Pivot M4X Review

Jul 29, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
Pivot M4X

BY Mike Kazimer

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 12x142 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.

Price $4999
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
Grips Pivot lock-on
Brakes Shimano XT
Wheelset DT Swiss Tricon FX 1950
Tires Kenda Nexcavator 2.35"
Seat WTB
Seatpost KS LEV 125mm

the M4X

bigquotesIt 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.

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.

Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesThe 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



  • + 61
 I'll hold out for the 650B model
  • - 36
flag Bennyy4x (Jul 29, 2013 at 4:02) (Below Threshold)
 Can't see this ever happening considering it's mainly a 4x/DJ bike..
  • + 52
  • + 6
 omfg, ben better get that hook out of your mouth.
  • - 25
flag Bennyy4x (Jul 29, 2013 at 5:35) (Below Threshold)
 To be honest I am in favor of 650b for all mountain and trail use there are obvious advantages there, however there's no need for this sort of bike to be 650b when the majority of it's users will be riding 4x, dirt jumps, bmx tracks etc on it.
  • + 26
 He was being facetious.
  • + 19
 Benny, i dont think you understood the sarcasm.
  • + 6
 Considering they had a dropper post on a 4x bike, I think he has a point here.......
  • - 33
flag alsorl (Jul 29, 2013 at 7:02) (Below Threshold)
 Definitely hold out for the 650b. 26 will be completely out of date in 5 years.
  • + 0
 I have a transition double with a dropper post. I'm 5'7" and I also use it as my trail bike, 4" front n rear is plenty for groomed trails.
Then go to the dirt jumps or 4x or dual runs and its soo fun..
I also ran 24" wheels for a while and loved them just clipped pedals a bit much... 650b I right.....
  • + 3
 I hear a 29" prototype is in use.
  • + 25
 I'm waiting for the 28.5. I hear that's the only way to go now
  • + 22
 no its 28.25. the exact middle of 27.5 and 29.
  • + 9
 What was I thinking?! My bad
  • + 16
 I love this style of bike short travel burly. I run my tr double with a dropper post and its great for riding to the shops and then onto the jumps. I take it to the majority of uk trail centres and it too much fun. I think having a lough on a bike with mates is what's it all about, we are getting too bogged down by the industry with new wheel sizes and drive trains etc.
  • + 3
 That makes 2 off us then...
  • - 2
 At least three of us....... It has been 6 years since the Double was introduced and basically created this category of short travel rippers. Definitely a fun style of bike. I agree with your other industry points too.
  • + 4
 Woodsroller the double didn't create a short travel 4x/DS/non xc bike not by a long shot. The Specialized SX was out and about way before, not to mention the Yeti DS, SC Blur 4x, and the Planet X Split Tail.
  • + 3
 I had a Kona Howler for years solely for mini XC and general pratting about in the woods. An under ratted bike
  • + 4
 It's not who had that type of bike first. That's my point who cares who makes what. Bikes are ment to be fun. I never laughed so much as when on my old Raleigh burner at 14 years old jumping my mates using pallets and anything else we could fined. But point on fact shots travel hard core style bikes no matter who's label is on it are fucking great fun.
  • + 16
 why does a 4x/DS bike need a dropper post?
  • + 15
 or CTD?
  • + 25
 "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."
  • + 36
 Dont just look at the pretty pictures. Try reading.
  • + 2
 I had a Joplin on my Jackal a few years ago. It was neat because I could raise it up to aid pedaling on flat roads to get to a riding spot, then drop it down and have the clearance I needed for jumping.
  • + 9
 I'm waiting with interest when dropper posts will come as stock on DH bikes, just for that time when you want to pedal to your favorite summit. And for BMX, when you want to pedal across town to your favorite spot.
  • + 25
 So really a qr seat clamp would fit the same purpose for several hundred dollars less?
  • - 3
 "The M4X is unapologetically built with one goal in mind - to go as fast as possible on 4X and dual slalom tracks" "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" ummm it's neither of those due to the ctd and the dropper, it's not a race bike, it's just an expensive commuter now
  • + 8
 I have no problems with using my QR seatpost and manually raising and lowering it when i arrive/depart from my local DJs.
  • + 1
 Sure, the M4X doesn't need a dropper post, and I agree that come race day a short stub of a post could be a better option. But I'm certainly not going to complain when a bike comes set up with one of the nicest dropper posts around, a feature that made it possible to pedal rather than push up the hills.
  • + 0
 Bigbossman, even the M4X doesn't come as a complete bike. The LEV was just on there because Pivot sent the test sled with a build kit. It's likely just a frankenbike. Most 4X race bikes don't use wheelsets designed for DH either.
  • - 1
 How about get stronger legs and pedal up ever hill standing up with your super short seatpost and bolt on seat collar, problem solved!
  • - 2
 or just loosen the collar... and raise the seat, enduro27 standing up is really not as practical as you would think if you have ever been to a big long track
  • - 2
 Or you could just put your seat up and down...
  • - 7
flag lenmerderdenfer (Jul 29, 2013 at 23:04) (Below Threshold)
 Stop suppressing our comments! I previously wrote... "This bike and frame are way too expensive; full stop! I got a Specialized SX trail 2 frame with a RC4 for 1,800€ What's more, I find this frame disjointedly ugly. Too much hype!" Free Speech dude!
  • - 2
 Lol bigbossman's actually right, it does need a man size axle and some dj tires.
  • + 2
 yea, i agree with you. what was pivot even thinking with this build?
  • + 1
 I've got a grip and a gripe; what I grip cost less and gives me more.
  • + 10
 The first image made me think it was a kids bike review lol
  • - 9
flag alsorl (Jul 29, 2013 at 7:03) (Below Threshold)
 I totally agree. It looks like a kids bike. Will hold out for the 650b.
  • + 1
 ^^ don't copy other people's comments..
  • + 10
 ^^don't copy other people's comments..
  • + 1
 ^^don't copy other people's comments..
  • + 7
 I'm not paying 5k for a 4x/dual slalom bike!
  • + 2
 first time i saw this bike in Decline a couple of year ago i loved it ,then loved it even more when i seen it getting ragged about on a vid on P.B, this post just confirms it for me.Lovely looking bike in everyway,My featured vid is one of this bike getting some nice air,have a look see.
  • + 4
 Sad day when the specs sheet has to say '26" wheels' and it isn't assumed... Frown
  • + 1
 I wonder if this frame is downhill worthy? or at least Bikepark worthy. Tough and strong not afraid of massive jumps. Thanks What I'd mainly use it for. All around trail bike but mostly jumping flat DJ trails. Then Bikepark when I can make the trip...? What you think??
  • + 1
 It definitely seems like a lot of companies out there are using the DW link, I recently rode one of the Devincis with the split pivot and can attest to how snappy the acceleration is when you have Dave Weagle building your suspension lol.
  • + 5
 Was interested... Right until I saw the price.
  • + 1
 As a hardtail rider I like the idea of a frame with minimal travel to take the edge of rocks, but keep the rear end feeling snappy and quick. I could see this being a blast on trail.
  • + 0
 This is a great way to start a week. Nothing better than a great purpose built bike. 5k for a race ready bike isn't bad, especially when you compare it to a Bronson or 29er Enduro for 10k a piece. I think the dropper is a cool feature for people that have one bike for everything.
  • + 2
 An Bronson or Enduro 29er are not all $10k...only the the most decked out versions of those bikes are $10k, which is true for any other comparable frames with those builds. You can get nice builds in the $5k range. My buddy just got a carbon Bronson with stelalth dropper, XT kit, carbon bars, and I9 Enduro's for $6k. That said, I agree with you point regarding the M4X.
  • + 0
 I would never compare a bike like the M4X to a Bronson or an Enduro 29er, because those two bikes are not like it at all. That's like comparing a semi truck to a sports car based solely on price.
  • + 2
 Here I will fix it for you:

