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.

Front End

Rock Shox Pike 351 - a 95mm-140mm adjustable coil sprung U-turn fork. This fork was made for Specialized so it is not described on the SRAM website. It has the 20mm MAXLE thru axle and alloy steer tubes for a lighter OEM Pike fork. This fork offers rebound and compression adjustability. The compression is adjusted with the lockout dial on the right top fork leg. The rebound, adjusted with the dial on the lower right fork leg, was set three turns from max high speed rebound for most cross country applications. Travel is adjusted with the black dial on the left fork leg. It is possible to turn this dial while riding slowly making for a precarious adjust on the fly system.

In all the applications used this fork never felt lacking. It was very stiff, plush and reliable. With a similar weight to its longer travel mate (the Rock Shox Lyrik), the extra travel would put this bike more into the free ride category and a 160mm travel adjust fork would be a good fit on this bike.

The Pitch is designed to accommodate a 160mm fork max. Anything above will void the warranty.

Rock Shock Pike 351

Rear end

Fox Float RP2 a 2 position shock with pro-pedal or full-open, rebound adj. 7.875x2.25". Like the front fork, it too is plush, easy to adjust and what more can you say? It is a Fox! Another component tuned specifically for Specialized.


Equipped with Specialized components - seatpost, saddle, handlebar, stem, tires. The tires on this bike are the Eskar Control 60TPI which handled well on dry terrain and were only compromised on wet roots, rocks and steep rock faces. Specialized uses their own components as part of their philosophy of an integrated system and so that they do not rely on other manufacturers for supplies.

Using varied components on the drive train from Shimano SLX front deraileur, X-5 rear shifter, X-9 rear derailier shows that you don't need to stay within a certain class to have a system that works. The Shimano 532 cranks did lose a few teeth after a few impacts with rocks. Replacing the big ring with a rock ring would work on this bike.

The Avid Juicy 4 brakes are OEM for Specialized. Weighing 20g less then Juicy 3 brakes, with a small wheel to adjust reach, filled with DOT 5.1 fluid these brakes work as great as you would expect from Avid. With a 203mm front rotor and 185mm rear rotor braking power was ample.

The 445g DT Swiss 445D rims were also special to Specialized and matched with Specialized disc hubs with a 20mm front thru axle. These rims weathered the tough riding conditions of the North Shore, Whistler and Pemberton very well.

The Pitch uses an E-Type front derailleur with the bottom bracket section removed. The derailleur is attached to the bottom bracket to allow the front derailleur to follow the chain.

About me:

I am 5'9", weigh 154lbs. I have been riding for 18 years. As mentioned above I come from an XC hardtail background but have moved with technology and ride a Titus RacerX for XC, a Turner 6 pack for DH and Shore riding and a Knolly Endorphin set up for more freeriding/shore/technical XC riding. My Bikes!

About Lee:

I am 155 lbs and 5' 11" and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I've also made many bike trips to Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and Ontario (for example) so I've had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedalling up and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.

The Ride:
Shore - Fromme and Seymour

The Pitch performed admirably on the trails on the North Shore which involve long climbs, then loose rocky descents with drops and steep pitches. Also found are technical climbing trails that put a bike through its paces. This bike was great on all the trails and was only compromised when the terrain became slippery. The cranks would hit while riding over terrain containing large rocks and stumps within the trail, in this situation a half pedal stroke could get one through. The low standover was a noticeable advantage in this terrain.


On more flowing fast smooth trails interspersed with technical features found in areas such as Squamish, the Pitch rode firm and true when pedaling up, down or accelerating on rolling terrain. The fork and brakes allowed for confidence when the trail got rough and the bike easily navigated through the rough back to high speed cruising.

Squamish Trails


Whistler and Pemberton

Areas containing trails mixed with steep climbs, descents, rock faces, loose rocky chunder and fast and flowy loam typical of Whistler and Pemberton requires a bike capable of performing in this wide range of conditions. A bike capable of handling a mixture of terrain would reign over this land, the Pitch Pro fits the bill. The 150mm rear travel matched with the adjustable 95-140mm fork allows one to match this bike to most trails in this area. A bigger tire was used on these trails for flat resistance and enhanced braking performance.
Lumpys Epic Climb


He said:

I didn't ride it in all the conditions Sharon rode so I'll divide my impressions into two categories: uphill and downhill. This makes sense to me since it is, after all, an all-mountain bike.


Be aware that the RP2 rear shock is incredibly sensitive to rider weight and tuneable with different air pressures and ProPedal. You have to dial in the rear shock for the bike to climb well. Once I did have the rear set up for my weight (the standard 1/3rd sag formula),the Pitch Pro's climbing ability surprised me. It feels more like a free-ride bike with its slack angles, short (70mm stem) and big wide chopper bars. I wanted it to be sloppy climber but it wasn't. Instead it climbed technical rooty climbs like the proverbial goat. Just for a lark, I attacked one rooty section that usually tosses me and cleaned it. The rear tire bit, the rear end stuck like glue and I ground away alternating seated and climbing attacks and made that darn climb!

