2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1 (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
Views:
Discontinued
2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum
Create New Tag

Compare to other Bikes

Need more info? View our Enduro / All-Mountain Mountain Bikes buyer's guide.

2016 Test Sessions: Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1

Rating: Vital Review

Reviewed by Courtney Steen and Amanda Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller

At the 2016 Vital MTB Test Sessions, we ladies got the chance to sample a few of the latest trail/all-mountain bikes to see how they perform for women. With a smorgasbord of bikes ranging from 120 to 160mm travel, women-specific to unisex, and a price range from about $3,000 to over $9,000, how is one to choose?! This year we tested three bikes in the 150 to 160mm travel range that may be options to consider. We put them (and ourselves) to the test on South Mountain's trails in Phoenix, Arizona - a moonscape of rowdy rock sections, decomposed granite, and sharp cactus around every bend. One of these three bikes tested is the 2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1, a bike designed just miles away from our testing grounds at the

Reviewed by Courtney Steen and Amanda Wentz // Photos by Lear Miller

At the 2016 Vital MTB Test Sessions, we ladies got the chance to sample a few of the latest trail/all-mountain bikes to see how they perform for women. With a smorgasbord of bikes ranging from 120 to 160mm travel, women-specific to unisex, and a price range from about $3,000 to over $9,000, how is one to choose?! This year we tested three bikes in the 150 to 160mm travel range that may be options to consider. We put them (and ourselves) to the test on South Mountain's trails in Phoenix, Arizona - a moonscape of rowdy rock sections, decomposed granite, and sharp cactus around every bend. One of these three bikes tested is the 2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1, a bike designed just miles away from our testing grounds at the company's Phoenix headquarters.

Highlights

  • Aluminum frame
  • 27.5 (650b) wheels
  • 155mm (6.1-inches) of rear wheel travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) fork travel
  • DW-link suspension
  • New wider and stiffer upper and lower linkage design
  • Enduro Max cartridge bearings
  • Tapered headtube
  • Post mount disc brake mount
  • Mix of external and internal cable routing
  • Removable e-type side-swing front derailleur mount
  • Press fit 92 bottom bracket with ISCG 05 mounts
  • 148mm Boost rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size small, no pedals): 30.1-pounds (13.7kg)
  • MSRP $4,268 USD

New for 2016, Pivot added an alloy version of the Mach 6 to their lineup with shared updates also made to the Mach 6 carbon frame. After three years they figured out their “next generation variable wall thickness hydroforming technology,” which is a new way to create complex aluminum tube shapes previously only possible with carbon. A quick glance at the tubes in the bottom bracket area and front of the swingarm provide obvious examples. This enables them to vary the material thickness so that high-stress areas can be strengthened with more material while still maintaining a reasonable overall bike weight. The new aluminum frame is just over half a pound heavier than the carbon version, yet much more cost effective.

In an effort to increase overall stiffness, changes were made to the rear triangle and linkage of both the alloy and carbon versions for 2016. The upper linkage received a 40% width increase that Pivot claims upped stiffness by 150% when coupled with larger bearings. They added Boost axle spacing, widening the rear end an additional 6mm to add even more stiffness to the bike. This also improved tire/mud clearance, which is pretty ample at about half an inch in the tightest spot with the stock 2.3-inch Maxxis tires.

These frame updates are paired with the latest FOX shock technology with DPS (Dual Piston System) damping and an EVOL air sleeve. Thanks to some air spring magic, the shock has better small bump compliance than previous versions. Pivot claims that when paired with the DW-link’s position-sensitive anti-squat, it gives riders better traction on steep climbs and over rough trail. The shock is attached to a new lighter and stronger clevis for 2016.

Save a small portion of housing that goes through the chainstay and the stealth dropper in the seat tube, the Mach 6 Aluminum has external cable routing that follows the bottom of the downtube. While easy to service and rattle-free, there's a legitimate concern for stray rocks and damaged lines, although this rarely occurs.

