The landscape of the modern mountain bike has changed drastically as carbon models have become more widely accepted and affordable. Where it used to be that bikes were launched as alloy models first and then carbon, we’ve now become accustomed to frames being made exclusively in carbon.
While the prices have come down considerably over the years, the fact remains that carbon frames are often significantly more expensive than their alloy counterparts. The sales numbers must justify this approach, but it doesn’t make it any easier for us regular folks.
When the Pivot Mach 6 originally launched it was available only in carbon and it wasn’t cheap at $3000 for the frame. Earlier this year, when Pivot released the updated version, they also surprised everyone with an alloy version.
The alloy model, which takes advantage of new hydroforming technologies which took Pivot three years to develop, uses construction processes such as variable wall thickness to mirror the performance characteristics of carbon. The end result is an aluminum frame that weighs a pound more than its carbon counterpart, but offers the same performance characteristics for a thousand dollars less at $2000 for the frame.
Both the new carbon and aluminum version now have Boost rear ends, which offers improved power transfer and tire clearance. They also have a new linkage that has larger bearings and an upper linkage which is 40% wider, these changes alone increased stiffness by 150%.
We had the opportunity to take the new alloy Mach 6 on a test loop in Bootleg Canyon earlier this year. The area is notorious for it’s jagged rocks and technical features, which makes it an ideal testing ground for a burly enduro bike.
At the demo booth, the Pivot team suggested we set the frame up with 30% sag. All of the new models ship with the new FOX Evol Can, which requires more air pressure than the shocks spec’d in previous years. In our testing so far, we’ve found the EVOL air can is noticeably plusher at the top of the stroke and we’re excited to see it spec’d on the Mach 6.
In general, DW-Link frames tend to have a really playful feel, but I was shocked how easily it was to manual and bunny hop the bike in the parking lot. That liveliness also translated to the trail. Despite being one of the heavier complete bikes I tested that week, the Mach 6 was remarkably nimble. It certainly was the easiest to wheelie. Without pushing the bike on familiar trails though, it’s hard to gauge how the changes to the rear end stiffness affect its performance.
When pedaling hard out of the saddle, you can feel the suspension is less efficient than other DW bikes in this same category. Part of this can be attributed to the new Evol can, which is designed to break away better at the top of the travel, and feels slightly less efficient when sprinting. On a bike like the Mach 6 which is intended to be more of a downhill brute than a spandex rocket, the tradeoff in small bump performance is worth it. That said, the Pivot is still a very capable climber.
The new Pivot Mach 6 Alloy is the most affordable complete bike the brand has ever offered. The frame only with a Kashima coated FOX Float DPS shock retails for $1,999 and prices start at $3,499 for a SLX/XT build. The demo bike we rode was decked out in XT/XTR components and will set you back $4,899. If you were tempted by the rave reviews of the previous generation, then there’s never been a better time to take a second look at the Mach 6.
For more information visit www.pivotcycles.com.