Pivot are one of the few companies out there licensed to use Dave Weagle's dw-link suspension platform – as found on '07 downhill world champion Sam Hill's Iron Horse Sunday – and they do so in a neatly and thoughtfully crafted layout. The Mach 5 is their 140mm (5.5in) travel bike, and unlike most frames of this type, which are built a little burlier for the harder riders, it’s on the slender side.
Ride & handling: Sprightly and supple – perfect for enduros
The ﬁrst thing we noticed was how low the front end is on the Mach 5 – not a bad thing for many riders, but for the lofty folk out there, quite a few spacers are needed under the stem to get decent ride height. We found the 70mm stem too short, as the front end wandered when climbing, so we replaced it with a 90mm stem and wider bars. We also ditched the overkill tyres for the much more trail friendly 2.1in size.
With 30 per cent sag dialled in, the rear end of the Mach 5 is very supple – it’s certainly one of the best feeling dw-link bikes we’ve ridden. When you get out of the saddle and pedal hard, the bike surges forward – no bobbing – and feels very sprightly. The travel feels slightly progressive – enough to ramp up at the end of travel without feeling harsh – but still lets you feel the terrain.
Combined with the lightweight frame, this suspension platform will suit enduro riders, but with 20mm (0.8in) more travel than similar bikes, it’s far more capable when the going gets rough. Geometry wise, it’s spot on – the 68.1-degree head angle is stable but not sluggish, and the 13.5in bottom bracket height is bang on for clearance without being too high.
Frame: Smooth lines, low front end and plenty of standover height
The Mach 5 is constructed from triple butted, hydroformed 6000 series aluminium tubing, with smooth lines and no unnecessary bulk.
Our large (21in) frame had a short head tube – some 20mm (0.8in) shorter than comparable frames – which, combined with the internal bearing headset, keeps things neat but very low.
The dropped top tube offers plenty of standover height and the interrupted seat tube offers good seatpost height adjustment, providing the platform for the dw-link and upper swing link.
Interestingly, Pivot has designed the bike with a 92mm bottom bracket shell, housing pressed in Shimano XTR bearings – no threads, external washers or frame facing required.
Equipment: Great brakes and gears, but swap the bars, stem and tyres
Our bike came rather confusingly specced. Annoyingly narrow 640mm Control Tech Carbon riser bars were paired with an equally irritatingly short 70mm stem. Riders for this size large bike are 6ft plus, and they need both wider bars and a longer stem than most, especially given the bike’s cross-country bias.
Also, the huge Kenda 2.35 Nevegal DTC tyres would better suit a bigger travel or more robust bike. Ours was rolling on lightweight Mavic Crossmax ST wheels, with a shimano XT drivetrain providing ﬂawless shifting, and the brilliant Avid Elixir CR brakes.