Everyone who is passionate about mountain biking has their favorite brand of bike. There are many good quality brands on the market. After spending many years purchasing, building, riding, racing, customizing and tuning what I believed to be the best brands of mountain bikes, 14 brands total, I purchased my first Pivot mountain bike.
This was a Mach 5.7 Carbon frame. I began researching and selecting components, building and customizing the wheels, Fox Factory tuned the rear shock for 27.5 wheels, Fox Factory tuned the 140mm front fork, XX1 drivetrain and other components. As soon as I jumped on the Mach 5.7C 27.5 and took it for a long hard ride on the trails I experienced an entirely new level of performance and ride quality than ever before. Whatever the best bike was in my fleet prior to this, the Pivot Mach 5.7C 27.5 took it up a few notches higher. It pedaled more efficiently, ripped single track like nothing I had been on before, climbed hills faster and with less effort, ripped down rough steep hills faster, and with more control, than ever before, carved twisty single track with precision, braked smoothy at high speed on rough terrain with no wheel hop and provided the best performance and ride quality I've experienced on a mountain bike.
From this point on several years ago I began my quest to learn everything I could about Pivot mountain bikes and how they are designed, engineered, tested and manufactured to yield the impressive differences I experienced. I also began seeking out specific models I wanted to test and added them to my fleet and began the process of customizing each one with the optimum mix of high-end componentry.
I'm probably not your average mountain bike rider when it comes analyzing, testing and tuning mountain bikes. I spent the majority of my professional career as an Engineer at Ford Motor Company. During my career I worked on everything from production cars/trucks to cars and trucks in the Ford Racing program in conjunction with Roush Industries. I was involved with many different areas of the engineering process from product conception to production and everything in between. I've also been in hundreds of supplier manufacturing plants and R&D Facilities and learned a lot about manufacturing and quality control processes..
Before a car/truck frame, or mountain bike frame and components can be designed, very specific road, or trail, load inputs are required for every section of the frame and components. How this is done is to instrument the frame and components with strain gauges, load cells and accelerometers. Sophisticated data acquisition equipment is required to capture the data for analysis. Then the test fleet heads out all over the U.S. and world to some of the roughest and most severe on and off road conditions there are to acquire the data and see what parts may have concerns. This occurs in conjunction with laboratory testing and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modeling.
Once the data is analyzed more refined prototypes are made for further testing and the process repeats. The process repeats over and over again until optimization is achieved. Then at that point a more complete test is run with a statistically significant quantity of vehicles, which also accounts for min max manufacturing tolerance stacks and material variations, this can require hundreds or even thousands of vehicles. This is how a world class vehicle is developed in it's simplest form without going into extensive details.
The process to design, engineer and test a prototype mountain bike frame is similar, although not on as large a scale as for cars and trucks. There has to be a basis to start the design based on real world data for load inputs to help develop the optimum frame that is tuned to provide the best performance. This is one important reason why well engineered quality mountain bike frames and components cost more than others of lesser quality since there is more involved to develop, test and manufacture them. The same can be said about every component on the bike. Premium quality major brand name bike manufacturers utilize this type of process.
What I learned about Pivot frames and what sets them apart from any and all other frames is that they use a "proprietary hollow core internal molding technology. This technology is extraordinary and sets the bar well above anything else available and is unmatched in every category." This is direct from Pivot's literature.
I also found this on Pinkbike's Pivot Mach 6 Review Please read this entire article on Pinkbike as it has additional details regarding Pivot's frame manufacturing process and quality.
"Pivot’s Carbon frames are made in Asia, by a relatively small factory that limits its production to making elite level frames and components for a handful of lucky brands. The carbon comes primarily from Toray of Japan, and the molding process used in their construction is just finding its way into the most elite-level factories. While the choice of carbon material defines the best from the rest, getting the layers of carbon fibers aligned exactly in the correct orientation and then squeezing them together evenly and with sufficient pressure is of even greater consequence if the goal is to make the lightest, strongest and most reliable structure."
Pivot's hollow core internal molding process utilizes rigid internal forms for both lay-up and molding, eliminating inconsistent pressures, preventing voids, and providing the highest levels of compaction and control over the entire structure. The result is a frame that requires less material, is lighter and stiffer and that can be optimized and tuned to provide the perfect ride feel in every size of every model" These two statements are direct from the Pivot catalog.
Pivot technology utilizes DW-Link(TM) Suspension which provides for a variable wheel travel path and provides for great square-edge bump performance, allowing the bike to maintain momentum over rough terrain and resulting in unparalleled traction when climbing.
Pivot fully active braking technology. No braking effect on suspension performance means that the rear wheel maintains contact with the ground (and therefore traction) when braking. More traction means more control and the ability to maintain higher speeds braking even later into corners without skidding or hopping the rear wheel The faster and smoother you are able to enter the corner the faster you can exit that corner.
Pivot's have incredible frame stiffness. A one-piece rear triangle combined with Pivot's oversize bearing design and short dual links means that your Pivot frame is ultra-stiff and precise. No frame flex means no wasted power and an incredible efficient ride.
Pivot technology incorporates position sensitive anti-squat. Pedaling forces will not cause the suspension to sag or bob under power. You do not need to constantly flip levers or buttons to achieve perfectly smooth performance while climbing or descending. Because efficiency is inherent to Pivot suspension design, Pivot is able to take full advantage of every adjustment and tune each setting for the ultimate ride-feel.
Pivot's have more travel per category. With Pivot design and DW-Link(TM)'s anti-squat characteristics, Pivot can achieve all of their goals with no downside, making Pivot mountain bikes the most versatile possible machines. Pivot's goal is to stretch the boundaries of what is possible so that the Pivot rider can enjoy a wider range of riding conditions and terrain than thought possible on a single bike.
This is why we focus primarily on custom building and riding Pivot mountain bikes. We also custom build other brands of popular quality mountain bikes for a wide range of customers.* (please read disclaimer at bottom of page).
Do your research and comparison test rides and decide which brand and model is right for you.
Here is a link to the 2016 Pivot Catalog. Read the introduction on Page 2 from Chris Cocalis, President/CEO of Pivot Cycles. He explains their "Performance Redefined" focus and how they push the boundaries of engineering and design to new heights and strive to build the best bike in every category.
We are passionate about Pivot mountain bikes and enjoy introducing other mountain bikers to Pivot so they too can experience Pivot's passion for excellence.
*Please note although we build and sell many brands of mountain bikes, we are not an authorized dealer for any brand. Our frames are purchased either new from authorized dealers or new/lightly used from individual sellers, therefore there is no manufacturers warranty. The components we use in our builds are primarily new while some may be lightly used. BuildAMountainBike has our own warranty.