If there's one new bike that's been getting the salivary glands of all-mountain and Enduro riders working overtime, it's the new Pivot Mach 6: a 27.5-wheeled, 155mm-travel, carbon-framed sex machine.
Flow was lucky enough to nab one of the very first Mach 6 complete bikes to land in the country, and we wasted no time in getting it out onto one of our local test loops.
For our first ride we took the Pivot to a notoriously rough and eroded descent; four-minutes of wheel eating holes and rim-dinging sandstone drops, interrupted by a couple of scrappy pinch climbs. The return loop is a steep fire road grovel. All up, it's pretty much the perfect place to quickly find out how the new Pivot Mach 6 performs. In no particular order, here are our initial impressions:
Absolutely smashing suspension:
Pivot bikes always carry incredible momentum - it's a real hallmark of their performance - and the Mach 6 follows suit. Following the recommended sag settings produces a bike that uses all its travel but doesn't feel boggy. An inspection of the shock revealed we'd pushed the travel indicator o-ring right to the end of the shock shaft, but we certainly hadn't been conscious of the bike bottoming out. The feel of the new Float X shock is just incredibly smooth, and combined with Pivot's revised upper link / shock mount, the end result is like butter.
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Like all Pivots, the Mach 6 uses DW Link suspension. Read more about the Pivot and DW collaboration in our interview with Pivot founder Chris Cocalis, here
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The upper link now drives a separate one-piece shock mount that affixes directly to the shock without the need for a DU bush. This means better durability, better small bump response and a more direct suspension feel.[/caption]
The new FOX 34 CTD fork is considerably better than the 2013 version. We rode the exact same test track on a 2013 fork the week prior and needed to leave the compression adjustment in the Climb mode (the stiffest setting) in order to prevent the fork diving excessively. With the new 2014 34, we ran the fork in the Descend mode the whole time and it was perfect.
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The 2014 FOX 34 fork is very good! It has a more progressive suspension rate that hard riders will appreciate.[/caption]
Where does it hide all the travel?
Going back up, you quickly forget about the 155mm of travel you're sitting atop. We flicked the FOX Float X shock into Climb mode and happily spun our way up the ten-minute ascent on our test loop. Dropping into the small chain ring, you do notice a bit of tugging at the chain as the suspension responds to the terrain, but it's not too intrusive and there's excellent traction provided by the gummy Kenda tyres. We really do like how easy it is to access the shock CTD lever, it's right there on the side of the shock.
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The Float X shock is very easy to adjust on the fly (well, not the rebound, which is quite hard to get at!).[/caption]
Built for stability, but not as long as some:
A 66-degree head angle and a low bottom bracket height puts you in the bike, rather than on it. That said, the medium sized bike we tested didn't feel as long as we'd have expected - even with a relatively long (for the style of riding) 80mm stem, the overall feel is quite short. We think some riders might prefer to go up a size in their frame and use a shorter stem. Pivot's own 740mm bar makes for a super comfortable cockpit and stable steering at pace.
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An 80mm stem and Pivot's own 740mm bar. We think some riders will opted for a 60-70mm stem to speed up the steering a tad.[/caption]
Shorter seat tube is appreciated:
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Seat tubes are shorter relative to the frame size on the Mach 6 than previous Pivots, giving the whole bike a low slung appearance.[/caption]
One common gripe we've had with previous generations of Pivot bikes (particularly the Mach 5 and 5.7) is that the seat tubes have been very tall. This can be a real pain when trying to run a dropper post. The Mach 6 addresses this by loping over an inch off the seat tube in the medium size frame.
Sensible spec, but needs a dropper:
Where's the dropper post? We're so accustomed to just hitting a lever and having our seat the right height that it felt like a real chore to hop off and undo the seat post quick release! There's internal cable routing for a dropper, and it's the first addition we'd make.
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There's provision for internally routed dropper posts or standard externally routed dropper posts too.[/caption]
To make the most of the Pivot you'll want to run some tougher rubber than the stock Kenda Honey Badger rear tyre. Even though our tyres were set up tubeless, we got a flat after we pinched a hole straight through the fragile casing. Cop a 100g weight penalty and run something more robust.
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Great rims, but lightweight tyres that won't last.[/caption]
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Single rings are the flavour of the month, but when you're pedalling a big travel bike uphill, sometimes it's nice to have the option of lower gears.[/caption]
While we're certain a lot of riders will opt for a single ring, the Shimano XT/XTR 2x10 drivetrain is a sensible choice. We certainly liked having the small chain ring there on the way back up. We did drop the chain once, but you could easily fit a lower roller guide and prevent this from happening.
We'll be spending more time on the Pivot Mach 6 in the coming weeks and bringing you a more in-depth review soon.
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Do you think Chris liked his first ride on the Mach 6?[/caption]
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Yeah, he really did....[/caption]