As it continues to roll through our doors in fits and starts, we've started to notice a common thread running throughout Pivot's 2017 line of trial and enduro bikes: the Phoenix. Pivot's DH firebird has proven to be something of a testing ground for suspension and geometry tweaks that are now finding their way into the rest of the Arizona-based manufacturer's line, and the latest Mach 6 Carbon Mountain Bike Frame is no exception. Considering the praise heaped on its predecessor, it may seem surprising that the Mach 6 should be importing rather than exporting tech; however, given the trend of enduro moving more toward wide, big, slack, DH-type designs, the changes bring the Mach 6 in line with the oversized trends of today's all-mountain rigs.
These tweaks manifest primarily in the rear triangle, which is where the influence of the Phoenix surfaces most apparently. The double wishbone rear triangle is clearly carrying some DH DNA, and it's combined with an ambitious upper linkage design that's 40% wider and engages the frame with larger bearings. Pivot continues the elephantine trend to the rear axle with a new Boost 148mm standard. Boost 148 ushers the Mach 6 into the modern era of enduro, where the tech seems to always be straddling the present and the future, trail riding and DH. The cumulative effect of these changes is a claimed 150% increase in rear triangle stiffness, meaning that — though the new Mach 6 leaves a wide, DH footprint — it still climbs more like a four-inch XC bike.
The DW-Link suspension design governing the Mach 6's six-inches of travel also does its part to maintain a secure climbing hold on rocky trails. Its anti-squat tendencies maintain a firm pedaling platform while cleaning terrain-riddled cruxes or picking lines with abandon across trail furniture. That responsiveness is matched on the opposite end of travel with a square-edge capacity that feels virtually bottomless, so time saved on the climbs isn't lost because of overly cautious descending.
The bike's changes are finished off with re-imagined internal routing, which accommodates mechanical groups with a more intuitive, clean system, and slots a Di2 battery in the seat tube from below for easy installation and maintenance. Some returning features worth mentioning are the PressFit 92 bottom bracket, which Pivot was on the leading edge of implementing and which finally has an equally stiff partner in the Boost rear axle.
Pivot's hollow-core internal molding process also returns for uniform, controlled wall thicknesses and material distribution. This process virtually eliminates inconsistencies and resin pooling, increasing structural integrity while targeting areas for weight loss. The frame's slacked-out geometry and stubby, 17in chainstays mean it's slack enough to challenge lines across enduro rock gardens but nimble enough to pick its way through eight-inch terrain — all while sticking climbs and roosting berms with an eagerness that begs to be pushed to the ragged edge of control.