Pivot Mach 6

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Boost 148 rear axle spacing is taking over. Internal cable routing goes inside the drive side chain stay. Excellent shifting XTR rear derailleur.
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I would love to try this excellent Float X Evol shock on the RFX. So plush and controlled.
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I loved the restraint Pivot showed on the subtle, well-placed lime accents and how they color matched the decals on the both the fork and shock.
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Lots of clearance for beefy tires and no cables running through this busy but functional pivot/cleavis area. Win. Win.
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This Factory 36 Fox Fork worked well. DT-Swiss M1700 Spline rims shod with what should be considered mandatory rubber for Bootleg Canyon. Maxxiss High Roller II 3c TR 2.3″ mounted tubeless.
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9 thoughts on “Pivot Mach 6

  1. Thanks for the review KRob. I bought a M6 in 2014 partially based on your review. It has been a great bike for tight techy forest riding here on Vancouver Island.

    i ride my M6 for the spring and summer then switch to a SC Nomad Mk 2 for winter.

    Things I love about the M6:

    – short wheelbase for TT size makes it very maneuverable it techy tight trails
    – efficient pedaling platform but doesn’t get hung up on tech features climbing
    – slack STA makes pedalling position good with short WB and keeps front wheel light for powering over tech in the saddle
    – our trails are very rocky and rooty the M6 takes all the pounding without complaint
    – 12 months of riding and the suspension is still quiet and tight….I have not serviced it yet
    – carbon has stood up to lots of abuse without issues

    All the things I didn’t love seem to have been solved in the Mk2 Mach 6.

    I didn’t notice the lack of stiffness Pivot has solved in the new version, but I am a middle aged enthusiast rider so I don’t push my bike as hard as a lot of folks might.

    This is a great do everything bike. From long XC rides to tough DH it can do it all. Unlike some of the other AM rigs it feels more like a burly trail bike than a mini-DH bike. Since I have to climb for all my turns I appreciate getting to the top fast and efficiently.

    I’ll be keeping my M6 long-term. I want to see how it does after 5yrs+. I suspect it will stand the test of time vs. whatever else comes out.

    • Thanks Vik. I’m always amazed at how good this bike is and reading your summary of your year on the Mach 6 v.1 I can see for certain areas and certain riding styles the things many feel are its shortcomings (short reach, short wheel base, slack seat tube angle) are actually advantages. I can appreciate that. In fact even as I was rereading my post last night I realized that maybe why it was so maneuverable on the tighter techy lower East Leg trail was precisely because of those things.

  2. Pingback: KRob’s Pivot Mach 6 Mk2 Review | vikapproved

  3. I agree with Vic. I decided on the Mach 6 because it wasn’t as long in the wheelbase as so many of the “Enduro” bikes are today. My local trails are tight and techy so the slightly shorter WB is better, but it still handles well in the big mountains of Utah and Colorado.

  4. Mach 6 is going to be my next bike (unless it’s a new Troy). At 5’10” I rode a medium 2015 demo and definately felt a more compact cockpit than my Kona Process 134, but wouldn’t say that was a negative either. Dilemma is Lg with a short stem or Medium with a longer. Any advice?

    • I’d go large with a short stem with the M6’s shorter top tube and reach but depending on riding style and preference, like I said, you could probably be happy on a medium as well.

      • Yeah. It was unreal how the back end just flicked around corners and rolling turns. Best thing about the bike IMO and I’d hate to lose that by going Lg and a longer WB to throw around. Thanks for posting these reviews. If you have a moment I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the Devinci split pivot vs the DW link.

        • On the Spartan vs RFX, the Split Pivot was quite a bit more supple on the rough descents (bear in mind the potential shock/set up issues we were having) but the dw-link Mach 6 rear end was more like the Spartan’s as far as plushness. The difference being, that the Mach 6 still pedaled as well (or nearly so) as the RFX. Yes, M6=very impressive. I actually like a little more squat/active suspension even for climbing so I like the Split Pivot quite a bit.

  5. I think that frame is the perfect foundation for a AM bike that can pedal to top and shred down with ease. I know most of us would buy as frame only but personally I would never consider that DT Swiss wheel set wide enough in today’s width standards.

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