2009 Specialized Pitch Pro

Pro Reviews

Review by Sharon Bader (some additional comments by Lee Lau)

Introduced in 2008 and following Specialized’s catch phrase of “Innovate or Die”, the Pitch Series of All Mountain Bikes complements its big brother the M5 Enduro. While both have 150mm rear travel the Pitch comes equipped with the proprietary 140mm Rock Shox Pike Coil U-turn fork and Juicy 4 brakes. Specialized’s buying power has allowed this company to create this bike as an affordable, uncompromised option to its higher end Enduro line.

Pitch Pro

The Bike

This bike was obtained by Obsession: Bikes in North Vancouver, Canada and loaned to us for this review.

Using similar characteristics as the Enduro SL M5 frame, this M4 frame offers a more cost effective bike. While lacking the finer frame construction of the Enduro it shares some of the same forging and offers a better value frame. Specialized’s ability to order large quantities of components allows it to equip their bikes with parts unique and specific to each frame. The Pitch shares the same patented FSR suspension which separates braking and chain forces from the suspension to prevent brake jack and ensure control on steep descents.

The slack 67 degree head angle and low standover provides confidence on steep rough descents. Paired with the 140mm to 95mm adjustable travel Rock Shox Pike, fork height was easily selected for efficient climbing or confident descending. Even in the high travel mode, the Pitch was an apt climber. Riding over large roots and rocks would result in impacts with the big chainring and cranks despite the 14inch bottom bracket height and 175mm cranks. The tires were great in dry and wet conditions. They climbed with confidence over dry roots and would only slip on the steepest of wet rooty terrain. Maintaining good climbing posture and consistent pedaling allowed the bike to climb through a slipping rear tire. The tires did loose grip on wet steep rock face descents.

Note on Cable Routing:

The shifter and brake cables travel to the rear of the bike under the down tube. Brackets are bolted over the cables along the down tube to keep them in place. Each groove specifically fits either a gear or brake housing. This keeps the cable out of the way and they should remain clean since they are totally enclosed. The rear brake cable is also routed inside the seat stay and the shifter cable is routed under the chain stay and in the chain stay protector. One disadvantage of this routing is that the cables are susceptible to impacts from below resulting in damage to the cable housing. Also found while shuttling with the bike hanging over a pickup tailgate is further damage to the cables and frame, additional padding should be applied to the downtube if the bike is to be transported this way. The shifter cable along the bottom of the chain stay has evidence of chain slap on it.

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About the author: Sharon Bader

I am 5’9″, weigh 154lbs. I have been riding since 1991. I started on a classic XC hard tail but have moved with technology and now ride a Pivot Mach 5.7 for XC, a Trek Session for DH and a Pivot Firebird and Knolly Endorphin for freeriding/shore/technical XC riding.

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  • Andrew says:

    Haha yeah. For some reason, my Pitch Pro also attacks twigs and branches… I’ll be descending parts of narrow single tracks and I’ll hear my wheels eating up and snapping twigs and branches that jump into the bike.

  • roger says:

    Hi there, Great review. What size frame were you using? Am thinking of getting a pitch…am 6ft, and was thinking larger, but some reviews say go smaller, say a medium? I do prefer a slightly bigger bike though.
    Many thanks 🙂

  • roger says:

    …sorry, that was supposed to say large, not larger.! 🙂

  • If you're big enough, get a large. I'm Med and I fit a med says:

    see above.

  • Pierre Kaufmann says:

    Hi Lee
    Just want to let you know how much I appreciate your reviews, informative, well written, accurate and interesting. I also appreciate your reviews on Wildsnow.
    I have been riding since 1981 and have worked in outdoor education with students (I’m a teacher too).
    I was wondering if you have an index of all the reviews you have done, it would be a great resource for grade 9/10 language arts project on reviews.
    I currently have 4 bikes, RMX, nomad, Trance XO and a altitude 90rsl which I just picked up for a song.
    I also tour tele and alpine out of the Nelson area (sled up logging roads on 4 stroke turbo).
    If you ever need an additional perspective on a review I would love to collaborate.
    I have worked in the self propelled outdoor education movement for 40 years and still going strong. I’m semi retired and am the principal of a small alternative school in the Slocan Valley with a strong outdoor leadership program.
    As a rock climber i have several first ascent big walls under my belt too. ( I started climbing when I was 15 in South Africa where I grew up).
    My perspective is important as I have watched the evolution of equipment and have a strong technical background too. I have worked in retail for a stint including MEC in the early 1980’s and was an Arcetryx pro- athlete for awhile.
    Keep shredding and slaying it with your keyboard too.
    Thanks again
    PS epic Ski-touring up here near Nelson if you are ever in the area I would love to give you a tow up on my sled, awesome lines in the Valhallas.

    • Patrick says:

      Really? Then buy a bike, ride the shit out of it, start a blog, and review it. Then tag links to it, that way of stating what you can maybe do, you are showing what you have done, and if it’s any good I’m sure these guys would love to give you a shot. Regards

  • gramgram says:

    “I expected the Pitch Pro to be a better descender then it was a climber”

    You mean “than it was”, not “then”.

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