Additional features include a press fit bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs for mounting a chainguide, and rubberized chainstay and seatstay protection. There's a bottle mount under the downtube, though we wish it were above it to keep the gunk off our water. Pivot likely chose this location for extra clearance should you wish to bump up to a higher volume shock.

Geometry

While the Mach 6 is not a women’s specific bike, it does have sizing that works well for many women thanks to low standover heights and shorter seat tube lengths. Riders ranging from 4’10" to 6'2" should be able to find a good fit within the XS through XL size range. At 5'8" tall our limiting factor was the seat tube length plus room for a 100mm (3.9-inch) dropper post, so we got the size small. Though the reach measurements are a bit shorter than what is quickly becoming the norm, the 66-degree head angle and 431mm (17.0) chainstays are in line with other bikes in the aggressive trail / all-mountain / enduro genre. We measured the bottom bracket height at 344mm (13.5-inches).

On The Trail

Set up was pretty straightforward. The cockpit with 750mm (29.5-inch) bars and a 50mm stem was exactly the way we like it. We only made some spacing and angle adjustments for levers and shifter positions based on personal preferences. We then set seat height, saddle angle, and checked the tire pressure. For the suspension, we followed the suggested pressure guidelines for the FOX 36 fork based on rider weight then did a bit of fine tuning from there. The fork pressure we felt we needed was less than recommended. We then used the handy Pivot sag indicator on the FOX Float DPS shock to get that dialed in. Lastly, we put on a bottle cage for our turbo-boost juice and were ready to roll.

There's no denying that trails on South Mountain are a challenge, even for the best bike handlers. We climbed up a combination of the Javelina Canyon, Mormon, and National trails. After four lung-busting grunts and hundreds of opportunities to challenge our technical climbing skills over about six miles, we rose over a thousand feet above the sprawling Phoenix metro area.

As soon as we started climbing, our first thought was something along the lines of, “Oh man, these are going to be some long climbs.” The bike does climb pretty well for a long travel rig, but you can certainly feel that it has some heft to it despite being efficient at the pedals. If you weren’t already strong, you were going to get strong fast riding this particular build. About three pedal strokes in we were flipping the shock to the medium compression damper position for the rest of the climb. The suspension did well on technical climbs and any failures were more on us running out of power or courage. It held traction and didn’t feel like it was bogging down into the travel while pedaling over rocks.

The geometry felt pretty good pointed uphill, albeit a bit over the back end given a slack actual seat tube angle. Even with the saddle all the way forward on the rails, a bit of extra effort was required to keep the front of the bike down and under control on steeper climbs. After several hard earned ascents that emptied snack and drink supplies, we were happy to turn the Mach 6 down the hill and flip the shock back to the open setting. Fun mode engaged!

At the top of the mountain we had a number of options available to us for our descents. Our favorite was to add an extra little loop on Holbert at the top of the hill. Holbert had a fast descent that was mostly smooth with some big rock water bars that required hopping, plus a handful of loose corners with cacti kindly waiting to catch us if we slipped. After blasting down this trail we were so jazzed and said, “See ya later (to others left fixing flat tires), we’re going for another loop!” Pointed downhill the bike was solid and responsive in corners - maybe that’s the variable wall thickness hydroforming technology at work - and the suspension was smooth and supportive when rolling over rocks from small to large. You can really press into this bike and get a nice snappy result.

After riding our fastest bonus lap of the week we rejoined the group and headed over to Geronimo. This downhill bike worthy trail down to the valley floor is nonstop rock smashing fun if you're brave enough for it. On this technical descent we still felt awesome, which was a good reflection of the bike's capabilities. Pivot developed the bike with this type of trail in mind and it showed. After each big compression the bike felt immediately ready for the next, never bottoming harshly, getting hung up on square edges, or throwing us off line. We always felt in control, speaking well to the bike's handling. As expected, the bike was a funner ride with an active style, but even when tired it helped us keep rolling through the technical stuff.

