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  1. #1
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    Pivot Mach 5.5, Intense ACV, or Santa Cruz Hightower ???

    I was living in CA doing shuttle rides (Mt Pinos) and Mammoth Mountain on my Ventana X5 set up with 6 inches of travel. That would be my 12 year old 2005 Ventana X5.

    I am now in Charlotte NC. The bikes have changed a lot. My local trails are now free-flowing trails in the woods that require a lot of pedaling. And I am older!

    So I am looking for a great enduro bike that will work on my local trails, and will still fit the bill when I drive to any shuttle areas in the NC mountains.

    These 3 bikes are the only ones I am considering. They are all available from my local bike shops. Please limit comments and recommendations to these 3 bikes only.

    Thanks for your help!


    So - Pivot Mach 5.5, Intense ACV, or Santa Cruz Hightower ???

    Recommendations? Pros & Cons? Strengths? Weaknesses?
    Last edited by Rockohaulic; 06-07-2017 at 01:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    I know that most people seem overwhelmingly happy with their Hightowers. One of the best riders I know had owned what seems like every high end bike on the planet and his go-to bike is the Hightower.

    The new Pivot 5.5 is one sexy bike IMO. It seems that the "real world" owners, while limited so far, are very happy and loving the bike and are claiming it does everything well with a huge "fun factor". I know if I went out shopping for a bike today, that would be at the top of my list.

    I've never seen at ACV in the wild. I don't know anybody that owns one. I think their paint job is one of the ugliest bikes I've ever seen.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I think their paint job is one of the ugliest bikes I've ever seen.
    I have to agree with you there! What were they thinking???

    Yes, "Fun Factor" is number one and number two on my list. That is why I am going with a 27.5+ bike. I know the Mach 5.5 is not a "true" 27.5+ bike, but it is crazy close, and seems to be a great trade-off to keep the tyres from becoming too heavy and with a bit less squirm and bounciness of the full 2.8 tyres.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    The new Pivot 5.5 is one sexy bike IMO. It seems that the "real world" owners, while limited so far, are very happy and loving the bike and are claiming it does everything well with a huge "fun factor". I know if I went out shopping for a bike today, that would be at the top of my list.
    Isn't that the consensus of every super expensive new bike that comes out. I'm not doubting that the Mach 5.5 can't deliver, but how many bad reviews do you see from someone that bought an expensive bike and said that it sucks?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Isn't that the consensus of every super expensive new bike that comes out. I'm not doubting that the Mach 5.5 can't deliver, but how many bad reviews do you see from someone that bought an expensive bike and said that it sucks?
    Honestly? I see them quite frequently here on MTBR. Over on the Yeti forum right now, there's a guy that was ready to throw in the towel on his brand new 4.5 until he figured out his (still unresolved) creak. A guy that didn't like his Primer became a huge bonus for me personally when I bought it after he owned it less than 4 months = a $2400 savings for me But yes, I get your point and it's well taken because you're not wrong

    Rockohaulic....I agree about the 2.6 being a compromise. I tried ONE 2.8 equipped bike and didn't like the "squirm" of the tires and consequently, I'm jaded for life against 2.8's :step: Now that they have a DHF in a 2.6, I think they may have a winner.
    Last edited by k2rider1964; 06-07-2017 at 07:54 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Sorry guys, I've been out of the hobby for a while.

    What is DJF???

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockohaulic View Post
    Sorry guys, I've been out of the hobby for a while.

    What is DJF???
    My error. That should be DHF, Maxxis' highly regarded tire intended to be run up front. The 2.6 DHF is what comes up front on the 5.5
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  8. #8
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    Between the 3 you listed

    Pivot Mach 5.5 all the report say it is badass. It climbs well and goes DH better. Only hand full of them are showing up around here on the trails. I have not seen one yet. If I get a 27.5 bike that and the new Intense Tracer are my only two bikes I want

    Intense ACV I have only seen one. Dude said he liked it. but wished it had more travel. and agree with the paint job. wth

    Santa Cruz Hightower. I have not seen one on trail yet. I hear good things about them on here. but never have seen one or talked to anyone that owns one. Sorry can't help ya much on that one.

    There are a lot of other bikes though that fit what you want to ride.
    good luck
    Too Many .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    There are a lot of other bikes though that fit what you want to ride.
    good luck
    True, but I want to support my local bike shops, and these bikes are all available. I'm thinking I can't really go to wrong with any of them!

    Anyway, thanks guys, I am really appreciating all the info.

    On the Intense, um, if you can't come up with a color scheme that looks good, what's wrong with offering one more tried-&-true color --> all black???

    Anyway, keep the info coming. I'm really liking that Acura NSX Red Pivot Mach 5.5.......


