Pivot M4X – Tested!

While 4X racing may have slipped out of the limelight it once enjoyed as part of the UCI World Cup, the 4X Pro Tour has been taking up the slack, and the Sea Otter dual slalom continues to be a fan favorite. To meet the needs of four-cross racers and dirt jump/slopestyle riders looking for a stiff, short travel bike, Pivot created the M4X. With 100mm of travel utilizing a dw-link suspension design, the M4X is purpose built for quick cornering and snappy gate starts. Available as a frame only for $2399, building up the bike as tested brings the price up to $4999. With pedals, our complete size large M4X weighed in at 29 pounds.

Pivot M4X Details
• Intended use: 4X / dual slalom racing
• 26″ wheels
• ISCG 05 mounts
• Tapered head tube
• Rear wheel travel: 100mm
• dw-link suspension
• 12 x 142mm rear axle
• Size: small, large
• Weight: 29lbs with pedals
• MSRP: $2399 USD (frame only)

Frame Construction and Geometry
Frame stiffness was high on the priority list when designing the M4X. In four-cross and slalom racing, where every millisecond counts, and getting a good snap out of the gate is crucial, it’s imperative that a frame be as stiff and responsive as possible. To accomplish these goals, the rear triangle of the M4X’s aluminum frame is braced on each side, and is connected with two short links (the upper link is constructed from carbon fiber) to the main frame, while the threaded bottom bracket shell and main pivot attachment point are constructed from one piece of aluminum that is welded to the down tube and seat tube. The lower pivot link has the bearings positioned as far outboard as possible to resist any flex under hard pedalling, and a tapered headtube and a 12×142 rear thru axle are also in place to further aid with strength and stiffness. The large tube diameters found on the M4X are based off of shapes used on the Firebird, Pivot’s longer travel all-mountain bike. Cables are routed along the underside of the down tube, and include routing for a dropper post.


Using Dave Weagle’s dw-link suspension design, the M4X’s rear triangle is connected by two short links to the main frame The upper link is made from carbon fiber, and the lower, blue link is aluminum.

Suspension Design
Pivot uses Dave Weagle’s famed dw-link suspension design throughout their full suspension bike lineup, and the M4X is no exception. “Anti-squat” is the key term to remember when thinking about a dw-link – this design is intended to be more resistant to pedalling induced suspension movement earlier on in its travel, which is when most hard pedal inputs occurs – it’s not very common to find oneself pedalling hard with the rear shock nearly bottomed out. The overall suspension feel of the M4X is intended to be firm, with enough give to suck up a hard landing, while at the same time providing enough of a platform to dive into corners and pop off the lips of dirt jumps. Fox’s 15mm thru-axle equipped dirt jump specific 831 fork handles front suspension duties, while a Float CTD takes care of the rear.


Kashima-coated Fox suspension is found front and rear on the M4X, with the Float CTD in the rear and an 831 CTD ADJ in the front.

Specifications

  • Rear Shock Fox Float CTD
  • Fork Fox 831 CTD ADJ
  • Cassette Shimano XT
  • Crankarms Shimano XT w/ 36T Saint chainring
  • Chainguide E*13 LG1
  • Bottom Bracket Shimano
  • Chain Shimano HG94
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano Saint
  • Shifter Pods Shimano Saint
  • Handlebar Gravity Light – 800mm
  • Stem Gravity Gap 45mm
  • Grip Pivot lock-on
  • Brakes Shimano XT
  • Wheelset DT Swiss Tricon FX 1950
  • Tires Kenda Nexcavator 2.35″
  • Seat WTB
  • Seatpost KS LEV 125mm



It only takes a few minutes of trail time to recognize how well the M4X gains speed – pump through a section of rollers and it’s like firing the afterburners on a fighter plane, creating that extra boost needed to rocket out of a berm and into the next section of trail.

