Updated: 7th December 2017
When adventure comes calling, the Specialized Pitch mountain bike promises an exciting and reliable ride to take on the trails with. The Pitch is designed for both new and experienced riders who want a bike with real off-road capability at an affordable price tag. The simple-yet-effective 27.5" hardtail frame makes light work of the climbs, and provides an agile & thrilling ride on singletrack descents. In this range review, we take a closer look at what the bikes in the Specialized Pitch range have to offer.
For 2018, the Pitch has had a complete overhaul, with a brand-new frame, revised geometry, an all-new ‘Expert’ model, and the addition of a women’s range. In total there are eight bikes, starting with the entry level Pitch priced at £400.00, followed by the Pitch Sport, then the Pitch Comp, and finally the £598.99 Pitch Expert, plus the four corresponding women’s specific models.
At the heart of the Pitch MTB is a high-quality frame that wouldn’t look out of place on a much more expensive bike. Specialized’s A1 Premium aluminium is an aerospace-grade 6000 series alloy, which they’ve been working with and refining for more than 20 years. With this, the Pitch has very carefully manipulated tube shapes and butting in key areas, both enhancing strength and removing excess material which saves weight.
The 2018 Pitch has been given a much more performance-focussed geometry than its predecessor. Specialized have lengthened the front-centre and slackened the head angle to give the bike a more aggressive ride in the descents. They’ve extended the wheelbase by an average of 46mm across all sizes too, making the new bike more stable at speed. These changes bring the Pitch right up-to-date with the latest performance hardtail mountain bikes, and make it a future-proof model worthy of performance upgrades.
Specialized have addressed criticism of the old model’s geometry: The 2018 bike is right up to date with modern performance hardtails.
All new for the 2018 model year, Specialized have introduced the Pitch Women’s models to boost the range. By using a tweaked frame geometry, and suspension which has been tuned to better suit lighter riders, the women’s model means there are no compromises to be made, making it easier for new riders to enjoy a high-performance mountain bike that is better suited to their needs.
Aside from the geometry & suspension tweaks, plus different colour options, the four Women’s Pitch models use matching parts & components as the men’s, and come with the same price tags.
Specialized’s own Multi-Circuit-Damping technology keeps the bike composed under pressure.
Across all models, Specialized have fitted the Pitch with SR Suntour suspension forks, with between 80mm and 100mm of travel depending on the frame size. With the exception of the entry-level model, the SR Suntour forks used feature Specialized’s own Multi-Circuit-Damping technology, using hydraulic damping on the compression and rebound strokes to keep the bike composed under pressure.
The entry-level Pitch features a Suntour XCT fork with 28mm stanchions, while the Pitch Sport gets the same fork with the Multi-Circuit-Damping technology added in. Moving up to the Pitch Comp you get a stiffer & stronger Suntour XCM fork which uses 30mm stanchions. On the top-of-the-range Pitch Expert, this becomes a Suntour XCR fork, with even stiffer & stronger 32mm stanchions, and lightweight Magnesium lowers.
Novice riders will appreciate the extra low range of gears offered by the triple front chainset.
Specialized have used Shimano drivetrains on each model in the Pitch range. The Pitch and Pitch Sport each get a 3x8 speed drivetrain, while the Pitch Comp and Pitch Expert models get a 3x9 speed setup. Regardless of which model you choose, you get a fantastic wide range of gears to work with out on the trails. The higher spec models use parts which are lighter and have a more precise shifting action (e.g. the Shimano Deore derailleur as fitted to the Pitch Expert), but Shimano’s reliable build quality is present throughout.
Disc brakes offer more consistent braking power in wet weather so it is great to see them on all the Specialized Pitch models. The entry-level Pitch & Pitch Sport models each use mechanical disc brakes, the latter coming courtesy of Shimano. The Pitch Comp and Pitch Expert both see an upgrade to Shimano Hydraulic units, with an enlarged 180mm rotor at the front for even sharper stopping power.
The Specialized Pitch rolls exclusively on 27.5" (650b) wheels. The smaller of the current mountain bike wheel sizes, 27.5" bestows the bike with a nimble & agile ride quality. Compared to the larger 29er wheel size, 27.5" is also lighter and creates smaller gyroscopic forces, which makes the bike easier to manage for new riders. Riders looking for a 29er wheel version of the Pitch will instead have to turn to the similarly built Specialized Rockhopper.
As for the wheels themselves, all models use the same Stout Trail disc-specific double-wall rims, with centre-lock disc hubs. All are shod with 2.3in wide Specialized Ground Control Sport tyres, with Flak Jacket puncture protection.
The new geometry, combined with the agility of 27.5" wheels, makes the 2018 Specialized Pitch a lively & confidence-inspiring bike out on the trails.
Updated with a more off-road performance focus, the 2018 Specialized Pitch brings real MTB capability to a genuinely affordable price point. Novice cyclists will benefit from the wide gear ranges and affordability of the bike, whilst seasoned mountain bikers will appreciate the performance benefits of the longer & slacker geometry.
That’s not to say you can’t ride the new Specialized Pitch every day. As we’ve come to expect from Specialized, the Pitch is a fantastic looking bike that’s comfortable to ride, and shows exemplary reliability thanks to its premium build quality.
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£11.12 per month on finance
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£13.20 per month on finance
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£15.28 per month on finance
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