    PS: Maxxis DHF. Yes, I was looking to see what tyres I might consider replacing the OEM tyres with, and after thoroughly investigating, I'm thinking I just can not improve on the Maxxis DHF!!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockohaulic View Post
    True, but I want to support my local bike shops, and these bikes are all available. I'm thinking I can't really go to wrong with any of them!

    Anyway, thanks guys, I am really appreciating all the info.

    On the Intense, um, if you can't come up with a color scheme that looks good, what's wrong with offering one more tried-&-true color --> all black???

    Anyway, keep the info coming. I'm really liking that Acura NSX Red Pivot Mach 5.5.......


    PS: Maxxis DHF. Yes, I was looking to see what tyres I might consider replacing the OEM tyres with, and after thoroughly investigating, I'm thinking I just can not improve on the Maxxis DHF!!!
    IF a shop sells Intense, Look at the Primer, You can run a little longer shock and get more travel can also run 27.5x2.8 tires. Buddy here in AZ did it but is now selling his Primer due to a baby coming. Look at the Recluse a Buddy has that and a Tracer DVO and seems to ride the Recluse a lot more for everything now, and maybe the Spider

    I also run a DHF but in 3" on my Stache. LOVE that tire. SO MUCH TRACTION
    Too Many .

  11. #11
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    As a Mach 5.5 owner, would not describe the 2.6 wide trail tires as a compromise. For me and the terrain I ride, it's more of a sweet spot. I was not interested in 27.5+. It checks all of the boxes I was looking for. The only complaint is the saddle is not a good match for me. It is now in the parts bin. Go ride all of them. You will know which is right for you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SofaKing Fast View Post
    As a Mach 5.5 owner, would not describe the 2.6 wide trail tires as a compromise. For me and the terrain I ride, it's more of a sweet spot. I was not interested in 27.5+. It checks all of the boxes I was looking for. The only complaint is the saddle is not a good match for me. It is now in the parts bin. Go ride all of them. You will know which is right for you.
    How is the 5.5? I'm really digging the reports. how is it climbing? Could you say its a do it all bike but favors DH?
    Too Many .

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SofaKing Fast View Post
    As a Mach 5.5 owner, would not describe the 2.6 wide trail tires as a compromise. For me and the terrain I ride, it's more of a sweet spot. I was not interested in 27.5+. It checks all of the boxes I was looking for. The only complaint is the saddle is not a good match for me. It is now in the parts bin. Go ride all of them. You will know which is right for you.

    I'm curious about sizing on the 5.5. How tall are you and what size frame are you riding?

    BTW...best screen name on MTBR.
    *2018 Pivot Mach 5.5 Custom Build*
    *2017 Knolly Warden Custom Build*

  14. #14
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    I came off a Ibis Mojo HD v1. The 5.5 is a better climber. The front end is more planted on seated climbs. It has a very nimble feel and loves to corner. The more aggressive you ride the more you are rewarded. It gives you a sense that you are more in the bike as apposed to on top of it. People make a big deal about having a 36 on the front but I will tell you it has a nice balanced feel. The 36 is stiff and builds confidence to go faster into corners. I was able to test ride it before purchase and have just over 100 miles so far.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SofaKing Fast View Post
    The only complaint is the saddle is not a good match for me. It is now in the parts bin. Go ride all of them.
    So what saddle is best for a SofaKing???

    Thanks for the input!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinboyer View Post
    I'm curious about sizing on the 5.5. How tall are you and what size frame are you riding?

    BTW...best screen name on MTBR.
    I am 5'-8". 31" inseam. Rocking a Medium.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockohaulic View Post
    So what saddle is best for a SofaKing???

    Thanks for the input!
    The best saddle for a Sofaking is a WTB Rocket V.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockohaulic View Post
    PS: Maxxis DHF. Yes, I was looking to see what tyres I might consider replacing the OEM tyres with, and after thoroughly investigating, I'm thinking I just can not improve on the Maxxis DHF!!!
    Check out the TRS tires by E13, specifically the Triple Compound model. A buddy has one and that thing is beefy. Technically a 2.35 but as wide as a Maxxis 2.5 but bigger lugs, especially on the sides. All the reviews are pretty stellar as well. e*thirteen TRS+ Tire 27.5x2.35 Review
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  19. #19
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    Thanks for the info on the E13. The TRSr looks extremely promising. I understand their 2.35 is bigger than other company's, but anyone have any info on if they are planning on making a 2.5 or a 2.6???

    Also, does anyone else want to chime in for the Intense ACV or Santa Cruz Hightower??? Lots of good inputs on the Pivot Mach 5.5, but I want to hear about all 3.

    Thanks guys!

  20. #20
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    I demoed the HT+. I was really impressed. Find a demo.