Handling and Geometry
Acceleration aboard the M4X was quick and snappy, and even during out of the saddle sprints the suspension remained unaffected by pedalling forces. It only takes a few minutes of trail time to recognize how well the M4X gains speed – pump through a section of rollers and it’s like firing the afterburners on a fighter plane, creating that extra boost needed to rocket out of a berm and into the next section of trail. A look at the bike’s geometry numbers reveals where these handling attributes come from. With a 67.5 degree head angle combined with a 12.5” bottom bracket height and 16.5” chainstays, this bikes is made for railing turns like there’s no tomorrow. The M4X remained very controllable at high speeds, and partial credit for this stability likely goes to the 23.5” top tube of the size large frame, which is slightly longer than what is typically found on more dirt jump specific full suspension bikes

Since our test bike came equipped with a dropper post, we did take the M4X away from the dirt jumps and pump tracks and into the woods, where as long as the terrain didn’t get too chopped up and technical it made for a playful little trail bike. The M4X rides closer to a hardtail than a plush, bump sucking all-mountain rig, and takes a good deal more finesse to keep it on line when the trail turns technical, but the stiff frame does make it respond quickly to rider input. Smoother, jump and berm filled trails were where the M4X shone, bobbing and weaving like a champion boxer. Fit wise, we wouldn’t want to take this bike on long epics, since it felt at times like we were pedalling a kid’s bike, but shorter riders could likely get away with using the M4X as a trail bike.


Wide bars, a short stem and a low slung frame make the M4X easy to handle in the air.

Jumping
The jet analogy continues to hold true regarding jumping on the M4X, with the bike blasting into the air with ease, even on steep, lippy jumps. Compared to a super-short dirt jump or slopestyle specific bike a little more effort is required to navigate tightly spaced jumps, the type where the transition of one jump almost touches the takeoff of the next, but it didn’t take long to adapt to the M4X’s handling characteristics. The 800mm wide Gravity bars combined with the low top tube height meant that minimal effort was required to maneuver the bike in the air, whether it was to get sideways for style points or to line up for re-entry after hitting a floaty hip jump. The M4X’s suspension is there to soften the blow on mis-judged jumps and drops, but it doesn’t hinder takeoffs, remaining firm to help get the pop required to make it to the landing. The occasions when we bottomed out the suspension were certainly warranted – overshooting every last bit of transition, or coming up slightly short and casing the knuckle of the landing – but the M4X does seem to go through the last portion of its travel rather quickly, with a firmer bottom out feel than we’re used to, leaving no doubt that all 100mm of travel has been used.


A Saint drivetrain, Kenda Nexcavator tires, DT Swiss Tricon 1950 wheels and KS LEV dropper post were part of the M4X’s lust-worthy build kit.

Component Report
• It was interesting to see the M4X come equipped with a KS LEV dropper post. While the bike’s geometry and its firm, 100mm of suspension don’t make the M4X our first choice for all-day epics, the dropper post does gives the M4X additional versatility to access smoother, jump filled trails that require pedalling to get to. The post worked perfectly, and features one of the best feeling and easiest to activate remote levers on the market.

• Although the DT Swiss Tricon 1950 wheels need a special torx spoke wrench to true them, we never had to use it – they stayed straight and true throughout our time on them, and worked well set up tubeless.

• The Saint shifter and rear derailleur worked flawlessly, and the ability to drop two gears with one push was appreciated when trying to gain the extra speed necessary when approaching a jump.

• We’d probably switch out the 2.35″ Kenda Nexcavators for something with a little less tread for riding on hard packed dirt jumps and pump tracks, but on the trails the tires offered predictable grip, and shed mud well in wet conditions, although they suffered a slight loss in cornering traction in dusty, dry conditions.


The M4X is unapologetically built with one goal in mind – to go as fast as possible on 4X and dual slalom tracks, a goal we’d say it easily achieves. In a time where every bike seems to be expected to do it all, a bike built with such a singular purpose stands out. Certainly, the M4X isn’t a slouch on trail rides, and some riders may find it’s all the bike they need, but we’re of the mind set that the M4X is best used for its intended purpose – rallying as fast as possible through berms and over jumps against the clock. The build kit that our test bike came equipped with would be ideal for the rider looking for a bike that’s race ready out of the box – there’s not a component on it that isn’t capable of being piloted to the top of the podium.- Mike Kazimer

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