As for fire-road climbing, the Pitch Pro climbs as well as any low 30 lb bike will climb. It's not going to win you any UCI World Cup races but then you wouldn't buy this bike for that purpose would you? Suffice it to say that it does the job in extended long grinds and the bike puts you into a comfortable climbing position. I liked the tuneability of the Pike for this type of climbing. You can lock out the fork completely or if you just want the fork stiffened up a bit, you can also tune that into the fork with the twist of an easily turned dial.


I expected the Pitch Pro to be a better descender then it was a climber. Bearing in mind that I was pleasantly surprised by its climbing prowess, the bike was also an exceptionally nimble descender. Both the front and rear ends can be tuned for plushness and both are stiff; the bike inspires confidence when dropping in and I have to attribute a lot of that to how well the suspension is paired. I had tried Eskars on last year's Enduro and was a bit nervous about them this time around as I had found those tires to have shockingly poor traction but this year's edition of the Eskar was much better - so much so, that I left the tires on for slow technical and for faster trails.

On faster trails, the Pitch Pro was stable; the slack angles give one the ability to sit back and enjoy the ride and let suspension do the work..

It's tough to find anything to fault with this bike. Let me try. The bars are wide! If this was my bike, I might cut them down a bit as I'd bash them into trees a few times. For some inexplicable reason the bike also seemed to attract stick and twigs - probably its just me. I realized I'm reaching so let me stop right there; simply put it's tough to find fault with the Pitch Pro.
Rock and Roll Merritt


Specs: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Ride: 5/5
Overall: 4.6/5

Rating Guide:
5.0 Outstanding
4.0 Very Good
3.0 Above Average
2.0 Fair
1.0 Poor

- Good mix of components that are tough and reliable.
- Lots of standover and slack headangle to make steep descents less intimidating.
- Great value bike for someone getting into the sport, or someone who can't quite afford their dream bike yet.

- While the Pike works well, an air fork for more precise adjustability and a two step for easier switching between travel would be beneficial.
- cable routing makes cables susceptible to damage by rocks and chain slap and transport over a pickup tailgate.
- kept hitting low lying roots and rocks with cranks

Capable of accommodating a wide range of terrain with no compromise in climbing or descending, this great value bike will benefit a new rider, a rider who can't quite afford their dream bike and will offer years of performance and enjoyment.

Detailed Specifications

The source for this information is Specialized. Suggested Retail of this bike is $2700.00

Specifications are as follows:

Frame Set - 2009 Pitch frame, M4 Manipulated Alloy tubing, double ORE downtube, DMD front derailleur mount, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, replaceable hanger, bolt on cable guides, 150mm travel
Fork - Rockshox Pike 351 for Specialized, 140mm travel, coil U-Turn, Motion Control damper, disc only, alloy steerer, rebound adj., Maxle 360 included
Shock - Fox RP23, 7.875x2.25"
Sizes - S, M, L or XL
Color - Burnt Orange

Wheelset - DT Swiss 445D, disc, 24mm, double wall, pin joint, eyelets, 32h, Specialized Hubs, front with 20mm through axle.
Tires - Specialized Eskar Control, 26x2.3", 60 TPI, tubeless ready, aramid bead
Stem - Specialized, 8 deg. rise, four bolt 31.8mm clamp, 3D forged. M/L:75,
Bar - Specialized mid rise 31.8mm, 6061 alloy, 660mm wide, 8 degree up, 8 degree back sweep
Post - Specialized 6061 alloy, black, 30.9x350, setback head, 2-bolt micro adjust
Saddle - Specialized Enduro, 7mm Cr-Mo rails
Headset - 1-1/8" Threadless, loose ball bearings w/ seals, black steel cup
BrakeSet - Avid Juicy 4 RSL, 203mm front, 185 rear
Crankset - Shimano M532 175mm cranks and BB, 22, 32, 44 teeth rings
Pedals - Shimano 505 SPD
Front Derailleur - Shimano SLX FD-M660, E-Type
Rear Derailleur
- SRAM X-9, 9-speed, mid cage, 11-34 cassette
Shifters - SRAM X-5, trigger, 9-speed

Geometry for a M Pitch Pro is as follows:

Standover - 748mm/29.4in
Head Tube Angle - 67o
Seat Tube Angle - 74o
Effective Top Tube Length - 586mm/23in
Bottom Bracket Height - 356mm/14in
Chainstay Length - 421mm/16.6in
Bike Weight - 32lbs

Action Shots
Lumpy's Epic

Climbing up Lumpy's Epic
Lumpy's Epic


PHD - Free riding now? Or is this All Mountain?

More technical terrain on PHD

Lee's Turn

Rock and Roll


Specialized Pitch Pro from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

PHD Rocks!