By Karl Rosengarth
The Mach 5.7 is Pivot Cycles‘ vision of the ultimate 26-inch trail bike. The company seems to have hit their mark, as the do-it-all Mach 5.7 is Pivot’s top-selling model. With 145mm (5.7 inches) of proven dw-link rear travel and a sexy carbon frame, the Mach 5.7 Carbon certainly has a lot going for it.
Call me shallow, but I really like the looks of the carbon Mach 5.7 frame. For the complex shaping involved in dual-suspension frames, I feel that carbon is superior to aluminum. The ability to create complex shaping, while producing a sleek and smooth aesthetic, gives carbon fiber the edge in the "form-follows-function" contest (versus aluminum). My only aesthetic issue is with the large number of Pivot logos (but what do I know about branding?).
The frame appeals to me on number of other levels. I like the use of what Pivot calls "rubberized leather" on the chainstay and down-tube protectors (to quiet the ride and improve impact resistance). The frame also includes a cable guide for a dropper post (under the top tube). The press fit 92mm wide BB shell offers a wide base for the dw-link bearing support, and improves frame strength and stiffness. The direct-mount front derailleur provides a more rigid attachment and simplified set-up, both of which should improve shifting performance. I’m a fan of the 142mm rear spacing and 1.5” tapered headtube. The Asian-made frame comes with a three year warranty.
For our test bike, we chose the XT build (MSRP $4,999), one of the seven kits that Pivot offers for the Mach 5.7. In addition to the Shimano XT 2×10 drivetrain and brakes, the build included a Fox Float 150 RLC FIT fork (32mm) with 15mm thru-axle, and a FOX RP23 Kashima rear shock. The tubeless-compatible wheels were built with DT Swiss 350 hubs and 430 Supercomp rims. I used Stan’s sealant (and their valve stems) to go tubeless. I used the opportunity to swap out the Kenda Slant Six rear tire for a Continental Mountain King 2.2 Protection—a more aggressive and appropriate choice for our rugged, rocky terrain. I’ve had good luck with Kenda Nevegal 2.35 tires, so I left that up front.
Setting up the rear suspension to the recommended 30 percent sag was a snap, thanks to the provided visual sag gage that snaps onto rear shock. Fromt he get-go I was happy with the rear-suspension performance. It felt supple, active and bottomless. I’ve noted minimal suspension bob when pedaling smoothly in the saddle. Mashing the pedals in square strokes and/or hammering out of the saddle will get the rear suspension moving. Under heavy pedaling, a flip of the ProPedal switch settled things down.
The bike’s relaxed 67.1 degree head angle (with 150mm travel fork), and low 13.6" bottom bracket height resulted in sweet, carvy handling. The Mach 5.7 made it very easy to get my flow on / put a show on / bust some moves that I could make some dough on. I’ve found that the angles are not so slack as to make the steering feel floppy on steep uphills. And the bike loves zipping through turny singletrack at moderate speeds. So far so good, with respect to the handling.
Yes, this bike made a positive first impression on me. But how will it hold up to months of abuse, and will my opinions change? Those answers will have to wait for my print review in Dirt Rag issue #167. Don’t miss out, subscribe or renew today.