A 27.5 enduro bike in a cross country world.
Pivot MACH 6 Review
I got two opportunities to demo this new Pivot MACH 6, once at Interbike Demo Day and again at a demo day at my home trail of Erwin Park that Cadence Cyclery and Plano Cycling put together. The Pivot Mach 6 is a new 27.5 bike that is focused on the up and coming enduro discipline.
For those that don’t know what enduro is, it is essentially a cross pollination of downhill racing and cross country racing. The very unique format only times the downhill sections of the course but you must make the uphill sections within a certain time limit or else you are disqualified. While the uphill portions require a competitive time, the event is won and lost on the downhill and thus a more downhill oriented bike is required.
The Pivot MACH 6 has 27.5 (650B) wheels and 6 inches of travel giving it a seriously healthy amount of travel.
Spec’s from Pivot’s Website
|Frame||MACH 6 Carbon|
|Fork||FOX 34 27.5" 15mm FIT CTD|
|Rear Shock||FOX Float CTD Kashima|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano XT direct mount|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT 10spd Shadow Plus|
|Brake Levers||Shimano XT|
|Cassette||Shimano HG81 11-36 10spd|
|Chain||Shimano XT HG-95 10spd|
|Crankset||Shimano XT 24/38|
|Wheels||DT Swiss 275 Spline M1700 Tubeless Ready|
|Tires||Kenda Nevegal 2.35 Front, Kenda Honey Badger 2.2 Rear|
The bike I rode was exactly as specced above except that my demo’s had dropper seatposts. I don’t remember the brand of them however, and I never did use them… so it doesn’t impact the review.
How It Rides
First off, I want to say what a difference a trail makes. Having the opportunity to ride this bike at the Interbike Dirt Demo and then again at my home trail, Erwin Park, made a huge difference in the ride I had. At Interbike, the trail is wide open with no trees and very little real turning. It has lots of rollers, a few drops and aside from rocks there are almost no obstacles. Erwin Park is exactly the opposite with a plethora of roots, trees and tight turns.
This made a huge difference for two reasons. First, at Erwin Park in the tight trees the 27.5 wheels really stand out in a big way. Turning is considerably easier than on a 29er (something that I was doubtful of) and through the no-brakes section the bike cuts some incredibly smooth lines. Second, having more obstacles at Erwin with all of the roots gave the 6 inches of travel a completely different experience than on the mostly smooth singletrack of Bootleg Canyon.
It was almost like riding two completely different bikes because they rode so differently at each location. Something I will get into shortly
However, there were a lot of things that stayed the same between rides. Most notably, the handling and the suspension of the bikes.
These MACH 6 bikes are made for excelling in downhill portions of trails. That means they have a slacker head angle and different maneuvering characteristics than a cross country bike.
Now, since this is a cross country focused site, lets first start with the understanding that a good cross country bike has quick and light handling. Slight adjustments to weight and turns to the handlebars will result in some big changes in direction. When turning the MACH 6 at both trails it felt more like a motorcycle than a bicycle. To get the bike to turn quickly and efficiently you had to put some weight and thrust into it.
If you’ve ever driven a motorcycle you may recall that to turn the bike you simply push on the hand going into the turn and lean in that direction. For instance, if you are turning right, you push down with your right hand and lean your body toward the right. This is also how I felt the Pivot MACH 6 needed to be turned as well.
To get the most out of this bikes handling, you need to use plenty of body weight. Putting lots of body english into the bike shows big returns through tight sections and quick g-outs.
6 inches is a LOT of travel for most Texas riding. And to be honest I didn’t feel noticeably less vibration and trail chatter from this bike versus the common 4″ travel XC bikes like the Giant Anthem, Niner Jet 9 RDO or Pivot Mach 429.
Granted, I’m not leaping off small cliffs and nailing 4 foot drops out at Erwin or at Bootleg Canyon. But that’s not the purpose of my riding, I ride cross country and provide cross country based reviews.
What does stand out to me about the MACH 6 is how well it handles pedal sag with that much travel. At both trails I noticed that I got roughly the same amount of pedal sag (bobbing up and down when pedaling) as most of the 4″ bikes mentioned above. And I got that from a bike with 6 inches or 50% more travel.
That is pretty killer and points out to me that the bike should be a real beast when it comes to actual enduro riding. Being more efficient on the climbing or flat sections of an enduro course means more energy saved for bombing the downhill. If I raced enduro that is something that would really sell me.
Other Interesting Points on the Pivot MACH 6
So as mentioned before, the two trails that I rode this bike on made a huge impact. One of the things that I really didn’t notice at Interbike Dirt Demo was how much like a motorcycle it felt because of the wide handlebars and slacker head angle.
Another thing that stood out to me were the Kenda Nevegal tires on the front of this bike. At Interbike they felt like huge balloons because they were so wide and felt so stable especially when getting a little bit of air over a few dips sections. Back at Erwin Park the same thing could be felt again, extremely stable ride and monster balloon tires. I’m used to riding 2.1 or 2.2 tires and these things are 2.35 which seems massive when you’re used to something smaller. Overall, I kinda liked them.
Pivot MACH 6 Overall Thoughts
I have zero negatives about the Pivot MACH 6 except to say that it’s not the ideal bike for cross country riding. But as I’ve covered several times in this review, it’s also not intended to be. It is made for enduro and with that purpose in mind it is an awesome bike. Once I had figured out the handling of this bike it was excellent.
If you’re a rider who appreciates more suspension and rides more all mountain or enduro style, then I think this is an absolutely killer bike for you. If you are a cross country rider, I would recommend other bikes like the Niner Jet 9 RDO, Felt Edict 9 or another cross country focused bike.
As I’ve said with every one of these reviews, I definitely recommend you get to a local dealer or a Pivot demo in your area to test ride one for yourself because your ride may be massively different from mine. There are so many variables that go into the best bike for each individual. You won’t know what’s best for your preferences until you get on a bike and try it, so treat yourself to a fun days demo and get out there to test some bikes.