We took a look at Pivot's five-inch travel dw-link frame earlier this year and concluded that it was one for the adventurous cross-country rider, rather than being a true do-it-all bike. However, testers don't always agree – especially when riding framekits built up with different parts specs – so here's our Second Opinion after riding one of the complete bike builds being offered by UK distributor Ronnoko.
Ride & handling: Stiff and plush, but active suspension is affected by weight shifts
With the recommended 30 percent of travel as sag we found that even slight weight shifts under power, especially on granny ring climbs, made things too wallowy for our liking. Pedalling steady circles tames this, and middle ring climbing feels more efﬁcient, levelling long steady climbs better than the Pivot's 28lb weight might suggest.
For the best compromise we added air for less sag and used ProPedal clicks for all but the roughest drops. There’s no denying the efﬁciency of the Mach 5’s suspension and power transfer, but an active ride like this is always affected by weight shifts. A lot of riders will want to tame that aspect of its character.
The stiff frame tracks superbly, even when powering up grunter climbs or ricocheting through rock gardens, and the plushness of the back end translates into traction as you attack those climbs. But it needs a smooth pedalling style for full efﬁciency from the suspension setup.
The Mach 5 is at its best on undulating rocky, rooty trails where you want to keep speed high by pedalling constantly. It’s a shame to mufﬂe the plush dw-link action with ProPedal platform damping but that’s what trails with short, sharp ups will require.
Frame: Excellent build quality and attention to detail, with dw-link aesthetics
Pivot’s range includes the four-inch travel Mach 4, the 5.5-inch Mach 5, women’s versions of both, a four-inch 29er and the 6.5-inch Firebird. All use modiﬁed versions of Dave Weagle’s dw-link. The Mach 5’s high lower pivot is said to give crisp acceleration without compromising plush bump responses.
Pivot’s build quality and attention to detail is excellent. The aesthetics of dw-link bikes is a love/hate thing, but it’s hard to fault the form-follows-function design approach of the Mach 5.
Curved, ﬂared, semi-monocoque and subtly reinforced tube assemblies hold everything in place, with quality bearings at all pivot points and a wide 92mm bottom bracket shell using Shimano press-ﬁt bearings.
Equipment: Pick your own – we went for Shimano XT and Fox suspension
We tested an almost standard Shimano Deore XT-equipped Mach 5 with a few small changes to the advertised speciﬁcation. Weighing in at 12.6kg (27.8lb), it had a Fox 32F 140 RLC fork and RP23 shock, DT Swiss X1800 wheels and XT brakes.
Ronnoko will sell you a frame alone or a choice of complete bike packages, plus componentry upgrades if you wish. The Mach 4 frame is £100 less.