2011 Pivot Mach 4

Pivot is one of those companies that’s never happy simply resting on their laurels. Like many companies in our industry, they thrive by moving forward, continually developing new product and refining their existing models. That said, it comes as no surprise that Pivot has been awfully busy over the past year…

Many of you may have read my report on the new Phoenix DH downhill race bike in Moab earlier this year. The DH bike, however, wasn’t the only new Pivot we had a chance to ride on the red rock of Moab. Allow me to introduce the redesigned Mach 4.

The Bike

The basic outcome is largely the same on the surface, but the details have evolved quite a bit. The 2011 Mach 4 remains at 100mm of travel, and the XS and XXS bikes are now up to 100mm front and rear, too—they had been 80mm prior to 2011.

The new frame is 5/8lbs lighter (283g), despite going to a tapered headtube, thanks to redesigns of the toptube, upper shock mount, both linkages, and rear swingarm. The new bike can be run with a 100mm or 120mm fork, and all Pivot complete bikes will come with thru-axle forks to maximize stiffness.

The 92mm BB remains the same, but SRAM/Truvative, Race Face and FSA are now offering BB options in addition to the Shimano BB that was the only option available when the Mach 4 was first introduced. For riders who prefer to run a single front chainring, Pivot has developed a new bolt-on ISCG 05 adapter plate for chain guide use.

The revised rear suspension now uses a shorter stroke shock operating at a higher leverage ratio and higher shock pressures, which allows for a wider range of tuning—particularly for lighter riders—thanks to Fox’s Boost Valve. The range of ProPedal settings has also been broadened, open is more plush, while ProPedal 3 is highly efficient with a quick and responsive blow-off.

Pivot placed even more attention to the women’s bikes this time around. The smaller frames, XS and XXS, have an even shorter shock stroke to keep shock pressures within normal operating ranges to ensure proper damping characteristics. These small frames also have thinner diameter and thinner walled tubing to keep weight down, and feature hyper-short headtubes, which make for some very friendly stand-over heights when you factor in Pivot’s characteristic lowish BB. Not only does Pivot focus on making these smaller sized bikes fit smaller riders, but they focus heavily on making sure these bikes handle just as good as the larger sizes by steepening seat tube angles and adjusting headtube angles to maintain the proper wheelbase for each frame.

Obviously I can’t vouch for the ride characteristics of these women’s specific bikes, but I feel very confident saying that you gals should include the Mach 4 on your short list if you’re in the market for a high-end XC/marathon suspension bike.

I’m sure by now most of you are familiar with Pivot’s DW-Link suspension design, but if not, click here to read my Mach 429 review for a better description.

The Ride

We were fortunate to ride the new Mach 4 at gorgeous Dead Horse Point State Park just outside of Moab, UT. Riding a bike this sweet with vistas so breathtaking sure made for one hell of a ride. The state of Utah recently funded the building and maintenance of a total of 13 miles of trails at Dead Horse Point, and it was obvious that a lot of man-hours had been invested in these mostly smooth and flowy trails, which are accessible to all levels of riders. Though these trails fall outside the norm for Moab, I’d recommend you come for a mellow day of riding at Dead Horse Point simply to take in the amazing views.

The Mach 4 I rode was built to the hilt with top-shelf parts from SRAM’s new XX 10spd group to DT Swiss’s XRC 330 carbon-rimmed wheelset (now called the XRC 300). And yes, these rims weigh in right about 310g. The XX group is simply a perfect match for a bike like the Mach 4, both in terms of gearing range and in terms of the snappy and precise shifts.

Built as such, the Mach 4 was a lean, mean, racy machine.  The bike was effortlessly quick and responsive, yet composed and highly capable for a 100mm bike. Having ridden the new downhill bike prior to the Mach 4, our group of journos were working the Mach 4 pretty hard coming from a big-bike mindset. The Mach 4 handled this abuse without complaint and with a great deal of competence.

Frame stiffness front and rear is excellent and I was stoked to see a tapered-steer fork with a 15mm thru-axle on this 100mm travel bike. That certainly goes a long way toward improving the stiffness and precision of even a 100mm bike, and has a lot to do with the capability of the Mach 4.

The revised rear suspension delivered a well-controlled and highly-refined ride, as promised. Having never ridden the previous version of the Mach 4, I can’t comment on the changes in suspension feel, but I can say this is one highly-efficient yet highly-capable XC/marathon suspension bike. Simply put, I’ve not ridden a 100mm bike that pedals with the efficiency of this new Mach 4, yet it’s as eager to, and capable of, tackling just about anything you throw its way—within the context of XC/trail riding, of course.