New Pivot Mach 4 SL preserves geometry across four travel lengths, shaves 400g off claimed weight


Pivot has re-jigged its XC-race focused Mach 4 SL for 2023 with two versions of the bike, each offering a pair of travel options via a linkage-based flip chip.

The race bike’s lightest build option, the World Cup, comes with either 95 or 103mm of rear travel, paired with 100mm forks. A more aggressively specced version comes with 106mm or 115mm travel, and 120mm forks.

Broadly speaking, the lighter bike is aimed at marathon and less technical cross-country tracks. The longer-travel bike should be ideal for the those who tackle more technical XC racing, or want a cross-country bike for every-day riding.

Pivot says its Mach 4 SL is the fun way to the top step of the podium.

Pivot Mach 4 SL frame

Pivot Mach 4 SL three quarters

120mm of travel sits at the front of the non-World Cup models – those get 100mm.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Weight and efficiency were the key factors for Pivot when designing its latest XC bike. The brand used lessons learned from the development of its Les hardtail when it came to the layup of the carbon tubes, as well as the stiffness and flex properties to cut weight and improve ride feel.

Weight, though, was the key consideration, with the brand claiming it has cut 300-400g from the previous-generation Mach 4 SL, across the different sizes, without losing stiffness.

This means a claimed frame weight of 1,660g (Small, no shock), and bikes built below 10.4kg (23lb).

As well as working on the layups of the frame, other weight savings come at the rear triangle, where chainstay-mounted brakes mean weight can be shaved easily from the seatstays.

Press-fit bottom brackets are also employed. They might not garner many home mechanic fans (other than our own Simon von Bromley), but Pivot claims the system, when built properly (it uses a completely carbon BB shell with no alloy frame inserts), gives impressive reliability, as well as being lighter.

Pivot Mach 4 SL cable routing

No fancy headset routing here, we know many will appreciate this.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Carbon creation

Pivot uses a single flavour of carbon across all models of the Mach 4 SL, rather than employing a lower grade on cheaper models. This is done because the brand feels all its customers deserve to ride the higher-grade material.

The frames are hand laid, and only employees with 10 years’ experience are allowed to work on these top-flight framesets.

Each frame’s ride characteristics are tuned to match expected rider weights, while the rear suspension is also valved differently on smaller bikes to give a more forgiving ride.

Finishing touches

The Medium to XL frames have space for two water bottles, with a triple set of bosses under the top tube enabling tuning of bottle placement. All frames have space for a 750ml bottle inside. There are also bosses under the down tube, so three bottles can be carried.

Pivot Mach 4 SL bottle mounts

A bottle cage can be slung under the top tube.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Alternatively, tool cases (Pivot partners with Topeak on these) or inner tubes can be held here. There’s a carbon door under the down tube, which can be inverted, to nestle a tool case into the frame a touch.

Cables run internally, with a Jagwire sheath employed to reduce cable rattle.

There’s room for (more rounded) 2.4in rubber at the back, and if you’re a brute, you can run up to 38t chainrings.

Pivot Mach 4 SL suspension

Pivot Mach 4 SL DW Link

Twin co-rotating links join the front and rear triangles.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

While many brands are moving to flex-stay single-pivot designs for their XC bikes, with lighter weight being easier to achieve, Pivot has stuck with its signature DW Link design on the Mach 4 SL.

This sees solid front and rear triangles joined by two co-rotating 7000-series alloy links, pushing on a vertically mounted shock.

This arrangement, with the shock siting parallel to the seat tube, keeps weight low and space free inside the front triangle. It also helps keep the front of the main triangle’s stiffness characteristics more independent from the impact of suspension linkages, helping Pivot tune ride feel.

Pivot Mach 4 SL twistloc and brake

The TwistLoc adds compression damping to the rear shock (and fork on World Cup models).
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

The system is designed to give excellent pedalling characteristics, as well as keeping the suspension active under braking.

World Cup bikes will come fitted with SRAM’s TwistLoc gripshift-style compression adjust on the bar, offering three positions (Open, Medium, Firm) for the Fox forks and shocks. The longer-travel bikes also get a TwistLoc, offering two positions (Open and Firm) for the shock only.

Travel tech

Pivot Mach 4 SL travel adjust

The top shock mount rotates, altering the bike’s travel.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Pivot has integrated a flip chip into the rocker link to alter the travel of the bikes. Changing the position of the upper eyelet alters the leverage ratio on the shock, changing the travel available by 8-9mm. It doesn’t impact on geometry, and while testing the bike Pivot suggested we didn’t really need to alter shock pressures, either.

Changing the travel alters how the suspension feels, with the shorter-travel option giving a tauter ride quality, while the longer option is more forgiving.

Pivot will offer two strands of the model, with different travel, achieved by using either a 40mm or 45mm stroke shock. Builds on the bikes reflect the differences in travel.

While some brands, such as Specialized on its Epic, have reduced rear travel significantly, Pivot tested its bikes down to 90mm travel, but felt the efficiency gains weren’t offset by the loss of capability here, and so settled on 95mm being the shortest-travel option (which can be boosted to 103mm).

Other brands, such as Orbea and the Oiz, have pushed travel on their XC bikes up to 120mm. Pivot’s longest option is 115mm (which can be dropped to 106mm).

