To keep costs in check cheaper M4 alloy is used on the Pitch Pro, pulling together tube profiles from other Spesh designs. A Specialized signature short rear end — built around a true four-bar design, with pivot on the chainstay next to the rear axle — has the Pitch coming in with chainstays under 17in, the shortest in this test. A 67.5-degree head angle and full-length top tube, to maintain cockpit length, has meant that the down tube has had to be stretched out to 27in — almost an inch longer than we would expect. To keep rider weight at approaching a normal, centred position, the effective seat angle has been ramped up to 77.5 degrees.
Clutter around the bottom bracket area has been solved with the DMD front mech mount. An E-type front mech — minus mounting plate — direct mounts to the forging, and ISCG mounts are also included. One particularly neat touch is the down tube cable routing with hoses and braided cables secured by three single-piece clips, bolted to the downtubes underbelly.
The suspension also sees savings with a simplified albeit heavier, forged rocker link. As well as additional weight, the geometry of the link is different from the Enduro SL. Because of this the Pitch sits into its travel easier and doesn’t ramp up as much as the Enduro SL. A medium-compression tuning of the Fox RP2 shock is considered capable of controlling the action. Like Giant, Specialized has gone with minimal rebound tuning to prevent overzealous fiddlers from running too much rebound damping.
RockShox’s Pike fork is well regarded as a solid, semi-burly, trail fork. To get the 20mm bolt-through chassis at the required price point, Specialized had a custom version made with a coil U-turn system taking care of spring duties.
A Motion Control damping cartridge offers low-speed compression adjustment through to total lockout, with rebound adjustment at the base of the right leg. Unlike the Marzocchis on the other two bikes, adjustment is over a much smaller range, but it is possible to find an acceptable setting.
With plenty of own-brand components, the Pitch may seem under-specced, but everything is a good shape and works well. A two-piece Deore crankset ensures longevity and SRAM’s X5 shifters, while a little clunky, perform well enough.
Custom Avid 3SL brakes — with up-sized front and rear rotors — see the aluminium-backed pads from the Ultimate, and a lever blade from a higher model, give a high-end feel at the lever, and still come in on budget.
Despite their scale, the Ektar Control tyres roll very well, and combined with DT 455 eyeletted rims, provide a solid wheelset.
Such a long front-centre has a dramatic effect on the ride of the Pitch Pro, and tight trails and hairpins take some man-handling. With cranks further rearward, compared to the other bikes, the seated climbing position isn’t for everyone. If you want to sit behind the bottom bracket with the standard seat post, it can be difficult to get far enough back. It’s not that the Pitch doesn’t climb well — the forward seat position actually helps keep the front end down but makes it harder to lift the front wheel up steps. Another advantage of the steep seat angle is that you can easily get your weight back on the descents.
Gravity is the Pitch’s friend and not just on steep terrain. On gradually descending rolling terrain — rough or smooth — the Pitch excels. A laterally stiff rear end allows you to pump the undulations for free speed with abandon. Steeper descents are even more fun; the long wheelbase increases confidence, spurring you on to ride harder. Despite compression spikes on the cheap damping circuit, we love the bolt-through forks for their accuracy alone.
At just over 30lb, the Pitch is perfectly rideable all day, and its excellent performance on descents is a revelation. It’s the only bike that is suitable for bombing, straight from the box. However, such short chainstays mean larger sizes will have an unwieldy rearward weight bias. The medium is still a bit too long — 5ft10in testers could fit a small. It’s not a perfect bike, but at this price the Pitch Pro ticks most of the right boxes.
MBR RATING: 9/10