Frame
Specialized has clearly built this bike to be able to handle the more demanding of terrains. The Pitch comes stock with a coil fork and the biggest rotors on test and this hints at its attitude. The Avid Juicy 3s with 203mm rotors up front stop enough for your DH bike. It feels like it’s the biggest bike on test but still weighed in the same as the Giant and lighter than the Mongoose. Layout is typically Specialized, with shortish chainstays and a lengthy front end, so much so in fact that the medium size we tested was almost too long. If you can get away with it, try a small as there will still be plenty of length in the wheelbase.

Suspension
The Pitch sports a slightly different rocker linkage — seemingly geared towards suppler travel — to last month’s Enduro, and a different shock in the Fox RP2. We found the suspension to be even plusher and more reactive. The coil-sprung Pike might be more difficult to adjust to rider weight than an air offering but we found the stock set-up worked fine, and the platform the coils gave us felt great with the back end. The 140mm fork can be wound down to 110mm with the u-turn adjuster, and the damping is automatically adjusted to suit the travel setting. We didn’t bother and simply cranked out the compression lockout for long climbs if needed.

The coil fork only weighs in a fraction heavier than the higher-spec dual air version on the Prophet, but matches well with the 10mm more rear travel offered here. The Pitch is the incarnation of the 150mm Enduro design we prefer.

Performance
The Specialized is totally rideable straight out of the box. In fact it is the best-riding new shape Enduro configuration we’ve tested — especially for descending. Shortish chainstays and a longer and lower front centre make for superb traction, good climbing and also keep the rider in a neutral position. Suspension is excellent at both ends. With no quibbles like long stems or narrow bars to deal with, the first run down on our uplift test day felt fast and sorted straight away.

While the Pitch pedals really well it does feel like you are only scratching the surface of what it’s capable of when cruising around. It’s more of a bigger mountain or flat pedal rider’s bike than the nimble and flighty Cannondale we are also recommending here, and feels like it has more than the 10mm extra travel. This isn’t saying you can’t ride all day on the Pitch — it has sorted geometry, climbs well and can more than handle most UK tracks and trail centres — just that it’s begging for a bit more punishment than you can dish out to it. A Pitch like this may well find itself acquiring a longer- travel Fox 36 up front for a Megavalanche assault next year.

NEED TO KNOW
Frame: M4 Aluminium, Fox RP2, 150mm
fork: RockShox Pike 351 Coil, 140mm
sizes: S, M, L, XL
weight:
13.9kg (30.6lb)
price: £1,399
contact: www.specialized.com

Verdict
With better performance than last month’s Enduro SL and a price tag of £1,000 less, the Pitch Pro is a storming deal. As usual, the Specialized suspension works great — the FSR system tracks the ground as well as ever and with the Fox shock it worked better throughout the stroke than the Specialized in-house equivalent. The Pitch feels ready to ride straight out of the box and well balanced with the RockShox coil- sprung Pike. Dependent on where you ride, this bike may be a little more than you need for everyday hacking as it is definitely capable of riding in the harsher environments. For the price this is a superb bike, and when you consider it carries only a couple of pounds weight penalty over its more expensive big brother it seems like even more of a bargain.

mbr rating: 10