*Cross post from the Pivot Cycles forum
“That Carbon is going to hurt when it breaks” is what my friend texted back when I told him that Pivot Cycles asked if I wanted to test out the new XL Carbon Mach 5.7.
I guess I should provide a little back story here. I am 6’1” tall and a muscular 245lbs before breakfast. My riding style has been compared to an epileptic gorilla and I sometimes ride above my skill level. Within 6 months of owning my Firebird, I broke it in two places. Are you starting to get why my friend would text me such a seemingly odd response?
To say I was excited to try out the Carbon Mach 5.7 is an understatement. I didn’t wait until after work to pick it up but I rushed over on my lunch break to get it.
"That's the only XL Carbon Mach 5.7 in existence" was the last thing they said to me as I walked it out of Pivot Cycles front door and out to my vehicle.
The first thing I noticed about the bike was that it is a smooth and beautiful machine. The aesthetics of the Carbon Mach 5.7 are incredible.
The second thing I noticed was that the XL frame size is BIG. I take a very big frame and the XL 5.7 was just my size. I definitely would want wider handlebars on it and the powers that be at Pivot Cycles told me that the production models would come with wider bars.
Did I mention how light the XL Carbon Mach 5.7 is? How about 27lbs with an XT build? Oh yeah, I was really looking forward to riding this bike. COME ON QUITTING TIME!
Work went late, of course. I was forced to sit there like a kid on Christmas morning while his parents slept in. It was dark and I was tired by the time I got home so I threw a pair of clipless pedals on the 5.7 and went for an hour long canal ride just to see how it pedaled. I was really amazed! Between the weight, stiffness and the fact that the bike’s suspension gives you ZERO pedal bob- It really felt like a hard tail bike. A really NICE hard tail bike!
The next morning, I took it out for a cross country ride and realized that Pivot must have made a big miscalculation. There is no way this bike has 6 inches of travel. NO WAY! It really feels and handles like a full blown XC race bike, not an all mountain bike.
Tomorrow, I am really going to put this bike to the test. Tomorrow is Saturday.
Saturday morning is here and I am ready to break my first carbon frame. I wish I would have swapped out the puny little 6” rotors as I know I am going to be under gunned in the braking department because last night, I exchanged the clipless pedals for flats and the lightweight XC tires for a pair of Maxxis Minions. Oh yeah, I got some death to do and I’m not about to stop for any gashed sidewalls. I am going to break this bike on the toughest terrain around, South Mountain.
I am not going to bore you with how well the bike climbs. As expected, it climbs like a goat and my lungs were definitely the weakest link going uphill.
As I pointed this lightweight rocket downhill, I had one goal and one goal alone- bomb down this mountain as fast as I would on my Firebird.
The Carbon Mach 5.7 weighs 10lbs less than my Firebird and I really thought I would hate losing the stability that a little extra weight provides when ripping down technical sections of a tough trail. I was wrong. The Carbon Mach 5.7 glides over tech sections without a care and the FOX suspension soaks up anything you can throw under it.
I was really surprised anytime I had a chance to launch off of a drop or jump because the Carbon Mach 5.7 is really a blast in the air! It’s like combining the flickability of my dirt jumper with the soft landings and the room for error of my Firebird.
As the Minions dug into the turns, once again, I felt the stability that I have come to love from my Firebird in this lightweight XC/AM bike.
When I reached the bottom of the mountain, I was wishing I would have timed myself. I really could not believe how fast I was able to rip the lower section of this trail on such a lightweight bike.
And remember what I said about the puny little 6” rotors? I had actually forgotten all about them. Never once did I feel like this bike was under braked. The new Shimano XT brakes are INCREDIBLE.
The only thing I would change on this bike is the seat post. A bike this good at ripping downhill trails definitely deserves a dropper post. At the top of the run, I really didn’t think I would be able to push this bike as fast as I did and I didn’t lower the seat post as much as I should have. This resulted in some ugly damage to a beautiful bike!
I would also swap the big chain ring for a bash guard. Remember what I said about my epileptic gorilla riding style?
Did I really try to break this bike? No
Did I expect it to break under the punishment I dished out? Yeah, I actually did. I HAMMERED this bike.
Could I break this bike? Yes. I would love to hammer this bike down some full on, shuttle only, downhill trails. I think it would be a blast and I would love to know it's breaking point but that’s not what this bike is designed for. It is designed to haul some serious tail heading up hill as well as downhill and it really does a phenomenal job in both directions.
Would I trade in my beloved Firebird for a Carbon Mach 5.7? As much as I hate to admit it, yes I would. If I were using the bike as a full on DH bike as well as XC/AM, I would probably take the Firebird but if you want a “do anything bike” and you are going to occasionally take it down a DH trail, the Carbon Mach 5.7 is a perfect choice.
Now, how am I going to explain this damage to Pivot Cycles???
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