  21. #21
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    Currently riding a Mach 4 but did a light demo of a pivot 5.5 and bought the bike. Still waiting for upgrades to the bike before I take delivery, I9 wheel set, code sram brakes and reverb dropper. Here are my impressions of the 5.5. As you would expect it is a bigger bike than the Mach 4 in all ways. Medium frame xo1 built weighed 29.8 lbs with pedals. Frame is stout and rigid but the bike rides like a lighter bike. 2.6 tires feel similar to a 29er and the slacker head angle feels perfect. Because of the longer reach. I went from a large in the Mach 4 to a medium in the 5.5. I am 5'11" 172lbs. In many ways the 5.5 feels like a beefed up version of the 429 trail. It is certainly more bike than I really need in Kentucky but hopefully be a perfect fit for Moab. The Mach 4 was rideable but just not enough bike on the whole enchilada. I'm expecting to take delivery on the 5.5 late this week and will check back in after a more thourough run.

  22. #22
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    I've demoed HT+ couple of weeks ago which I really wanted to try 29er but they only had + version. Demoed Pivot 429 trail and 5010 too but unless I get to demo other rides which probably won't happen, one ride on HT was enough to make me want it. Will be buying it as soon as enough money is saved in month or two.
    2012 S pecialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er

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  23. #23
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    Ran into guy at Francis Beatty Park, NC this weekend who was on an Intense. He loved his Intense. Raved about it on and on.

    He said he was at an expo and got to demo the Intense and the Ibis (I think) and a Pivot Switchblade. He went with the Intense, and was seriously happy with his bike.

    He said for me I should consider the Intense or the Mach 5.5.

    Bottom line: I may be over thinking this. (I tend to do that.) I'm betting all 3 bikes will be more fun than should be legal, and that all 3 are high quality products and will keep me grinning for many years to come.

    But hey - keep the inputs coming! It's good to hear from all of you who have real-world experience.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SofaKing Fast View Post
    I came off a Ibis Mojo HD v1. The 5.5 is a better climber. The front end is more planted on seated climbs. It has a very nimble feel and loves to corner. The more aggressive you ride the more you are rewarded. It gives you a sense that you are more in the bike as apposed to on top of it. People make a big deal about having a 36 on the front but I will tell you it has a nice balanced feel. The 36 is stiff and builds confidence to go faster into corners. I was able to test ride it before purchase and have just over 100 miles so far.
    Ha. I'm coming off a Mojo HD as well. My 5.5 frame has been ordered and should be here in a month. What size HD did you have? I always felt my HD was a little cramped but the Med 5.5 is quite a bit longer in the reach. Probably will drop down to a 30mm stem (from a 50 on the HD). Just curious how the size feels coming from a Mojo.

  25. #25
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    RLIND & MERIDEBIKES,

    How are you guys liking your Pivot Mach 5.5 bikes???

    Have you taken delivery yet???
    Last edited by Rockohaulic; 06-21-2017 at 11:02 AM.

  26. #26
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    My current ride is a Primer, pretty much stock and I've really enjoyed it for longer distance rides. I've been a 29er snob for 8 years or so due mainly to the decreased rolling resistance I suppose. I tried a Hightower in 27.5+ and really enjoyed cornering and going downhill but the weight of those tires/rims (compared to what I was used to) was a tough thing to get over. When the trails point down here in rocky PHX its a little tough on the Primer and I've gotta slow down a bit to maintain good control.

    I demoed a 5.5 a couple nights ago. I realized how much I missed having a substantial fork on my bike! (had a bike w a Fox 36, others w Pike). That paired w the bigger tire transformed the ride. Very very stable in the rough without feeling sluggish. The rear end felt efficient and plush w almost no flex (I'm 235lbs so I know how that feels).

    I liked the 5.5 enough that I'm considering switching to the 27.5 size bike in the form of a 5.5. Downhills were effortless which brought the fun level up from the Primer. No dis intended on the Primer since its amazing for what its designed for - I think some would argue is the best in its class. It just doesn't have anywhere near the comfort and control in corners and downhill as the Pivot did.

    The Pivot climbs well. Is interesting really when comparing to the Primer in climbs. The Primer is lighter and has 29" wheels but when considering the additional traction and supple suspension of the 5.5, it seems like comparing apples to oranges... but I was able to climb the same sections of trail with about the same effort and speed. The front end didn't seem to wander like my Specy enduro did.

    The drawback with the 5.5 that I could discern was a little more weight in the tires/wheels but it didn't bother me nearly as much as it did with the HT w 2.8s. The one I rode had alloy rims, perhaps carbon rims and lighter 2.6 tires (don't know if there are any) so wonder if these would make a sizeable difference. I'd also prefer a tad steeper seat tube just because I'm used to that geo.

