The all-new Pivot Mach 6 mountain bike has been in development for two years, and founder Chris Cocalis says it’s designed to be the ultimate enduro race bike.
It’s built around the DW Link suspension design like the rest of Pivot’s line, but gets an entirely new rocker arm and bearing design to help keep the chainstays extremely short despite the 155mm (6.1″) travel and improve small bump performance. It combines that with a very slack 66° head angle and long top tube to provide a very stable ride, particularly when things point downward and get fast. Fortunately, it’s also perfectly quick on tight, flat sections, too…something we verified with a couple hours of riding on it.
The frame is full carbon, built using Pivot’s hollow box high compression internal molding process to keep things light, strong and stiff. And it is indeed stiff.
Drop in for the full rundown and first impressions…
The Mach 6 has Pivot’s instantly recognizable look. The top tube length ends up about a centimeter or slightly more than the Mach 5.75. The reason is to allow for the increased travel without putting an odd bend in the downtube. It also keeps the overall cockpit in the right range given the trend toward shorter stems.
The tapered headtube is nicely shaped and has internal ports for stealth dropper routing that hides the cable from here on back. Shift cables also go internal, but pop out just above the shock (bottom of the top tube).
The geometry is based around a Fox 34 150mm fork, but can easily handle a 160mm fork. The change in the already slack head angle from the additional length will generally be mitigated by increased sag, but still provide a bit plusher ride for big days.
The brake hose runs externally through multi-cable guides, so you can also run a non-stealth dropper post and still keep the cables under control.
Moving down, there’s a rubberized leather protective plate over the downtube and bottom bracket shell to keep rocks and such from chipping or cracking the frame. Similar protection is on the chainstay and inner seatstay. ISCG05 tabs sit behind the chainrings, and the front derailleur is direct mount. There will be an XX1 equipped model, too.
The bottom bracket height is 13.6″, which is intentionally low. Cocalis says aggressive, experienced riders will really appreciate the lower center of gravity, and that the occasional pedal strike from less experienced racers is a compromise he’s OK with.
Up top, it uses a very long stroke shock, which allows for lower pressure and more supple performance. The mounts are universal, so you could swap in any major brand, including the Cane Creek Double Barrel. The included Fox Float X is custom tuned with an increased adjustment range from the CTD settings.
And that brings us to the real new, the updated linkage and suspension:
The “next generation DW-Link” suspension uses a new rocker link that has two upper bearing positions. This connects the shock yoke and rear triangle at slightly offset positions, which let them fine tune the variable shock rate to maximize performance throughout the travel range.
Cocalis says they played with an eccentric pivot design, but this proved lighter and smoother while also allowing for shorter chainstays. They come in at just 430mm (16.93″).
But the design wasn’t just driven by geometry preferences. Cocalis wanted something that really highlighted the DW-Link’s anti-squat characteristics. He says it climbs just as we’ll as it rips the downhills.
One last benefit to the design is that it replaces the bushings of the other bikes with dual-row Enduro Max cartridge bearings. This also aids small bump compliance, which improves traction.
Bringing it all together is a 12×142 rear axle, post mount rear brake tabs and a PFBB92 bottom bracket.
The Mach 6 was a blast to ride. The carbon frame is very stiff and tracked really well over the rutted out or rooty/rocky corners and descents. That’s also a compliment to Fox’s 2014 suspension -the Float X is mighty plush- but having a frame that maintains its line while being twisted against G-forces by a bigger rider like myself is a huge plus.
And it does indeed climb as we’ll as it descends, mostly. On a really steep fire road, the front end did want to wander a bit. With a 66° to 66.5° (depending on size), that’s not exactly a surprise. What was surprising was that it didn’t wallow around the tight, twisty sections or flatter singletrack. And when things turned downward, it handled very well. I could guide the bike easily around the switchbacks at speed, and the longer top tube helped keep my weight back, so I never felt like I was going over the bars. Even the tire spec is fantastic. With a Kenda Nevegal on the front and Honey Badger out back, it hooked up really well on Park City’s typically dry, dusty trails. I wasn’t even coming close to testing their limits, and we were scooting along.
Another surprise was that it really did climb extremely well, even when the shock was left fully open. In fact, I left the shock in Descend mode for the majority of the ride. Despite the improved range of Fox’s current CTD settings, there wasn’t a huge difference in climbing performance between Trail and Descend. There was a big difference in general riding feel between the settings, though. On the trail, whipping through berms and over rocks, the Trail setting does tend to keep the suspension a bit higher in the travel and firms it up a bit. Clicking it to Descend let the bike push into the travel more around the fast berms and absolutely made it flow over the descents better, but actual pedaling performance really didn’t change all that much. That’s a real testament to the DW-Link design. It just works.
The sizing is big. I played around on the Large and XL, ending up on the XL for the ride. At 6’2″, I could have ridden either, and the Large would have probably felt a bit more playful. The XL shown here had the stem slammed, and I think it’d have been a bit more aggressive if it had been flipped, too.
Is it the enduro segment killer? Could be, it certainly rides like it – we were going pretty fast without *feeling* like we going too fast, so it provides a very high level of confidence and control. And weights are competitive (by feel, we’ll throw them on the scale this week).