Today, Pivot has launched the Mach 5.5 Carbon, a dedicated 27.5-inch wheel platform with 140mm rear travel designed to be “a real mountain biker’s mountain bike,” say company representatives. I traveled to Moab, Utah to get the first look and my first rides on Pivot’s latest.
Meet the Mach 5.5 Carbon
Pivot’s latest bike is made with a carbon frame (an aluminum version may be offered in the future) based around 27.5-inch wheels with 140mm of rear travel; complete bikes are equipped with a 160mm Fox 36 fork. The frame has clearance for 2.6-inch wide tires (the Mach 5.5 is not designed for plus widths or 29-inch wheels) and has the expected low/long/slack geometry.
I asked Pivot’s founder and head designer Chris Cocalis to describe the rider the Mach 5.5 is designed for. His response: “Pretty much any trail rider…Between the frame weight and the overall features—and even the combination of the rim width and tire width—it’s a real mountain biker’s mountain bike.”
If you’re shopping for a trail bike today, you’re inevitably faced with the 29 versus 27.5-inch question. In addition to the 140mm rear/160 front Mach 5.5 here, Pivot also offers the 135mm rear, 150mm front Switchblade. The intended use of the two bikes overlaps, and even geometry is quite similar. So to, hopefully, help potential buyers identify which wheel size would better suit their needs, I asked Cocalis to provide his take on the differences between 29 and 27.5-inch wheeled bikes.
“Obviously a 29er wheel rolls over stuff really nice,” Cocalis said, “But with that you lose some agility and the ability to pop off stuff in the same way, and the flick-ability of the bike. And when you get to 27.5 wheels, obviously you’re going to give up just little bit of that rollover, but the riding experience, for me anyway, it’s more dynamic. I can jump the bike easier, I just feel like, as a rider, I’m in more control of what the bike’s doing. ”