Chris Cocalis, founder of Pivot cycles, has been involved in the development of mountain bikes and components since the mid 80s (pretty much the beginning of time) and founded Titus Cycles in 1991. After 15 years of running Titus, Chris sold up, took some time off, then promptly decided he wasn’t done with designing and building bikes, so he set up Pivot Cycles.
Pivot strives to produce bikes that are light, stiff, plush and efficient, as does every other manufacturer. But the folks at Pivot have a few tricks up their sleeves that they claim give them an advantage over others.
The Mach 5.7 has evolved from the popular Mach 5. It has a fraction more travel (5.7 inches versus 5 inches), has dropped half a pound in frame weight, is claimed to be more rigid, and has slightly slacker geometry. I’m at a bit of a loss as to which category this bike fits into. For a bike with 5.7 inches of travel it’s very light—11.8 kg, on a par with some cross-country thoroughbreds—and yet the travel and geometry suggest that this bike might be better suited to the frivolity of all-mountain riding. But the component spec, specifically the 100 mm stem, again suggests a more cross-country persuasion. I’m confused; maybe I should stop worrying and just ride the thing.
The model we tested was spec’d with a full complement of SRAM XO components, a Fox Float RLC fork, a lightweight DT Swiss wheelset, and some fruity carbon FSA bits and bobs that no doubt helped the 5.7 trim its waistline. All these components performed flawlessly for the duration of our test.
There are two standout aspects to the ride of the 5.7. The first is the fabled DW-link rear suspension. The 5.7 manages the volatile love triangle of small bump compliance, pedalling efficiency, and active braking incredibly well. Whether it’s climbing over rough roots, checking your speed as you hammer through braking bumps, or putting the gas down to catch your riding buddies, the 5.7 manages to feel supple, lively and responsive, all at once. The other characteristic of note is that for such a light bike the 5.7 seems to be remarkably rigid. Pivot bikes are unique in that all their frames have a 92 mm wide bottom bracket shell. This allows an increase in the width of both the down tube and the suspension linkages, increasing rigidity. Other contributing factors include oversized pivot axles and cartridge bearings, and a tapered head tube. All this culminates in a bike that, despite its feathery weight, tracks and corners with the confidence of much burlier bikes.
We’re not in the habit of dwelling on the length and width of the stem and bar spec on bikes; most people have a personal preference and will swap these at the time of purchase or thereafter. However, my one real gripe with the 5.7 is the fact that it comes spec’d with a 100 mm stem. I’d expect to find this on cross-country specific bikes, not on an all-rounder like the 5.7. Changing the stem to a shorter 70 mm option improved the handling and riding position in every situation. Personally I’d prefer a shorter stem again, but would need to go to a larger frame size to do so.
The 5.7 is a great all-rounder. If you’re feeling flush and considering buying one, I’d recommended sizing it up with a shorter stem and wider bars. LEIF ROY
Kiran MacKinnon is a human dyno. When Santa Cruz Bicycles needs to test, experiment and validate suspension then Kiran is the one of the main people we call on to do that work. Not only is he an extremely talented bike rider and incredibly knowledgeable about suspension, but he can actually interpret and translate what he’s feeling in a way that he can communicate to the rest of the engineering team. This enables them to cross-reference the data they’ve collected with real life, on-trail experience to build better bikes and provide the right setup for our riders. We’re constantly refining our VPP™ suspension as well as the damping tunes shocks we spec on our bikes in order to make sure our bikes ride really, really good.