In our recent survey, the Pivot Mach 6 was voted one of the 5 best trail/enduro mountain bikes by Singletracks readers, which was no small feat given the competition from much larger companies like Santa Cruz, Specialized, and Giant. I had ridden a few Pivot bikes in the past but never the Mach 6, so I was stoked to test one at Interbike last week.
Whenever I think of Pivot bikes I think lightweight and supple suspension. I’m not sure why that is or even how they can get such burly bikes to weigh so little (helium-filled frame tubes?) but the Mach 6 Carbon immediately confirmed my stereotype when I picked it up from the demo tent. I don’t usually ride such a long-travel bike (the Mach 6 offers 155mm/6in of travel) but I was pleasantly surprised to find the Mach 6 felt about as light or lighter than my carbon Santa Cruz Tallboy back home.
On the ascent up to the Bootleg Canyon test loops I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the Mach 6 climbed. It didn’t necessarily feel as stiff as the Felt Virtue I tested earlier in the day but somehow it climbed just as well. This was all the more surprising since I kept the Fox shock in “trail” mode as recommended by the tech who helped me dial the suspension before my ride. Basically he said to keep the shock in either trail or descend mode the whole time, and it turned out that worked great for both climbing and descending.
Pivot licenses the highly-regarded DW-link suspension design, which provides an “anti-squat” platform that’s dang efficient in the climbs and noticeably supple through fast descents. The Mach 6 Carbon features a laid back 66° head tube angle and the size XL I rode (20.5″ seat tube) fit my 6’3″ frame well. The 430mm chainstay length makes this bike crazy nimble through corners and super easy to get into the air.
The Mach 6 I tested came kitted out in full XT, which sorta matches up with one of the lower-end builds the company offers. Still, this particular build featured a Fox 36 CTD Kashima-coated fork, Float X CTD Kashima shock, and even a KS Lev dropper post (a must IMO). Oh, and I forgot to mention this bike rolls on 27.5 Stans ZTR Flow EX wheels. (See how far the industry has come? No one makes a big deal about wheel size anymore!)
To be honest, I wasn’t in the market for a trail bike before testing the Mach 6 Carbon but that all changed after my ride. The Mach 6 Carbon climbs really well and yet offers 6-inches of velvet-smooth travel, effectively trouncing the old idea that there needs to be a tradeoff between climbing and descending efficiency in a trail bike. The Mach 6 Carbon is easily the best trail bike I’ve ridden this year and has me questioning my own identity as an XC-rider. Once you go trail, can you ever go back?