So it seems I keep coming back to the Mach 6. This is the third time I’ve demoed it over the past two years but the first time we were able to snag a large size frame. Also this is the new updated version that was just released. Basically Pivot reworked the rear triangle and pivots for greater lateral rigidity and to incorporate the new 148mm “Boost” rear axle spacing. They incorporated a double wishbone design into the rear triangle inspired by their Phoenix downhill bike and beefed up the cold forged upper and lower links reportedly adding 150% increase in stiffness in the upper link alone. It should be noted that I never noticed any flex in the old rear triangle but stiffer is better. The new, redesigned clevis is now lighter, stronger and provides increased clamping force on the shock body. The cable routing was one of the few sore points with some of the previous model’s owners, so Pivot rerouted things inside the down tube including a large service port at the top and a Di2 electronic shifting battery accommodating trap door at the bottom of the down tube near the bottom bracket junction. The rear derailleur cable follows inside the drive side chain stay back to the rear axle while the rear brake cable follows on top of the non-drive side chain stay then inboard of the seat stay to the brake. The rear derailleur cable does have an exposed loop that hangs down a bit as it exits the down tube before it enters the chain stay so this isn’t ideal, but should avoid the binding problems of the previous model’s routing through the upper linkage.
I’ve always loved the aesthetic, organic yet industrial lines of the M6, and the new rear triangle with its wider swoopy curved Boost accommodating stays and beautifully purposeful cold forged short links only add to the affect for me. We both loved the new, more subdued, blacked out graphics on this black frame. The bright highlights are sparse but accent things nicely without being too busy.
Nate rode the Mach 6 on our first lap and came away duly impressed. He said he’d rate it slightly ahead of the Spartan stating, “What’s not to like?! Super plush coming down, yet totally capable on the climbs. Responsive, quick, and fun.” I agree. While not quite as plush as the Spartan it felt more compact and maneuverable without feeling less stable and certainly sprinted up the short grade reversals with more alacrity. I’ve ridden many very good bikes in the intervening two years since I was first blown away by the Mach 6 at the 2013 Interbike Dirt Demo so you would think I’d be a bit jaded by now and not so easily won over by the M6, but my run down Boy Scout and East Leg still put a huge grin on my face. The Mach 6 with its excellent Float X Evol rear shock was so plush, stable, agile, and confidence inspiring going fast over some very rough terrain that it just makes you giggle. Then on the more pedally, techy flow of East Leg it picked its way over, around, and through some tricky off-camber, ledgy obstacles without getting hung up on square edges or stalled in tight corners or rocky gullies. I’ve heard complaints about the M6’s slack seat tube and short top tube making for a less-than-ideal seated climbing position but for the riding I did on it the fit was excellent. Granted, I haven’t done any long, steep seated climbs, but on the few shorter steep climbs I’ve done, I didn’t feel out of position and the front end did not lift or wander. It felt balanced while standing and roomy enough while seated although the top tube and reach are on the short side by modern standards. The large with a shorter (60mm?) stem felt a little roomier than the mediums with 65mm or 70 mm stems I’ve ridden in the past while seated but not as different as you might think. It would’ve been nice to see Pivot update the front triangle to yield another 1/2 – 3/4″ of reach in each size so one could run even shorter 35-50mm stems. However, the added control and more centered position of the large with short(ish) stem was definitely preferred over the mediums I’ve ridden in the past both standing and sitting.
Overall I would still rate the Mach 6 up near the top of this very competitive six inch AM/Enduro category. And, like its 155mm travel number would suggest, it even spreads the small gap between the more all-around 150mm travel rigs like the Warden, HD3, and Bronson and the more purpose-built downhill/enduro shredders like the Nomad 3, SB6, and Delirium. It’s light, climbs quite well, uber-stiff, yet plush and controlled on some truly nasty terrain. Yeah, there’s not much I don’t like about this bike.
One of the few bikes we rode with the new Shimano 2×11. I never shifted out of the big ring so don’t know how it worked, but it wasn’t obtrusive and didn’t rattle and make noise in the rough stuff. A good look at the new twin spar “Double Wishbone” newly updated rear triangle.