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Product Review: Pivot Mach 6 Carbon

Photos: Re Wikstrom

Chris Cocalis, of Pivot Cycles notoriety, has a history in the bike industry that rivals many of its legends, and by all accounts, the guy also rips. That probably has something to do with why the Mach 6 is such an unadulterated shred machine. It’s billed as an enduro racer, so as you’d expect, it’s not the fastest climber — although it does the job surprisingly well. Get it pointed down a hill, though, and in many situations, it’s actually faster than a full-on downhill bike. But the real surprise is that, for being so aggressive, the Mach 6′s handling makes it fun for more conservative riders as well.

Suspension

With 155mm of DW-Link travel, it’s not surprising how quickly the Mach 6 comes down a hill. After all, Dave Weagle has been designing World Cup winning race sleds for a while now, and he arguably understands the ideal blend of small-bump compliance, big-hit control, and pedaling efficiency better than anyone.

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It’s rare to find a bike that’s this smooth, while also being downright spritely under power — especially one that’s supportive through the middle of the travel. Get on the pedals under power, and the Mach 6 channels those watts straight to the rear wheel, so much so that there’s not much point in flipping the lockout switch. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. The suspension on this bike is just incredible.

Geometry and Handling

This is definitely a new-school bike. The cockpit is roomy per size, which pairs nicely with a shorter stem and wider bar. The front end is slack, which encourages you to keep riding it faster. And once you get rolling at speed, the handling becomes completely intuitive. It’s quick to turn, and when you get it leaned over, it carves beautiful arcs on both flat turns and bermed trails. The tight rear triangle accentuates the cornering manners. And while it’s quick to turn, not much will make it feel even the slightest bit skittish, even if you point it through washed-out ruts on disused fire roads.

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Naturally, the trade-off for this is that the Mach 6 requires focus to keep on a line when you’re grinding back up. This trait will be especially noticeable for those with long legs. The slack seat tube angle tends to shift your weight farther back, and it’s more pronounced at taller saddle heights. However, this also accounts for the roomy cockpit. The reach numbers are’t particularly long, though, which makes the bike feel shorter when you get out of the saddle. But for most riders, this is going to be a very welcomed trait.

Construction

The Mach 6′s construction is on par with pretty much anything in its category. The form is no-nonsense, yet the subtle shaping gives it an appealing organic look. It’s also stiff, very stiff in fact, but there’s still a perceivable amount of give in the rear end that keeps it tracking smooth on off-camber turns.

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And the molded chainstay and down tube guards are subtle touches that are really pretty nice. You might not ever notice them, but that’s kind of the point, which is really a way of saying that this is a highly refined machine.

Drawbacks

Tire clearance is acceptable, but it’s not mind blowing. The rear triangle will clear most 2.3s, but with big tires, it doesn’t have the mud clearance that you want in really wet environments. If mud clearance is an issue, however, running a slightly smaller tire will get you there.

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It’s a price to pay for sub-17-inch chainstays, and unless you’re used to British weather year round, you’ll most likely be glad for the trade-off. My biggest gripe is the cable routing. A handful of cables pass above the shock, and keeping that bundle from turning into a rat’s nest requires very attentive cabling. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s certainly worth noting.

The Takeaway

The Mach 6 is somewhat surprising. With barely a glance at the stats, it’s easy to see that it favors descending and speed. But what doesn’t translate through the geometry sheet and tech list is that it’s a fantastic match for a less aggressive rider, too. It’s smooth, efficient, and above all, supremely well balanced, which makes it an easy bike to get along with for various skill levels. So, whether you’re an enduro-racing madman, or you’re just looking for a bike that’s ridiculously fun when the trail turns down, this machine warrants some serious consideration.

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- Pivot Mach 6 Carbon Frame
- Pivot Mach 6 Carbon Featured Mountain Bike

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