PressCamp 2017: New Mach 4 & LES From Pivot Cycles

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June 22, 2017

Pivot Cycles first launched way back in 2007 with the original Mach 4 and Mach 5. Built with a beautiful welded and anodised alloy frame, the now ubiquitous dw-link suspension design and a distinct focus on pedal efficiency and frame stiffness, that original Mach 4 became one of the most highly regarded full suspension XC bikes on the market. Used for everything from flat-out XC racing, to 24 hour endurance racing, through to everyday trail riding, the Mach 4 was a popular choice for many different riders from it’s inception.

The Mach 4 has evolved significantly over the past decade, having been reimagined completely in 2014 with a brand new carbon frame and larger 27.5in wheels. That first Mach 4 Carbon was released at PressCamp in 2014, and shortly after then, Chipps had the opportunity to conduct a longterm test and review of the Mach 4 Carbon, where the bike’s impressive pedalling and versatile geometry earned it praise for its genre bending abilities.

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The Mach 4 was the first model Pivot Cycles launched with back in 2007.

In 2017, Pivot Cycles will celebrate the 10th birthday of both the company and the Mach 4. As such, the crew from Phoenix in Arizona chose PressCamp to unveil the 5th generation of the Mach 4, and we got the chance to get up close and personal with the new bike to find out what’s changed, what hasn’t, and where the short-travel XC bike fits into the current Pivot lineup.

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Based on the current Mach 4 Carbon, the new model introduces some new changes to increase versatility.

Winner of trail bike and XC bike awards, as well as professional races around the world, the Mach 4 Carbon perfectly embodies our philosophy of designing every Pivot to perform at the pinnacle of its category. For riders seeking the ultimate in lightweight trail bikes, the flickable, confidence inspiring Mach 4 Carbon shines in technical terrain, and anywhere the singletrack gets rough. For racers, the ability to unleash on descents is matched only by the Mach 4 Carbon’s World Cup pedaling efficiency and power transfer. Whether it is time to cut loose on your favorite trail or crush the competition at your next race, the Mach 4 Carbon is one bike that does it all” – From Pivot Cycles.

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With 115mm of rear wheel travel and 27.5in wheels, the Mach 4 is a nippy XC bike that’s a little more versatile than your average race machine.

Pivot Mach 4 Carbon Features

  • Dual suspension XC/Trail bike
  • Full carbon fibre mainframe and swingarm using Hollowbox moulding technology
  • Frame weight w/shock: 2.3 kg (5.1 lbs)
  • 115mm dw-link™ rear suspension design
  • Custom tuned Fox Float DPS Factory Series Kashima rear shock
  • Designed for forks from 100-130mm travel
  • 27.5in wheels with clearance for up to 2.6in wide tyres
  • 68.5º head angle (100mm travel fork)
  • 67.1º head angle (130mm travel fork)
  • 73º seat tube angle
  • 428mm chainstays
  • 12x148mm DT Swiss RWS thru-axle
  • 160mm rear post mount disc brake
  • PF92 bottom bracket
  • 1x and 2x compatible
  • Side-Swing front derailleur compatible
  • Every size clears a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle
  • Pivot Cable Port system for easy internal routing of shifters, brakes and droppers and full Di2 Integration
  • Front derailleur compatible with Pivot’s stealth E-Type mounting system
  • New ultra quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, Large (Long)
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Short 428mm chainstay length and clearance for up to 2.6in wide rubber.

Much like the new Mach 429 SL did last year at Eurobike, the new Mach 4 isn’t a wholesale redesign, but rather an update of an already proven and successful bike. Primarily, the Mach 4 has been updated with a new rear triangle that has gone to Boost 148x12mm spacing (from 142x12mm on the old Mach 4 Carbon), and it’s also had some significant shape reworking done to the tube profiles to provide more heel clearance, while also increasing tyre clearance.

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It’s not quite plus, but maybe plus/minus?

Thanks to the redesigned rear triangle and the Boost drivetrain with the 3mm offset chainring, the Mach 4 can now squeeze in up to 2.6in wide tyres. Chris Cocalis, owner and lead designer/engineer at Pivot Cycles, is keen to point out that the bike isn’t plus compatible, but rather that it simply has the ability to be fitted with wider and more aggressive rubber such as the new Maxxis WT tyres in the 2.5-2.6in width range. Plus/Minus perhaps?

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115mm rear wheel travel.

The rear suspension kinematics remain the same, using the dw-link dual-link design and a custom-tuned Fox shock to deliver 115mm of rear wheel travel. Pivot has updated the shock to the new 2018 Fox Float DPS EVOL rear shock, which provides a more supple starting stroke thanks to the bigger negative spring volume. Also retained is that excellent sag indicator that clips onto the rear shock air can to provide you with a super easy visual indicator of sag for quick suspension setup.

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Enduro MAX cartridge bearings and short alloy links for stiffness.

