Singapore MTB was offered the chance to take the highly anticipated Pivot Mach 6 out for a few days and ride it we did!
2014 Pivot Mach 6 Carbon
Wheel size: 27.5″
Travel: 155mm (6.1″)
Rear Shock : Fox Float X
The Mach 6 isn’t just a slight refinement of its little brother, the highly popular Mach 5.7, but a completely new design built from the ground up with 27.5″ wheels in mind. Pivot also take pride in their proprietary hollow core internal molding technology for their carbon frames, which they claim allows for “the frame to exit the mold in near perfection inside and out”. While carbon has picked up as the material of choice for many manufacturers, the finishing we’ve noticed from many frame makers, including some of the big names, have often left us wondering about the level of quality control. Not so with the Mach 6. The finish was impressively smooth, definitely one of the best of any carbon frame we’ve come across.
While this is essentially a frame test, some of the notable parts the Mach 6 came built with are the 2014 Fox 34 Float CTD 150mm fork, AtomLab Suprelite 650b rims, a Profile Racing Elite rear hub and XT disc brakes. Drivetrain duties were handled by a 1×10 system comprising Shimano XTR cranks mated to a 30T Wolf Tooth narrow-wide chainring matched with an XT clutch rear derailleur.
The Mach 6 has garnered quite a bit of hype in the past few months, and as we got ready to ride the Bukit Timah trail, it became apparent how highly anticipated it was from the amount of stares it received. More than a few riders passing by asked, “Is that the new Mach 6?”. We don’t blame them, with internal routing options, a full carbon frame and eye-catching graphics, the Mach 6 is a rather pretty bike! Aesthetics aside, it was time for the Mach 6 to show itself.
We left both the Float fork and Float X shock on “Trail” mode and set off for a full loop. It was immediately obvious how well the bike pedalled. With the ground a little damp and soft from the previous night’s rain, the usually boggy flat sections were a breeze, with the bike picking up and maintaining speed quite effortlessly. While the quick-engaging Profile rear hub contributed to this, there was no doubt the DW-Link suspension employed made for an excellent pedalling bike.
While the 27.5″/650b revolution has descended upon us, we were initially skeptical on how nimble the mid-sized wheeled Mach 6 would feel on the tighter, rockier sections of the trail. Our reservations were unfounded though, as the bike’s relatively short 16.9″ (430mm) chainstays allowed it to shine as it cornered and changed direction with ease. The lively short stays made popping the front of the bike up and over rocks easy and tight switchback climbs were navigated without any fuss. The Mach 6 handled the short, steep and technical climbs of the trail with ease, a rather notable feat considering it runs a relatively slack 66° head angle with the 150mm fork on it.
Impressed with its climbing ability, we then decided to session a few of the short descents along the loop.Although definitely not a plow bike in any sense, the Pivot handled itself well through the smaller rock gardens and straighlined through without any issues. The Mach 6 comes with rubberized leather chainstay, inner seatstay and downtube protecters (a nice touch, we must add), and along with the XT clutch rear derailleur, made for quite a silent bike going through the rough stuff. While it managed the smaller rock gardens well, we couldn’t help but wonder if a burlier, bigger stanchioned fork would’ve been a better match for the excellent rear suspension.
As we moved on to session a twistier, rootier descent with rocks littered on the trail, the bike came to life. The relatively low 13.6″ bottom bracket height made the Mach 6 feel planted through the turns while the short stays and light overall weight of the build made it easy to launch the bike off small rocks and roots as we tried to get creative with our line choices. The Mach 6 felt lively and highly manouevreable on the downs and we continued to session it on the descents for a while.
Unfortunately, we started to notice the rear of the bike vibrating ever so slightly. Perplexed, we stopped to inspect the bike to see if any of the pivot points were loose. While there was a little bit of lateral play in the rear hub, we eventually found that the wheel tension had loosened slightly and while it affected the feel of the bike during hard cornering, it was certainly not a fault of the frame, but perhaps overzealous riding on our part. Just as well, it was nearing the end of the day and we left without feeling it affected our mini-test.
The new for 2014 Float X rear shock felt like a good match for the frame. Once we achieved the right sag, it felt linear and kept the rear end of the bike controlled and balanced throughout the test. The Fox 34 fork, however, feels underwhelmed at times, especially at higher speeds and when pushed into fast corners. Pivot say the Mach 6 can run a 160mm fork, so we feel a larger or more aggressive rider would definitely benefit from running a burlier fork up front. As we found the Mach 6 climbed rather well both in and out of the saddle, we were left to wonder how much more of a good descender it could’ve been. As tested, it descended well, but we feel the addition of both a bigger fork and an adjustable dropper post would’ve matched the frame nicely.
We felt that the AtomLab rims, while impressively light at 440 grams each, run a bit narrow with an internal diameter of only 21mm, a bike like this surely deserves a rim with an internal diameter of at least 24mm to better support bigger tires during the hard cornering it is capable of. As we found on our mini-test, the stiff frame quickly shows up any flex on it. Losing a slight amount of rear wheel tension, the stiffness of the full carbon frame and 142mmx12mm rear axle quickly made it apparent. The Mach 6 can certainly be built up to be a lightweight trail whippet, but in the hands of an experienced rider looking to get the most out of the frame (and also because we all love going downhill!), it deserves a sturdy build.
We also noticed the medium-sized Mach 6, while listed as having a 23.6″ toptube and a 15.81″ reach, felt just a tad short for our 177cm (5’8″) rider with the 50mm stem provided for the test. As the official importers Tiong Hin have made the test bike available for fitting for potential buyers, we highly recommend having a spin on it before committing to a size.
While we did not have the Pivot long enough to comment on durability issues, all in, we were quite impressed with the Mach 6. The few shortcomings we noticed were nothing more than setup choices and can easily be rectified at build time. In our eyes, the Mach 6 presents itself as good value against stiff competition in the full carbon, 27.5″ Enduro/All-Mountain category.
Additional frame notes:
- Press Fit 92 Bottom Bracket
- Frame Protection – rubberized leather chainstay, inner seat stay, and downtube protectors
- Tapered 1.5″ Headtube
- Direct Mount front derailleur
- 142mm x 12mm rear
- Direct postmount 160mm rear brake
- ISCG ’05 mounts
About the Author (The Scribe):
Although riding primarily mountain bikes since the early ’90s, the Scribe appreciates all things bicycling, from The Tour de France to Flying Pigeons. He has ridden (and spent way too much money) riding around S.E. Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He professes a love for going downhill, but secretly appreciates a good climb to earn his descent.