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First Trip! New Pivot Mach 4SL makes XC far more enjoyable






The brand new Pivot Mach 4SL is a revolutionary XC bike in probably the most understated manner. Its predecessor was additionally a ripper, giving the model a much-needed aesthetic replace whereas delivering respectable efficiency. However that was 4 years in the past, and bikes and programs have continued to evolve towards the rowdier, extra aggressive finish of the cross-country spectrum.

So Pivot developed, too.

The longer, decrease, slacker therapy that so many fashionable bikes have is right here, and the geometry felt dialed. Suffice to say that throwing myself into blind excessive velocity corners and un-recon’d rock drops by no means felt (too) scary, as a result of the bike felt as much as it.

Dealing with is dialed for XC racing, and with the longer journey Workforce XTR mannequin I rode, the bike felt able to “downcountry” exploits, too.

Which means, it’s completely suited to marathons, epics, stage races, and different quick ahead adventures.

However the actual spotlight is the suspension and it’s capacity to shapeshift to suit any course and any rider.

riding action of pivot mach 4SL xc mountain bike

The brand new 4SL’s multi-travel, multi-mode suspension is good in its simplicity, and brilliantly efficient. By swapping between 40mm or 45mm stroke rear shocks, and choosing certainly one of two higher mount positions, you get 4 distinct journey modes. Sure, you’ll wish to swap the forks, too…perhaps.

Should you’re beginning with the longer journey fashions, shortening the rear journey whereas protecting the 120mm fork may go out simply fantastic. However you wouldn’t wish to go the opposite manner, placing the longer stroke (and thus getting longer journey) shock on the World Cup fashions with their 100mm forks.

For many riders (and Pivot is aware of this, with gross sales forecasts saying 97% of riders will go for the lengthy journey bikes), the Workforce, Professional and Trip editions would be the ones you need, providing 106mm or 115mm of journey relying on the way you flip the chip.

riding action of pivot mach 4SL xc mountain bike

We rode Phil’s World trails in Cortez, CO, which provided the proper testing floor. Quick punchy climbs and sustained ascents confirmed off it’s climbing prowess, and lengthy move trails and rocky technical drops and descents confirmed it might go down simply as effectively.

I rode more often than not within the longest journey mode, which stored issues smooth off the highest for higher small bump compliance and a extra comfy trip. Wanting down, pedal bob was minimal, however by no means felt prefer it was robbing power.

riding action of pivot mach 4SL xc mountain bike

In truth, Pivot’s model of DW-Hyperlink could be very efficient at transferring energy to the bottom, clawing its manner into the terrain for wonderful traction over nearly something.

And that was an enormous objective with this new bike. Pivot’s founder Chris Cocalis stated “tractability” was excessive on the checklist for efficiency targets, and I’d say they succeeded. The rear tire, aided by a little bit of anti-squat, bites into the bottom and motors by way of chunder with out skipping a beat.

When switched into the shorter journey mode, the bike turns into markedly racier. It’s not simply that it loses 9mm of journey, the whole kinematics change to make it sit greater and firmer.

Pedal bob all however disappears completely, however so do the soft landings.

riding action of pivot mach 4SL xc mountain bike
Crushing lengthy miles is not any downside on the brand new Mach 4SL (Pictures by Matt Jones for Pivot Cycles)

I’ve by no means felt a motorcycle change so dramatically with such a easy adjustment. Whereas it’s not one thing you’d do throughout a Quick Monitor or XCO occasion, it actually does take solely 60 seconds to flip the higher shock mount to the opposite place, so it’s straightforward to strive each, and one thing you might do stage by stage or part by part on much less intense races.

And you continue to have the lockout, though I’d argue this bike (and lots of others) actually don’t want it. However, Pivot is a worldwide model and Germany needs its lockouts, so the truth that the longer journey bikes “solely” include a rear distant lockout and never each (just like the shorter journey World Cup fashions) was the concession Pivot and their German distributors might agree on.

(Hilariously, to me anyway, apparently an XC bike is “unsellable” in Germany with out a lockout. However Germany buys a LOT of bikes, too, so…Germany will get what Germany needs on this case).

closeup details of 2023 pivot mach 4sl xc mountain bike

The draw back to this, for me, is that it considerably locks me into utilizing the Rockshox TwistLoc. Which, admittedly, is likely one of the finest remotes for locking out a rear shock, however it just about locks you into utilizing their companion grips, which aren’t my favourite. And that’s as a result of all fashions of the Mach 4SL include a dropper submit, in order that lever sits below the bar the place it ought to…and takes up the spot for lever-based distant lockouts.

Apart from that, the spec on the Pivot Mach 4SL lineup is admittedly good. Their housebrand carbon bar was good (in that I didn’t discover it, which, once more, to me, means it’s compliant and damping like carbon bar ought to be), which is vital as a result of that’s usually one of many first issues I look to exchange.

rider holding the pivot mach 4SL xc mountain bike out with one arm
It’s mild. Or I’m sturdy. Or each.

Granted, I rode the top-level XTR bike, and it’s incredible, however down the road Pivot provides each Shimano and SRAM geared up fashions at every value level, letting you select which one you want higher. And, for now, which means you’ll be able to nonetheless get a extremely excessive finish mountain bike with mechanical shifting, which is sweet.

Total, the updates (did I point out the body is nearly a pound lighter?) are welcome and make for a dramatically higher bike. Which is saying rather a lot contemplating how good the final one was.

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