Specialized’s outstanding Pitch Pro proves that money isn’t everything. Ushered in quietly as the Enduro’s cheaper brother, the Pitch has deservedly become a hard riding cult hit. This year’s Pro promises to be the do-it-all David to even more all-mountain Goliaths.
Super-versatile full-suspension trail bikes that can genuinely play the long day game or deal a killer hardcore hand are few and far between. The fact that Specialized has delivered a complete bike for less than the frame price of most contenders is phenomenal. Ride your brains out in stock trim, upgrade heavy, upgrade light, the Pitch Pro opens all your limits.
Ride & handling: Astonishingly fun and versatile all-mountain bike
While the practical detailing of the frame is impressive, it’s the remarkably low weight to travel/ toughness ratio of the Pitch Pro that’s the immediate shock.
Specialized has put a firm compression tune on the Fox rear shock to minimise pedalling bob and softness even in the ‘open’ setting. Add a fork that takes a while to soften up and this makes the Pitch feel a whole world quicker and more responsive than most similar bikes. Not just for the first hour either, but the whole day.
The ample travel means it attacks climbs as aggressively as descents, and the option to run the big Specialized tyres tubeless increases grip further.
While the fact that the Pitch Pro is a great heavy duty day bike, It doesn’t disappoint as a play bike either. The angles and geometry are a straight take from the Enduro family, which has been evolving for a decade now, and they’re spot on. The 67-degree head angle and generous wheelbase keep things super-stable, while the steep seat angle pushes your weight forward for carving authority.
You’ll occasionally clobber the pedals or chainrings on rocks and logs but the low slung weight underlines the unshakeable conidence of the chassis. The neutral FSR suspension lets you pick lines, charge cobbles or throw it off the big drops without any drive or brake disturbance.
Frame: Superb value chassis with plenty of practical touches
Specialized’s M4 alloy tubesets are less expensive than the M5 metals of their top bikes, but judging from this Pitch and this year’s XC Pro the ride feel is as good, if not better. There’s certainly no shortage of design detail in the chassis either.
The thickset head tube is backed by the double barrel joined tubes of straight top tube and big curved down tube. The main triangle is completed by an asymmetrically offset and S-curved seat tube to give chain and front mech clearance on the chainstays. Thanks to the suspension geometry and a long stroke shock, rocker links are really small for a bike with 150mm travel.
Practicality is retained throughout. There’s enough straight seat tube for saddle height adjustment and a spray-stopping forward facing clamp slot under the quick-release collar. The colour matched cables and brake hoses are anchored with bolted cable guides, there’s a bottle cage mount, you get a chunky neoprene chainguard and the frame even has ISCG tabs for a direct-fit chain device.
Equipment: Proven suspension and kit is faultless for the money
We can’t fault Specialized for turning in a tenacious, super fun all-rounder at such a low weight. Most upgrades to increase control (stickier tyres, wider bars and rims) would inevitably compromise its easy speed and add weight.
That it’s genuinely versatile enough to fit a double chainring and bashguard, chain device, 28in bars and head straight to the Mega Avalanche, or gain some carbon and drop to 27lb as a long-travel marathon racer is just incredible for the money. We’ll even forgive the stick on – not lock-on – grips and silly superlight inner tubes (though both definitely need changing).
Fox’s RP2 rear shock and RockShox’s Pike fork are reliability legends and remain composed and controlled in 99 percent of trail situations. The Pike even gets an alloy steerer to drop weight without affecting its laser-accurate tracking.
More gravity-oriented riders should think about getting the rear shock changed to a more open and fluid tune to maximise plushness. It’s a stiff enough bike to push through corners anyway, and adding a bit more bodyweight responsiveness would increase grip, interaction and overall fun levels even more. For only £30 as part of a regular service or £50 just as a tune by Mojo, getting it tweaked wouldn’t disturb the astonishing value either.