Compare-O Bottom Line: Pivot shoots for Holy Grail status with new Mach 6 Carbon

27.5 Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014
Of the rear shock and other components

The Mach 6 was the one bike in our test we built from the frame up. So while we described the parts in our First Look and on our spec chart below, we’ll only mention the Pivot had a premium parts mix that we changed-up a few times during the test period. One thing that came with the frame and remained constant is the custom-tuned FOX Float X CTD Kashima rear shock.

The Mach 6 and its FOX Float X CTD was good on small bumps as well as big hits. Photo by Tyler Frasca.

We found the FOX to be a great compliment to the Mach 6’s design. It’s responsive to small bumps, has good mid-stroke support and feels plush and bottomless on larger impacts. While its CTD lever was easy to locate and use, the rebound adjustor was not. Already sheathed by the shock’s bell-end, it’s made worse by the Pivot’s mounts.

ID awesome, GD meh

From an industrial design perspective, the Mach 6 got kudos for its beautiful lines, spot-on proportions and trick-looking hardware. It’s functional armor—that Pivot calls “rubberized leather”—adds to its tough-guy looks and helps protect the downtube, chainstay and inner seatstay.

The Mach 6 frame itself is beautiful to behold…the graphics—perhaps too billboardy for our tastes.

And while its graphics were eye catching in tennis ball yellow, their repetition is over-the-top. The word “Pivot” appears nearly dozen times, along with perhaps too many “frame facts”—the amount of travel, the wheel size in two units of measure (lest you not know 27.5 and 650b are the same), even the words “wheel diameter.” It’s not horrible, but a little less-is-more might class it up a bit.

Who is this bike for?

As specific as we try to be with this assessment, we have to say the Pivot Mach 6 fits to a fairly wide range of riders. If you’re an enduro racer at any level, this is a worthy sled to ply your trade. If you’re an intermediate rider looking for a bike that will help you up your game, this one instills confidence (though we’d still recommend professional instruction to help you along). At the end of the day the Mach 6 could be the best choice for a one-bike-quiver.

The final word

The Mach 6 might be the singular bike on the market that covers the widest range of terrain demands and rider experience levels. We dare say it indeed treads in elusive Holy Grail territory. It also may be the finest implementations of the dw-link to date, adding a layer of plushness not seen from design in other bikes in this travel range. We’re willing to overlook some cable routing niggles and a little graphic excess, in light of the Pivot Mach 6’s much more relevant ability to “level-up” its rider. In the end, that is the hallmark of a great bike.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

The Good
  • Great Descender with good small and big bump compliance
  • Great traction and good climbing ability
  • Easy internal cable routing
  • Laterally stiff
  • Great cornering
The Bad
  • Rear shock difficult to remove when routing cables. Rear cables bow out when suspension compresses
  • Rebound adjustor hard to access
  • Too many logos/graphics/decals
  • 71.5 degree seat angle is slack compared to many modern all-mountain bikes
  • Carbon-only means an expensive build
Price and trickle down versions

Mach 6 as tested: NA – custom, ad-hoc build
Mach 6 XO1: $6400
Mach 6 XT/XTR: $6100
Mach 6 Frame only: $3,000

2014 Pivot Mach 6 Specs
  • MRSP: NA – custom, ad-hoc build
  • Frame MSRP: $3,000 US
  • Weight: 26.43 pounds (size medium)
  • Wheel size: 27.5 inches
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Color: Matte black/yellow, gloss blue, matte carbon/red
  • Frame Material: Full carbon
  • Fork: FOX Float 34 CTD Kashima, 160mm
  • Rear Travel: 155mm
  • Rear Shock: FOX Float X CTD Kashima
  • Headset: 1-1/8” to 1-1/2” threadless
  • Handlebar: Spank, 740mm
  • Stem: Spank, 50mm
  • Seatpost: Crank Brothers Kronolog
  • Brakes: Brake Force One, 180mm front and rear
  • Shifters: SRAM XO1
  • Front Derailleur: N/A
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XO1
  • Cassette: SRAM XO1 10-42 – 11 speed
  • Crankset: SRAM XO1, 32t
  • Wheels: Bontranger (and others tested)
  • Tires: Bontranger (and others tested)
  • Bottom bracket type: Press Fit
  • ISCG Tabs: Yes
  • Chainguide: No
  • Head tube angle: 66 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 71.5 degrees
  • Chainstay length: 16.9 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: 13.6 inches

For more information visit www.pivotcycles.com.

