction the wider Kenda Slate Six tire delivered in the rear. We intentionally tried to break the thing loose on tricky climbs. We could do it, but it took very bad form to make it happen.
Our time on the Mach 5.7 proved that a little extra travel was not the primary motivation for revamping the Mach 5. What Pivot did was use the added travel, lower bottom bracket, lighter weight and stiffer frame to deliver a better all-around trailbike. It is no small achievement, because this bike’s predecessor was one of our most highly recommended trailbikes. Well, folks, the Mach 5.7 now takes its place.
Country of origin
Bottom bracket height
Top tube length
Head tube angle
Seat tube angle
|$6299 ($1999 frame/shock/BB)
Fox Float RLC
Fox Float RP23
DT Swiss Custom 240S (26″)
Kenda Nevegal (f)/Kenda Slant Six
Shimano XTR Vented
Shimano XTR Dynasys
Pivot Carbon (28″)
Shimano XTR Dynasys
Shimano XTR Dynasys
Shimano XTR Dynasys
Shimano XTR (38/26)
Shimano XTR 10-cog Dynasys (11-36)
23.5 feet (per crank revolution)
4.9 feet (per crank revolution)
None (weighed with Shimano XTR)