    Of note, I also demoed a Mach 429 trail about 2 months ago and it didn't sway me away from my current ride like this one did. The 5.5 is really quite a fun bike. Maybe its the 2.6 tires that bridge the gap but I like it.

    My .02

  27. #27
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    Woo Hooooo! Another convert!

    I am still really enjoying my Pivot Mach 5.5.

    I have the DT Swiss wheels. Carbon would be crazy nice on the climbs!


  28. #28
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    Nice!! I've been on my 5.5 for almost two weeks and absolutely love it.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdb85 View Post
    Nice!! I've been on my 5.5 for almost two weeks and absolutely love it.
    Post a picture!

    Tell us why you like it!

  30. #30
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    I'd love to post pic's but since Photobucket went all nazi on us I don't know how to post pic's. I am quite challenged when it comes to computers & smart phones. Anyone want to teach an old dude "how to" I would appreciate any tips.

    Anyway, I purchased the "Anniversary Edition" because when I ordered mine Pivot was between shipments for inventory and black or red were not available until mid-late Oct. I have zero patience so I bit the bullet and went with the special, #137 out of 300. Cool in a way I guess, idk. Not a fan of Shimano shifting so my LBS bought back XTR RD,cassette & XT shifter and I went with XX1 shifter, XO1 RD and 1180 cassette, also had to buy the Sram free hub for I9 hub (he credited the Shimano free hub too) It's 11sp and I love the Sram stuff a lot. I also put a 203mm front rotor on.

    I'm coming off a Stumpy 6Fattie that I really liked a lot the last two years. Settled on 2.8 plus tires and tweaked it a lot to eliminate pedal strikes. Anyway I demo'd (rented) a 5.5 for a weekend a while back and rode on my local trails that I'm very familiar with and loved the bike, I was sold after that weekend and ordered one. I love the DW Link, so much more efficient than the Stumpy. The linkage and bearings on the Pivot are robust and very impressive. It's probably more bike than I need I live in SW Pa. and don't do 4-5' drops and don't do bike park stuff (nice knowing I could though) but we have a lot of rocky, rooty, chunky trails with some nice features. A lot of up & down and very twisty & tight. The bike is perfect for me and my riding style. I think IMO that the 2.6 tires on the wide rims are fantastic. Pivot, Reynolds and Maxis nailed this combo! There is no rollover, squirm or unnecessary rebound from the tires. They are firm and controlled. The Fox 36 is nothing short of awesome, point it and go, no noodling or flex it just tracks where you want it to. The XT brake are just what they are, I like'm, have them on all 3 MTB's. Only two weeks mind you but I'm loving the dropper too! I removed it from my Stumpy cause I never used but I'm making a conscious effort to use it on this bike and it is pretty darn nice. Might just put mine back on the Stumpy.

    To sum it up without gushing,(or have I already) the bike just flat out works everywhere I ride. Climbs better, descends better and is more manageable in the tight twisty stuff than my Stumpy ever was. I don't regret the purchase one bit even if the claimed weights are fabricated, lol. (that's in another thread, hilarious)

  31. #31
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    Anybody ridden the 5.5 without 2.6 tyres and gone smaller. Big difference? Little difference? I imagine itd be lighter and poppier?

  32. #32
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    Any taller dudes riding this bike? I'm 6-4 and considering a Switchblade as I want a more playful (but DWLink) bike that can still jump and run the chunk when needed. The Mach 5.5 fits really nice in the parking lot.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgkijay View Post
    Anybody ridden the 5.5 without 2.6 tyres and gone smaller. Big difference? Little difference? I imagine itd be lighter and poppier?
    I'm also wondering about this. The frame is light but the build is not. Wondering if you could get it down to 27lbs like a Yeti SB5 or close to it. I love the frame but not sure I need the big tires etc all the time.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I'm also wondering about this. The frame is light but the build is not. Wondering if you could get it down to 27lbs like a Yeti SB5 or close to it. I love the frame but not sure I need the big tires etc all the time.
    I would think sub 27lbs is achievable. My 2016 Mach 6 (large) with a larger rear shock than the 5.5 comes in under 27lbs. I dont see why this bike would not too.

    It is has XX1 drive train, guide ultimate brakes, race face sl carbon cranks, carbon bar, and DT Swiss XMC 1200 spine carbon wheels (crazy light, but $$$), lev 150mm dropper. I run 2.3 minion/aggressor.

    The wheels that come with the Mach 5.5 builds are super heavy. The 2.6 tires really are not too bad weight wise. I wonder if the 2.6 tires would work ok on the thinner 30mm rim than the stock 35mm rims.

    I would also guess that 2.3 tires would drastically change the feel of the 5.5 and you may or may not like the result depending on what your going for.

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