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

Compare-O Bottom Line: Pivot shoots for Holy Grail status with new Mach 6 Carbon Gallery
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Mtbr Most Versatile - Mach 6

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Pivot Mach 6 Bottom Line

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Golden Light

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Stats

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Pivot Mach 6 Rocks

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Corner

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Allan Cooke Corner

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Allan Cooke Corner

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Allan Cooke Climb

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Allan Cooke Chute

The Mach 6 and its FOX Float X CTD was good on small bumps as well as big hits. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Pivot Mach 6 Billboard

The Mach 6 frame itself is beautiful to behold…the graphics—perhaps too billboardy for our tastes.
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Pivot Mach 6 Cables

Pivot has special zip ties to elevate and control the cables between the shock and frame as the cables are compressed with the 155mm of rear travel.
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Pivot Mach 6 Bottom Line Thumb

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Acupunk says:

    This bike is on my short list. So how does this bike fit?? These reviews need to have a bit more info regarding size and rider fit. I’m 6’1.5″ and on the border between a large and extra large frame. What were your impressions? Do they run true to size?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      These frames run very true to size. I’m 5’8″ on a medium with some god room even with a 50 cm stem. So you should be good on a large size.

    • Jon says:

      I have found them to be small to size with very short reach measurement. I am 5’10″ and would have to go large. Large reach is same as on my medium bike now. I definitely hop on a large and XL to see for yourself. You could probably run large with longer stem only, which kind of sucks especially on a bike like this.

    • John Egbert says:

      I am 6 foot 1 and change and went with large. Definitely not too small, an XL would be too long I think.

  • Josh Johnson says:

    Francis, a 50 cm stem???

  • rob says:

    Curious how it compares the firebird as far as descending ? Sounds like its a beast

    • Joe Millionare says:

      I sold my Firebird to buy a Mach 6. So far there is no loss in DH ability. The DW link and suspension are so dialed, you feel like you have 7 inches of travel. I sure don’t miss the Firebird on the climbs. If the 429 and the Firebird had a love child, it would be the Mach 6.

    • sharon says:

      I have a firebird and demod a mach6. The firebird feels more slack despite also being 66o head angle.

      I think the firebird would be more capable in a bike park, but the mach6 would be able to handle most dh trails out of the park, its geo is also better for extended climbs. The firebird is more plush.

      Since I have the firebird and 5.7 I couldn’t justify the mach6, but if I wanted to replace both bikes, the mach6 would do it.

  • Evan says:

    The cable routing is no big deal. If you just follow the directions, it’s easy to route. This is the one bike that truly lives up to the hype. Unless you want a 9r, this is a must try bike before buying anything else.

  • Lee YM says:

    I’m 5’8″, and went for a small. Medium fits well too, and is a tad more stable.
    You’ll REALLY enjoy this bike! :)

  • Jim H says:

    I really want this bike, but am confused about the sizing. The reach at 16.3″ for a large seems small compared to the size recommendation. I’m 5’10″ with a 34″ inseam measurement and was thinking large would be best, if not a bit small. (Medium Bronson with 15.9″ reach felt much better with a 90mm stem than 70mm, but I’d rather run 60mm or less). Any insight from the knowledge of the group would be greatly appreciated.

    • mountain biker says:

      I am 5’10.5″ and got the large and like it, you could go either way I personally like the large a little better. I guess it just depends on your frame preference. My dad is the same height and he likes the medium but he’s kind of a weight weenie.

    • Joe Millionare says:

      @Jim
      You would want a medium given your digits. I’m 6-0 and ride a medium with a 50mm stem.

  • Shane AU says:

    Francis, thanks for the great review. Planing a custom build of this bike. I’ve seen your various photos of this bike build and am interested in which wheels your preferred in order of preference and why. Photos I’ve seen include: Mavic Crossmax Enduro, ENVE AM, Bontrager , others?
    Cheers!

  • Oli says:

    There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful? I tried the Bronson carbon the other day and while it definitely railed berms and rough ground like nothing else, I kind of missed a certain “pop” when it came to smaller obstacles that I am used to pumping and grabbing some air on.

