The Pivot Mach 6, or M6, has been around for about three years and arguably set the first definitive benchmark for the modern enduro bike design. Chris Cocalis and his crew at Pivot have worked hard to make sure the M6 stays on top, endorsing such rowdy riders as stoppie-king Bernard Kerr, who clearly rocks this bike in this video like no one else can.
After testing several bikes over the past few years, both long and short term, one thing is certain: numbers do lie, and you need to throw your leg over any bike that you are considering spending a good chunk of money on. Two bikes with identical geometry could easily ride very differently.
I’m sure many of you are tired of seeing the top-tier builds reviewed every time someone gets a bike to test, but this review is a little different. Why? Because Pivot didn’t send me this bike to review–instead, I worked my butt off to buy it myself, after testing every bike I could get my hands on last season. So, there 🙂
Like many of you, I had a list, which I whittled down into a smaller and smaller list until finally it came down to several very similar, but very different bikes: the Pivot Mach 6, Santa Cruz Nomad V3, Ibis Mojo HD3, and the Yeti SB5 or SB6. They are all fantastic bikes for different reasons, but this isn’t a comparison article. Instead, this is an article about why I personally chose the Mach 6, and why I think it stands out.
After weeks of deliberation, it basically boiled down to this: a strong frame, combined with the DW link, gives the Mach 6 a little better climbing prowess and more dexterity when trudging through slow, chunky, technical terrain–something I always need help with. While some of the other bikes are arguably better descenders, the Mach 6 can definitely hold its own when pointed downhill, and I’ve got the data to prove it.
With 27.5in wheels, a relaxed 66-degree head tube angle, low 13.6in bottom bracket, 44.85in wheelbase (medium, tested), and dwarfish 16.95in chainstays, this bike strikes a great balance between being nimble on climbs, and stable at speed. The truth is, despite the slack 72.3-degree seat tube angle, this bike has more traction than anything else I’ve ever ridden, with excellent anti-squat built into the rear. I attribute this to the DW magic, and a shorter top tube that positions you just a little further back to place more weight over the rear tire.
Since the M6 was introduced, top tubes have gotten longer, but longer isn’t always better. Perhaps to compensate for this, Pivot specs the M6 with a 60mm stem and 740mm bars, which fit most riders comfortably. However, these are both very personal items in terms of fit, and I swapped them out for the Easton 35 60mm stem and 750mm bar that I reviewed in this article recently. Truth is, like many of you, I love running 780+mm bars and a 40-50mm stem, but something just feels right about this setup–it keeps the handlingly lively when the trail gets downright ugly.
I also have a reputation for breaking bikes–especially carbon–and one of my main criteria for purchasing any new bike was finding the strongest frame. After hours of lengthy conversations with several industry professionals, I was reassured that Pivot’s proprietary “hollow box, high-compression internal mandrel technology” is regarded as some of the strongest carbon in the industry–if not the strongest. The Mach 6 is definitely a stiff mule, so, “challenge accepted.”
The 155mm Mach 6 is offered in builds ranging from $4,599 for the SLX version up to $8,949 for a full XTR setup with carbon wheels (sans dropper), with excellent components spec’d at every price point. The frame-only option will run you 3 Gs. Frame sizes range from extra small to extra large so that everyone can get their Enduro ™ on! All bikes are setup with internal cable and dropper post routing, are chain guide compatible, and come equipped with rubberized leather down tube and chainstay protectors that help quiet the ride.
Pivot also built the M6 to use the 92mm press-fit bottom bracket (BB). I have heard some people complain because this is a little harder to service than threaded BBs, but how often do you need to service a BB? The trade off is that it allowed Pivot to engineer a massive BB for power transfer (seriously, look at it) that can accept most current and future cranksets, run a low Q factor, and maintain a decent chainline with 1x, 2x, and 3x systems.
Pivot worked exclusively with Fox to design its progressive suspension around the Fox line. The higher end M6s come spec’d with the Fox Float X CTD, while the more affordable builds come with the Fox Float CTD. I will admit that the extra reservoir of the Float X is nice for big hucks and fast chunky descents. At this time Pivot doesn’t offer any other stock shock options for the M6 builds, but you can install other shocks, such as the Cane Creek DB Air. You cannot run coil-over shocks on this bike due to the progressive suspension design. I have also been told to stay away from aftermarket parts like Vorsprung that change the progressive rate to a linear one.
This review tests the Mach 6 carbon XX1 build, which has these choice parts:
- XX1 drivetrain with the RaceFace NEXT SL carbon cranks
- Fox 155mm Float X CTD Kashima shock
- Fox 36 160mm RC2 Fork
- SRAM Guide RSC brakes
- KS Lev Integra dropper post
- Reynolds Black Label carbon wheels and DT Swiss hubs
- Pivot-branded 750mm carbon bars and Pivot 60mm stem (not tested)
- Weight: 26.4 pounds
- MSRP: $8600 + sweat + blood
Pivot is a great company, and I like the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously despite their quality builds and rapidly-expanding quiver of top-notch athletes like Kerr, Chase, Sigenthaler, and Looney. Buried in their “FAQ” tab on the Mach 6 website is this little gem:
How do I enduro?
- #1 Purchase a blue Mach 6. The black and green or stealth black will work, but ideally your bike will match your Enduro blue kit. If your bike and kit do not match, you will not look as cool nor go as fast.
- #2 Document everything. Every ride, session, and race must be thoroughly recorded in no less than two manners. Appropriate methods of documentation include GoPros, Strava, and having your photographer/videographer friend follow you around and make sick edits.
- #3 Enduro-specific helmets and goggles are required at all times when descending. Be sure to bring your spare XC lid for climbing.
- #4 You must wear a minimum of three articles of Troy Lee Designs clothing at all times. If you cannot afford Troy Lee, have fun on your cross country ride.
- #5 Create a Hookit profile to maximize sponsorship exposure.
- #6 Be sure to get pro name decals with your state/country flag so that you can easily identify your bike.
- #7 Equip your bike with Enduro-specific components, including but not limited to stems, wheels, and grips. (Fortunately, these are all included in our awesome Pivot complete builds.)
That, my friends, pretty much sums up the definition of “Enduro.”
I’ve already had a few weeks to test this rig in Moab, Fruita, and the Colorado front range, and so far I am extremely impressed… if not giddy! Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of the Mach 6 in the next few weeks!
Your turn: Do you own a Pivot Mach 6? What are your impressions?
I’ve had my Mach 6 for 8 months now and the more I ride it, the more I love it. It isn’t the fastest climber I’ve owned; my Yeti SB-95 was faster on the uphills. However, the M6 has a fun factor that no other bike I’ve ridden can come close to. Plus, I noticed how much this bike loves the downhills from my first ride. Every ride I do I seem to get faster. Now if I could only stop knocking my teeth out I’d be golden (yay for the Bell Super 2R helmet that I wear at all times now!). 🙂
I have had my Pivot Mach 6 since November 2013. I had a Tallboy at the time as well and started out riding the Tallboy on days with a ton of climbing and the Mach 6 the rest of the time. However, after getting my fitness up to snuff, I ditched the Tallboy because I was never riding it. I now ride the Mach 6 everywhere I ride…Moab, Fruita, Oregon and all day, up or down. This bike does it all.
My only suggestion is to buy the frameset and then build up the bike yourself using the Cane Creek rear shock. It is leaps and bounds better than the Fox Float X CTD. Maybe Fox’s 2016 will rise up to the challenge.