On the downhills, we didn’t feel there was a definite yes or no answer between descending with the shock in the open or medium compression damper positions. It boils down to rider preference, the level of gnar being ridden, and how hard you corner. Here's the linkage in action:

Build Kit

We tested the X1 build kit with a SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain, SRAM Guide R brakes, KS LEV Integra dropper (optional add on), and a FOX 36 Performance fork. This bike goes for $4,268 and is on the more budget end of the Mach 6 Aluminum spectrum, but delivers a great value. Build kits are available with both SRAM and Shimano drivetrain options, and all bikes come with 2.3-inch Maxxis High Roller II tires and FOX suspension.

The 160mm travel FOX 36 Performance fork seemed to work best a few psi lower than the FOX recommended pressures. Open, it felt solid enough on the climbs and then on the downhills was not so soft that it felt divey. In Medium, it only felt too firm a few times. There was no notable harshness as the fork went through its travel on hard hits, and it was supportive in turns. It felt great for an active riding style when pumping the terrain and pushing into corners. For everything we were putting the bike through, the fork wasn’t something holding us back.

It’s no secret that we prefer 1X drivetrains for their simplicity and ease of use, and were happy to have one on this build. The SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain shifted smoothly and quickly enough. Because the bike can feel a bit hefty getting up some of the steeper climbs, we personally think a smaller chainring would be ideal if climbing extended climbs frequently. You might relate if you would also rename your legs “Slow” and “Steady” rather than “Thunder” and “Lightening.” Unfortunately, this conversion would require a new crankset for compatibility. We also noted that the derailleur bolt occasionally backed out following long or rough rides. Keep an eye on this or give it a dab of Loctite to keep it in place.

There were no blown corners or persons run over during the testing of this bike. When it came time to stop or slow down, the SRAM Guide R brakes with a 180mm front and 160mm rear rotor were able to handle the job. It was also nice that the shifter could mount on the brake levers, which made for a much neater cockpit area. SRAM's brakes provide enough adjustment range to work well for riders with small hands.

It's rad that Pivot provides Maxxis High Roller II EXO tubeless ready tires on all of their builds. They did well holding their own on these trails. Traction was good, and we made it through our rides without any flat tires despite a few premature dingers or two in the rear Sun Charger Comp rim. They're solid all around performers.

Pivot's custom WTB Vigo Sport saddle worked well for us ladies even though it’s not women’s specific. It did have a surprising amount of traction which was a first for us. It kept the heiny in place, though at times felt like it might pull our pants down if we pushed back into it too much in the battle to keep climbing as far as possible up steep sections.

Our Mach 6 Aluminum X1 bike had the optional KS LEV Integra dropper post, which is an upgrade we highly suggest. Yay dropper posts! We found the compact lever easy to reach and actuate. Cable tension is critical on the LEV Integra, so be sure to have it set up properly before your first ride. The bike came equipped with a 100mm travel post, and on the long, gnarly descent of Geronimo trail we needed to manually lower the base of the post for a little more maneuvering room. We had just enough room that we could have fit a 125mm version given our seat heights, though this will vary from rider to rider.

Overall the build kit worked well. If we personally owned this bike we would consider upgrading to a lighter wheelset, a longer travel dropper post, and would see if the desire for a smaller chainring persisted.

Long Term Durability

Except for a bit of cable rub above the bottom bracket, we think the frame will age well. Given our experience, the wheels will likely get a bit beat up prior to other components. Further down the road when the pivots need service, all torque specs are clearly indicated on the bolts, the bolts are easy to access, and the process looks fairly painless. There's also a great technical library to make things easier. Pivot backs the frame with a three year warranty.

What's The Bottom Line?

The 2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1 was a fun ride, especially when pointed down the mountain, and was a favorite among our female testers. Thanks to an extended size range and low standover heights it works well for many people. We would recommend this bike for an intermediate to advanced rider that really enjoys descending. It rewards an active riding style but will comfortably guide more passive riders down the hill. It excelled on rough trails and ripping turns, and the star of the show was the bike’s smooth and supportive suspension. Of the three bikes us gals tested, this is the one we would most consider taking home.

