First Look: The brand new 2020 Pivot Mach 4 S

Pivot cycles launched the new 2020 Mach 4 SL on May 23rd. Bike Depot was fortunate enough to have the Pivot Cycles team stop by and let us demo the brand-new Pivot Mach 4 SL at nearby Durham Forest. The Mach 4 SL is an all-new cross-country rig from Pivot. The new machine replaces the previous Mach 4 and the Mach 429 SL. On paper, this is an extremely versatile bike. All models come with 29” wheels, 100mm of travel in the rear, and 100mm or 120mm up front. Pivot claims that it will fit riders 4’10” (XS) to 6’7” (XL). If you’re skeptical that someone 5 feet tall can get over a 29er, Chloe Woodruff (at only 5’2”) recently won a world cup XC Short track event on the new Mach 4 SL!


The Technical details
There are multiple build options from $6774.00 CAD to $15310.00 CAD. The base model comes with a respectable Shimano XT Groupset and SunRingle Rims, and a 120mm fork. The top race model comes with 100mm front and rear, using the new Fox Live Valve and a XX1 groupset. The claimed weight for the world cup model is under 21 lbs. The Fox Live Valve is an electronic sensor that reacts to input from the trail to activate/de-activate the shock and fork to maximize efficiency (similar to the Specialized ‘Brain’ technology). The sensor responds to trail input incredibly fast, within 1 millisecond according to Fox and is tuneable via a control pad under the top tube.

On the Trail
Leaving the trailhead, my first impression is that the Mach 4 SL rides more like a 130mm trail bike. But as soon as the trail turns upwards, the Mach 4 SL shows that it’s a XC race bike. The stiff carbon frame and DW-link suspension maximize pedaling efficiency, such that the Mach 4 SL climbs like a World Cup racer! On descents, the Mach 4 SL carved the flowing trails at Durham Forest. The 68.5o head tube angle (67.5o with a 100mm fork) helped to make the Mach 4 confidence inspiring over drops and rocky high-speed descents. Unfortunately, the Pro XTR version we rode on launch day didn’t have the Fox Live Valve, so look for an updated review of this new technology from Fox.

Comparable Rides
It’s hard to compare this bike to any single XC competitor, mostly due to the number of options available and the new Fox Live Valve. With a 100mm fork, this bike is right up there with my current XC set up, the S-Works Epic. In my opinion, the Pivot Mach 4 SL completely outshines the Cannondale Scalpel or Scott Spark. Not to mention the Option for the 120mm fork, and suddenly the Mach 4 SL is a XC worthy bike with trail capabilities.

Who should buy this bike:
Anybody! I literally mean anyone. There is a Mach 4 SL for pretty much everyone who likes to go fast uphill and down. Definitely, consider this bike if you’re looking for a quiver-killer XC/Trail bike. If you live stream the EWS races, or still prefer a chairlift to get to the top of the climb, consider the Mach 429 or Mach 5.5.

Pros
– Light, Fast as anything else out there
– Goes uphill almost as fast as it goes downhill
– One XC bike to rule them all?

Cons
– So many options may leave buyers confused about which bike to get
– Fox Live Valve isn’t cheap

Conclusion
A fast light new XC bike with Enduro pedigree. The Pivot Mach 4 SL is trying to blur the line between XC and trail.