    • siege says:

      yes there is a bike missing from this review and its the turner burner. I also enjoy alternate lines, pumping and popping of roots and rocks to make fun line changes. I came from a 6inch travel bike and now with the burner find myself able to find even more of those hidden gems in the trail. I also rode the mach 6 before i made my purchase and and found it to be trail soaking and I find the turner burner to be lively and a tad more exciting at speed as it doesn’t deaden the trail but give you more reward for your pump and creativity.

    • John Egbert says:

      My exact thoughts on the Bronson. I have been riding a 29er and wanted a more playful and nimble bike that had about 150 mm travel. One that would handle rowdy descents but would definitely be ridden to the top, and on the trails. I tried the Bronson totally expecting to be blown away, I was pretty sure it was going to be the bike for me going into the demo and was actually left unimpressed. Handled more like a tank, better at plowing the obstacles than playing off them. The front end was surprisingly heavy and it was difficult to pop it up or manual. The Mach 6 on the other hand was everything I wanted. It’s short wheel base and chainstays make it really nimble and easy to throw into corners. The short chainstays also help it with quick acceleration for manuals. At 27 lbs it pops off roots and rocks and gets air with ease. Yet despite its lighter weight for a AM bike it feels stable on technical descents. The DW link also allows it to climb very well, even in descend. I have never felt the need to use climb mode, trail is stiff enough for anything you would ever take a mountain bike on in my opinion.

  • Tad says:

    When I saw the geo on this bike initially, I dismissed it as being inefficient and too much bike. After reading all of these positive reviews though, this bike is on my short list as well. Was somewhat concerned about the slacker seat angle, but I did the math and with a 32″ inseam it is only about 3/4″ different from a 73 degree angle bike. As is mentioned in the review, I can get that much by sliding my seat forward a bit.

  • JD says:

    Considering Yeti SB75 (pending carbon version), 5010c, or Mach 6 carbon for endurance XC races. I like the slacker angles and suspension to give me confidence on the descents but want the best efficient climber of the bunch. Which one would you pick? (I’ve ruled out a 29′r; feels to big and clumsy). Thanks!

  • david says:

    pivots rule the roost! drool worthy with extra powershredding ability!

  • Raym says:

    The bike has minimal tire clearance.

  • Paul says:

    @ Raym Have you even seen a Mach 6 in person? Mine has monster WTB Vigilantes and there is a ton of room. I imagine you are thinking of a different bike. BTW I’m 6′ and ride a Large with a 55mm stem. Fits perfect.

  • pegleg says:

    Interesting that the reviewers gave the Mach 6 high marks for climbing but not the Bronson; other reviews I’ve read said the opposite (Bronson was a better climber/all-arounder than the Mach 6, which was more downhill-oriented but killer at that). I’m hoping that the final awards/conclusions will speak to some of these comparisons and give us an idea of how the bikes compared in various respects side-by-side.

    • sharon says:

      Its like comparing a clydesdale to an Arabian Stallion.

    • Jon says:

      I thoroughly rode both on same trails and find the Bronson to be the better climber and overall better balance in geometry, fit/feel and performance for aggro up/down techy trail riding. The Mach 6 is a great descender for sure and pretty playful for a bigger wheeled bike, but definitely had to work harder to get up the climbs due to much slacker geometry in front and especially back end of bike when ridden with same 150 Float fork on both. I am getting a Bronson for go-to trail bike duties and keeping my aggro AM bike (Rune). If was in the market for AM/Enduro shredder bike, the Mach 6 is top of the list for sure.

  • gg says:

    Nice review, Pretty well spot on Chris knows how to build great bikes. Rode the Mach 5.7 ALU a few years back and just hop on and ride like it was my own in South Mtn AZ. Mine is an 07 Titus ML. Tempting, but riding mine till it breaks can’t justify the upgrade – such a great ride! Not a fan of the overstated graphics on Pivot now. Must be the marketing dept…

  • tyrebyter says:

    The sag specs must be typoed. .8″ would be something like 15%. What is it supposed to be?

  • jpre says:

    “There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful?”

    I would have liked to have seen what the testers thought of one of the Kona Process lineup.

  • Spanky says:

    I demo’d one of these and the front end wanders alot during all moderate to steep climbs. Wasn’t fun. Downhill all the reviews hold true. Decided with the sworks enduro 26. Couldn’t! be happier

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