The two rocker links used to connect the rear triangle to the mainframe are made from forged alloy, and being short one-piece items, they’re designed to be stout. Each of the four pivots roll on Enduro MAX cartridge bearings, with a super high tolerance that Pivot claims results in less slop, better sealing, and better longterm durability. With each bearing packed with as many balls as possible (that’s what the MAX part of the name means), there’s also more support for increased stiffness.

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The Trail build kits will come with a 130mm travel Fox 34 fork.

Up front, the new Mach 4 can take between 100-130mm fork travel. The above bike is using the latest Fox Float 34 fork with 130mm of travel and the new EVOL air spring to match the DPS EVOL shock on the back end. Head angle with the longer fork sits at 67.1°, which is quite slack for a short-travel XC bike. With a 100mm travel fork, that head angle steepens to 68.5°, so still pretty steady for a bike that’s capable of some hard ‘n’ fast sprinting action.

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You can run a shorter 100mm travel fork for a racier and sharper feel.

Thanks to the fork and tyre size adaptability, the Mach 4 has two split personalities. Fit it with the longer fork and 2.5-2.6in wide tyres, and you’ve got a very competent trail bike that happens to be wicked efficient, stiff and lightweight. Put a 100mm travel fork on it and lightweight tyres and wheels, and you’ve got a super responsive XC bike for flat-out, heart-pumping racing. In fact, Chloe Woodruff raced the Mach 4 at last year’s Rio Olympic Games, choosing the full suspension option over a hardtail.

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The Mach 4 will be available in five frame sizes.

To highlight the frame’s versatility, Pivot will be offering both ‘XC’ and ‘Trail’ build kits on the Mach 4, with the Trail option using the bigger fork, and the XC bike coming with a lighter build kit and a 100mm travel fork. Chris Cocalis believes the trail option will be the more popular choice, but ultimately it’s up to the customer as to which way they want to go.

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Pivot Mach 4 Geometry with a 100mm travel fork.
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Pivot Mach 4 geometry with a 130mm travel fork.
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The XS size has the lowest standover height of any full suspension bike on the market.

The Mach 4 will also be available down to an Extra Small size, which Pivot claims has the lowest standover height of any full suspension bike on the market, and that’s a big deal. Given that the XS Mach 4 you see here has just 26in of standover, we can believe it though – just look at that thing!

Oh and here’s something that’s also cool. Pivot doesn’t make a women’s specific frame – they believe that a bike shouldn’t be designed differently simply because of gender, and instead prefer to engineer the smaller frame sizes to provide more standover and a lower cockpit height that naturally fits shorter women. However, this geometry also suits shorter men too. Regardless of rider height however, Pivot offers the option to spec a women’s specific saddle and shorter crank lengths should the customer wish to spec them – and you can get that on an XS size, or on a Large size.

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Same 115mm of travel, same geometry, same 27.5in wheels, just with more standover for riders as short as 4’10”

The geometry and suspension travel all remain the same on the XS frame size, and it’ll still accept a water bottle inside the main triangle, which isn’t always possible when building full suspension bikes this small. Pivot claims the XS size will suit riders down to 4’10” or so, meaning it’s not only ideal for shorter female riders, but also for the young budding XC racers out there. We did ask Pivot why there was no XXS size, as Pivot used to offer one in the old 26in Mach 4, but it turns out there’s more standover clearance and a shorter seat tube on the new XS Mach 4 Carbon, so there’s no real need to go any smaller.

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The new Mach 4 also gets changes to the internal cable routing for a cleaner look.

The XS Mach 4 can also be built with a 100-130mm travel fork, and it’s also got clearance for up to 2.6in wide rubber, so likewise it can be built as an efficient XC race bike, or as a fast and lightweight trail bike. Although much of the tube shapes and moulds are unchanged from the first Mach 4 Carbon, the new model does feature updates internally to the carbon layup to increase strength and stiffness. There’s also some updates to the cable routing through the front triangle around the head tube to clean things up, but otherwise the overall shape remains the same.

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Brand spanking new is the LES 27.5.

Just over a year ago, Pivot Cycles rolled out the all-new LES 29er at Sea Otter. Those changes have now been integrated into the 27.5in version, which Pivot also had on display at PressCamp in Park City, Utah. Like the LES 29, the LED 27.5 is a carbon fibre hardtail designed for flat-out XC racing, with the obvious difference being that it’s built with smaller 27.5in wheels. However, some updates and a brand new carbon layup have increased the bike’s versatility significantly.

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All new carbon frame based on the LES 29 released last year.

The LES hardtail family holds victories in professional races around the world. Now, we are proud to introduce the newest member of this winning team – the new LES 27.5. Following in the footsteps of the LES 29, the LES 27.5 is a hardtail aficionado’s dream machine – an ultra-light chassis with BMX-like handling and the rollover advantage of bigger wheels, all in a snappy, fast-accelerating package to fit a wide range of rider sizes” – Pivot Cycles.

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The LES 27.5 is basically the hardtail version of the Mach 4.

