Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pivot Mach 6

(Photo: Pivot Mach 6)

I have been riding Nomad for more than two years, never in my thought to change bike until Bronson came along. The 27.5 or 650B revolution is real, and the wave is unstoppable. However, waiting for Bronson to land in Singapore is like waiting for human to land on Mars. One of my kakis Yung Ming recommended Pivot Mach 6, and that was the first time I heard about this bike. Further research on Internet shows that Pivot Mach 6 received many good reviews. I was skeptical, and did a poll on MTB Kakis Facebook page on Pivot Mach 6 Vs Santa Cruz Bronson. To my surprise, majority of my kakis selected Pivot Mach 6. Fair enough, many riders who selected Mach 6 are owners of Pivot Mach 5.7, bias is something I would not rule out. However, coming from my riding buddy Anvil Dennis who is very critical on bike geometry and design, I started to have second thought. Dennis might be bias as well because Chris Cocalis, the owner and designer of Titus (Anvil own and swear by Titus El Guapo) is the same brainchild of Pivot Mach 6. Well, I was considering between Nomad and El Guapo more than 2 years ago and decided to go with Nomad carbon. Now, I face the same dilemma between Bronson and Mach 6...


(Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon and Pivot Mach 6)

So, what is the big fuzz about these 2 bikes? 27.5! what else? The tagline of "climb like XC and down like DH" seems to be common message adopted by all newly launch all-mountain bike. Is there any true in it? Well, you need to test ride to know it. Before we do that, lets do an analysis on the geometry of these 2 bikes:

1. Size: Based on specifications and manufacturer recommendations, Pivot seems to be one size bigger than Santa Cruz. My height is 1.76m, Pivot recommended SMALL but Santa Cruz recommended MEDIUM. Regretfully, the Mach 6 test bike is medium. The Top Tube and Reach for Medium Mach 6 are 23.6" and 15.81" respectively compared to Nomad 22.8" and 15.1". Although the size is manageable, I feel the posture of medium Mach 6 skews more towards XC compared to medium Nomad. The Top Tube and Reach for small Mach 6 are 22.85" and 15.31" respectively, which is pretty close to Nomad medium geometry. Perhaps, a small Mach 6 will fit me nicely as I am use to Nomad geometry.  

2. Head Tube Angle: Nomad and Bronson are 67 degree while Mach 6 is 66 degree. The significantly slacker head tube means Mach 6 is more forgiving going downhill and require more effort to climb. Is there any true in it? After all, head tube angle is not the only determinant for climbing efficiency. One thing for sure is that I felt more confident going downhill on Mach 6 than Nomad. I think these three factors come into play: slacker angle tube, lower centre of gravity and larger wheel size.

3. Centre of Gravity: Pivot Mach 6 has a BB height of 13.6" compared to Nomad 14.0". The centre of gravity for Pivot Mach 6 is significantly lower than Nomad. It may explain why I could do those high speed zig-zag turn and cornering at Ketam bike park more confidently and precise than Nomad. However, when comes to clearing rocks, I felt more confident with Nomad as the the BB has more clearance space. Is this fact or just my subconscious mind playing the trick? It should not be a problem if the riders are more skillful.

4. Wheel size: Don't think I need to provide scientific evident on the pros and cons of wheel sizes. The market has flooded with enough information. Once you are on trails, you will forget what wheel size you are riding. You will do what you did on 26" wheels, with lesser probability of falling or skidding on 27.5".

(Photo: On the way to Ketam Bike Park) The test ride was done at Ketam Bike Park together with my regular MTB kakis. The occasion was like family day, as Douglas and our family members came along as well.
(Photo: Fox Float X) The Float X comes standard with Pivot Mach 6 frame. Three preset settings allow you to switch on the fly and in accordance to your preference and riding condition. For the purpose of bike test, I switched the CTD lever to center position for all riding condition. No significant compromise in climbing, bumps and tractions in most riding conditions. The bike absorb small bumps awesomely well compared to Nomad. Perhaps, the Mach 6 DW-link does play a part in comparison to Nomad VVP. 
(Photo:Pivot DW-Link) Mach 6 DW-Link suspension seems to provide better control in rough riding condition than VVP. When I tapped the brakes while riding rough downhill section on Mach 6, I felt extremely confident with virtually no sign of skid or out of control feeling. Riding on the same downhill section, I could not achieve the same confident on Nomad. Despite bigger wheels, Mach 6 is no less efficient than Nomad when climbing uphill. Perhaps, Mach 6 is lighter and pedaling efficiency is better than Nomad. 
(Photo: Pivot Mach 6)  The test bike was fitted with XT cranks on 30T single chainring and 10 speed cassette. Close enough to simulate XX1 option for Pivot Mach 6 full bike. Tried XX1 drive chain system on my friend's Enduro, think it will be the perfect drive system for Pivot Mach 6 and Singapore trails ride.

Just recovered from broken ankle 4 months ago, decided to skip Black Cobra. I did this section on Nomad, and believe I should be able to do the same on Pivot Mach 6 since the bike is more forgiving.
(Photo: Coconut drinks) After the ride, we took a break at a coconut drink stall further down Ketam Bike Park.  
(Photo: Pivot Mach 6) For a very skillful rider, he or she can ride any bike and do well. Similar to professional racers driving manual cars with conventional brakes and do all those drifting maneuvers.

Pivot Mach 6 is like driving a sport car with active suspensions and ABS braking systems. You just need to focus on riding while the bike will take care of the rest. The faster you ride on this beast, the more confident you feel. You need to abuse and ride aggressively to uncover the full capabilities of this bike. For an average rider like me, Pivot Mach 6 is a perfect all-rounded machine for all kinds of rides. Personally, I think the design are spot on for aggressive trail rides, and will do well on XC and downhill (flowy tracks) as well.

I was impressed by Jia Long, the dealer (Tiong Hin) for Pivot bike in Singapore for lending us brand new Pivot Mach 6 to test ride at Ketam Bike Park. Not a common practice in Singapore bike scenes. It goes to show his confidence in Pivot, and I am sure Pivot Mach 6 will be a hit in Singapore. Thanks to Yung Ming, a very satisfied customer and good buddy for introducing Pivot to me. Sometime, I wonder if Yung Ming owns Pivot. Look forward to my XX1 Pivot Mach 6, a birthday present from my lovely wife. Hope we could get it sooner :)