Well, after spending the best part of the last 7 months on Pivot Cycles best selling platform, the trail hungry Mach 5.7, I thought it about time to put finger to tablet and share my thoughts with cyberspace. As a side note to this review, I switched from the alloy version of the 5.7 to the newer carbon model around a month ago. Suspension layout and geometry are identical between the 2 and apart from an upward bump in stiffness and a downward bump in mass, the 2 bikes feel very similar and for the purpose of this review I will stay away from the small details and focus on the comparable attributes. Feel free to contact me at the shop and I will bore you at length with all the details.
As the name suggests, this Pivot has 5.7 inches, or 140mm, of DW link actuated travel, and pairs perfectly to a 150mm travel fork up front. All the usual frame fitments are present. Zero stack tapered head tube, PF92 BB, direct mount front derailleur, guides for a dropper, and 142 12mm rear end fitted with post disc mounts.
The geometry feels very modern with a slack laid out front end, perfect for aggressive trail riding. The front of the bike really wants to be pushed hard at speed, and seems to respond better the more aggressive you are with it, the bike feeling super planted when really pumped into and out of turns. At high speed, through sketchy, rocky terrain the thing just bombs. Super stable and very comfortable while being pushed deep into the shock stroke. At slower speeds and through more fidgety terrain, you certainly need a firm hand on the bars with the bike really wanting to be told where to go and needing to be steered through a turn. But at speed the chassis is so balanced that I found myself working the bike from the middle, using equal amounts body english and steering input to keep the bike pushed hard into its travel to keep the shock energized and weighted. The shock always felt most responsive when settled in and loaded up. I found myself generally using more rebound damping than I’m used to in order to keep the rear of the bike in its sweet spot.
The shock is amazingly supple through the mid stroke sucking up any trail chatter and simply erasing square edge hits as if never there. It ramps beautifully at the ending stroke and I have never had any harsh bottoming despite using full travel on almost every ride, and even when gravity has exceeded ability.
The balanced feel of the 5.7s frame really lends itself to the newer style of trails being built at the moment. The natural flow of the track and proliferation of features and trail furniture encourages the rider to continually switch left and right looking for any take off point or launch pad. A trail like the new Lancaster really allows the bike to shine turning the trail from a series of moves into one continuous flowing downhill line.
You will probably have guessed by this point that I really love the way this bike handles and feels. What is even more incredible is the way it climbs back up again. Simply put, the climbing ability of the bike is abnormal. I cant think of any other way to put it. The DW link always remains hooked up and constantly seeks out traction, rarely, if ever, breaking free. Unsurprisingly for a near 6 inch travel bike, if you get sloppy and start stabbing the pedals out of the saddle, you might not find favour. But stay seated and low over the front end and the Pivot is amazingly quick up just about anything put in front of it. I never touched the platform switch on the RP23 for the simple reason that I never felt the need to, leaving it in full open mode all the time. Watching the rear shock while pedaling up a loose choppy climb shows how little power is being lost through shock movement, and at the same time how much traction is being gained.
I suppose, to summarize the 5.7, I would say it perfectly represents the modern interpretation of a mountain bike. It manages to excel on virtually any type of terrain and gives the impression of being several bikes all wrapped into one. It can flow through twisty singletrack, dole out grins by the bucket load when pointing down, and it can unerringly get you back to the top to do it all over again. And in my humble opinion, that is exactly what a mountain bike should do.