Introducing the Mach 5.7
When talking about the Mach 5 and its replacement, Chris makes it clear that he and his customers actually like the former geometry very much: In Arizona, the rocky terrain calls for a higher BB, and the rough trails favor a burly bike even on XC rides. In these conditions, the Mach 5 shines. However, the geometry of the new bike is indeed slacker, with a much lowered BB, and is more suited for Trail riding. The travel has been increased, as the name suggests, and to top it off, weight has been significantly decreased (by almost half a pound). Some of the less apparent improvements Chris is proud of, are plusher suspension feel due to change in shock-leverage-ratio, and yet further improvement of already superior lateral rigidity.
And how does it ride? We got a chance to ride the new Mach 5.7 up and down the local trails at Flagstaff, Arizona. The improved geometry is very apparent, and the bike went flying down rough sections far better then my recollection of the Mach 5. Theoretically, the changes are minor – less the half an inch in BB height, less then half a degree in head angle. In practice though, it feels very different, and much more confidence inspiring.
The Mach 5, while maybe not the most potent descender, was a great play-bike: very willing to pull up both wheels when hopping over obstacles. I was pleased to find out this excellent trait hasn’t been lost. Together with the increased stability it summed up to a very enjoyable ride.
Suspension works great on the downhill sections, without even the slightest hint of brake-jack. On the uphill, I had to use the stable platform switch to keep the bike from bobbing slightly, something I did not remember from the Mach 5. However, I did not get enough time to play with shock pressures, and I believe a few more PSIs of preload would have done the trick.
My experience with the bike has been much shorter then what it usually takes for a proper review. Yet from what I could tell, the Mach 5.7 seems like a great bike that shows noticeable improvement over the Mach 5 it replaces. These advantages are very relevant in places where single-tracks are relatively fast and curvy. I know that for Israeli terrain it would make an excellent trail-bike.
Why is it that I came all this way and yet spent limited riding timing on the Mach 5.7? Well, the answer is Love at first ride, and the subject of which is the Mach 429.