The Pivot Mach 6
My daily driver is a Santa Cruz Blur TRc. It’s perhaps one of the most fun XC bikes ever made, but it’s just that, an XC bike. I originally bought it to compliment my Nomad which had a beefy, freeride build, but after a while it seemed the Nomad was simply collecting dust and I sold it leaving me only with the TRc. While the TRC is ideal for the majority of the riding around Park City, I’ve been anxious to get back on a longer travel bike for trips to the desert and bike park style riding. One bike I’ve had my eye on is the Pivot Mach 6, which has been gathering rave reviews as an all-mountain quiver killer. I jumped at the chance to take one for a ride when the guys over at Storm Cycles mentioned they had a demo in my size, and after a day in the saddle, I’d have to agree that the Mach 6 lives up to the hype.
The night previous to my test ride, I was a little too indulgent with food and drink. So I wasn’t feeling particularly peppy the next morning, and certainly wasn’t looking forward to pedaling a big bike up the mountain. I originally had planned to ride the Wasatch Crest, however opted for some other favorites that didn’t demand as much prolonged pedaling. I did my best to ride the bike on a variety of trails, from steep climbs, to technical descents, and flow trails. About the only thing I didn’t have the bike on was a big 2,000 ft + climb as well as a big hit style freeride trails. Because the bike was a demo, but mainly because I’m a pussy, I didn’t send the bike off anything too major, but I’m sure in the hands of a capable rider, it could handle the biggest lines Park City has to offer.
I started out the day getting a boost up PCMR on Crescent chair where I proceeded to climb Three Candles Trail. Three Candles is a connector trail, and in itself, not too exciting going up or down, but offered an excellent warm up and chance to familiarize myself with the bike. The Mach 6 comes equipped with Fox CTD (Climb Trail Descend) fork and shock. I’m a set it and forget it kind of guy so I mostly rode with the settings wide open. I threw it in trail mode for a couple of the climbs, but to be honest, I couldn’t really detect much difference. The DW-Link & VPP suspensions are notoriously efficient and I think for all but the most experienced riders such settings merely offer a placebo effect. I hate fucking with my bike settings, so this is definitely a plus. While seated and maintaining a quick spin, I experienced no noticeable pedal-bob on the ascent. However, once out of the saddle, the rear suspension became pretty active and tended to absorb a lot of energy.
Climbing on the Mach 6
After Three Candles, I hopped on Fat Lip. A fairly steep, super skinny, off-camber climb with it’s fair share of rocky, rooty sections. Again, I wasn’t feeling 100%, but the bike motored up everything with ease. The front-end only wandered on me briefly over a steep rooty section, but otherwise, the bike felt solid and capable on one of Park City’s more difficult bits of trail. The demo build was running a 2×10 drivetrain. While I prefer the simplicity of a 1×11, I was thankful to have those extra few gears in my pocket on this particular morning. Even on steep, tight switchbacks, with a mild hangover, I was able to get to the top relatively effortlessly. Overall I’d say the Mach 6 is a very capable climber. While you are not going to winning hill climbs on the bike, if you can keep it upright and the pedals turning, very little will stand in it’s way.
Descending on the Mach 6
After about 800ft of climbing, it was finally time to point the bike back down the Black Forest trail. This was the moment I had been waiting for, as everything I had read and and heard about the bike was about how it absolutely shines on the way back down. Black Forest is one of my favorite trails in the area. It’s old school mountain biking at it’s finest. Steep, sharp twisty turns that will have you hanging your ass as far back off your wheel as you can, with plenty of roots thrown in for good measure. Once you get to know the trail, you can carry serious speed through the dense pine forest, making for a roller coaster-esque experience. As anticipated, the bike came alive devouring rocks, roots, and whatever in it’s way. Steep rollers that require a fair amount of skill on lesser bikes were handled with ease. I don’t put a lot of faith into Strava times, but I set a personal best on Black Forest, which for the first time on a bike says a lot.
Airtime with the Mach 6
I rolled back into town to hitch a ride up on the Empire bus. Another one of my area favorite trails is Payroll. Payroll is a recent addition to the Deer Valley trail system and hopefully is a sign of things to come. Fast, flowy, with a couple of small doubles and drops scattered about, this trail offered the first opportunity to get the bike off the ground. But first I had a quick spin up Tour de Suds, another Park City classic XC style climb. Again, no surprises. Spinning in the saddle is the name of the game on the Mach 6.
Dropping into Payroll, I knew after the first berm that this was the type of trail the Mach 6 was designed for. It’s low bottom bracket and center of gravity allowed it to rail berms, and the bike took the doubles with ease once. The bike is rather effortless to get off the ground and once in the air returns to land with grace. Another trail, another personal best, the Mach 6 is 2-for-2.
Pivot Mach 6 In the Rocks
After a quick jaunt across the Mid Mountain, Devo was next up on the agenda. In terms of style, Devo is the exact opposite of Payroll. It’s chunky, technical, and represents an era before terms like berms and flow were part of trail builders’ vocabulary. Devo’s a love it or hate it trail and the perfect testing grounds for a bike’s versatility. It was here I experienced my first hiccup, when a rocky switchback left me rubber side up. Not sure if it’s because I was carrying more speed than usual, the result of being on a new bike, or the previous night’s hi-jinx, but I missed the line ending up on the ground, and for the first time didn’t feel entirely confident on the bike. To the TRc’s credit, it’s an extremely light and flickable bike. You can pretty much will the back tire around on a whim. The Mach 6, not so much. This bike loves to go fast and will hold a line at speed like a pair of good carving skis. Where the TRc starts to feel a little loose at high speed, the Mach 6 is only getting started. Unfortunately, Devo is not that type of trail, and requires a fair amount of precision handling.
I was hoping to get over and ride some of Canyons’ bike park trails, but after my crash on Devo I was feeling a little beat-up. Instead I opted for a high-speed romp down Mojave – CMG. If you’ve ridden Mojave, then I’m sure you’re familiar with the section right before you Mid Mountain where you’re slaloming across the hillside. At speeds that I usually lightly feather my brakes at, I didn’t think twice about leaving the throttle wide open on the Mach 6. Again on Crescent Mine Grade, which is relatively straight and provides plenty of opportunity to screw it on, the bike simply begs to go faster. I can’t reiterate enough how stable this bike is at speed, and it’s for good reason they’ve titled it the Mach 6.
The Verdict on the Pivot Mach 6
While the Pivot Mach 6 is certainly more bike than the average rider needs, it doesn’t make it any less fun. Even on relatively mellow cross-country trails like Mojave and CMG, the bike comes alive at speed. As I said before, the Mach 6 is a very capable climber, meaning it will get you there rather efficiently (think mountain goat, not gazelle) and is most at home when pointed downhill at high speeds. However, if you get up so you can get down, and enjoy riding big lines at speed like the Wasatch Crest, or mellow freeride trails like Road to Arcylon and Payroll, you’d be hard pressed to do much better than the Mach 6.
Thanks to Storm Cycles
Thanks again to Storm Cycles for sparing the bike for the day. If you’re interested in a Pivot, or have any bike related needs, be sure to stop by and check out the shop. Tell em the Park City Mountain Biking boys sent ya!