Pivot believes it has made this generation of bike more efficient than the previous one, even when the older bikes were fitted with Fox’s LiveValve automatic suspension lockout system.

In fact, the new bikes aren’t compatible with Fox’s current LiveValve system, though future developments of the technology may be employed down the line.

Pivot Mach 4 SL geometry

Pivot Mach 4 SL rear brake positioning

The rear brake nestles snugly in the rear triangle.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

The bikes’ geometry is modern, without being towards the edges of the bell-curve. There’s nothing too exciting there, but the numbers are all solid.

Geometry is obviously impacted by the fork travel, because both frame-travel options are built around the same frame.

The bikes were designed in the shorter-travel (World Cup) configuration, and then tested with 100mm and 120mm forks. Tweaks were then made to ensure the longer-travel bikes rode as well as Pivot wanted.

Effective seat angles were based around the average height for the frame size. The bikes are all shipped with 60mm stems.

Pivot Mach 4 SL rocker link

A 7000-series aluminium rocker drives the shock.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Pivot Mach 4 SL World Cup geometry (100mm forks)

Pivot Mach 4 SL geometry (120mm forks)

Pivot Mach 4 SL specifications and availability

Pivot Mach 4 SL Fox 34 SC

A Fox 34 StepCast gives 120mm travel at the front of the standard models.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

As mentioned, the Mach 4 SL is available in two flavours. The Mach 4 SL World Cup comes with 100mm Fox 32 StepCast forks and a shorter 40mm-stroke Fox DPS shock.

The non-World Cup version will get a Fox 34 SC fork with 120mm travel and Fox’s Float shocks with a 45mm stroke.

Bikes are available to purchase now, with a frame-only option (£4,100) also on offer. Key specifications and prices are listed below.

Pivot Mach 4 SL Ride XT/SLX specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Performance 34 Stepcast, 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Performance Float
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX/XT with Race Face Ride 32t cranks
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss X1900, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.2 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer Performance Elite (125mm XS/S, 150mm M/L, 175mm XL), WTB Race Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Race 60mm stem, Phoenix Race Low Rise aluminium, 780mm
  • Price: $6,199

Pivot Mach 4 SL Ride GX/X01 specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Performance 34 Stepcast, 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Performance Float
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX/X01 with SRAM Descendant 7k 32t cranks
  • Brakes: SRAM Level TL 4-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss X1900, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.2 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer Performance Elite (125mm XS/S, 150mm M/L, 175mm XL), WTB Race Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Race 60mm stem, Phoenix Race Low Rise aluminium, 780mm
  • Price: $6,699
Pivot Mach 4 SL rekon race

Rekon Race rubber is found front and rear on each build.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Pivot Mach 4 SL Pro XT/XTR specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 34 StepCast 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT/XTR with RaceFace Aeffect 34t cranks
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss XR1700, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer Factory (125mm XS/S, 150mm M/L, 175mm XL), WTB Pro Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem, Phoenix Team flat carbon 780mm
  • Price: $7,599/£8,400
  • Price with Reynolds Blacklabel wheel upgrade: $8,799

Pivot Mach 4 SL Pro X0 AXS specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 34 StepCast, 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X0 AXS Transmission, 34t
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Silver Stealth 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss XR1700, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer Factory (125mm XS/S, 150mm M/L, 175mm XL), WTB Pro Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem, Phoenix Team flat carbon 780mm
  • Price: $8,488/£9,600
  • Price with Reynolds Blacklabel wheel upgrade: $9,699
Pivot Mach 4 SL reynolds wheels

Reynolds-supplied carbon hoops are an upgrade on this model
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Pivot Mach 4 SL Team XTR specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 34 StepCast, 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR with RaceFace Next SL 34t cranks
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: Reynolds Blacklabel 309/289, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer Factory (125mm XS/S, 150mm M/L, 175mm XL), WTB Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem / Phoenix Team flat carbon, 780mm
  • Price: $9,899

Pivot Mach 4 SL Team XX SL specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 34 StepCast, 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX SL Transmission, 34t cranks
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: Reynolds Blacklabel 309/289, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: RockShox Reverb AXS (100mm XS, 125mm M/L/XL, 150mm XL), WTB Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem, Phoenix Team flat carbon, 780mm
  • Price: $11,599/£12,500
Pivot Mach 4 SL xx SL

SRAM’s XX SL drivetrain finds its way onto the top-spec builds.
Matt Jones / BikeRadar

Pivot Mach 4 SL World Cup XTR specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 32 StepCast, 100mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR with RaceFace Next SL 34t cranks
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: Reynolds Blacklabel 309/289, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer SL 100mm, WTB Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem, Phoenix Team flat carbon, 780mm
  • Price: $9,899

Pivot Mach 4 SL World Cup XX SL specification and price

  • Fork: Fox Factory 32 StepCast, 100mm
  • Shock: Fox Factory DPS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX SL Transmission, 34t cranks
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth 2-piston 160/160 rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: Reynolds Blacklabel 309/289, Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4 EXO 120tpi
  • Seatpost/saddle: Fox Transfer SL 100mm, WTB Volt
  • Cockpit: Phoenix Team XC/Trail 60mm stem, Phoenix Team flat carbon, 780mm
  • Price: $10,999/£12,000



2023-05-23 07:01:43