Visit www.pivotcycles.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 3 stars - Good
  • Descending: 5 stars - Spectacular
  • Fun Factor: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Overall Impression: 4 stars - Outstanding

Bonus Gallery: 32 photos of the 2016 Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1 up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Courtney Steen - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 8 // Height: 5'7" (1.70m) // Weight: 25-30% sag ;-)

"Going downhill puts a smile on my face and I climb for ice cream." Courtney routinely shocks the boys with her speed and has experience in various disciplines. Today she travels the country in a RV in search of the next best trail and writes women's reviews for Vital MTB. Her technical background helps her think critically about products and how they can be improved.

Amanda Wentz - Age: 34 // Years Riding MTB: 10+ // Height: 5'6" (1.68m) // Weight: 135-pounds (61.2kg)

"I like riding rocky technical uphill as smoothly as I can, but my rims would say all that goes out the window when the bike is pointed down." Over the last decade Amanda has soaked up all aspects of mountain biking and continues to push herself to progress. She's a personal trainer and mountain bike coach, and loves knowing what her gear is doing and why.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

About Test Sessions

Four years ago Vital MTB set out to bring you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. That tradition continues today as we ride 2016's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes in Phoenix, Arizona. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Rage Cycles. Tester gear provided by Troy Lee Designs, Royal Racing, Smith, Fox Racing, Race Face, Easton, and Source.

Specifications

Product Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum X1
Model Year 2016
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
XS, S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size XS S M L XL
Top Tube Length 55.12cm 57.61cm 59.05cm 60.71cm 62.74cm
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66° 66.25° 66.5°
Head Tube Length 8.89cm 10.16cm 10.79cm 11.99cm 14.99cm
Seat Tube Angle 72.30° 72.30° 72.30° 72.30° 72.30°
Seat Tube Length 36.83cm 40.64cm 44.45cm 48.26cm 52.07cm
Bottom Bracket Height 34.54cm 34.54cm 34.54cm 34.54cm 34.54cm
Chainstay Length 43.05cm 43.05cm 43.05cm 43.05cm 43.05cm
Wheelbase 109.78cm 112.39cm 113.92cm 115.39cm 117.45cm
Standover 70.87cm 71.12cm 73.15cm 73.66cm 73.66cm
Reach 36.75cm 38.89cm 40.16cm 41.40cm 42.52cm
Stack 57.99cm 58.55cm 59.13cm 60.35cm 63.25cm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details Variable Wall Thickness Hydro-Formed Aluminum, Mix of External and Internal Cable Routing, Internal Stealth Dropper Post Compatible, Cold-Forged Upper and Lower Linkage Design with Enduro Max Cartridge Bearings
Rear Travel 155mm
Rear Shock FOX Float DPS
Fork FOX 36 Performance 27.5"
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Pivot Semi-Sealed Cartridge
Handlebar Race Face Ride Riser 740mm
Stem Phoenix Race
Grips Phoenix Lock-On
Brakes SRAM Guide R
Brake Levers SRAM
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX-1 11-Speed R
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X1 11-Speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide N/A
Cranks Race Face Ride
Chainrings 30 Tooth
Bottom Bracket PF92
Pedals N/A
Chain
Cassette XG1150 10-42 Tooth, 11-Speed
Rims Sun Charger Comp Wheels
Hubs Sun Charger Comp Wheels
Spokes Sun Charger Comp Wheels
Tires Maxxis High Roller II 27.5" x 2.3" TR
Saddle Pivot WTB Vigo Sport
Seatpost Phoenix Sport Alloy (KS LEV Integra optional)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp 34.9mm Quick Release
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12mm x 148mm Boost
Max. Tire Size 2.4"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Anodized Jet Black or Solar Orange
Warranty 3 Years Frame
Weight 30 lb 2 oz (13,664 g)
Miscellaneous KS LEV Integra dropper post is optional and adds $369 to $3,899 base price.
Price $4,268
More Info

Pivot Website

More Products