Pivot LES 27.5 Features

  • Hardtail XC bike
  • Full carbon fibre frame using Hollowbox moulding technology
  • Frame weight: 1150g
  • 27.5in wheels with clearance for up to 2.6in wide tyres
  • Designed for forks from 100-130mm travel
  • 27.5in wheels with extra clearance for up to 2.6in wide tyres
  • 69.25º head angle (Medium frame w/100mm travel fork)
  • 67.85º head angle (Medium frame w/130mm travel fork)
  • 73º seat tube angle
  • 426mm chainstays
  • 12x148mm DT Swiss RWS thru-axle
  • 160mm rear post mount disc brake
  • PF92 bottom bracket
  • 1x and 2x compatible
  • Side-Swing front derailleur compatible
  • Every size clears a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle
  • Pivot Cable Port system for easy internal routing of shifters, brakes and droppers and full Di2 Integration
  • New ultra quiet low durometer rubberized frame protection
  • Room for two bottle cages
  • Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large
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Rear hub spacing grows to the Boost variety. But not quite Super Boost Plus.

In terms of spec, the rear end of the frame widens up by 6mm to go the full Boost 148x12mm width. The driveside hanger doubles as the receiver nut for the DT Swiss RWS thru-axle, keeping things neat and solid. Internal cable routing is updated with Pivot’s modular port design that allows for numerous options to be used, included mechanical gears, electronic gearing and 1x or 2x drivetrain setups.

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You can squeeze in up to 2.6in wide tyres into this frame for those who want more traction and comfort without having to go full suspension.

Along with the Boost’d chainring, the wider drivetrain offset has allowed Pivot to keep chainstays short at 426mm while opening up tyre and mud clearance. Max tyre clearance tops out at 2.6in like the new Mach 4, so you can fit some pretty wide and aggressive rubber in there if you’re after more squish from the hardtail frame.

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Likewise, you’ve got the option of a 100-130mm travel fork depending on your flavour.

Up front, there’s versatility in the fork setup too, with the option to run a 100mm travel fork for full-bore racer-boy action, or up to a 130mm travel fork for kicking things back on more technical trails. Much like the new Mach 4, the LES 27.5 gives you that split personality option of choosing between an XC or Trail setup.

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For a carbon hardtail frame, the LES 27.5 is impressively comfortable.

The carbon layup has been engineered to maximise vibration dissipation through the seat stays and top tube. Having ridden the original LES 27.5 before, it’s a surprisingly comfortable ride for what is a lightweight carbon XC frame that’s as responsive and stiff under pedalling as this bike is. On the note of the seat tube junction, the seat post diameter is 30.9mm, with the option to run an internally-routed dropper post for those who wanna get rad.

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Pivot branded components, including the WTB saddle.
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And the PadLoc grips that Pivot collaborated with WTB on.
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Pivot LES 27.5 frame geometry.

Pivot only offer the LES 27.5 frame up to a Large size, as most riders that height (6’1″ is the recommended maximum rider height) will start to gravitate naturally towards the LES 29 frame instead. For riders looking at a Small, Medium or Large frame size, they’ll have the choice between the LES 27.5 or LES 29 frame, depending on what kind of riding they do and what sort of ride quality they’re after.

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A bare LES 27.5 frame weighs about 1150 grams.

The new LES 27.5 frame is claimed to weigh around 1150 grams for a Medium size. That isn’t superlight when you compare it to options such as the Focus Raven Max (885g) and the Canyon Exceed (890g), but Pivot has some pretty high standards it likes to stick to when it comes to durability, frame stiffness and ride quality, and Chris Cocalis is happy trading 200 grams to achieve those standards.

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The head tube is made separately, and is bonded into the frame to keep the finish consistent.
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Same with the PF92 bottom bracket shell, which delivers better alignment of bearing cups.
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Boost 148x12mm spacing and post-mount 160mm disc brake tabs.
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Very slick rubberised frame protection.
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The PadLoc grips are also available separately.

Also on display in the Pivot room at PressCamp was a whole bounty of Pivot-branded components under the ‘Phoenix Component System’ label. That includes stems, handlebars, and lock-on grips that use the WTB PadLoc design.

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More squish on the end of the grip where you need it.

With an angled wedge on each end of the grip, the PadLoc system is designed to put more squishy rubber on each tip of the handlebar to increase comfort for the rider’s palms. The grips are designed to work with a handlebar that has a corresponding 45° angled cut to the end of it, allowing the additional room for the PadLoc grip. Chipps reviewed the WTB PadLoc grips a little while ago, and loved the added comfort the design provides without need to go to a really thick and spongey grip.

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The Phoenix Component system includes handlebars, stems and grips.
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Pivot make two different stems; the Team XC that goes up to 100mm, and a Team Enduro model that starts at a 35mm length.
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Phoenix Team Carbon handlebars come in 740mm, 760mm and 800mm widths and feature a 35mm clamp diameter. They’re also pre-cut for the PadLoc grip system.
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Pre-cut bar ends designed to mate up to the PadLoc grip system.

Looking for further information on the new Mach 4, LES 27.5 or any other Pivot products? Find your closest Pivot dealer via the UK distributor Upgrade Bikes, and get all the nitty gritty spec details at pivotcycles.com

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