This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
Pivot’s aggressive, new 155mm-travel Mach 6 Carbon appears to be a bike of destiny for the engine-that-could builder from Tempe, Ariz. With each new model, the company’s execution of the much-celebrated dw-link suspension has improved, and on the Mach 6, that progression not only continues, but coincides with big gains in carbon manufacturing experience, as well as what appears to be a deft adaptation to the new 27.5-inch wheel size.
The frame’s sculptural form and burly-yet-refined demeanor garnered the Mach 6 no small amount of oohs and ahhs from our test crew and, combined with its neon yellow-on-matte black graphic package, makes it an instant attention-grabber.
We should note that the Pivot is the only bike in our test built from the frame up. While most of the bikes in the Compare-O came as completes, we’ll be using the Mach 6 as a test mule for all manner of componentry over the next year. Its build most closely resembles Pivot’s XT build, but there are a few deviations we’ll note below.
A look at the Mach 6’s numbers says its travel numbers fall in the “just right” range with 155mm in rear travel intended for pairing with a 160mm in the front, which in our case, comes in the form of a Fox Float 34 CTD Kashima. Rear damping falls to the ultra-capable Fox Float X CTD that also comes Kashima coated.
Pivot takes a slacker-is-better approach to the head tube angle which measures 66 degrees—a tad more relaxed than the 67- and 68-degree head angles we’re seeing on most of these bikes. It should make the Mach 6 super stable at speed, though we’ll have to see what it does to low-speed cornering.
Also not cookie-cutter is the slack 71.5-degree seat angle which is positively old school compared to the new crop of bikes. Basically the steeper 74- and 75-degree angles we’re seeing are designed to put the rider in a more forward pedaling position for better climbing while countering the wandering nature of a slack head angle. The Pivot’s fairly traditional seat angle puts the rider rearward, making a zero-offset dropper post—like our Crank Brothers Kronolog—ideal for this setup.
The Mach 6’s bottom bracket height of 13.6-inches is a happy medium between the stable cornering of a low center-of-gravity, and supplying enough ground clearance to keep you from hanging up on big rocks. Though not as low as many of the bikes we’re seeing when static, the Pivot has a very active rear suspension that sags fairly deep in its travel for a “virtually lower” BB.
The Pivot’s form factor is positively sculptural, with molded internal cabling ports that enter and exit the frame cleanly. We liked the details as well, like its integrated downtube armor and a built-in, rubberized chain stay protector. While we generally like the Mach 6’s graphics, a little restraint might class it up a bit—not only is there a few too many Pivot logos, but things like wheel size—listed as both 27.5-inches and 650b—amount of travel, and suspension technology might be better in a brochure or hangtag than the frame itself.
The smaller-than-29-inch wheel size allows the Mach 6 plenty of tire clearance, as well as room for Pivot’s industrially elegant execution of the dw-link suspension.
The sculpted frame of the Pivot employs big tubes and handsome angles. The cable exits are molded in the frame for a finished look.
The cable routing of the Mach 6 is a bit of a challenge as it’s close to the shock and has no natural bend in it. Cables bow laterally under compression which Zip ties are carefully employed to keep the cables away from the shock and Pivot supplies a zip tie and jacket kit to take care of this neatly.
2014 Pivot Mach 6 Key Specs
- Weight: 26.43 pounds complete, 6.4 pounds frame only (size medium)
- Wheel size: 27.5
- Frame Material: Carbon
- Travel/Suspension: 160mm front/155mm rear; Fox Float 34 CTD front, Fox Float X rear
- Drivetrain: Sram XO1 1×11, 32t chainring, 10-42 cassette
- Brakes: Brake Force One system
- Seatpost: Crank Brothers Kronolog
- Wheelset/Tires: Bontrager Wheelset with XR4 tires
- Bar/Stem: Spank 740 mm bars and 50 mm stem
- Head Tube Angle: 66 degrees
- Seat Tube Angle: 71.5 degrees
- Chainstay Length: 430 (16.95 inches)
- Bottom Bracket Height: 13.6 inches
- Bike MSRP: $6100 (XT Build)
- Frame MSRP: $3000
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.