Ask MBAction


Q: MBA must really like the Pivot Mach 5.5 seeing as how you have it featured in three different issues. It does seem to hit the Goldilocks zone right on. With its 2.6 tires and i35 rims, it’s not too plus and not too narrow. With its 160 front/140 rear suspension travel, it’s not too XC trail and not too enduro. The Mach 5.5 appears to be the just-right, good climber and good descender. The only thing wrong with this bike from my point of view is that Pivot doesn’t make a 29 Mach 5.5. If they did, I would buy one! I’ve been riding 29 and then 29+ for the last 10 years, and I don’t think I can overcome my 29/29+ addiction. Every time I test ride a 27.5, I can’t overcome the sensation of being a circus bear riding a tiny bike. Please recommend some just-right full- suspension 29ers that will run 2.6 or even 2.8 tires, because I ain’t willing to quit.

—Mark Sandoval, I like big wheels and I cannot lie

Pivot Switchblade

A: We’re not going to rule out a 29er version of the Mach 5.5 just yet. That being said, however, the Switchblade currently occupies the mid-travel 29er slot in Pivot’s lineup. The bike sports 135 millimeters of travel and a geometry that’s not all that different from that of the 5.5. It sports only 5 millimeters less travel and is every bit as capable as the 5.5. Both bikes handle quite well and harness the capability of the dw-link suspension. If you’re dead set on a 29er, we’d have to steer you to the Switchblade rather than tell you to wait for Pivot to produce a 5.5 29er any time soon. The Switchblade is plenty capable, even without the extra few milli-meters of travel.



Q: I was wondering what the Mountain Bike Action crew likes to take for food on long rides. I typically stay away from all the gels and bars, because they just don’t taste very good to me. I’d rather have some real food when I’m out on the trail. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t need to eat crappy food that was manufactured in a lab. Any suggestions would be welcome.

—Matt Rhodes, who’s always eating something

A: We agree with you that “real” food on a long ride does taste pretty good. Here are a few of our favorites:

—Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (as long as you can keep them from getting squished)

—An unpeeled orange —Homemade chocolate-chip cookies

—Beef jerky

Keep in mind that your food choices, no matter if they are energy food or just whatever was in your fridge that morning, should be easy to digest. There’s no worse feeling than downing a big burrito and then riding home with a belly full of heartburn. That said, we typically like to eat at least some amount of “real food” on any ride that lasts longer than two hours. If it’s a particularly challenging ride, the taste of something delicious mid-ride can be just the morale booster you need to finish strong.

Have a question for the MBA crew? You can send your brain busters to [email protected].


Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.

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