The new Pivot Mach 4 SL may look familiar, but a ~400g lighter frame and uniquely adjustable suspension turn it into a more ambitious XC race bike than ever.
As Pivot’s first bike to use a vertical shock layout, the prior Mach 4 SL brought a new design aesthetic to the brand, with straighter tubes and lower standover. This bike carries forward the low slung appearance but makes the suspension more capable and updates the geometry for modern XC and marathon racing.
Multi-travel suspension design
The most exciting part about the bike is the option to run it with a 40mm or 45mm stroke shock, and combined with a flip chip at the upper shock mount, lets you choose between 95-103mm (short travel) or 106-115mm (long travel) rear travel.
The flip chip not only changes travel, it updates the leverage ratio so that the shorter travel mode feels firmer and becomes more progressive, providing a more efficient platform for all-out racing.
The longer travel mode remains playful, with both having a mildly progressive overall curve that you can use full travel without blowing through it.
Up front, they stuck with standard internal routing because founder Chris Cocalis doesn’t like the idea of running cables through the headset for stealth routing…yet.
All brake, shift, dropper, and lockout lines are clamped at the ports and have foam sheaths to prevent rattling inside the downtube.
New layups and refined tube shapes, plus a lighter machined aluminum rocker, dropped 300-400g off the frame, depending on size.
All frame sizes, from XS to XL get size-specific layups, and XS/Small frames have lighter compression damping tunes on the rear shock.
The lower linkage has a rubber shield to keep sticks and rocks from lodging in there, and a drain port under the rear shock gives mud and water an escape route.
The bikes are designed with a narrow, XC-appropriate Q-factor optimized for 52mm chain lines, and all spec except the XO AXS model gets just that (XO AXS only comes with a 55mm offset chainring).
All models come with a Rockshox TwistLock remote lockout for the rear shock. The short-travel World Cup models get Fox 32 SC forks with 100mm travel and use the lockout for the fork, too. All other models (Team, Pro, Ride) get the Fox 34 SC forks with no lockout.
Pivot sticks with their PF92 bottom bracket shells, which they tightly control during manufacturing for exacting tolerances. They say this attention to detail lets them use the lighter, wider standards without any creaking or other BB issues that have driven most brands back to threaded options.
All frame sizes have standard water bottle mounts on the downtube, three-bolt accessory mounts under the top tube (which can fit another water bottle on M/L/XL frames), and another set of bottle cage bolts under the downtube.
Directly under the BB is a covered port that used to be used for a Di2 battery to power Fox Live Valve, but they’re not offering that system on this model (hinting that there’s a replacement on the way), so the cover can be used to attach compatible Topeak tool/plug/accessory kits. Or stash…things.
All models come with 160mm brake rotors but can fit up to 180mm (except Hope rotors) with adapters. The curved design makes room for the caliper to stay on the seatstay, where it has no/less influence on suspension performance.
All models come with 29×2.4″ tires, which is the max recommended size…and the idea being XC tires, not aggressively knobbed 2.4″ Enduro tires.
My test bike was outfitted with a Maxxis Rekon front and Rekon Race rear, but stock bikes will stick with the lower profile “Race” tires front and rear.
Claimed frame weight is 1,660g (Small, w/o shock) and 1,930g w/ Fox DPS shock. The lightest models come in under 23 pounds.
Prices & Specs
Pivot is offering four models with two specs each, one Shimano and one SRAM. All Shimano models get Race Face cranksets, and WC/Team builds get Reynolds Black Label carbon wheels with Industry Nine Hydra hubs.
The short travel World Cup models get Fox DPS rear shocks & 100mm forks, running from $9,899 (XTR) to $10,999 (XX SL).
The longer travel Team, Pro, and Ride builds get the latest Fox Float shocks and 120mm forks, running from $6,199 to $11,599.
Pivot Mach 4 SL Ride Review
Like the prior model, this bike is a rocket, but with the added bonus of more travel. I rode the Team Edition bike over two days on Phil’s World trails in Cortez, CO, spending most of the time in the longest 115mm travel mode.
Pivot prides themselves on their version of a DW-Link suspension for good reason, it works incredibly well. Under power, whether standing or seated, it digs into the ground and powers over even the chunkiest terrain without slipping or bouncing.
While Pivot says this one (even the long travel one) is even more efficient than the prior 100mm model, my memory of riding and racing that bike isn’t that good. But I can confirm that this one delivers the racy acceleration and power delivery I’d want.
Switching to the 106mm shorter travel mode and the bike changes character. It goes from minimal pedal bob to virtually zero, and feels way more supportive when standing to hammer.
It’s noticeably firmer on landing drops, but still handles repeated hits and normal trail chatter, rocks, etc., without drama.
The ability to Jeckyl and Hyde the bike based on the terrain, or even to simply swap shocks and change the travel range without affecting the geometry at all, is a wonderful feature. I’d likely ride it in its longest travel mode most of the time, but having the option with zero penalties is awesome.
Bikes are available now, and definitely worth finding a demo day if you’re looking for a lightweight XC race bike that’s also fun and surprisingly capable, give the new Pivot Mach 4 SL a look.