Why We Like The Mach 6 Pro X01 Eagle Live Valve Mountain Bike
27.5in wheels definitely aren't dead. In fact, there's a large subset of riders that couldn't care less about the marginal speed benefits of 29in wheels, because all they need is a burly bike that can send the biggest lines on the mountain and pedal back up to the top without much fuss. Oh, and there's the fact that the smaller-diameter 27.5 wheels are inherently stronger than 29ers, not to mention their proclivity for slashing berms at the bike park and tackling untamed backcountry lines that require millisecond response times. But what's all this got to do with Pivot's new Mach 6? Well, Pivot hasn't given up on 27.5. Which is why we're lucky enough to offer this beautiful all-rounder featuring the latest-and-greatest technology from Pivot, including fully-modern geometry, perfectly-dialed DW-Link suspension, and hand-picked components that offer the best possible performance at each different price level. This particular model is outfitted with just about the best components money can buy, including Fox's Live Valve electronic suspension, but more on that later.
Pivot carbon frames have perhaps the lowest warranty rate in the industry, at less than 2%. The strength of their frames is attributable in part to the high-modulus carbon they use for all frames, but also to their proprietary hollow core internal molding process that yields consistent, high compaction with extremely tight tolerances throughout the entire frame structure. The resulting carbon frames are correct and precise right out of the mold, with no need for touch-up work to fill voids or imperfections. The rear triangle allows clearance for 2.6in tires, a nice benefit for riders that like the extra grip and compliance of high-volume trail tires.
This build seamlessly integrates Fox Live Valve suspension. Electronic suspension has been around for years in automotive racing, but it's a pretty foreign concept in mountain biking. In order to quiet the skeptics, Fox spent three years developing and testing Live Valve before they released it, making sure the performance and reliability were on target. The Live Valve system uses accelerometers on the fork and rear triangle to sense impacts and changes in trail gradient, with a microprocessor (Fox calls it the Controller) mounted near the rear shock that houses a third accelerometer and the rechargeable battery. Using these sensors, the Controller measures the terrain at a rate of 1000 times per second, and activates solenoid valves in the fork and shock that open in just three milliseconds, going from a firm pedaling platform to wide-open plushness almost instantaneously.
The Live Valve system defaults the solenoid valves to the closed position, the equivalent of running your fork and shock in the firm pedaling mode. When the system senses an impact it opens the valves to allow smoother suspension action—improving traction, bump absorption, and overall ride quality. After a preset timer, the valves return to the closed position to regain pedaling efficiency. Each bump resets the timer, so when you're charging through rock gardens or sustained sections of rough trail the suspension stays in the open position to better mitigate impacts. The accelerometers also sense when you're going downhill, so if the bike is angled more than 6-degrees downward both the fork and shock remain open. When climbing, the Controller will open whichever suspension component feels the impact and then return to the firm position immediately afterwards, unless another impact is sensed. For flat trails, an impact opens both the fork and rear shock, with a delayed timer to account for successive impacts, but not so long to cause the bike to wallow in its travel when you start cranking hard. Should you go airborne, the system opens both the fork and shock to absorb the landing, returning to normal once the bike is rolling smoothly again.
Fox claims you can get about 16-20 hours of ride time from the Live Valve system. If you run out of battery while riding, the system opens the valves so you can use all your travel without a harsh ride. It's important to note that Live Valve only affects the low-speed compression circuit, changing the overall stiffness of your suspension. Rebound settings and air pressures are not affected, so you set your sag and baseline settings in the same manner as normal air suspension. If you're still skeptical about Live Valve, there's always the option of shutting off the system entirely, rendering your suspension the same as a standard setup. With a minor 260g weight penalty for the full setup, the only hurdle is the price.
- The Mach 6 gets a revamp and is more aggressive than ever
- 6 inches travel and 27.5in wheels is a recipe for good times
- Hollow-core molded frame is stiff, strong, and lightweight
- DW-Link suspension eats up terrain and pedals like a pro
- Aggressive geometry brings confidence and stable handling
- Vertical shock orientation leaves room for water bottle and tools
- Can be set up as a mullet bike with 29in front wheel
- Fox Live Valve adjusts to the terrain in real-time