5k for a race ready bike in any discipline is good value when you consider that many types/ brands/ models of race bikes cost 8k-10k.

I picked those two ( bronson, enduro 29")because they were also reviewed by this website.
  • + 1
 One of the most fun bikes I have ever ridden. Unfortunately I can never see myself being in a position where I am able to blow 2 grand on a 4x frame Frown
  • + 3
 Great review ,Can't wait for a test of the new Specialized SX 4x bike.
  • + 1
 Apart from my Krisis sl if I could have any other bike it would be this looks so much fun!
  • + 2
 They need to make a single pivot frame for the sake of a good pun.
  • + 0
 best bike in this category of short travel 4X / play bikes?


  • + 1
 It looks like a 8 year olds bike. I think the geometry's of it must make it look small
  • - 2
 This is the perfect bike for the 650b haters. Its playful, stiff, and can jump everything. It doesn't have too much travel to make the trail too easy either. If they would just bring the HTA a few degrees steeper, and go back to v brakes, the pure sensation of riding would return.
  • + 7
 Not even DH disc brakes can stop Willie1 from trolling...
  • + 0
 Aren't you still running v-brakes, since they were good enough? I'm confused.
  • + 3
 I do run v-brakes on my '94 fully rigid Stumpjumper...just sayin'
  • + 2
 V-brakes are rad for rigid single speed and vintage MTBs. I have them on my bikes from '97 and '98. But they have no place on modern MTBs.
  • + 1
 Bigbossman - You are a master of manipulating human mind: You perfected the art of deception by understanding the forgotten truth that if an idea sounds incredibly stupid and impossible then people instantly believe you.

Willie1 - WTF happened to you?
  • + 2
 I got sidetracked contemplating frame designs. Hey wait, someone asked me a frame question- did I get duped??? Smile
  • + 0
 I just thought that it was a weird comment by a quite reasonable person... But huh, the other day I was talking of diced carrots in a vomit...
  • + 0
 Sorry mate I just thought you overexagereted those weights of Vbrakes. But we all have our own interpretations of reality and it is unnecessary to find consensus in such blatant matters
  • + 0
 Well as far as I remember my xt brakes were coming just under 700g in total for a pair
  • + 2
 Yeah, Let's make all those bikes so expensive.
  • + 2
 Aesthetically, she's a 3.
  • + 1
 I like the concept, Now, I need something that will not attract a thief!
  • + 1
 Such a sick bike! Great specs and looks like fun
  • + 1
 Those jumps look so familiar >.> PNW!!
  • + 1
 Mullet FTW!!!
  • - 1
 Bit pricey for what is essentially a sweatshop frame built by a 2$/h worker in 3 hours. Otherwise a very capable concept with a lot of fun built in.
  • + 8
 Dude, 1st off, Pivot uses a reputable partner in Tiawan with conditions similar to a US or Euro bike fab. 2nd, minimum wage in Tiawan is $4 US, which is FAR less than what good frame welders and painters make in Tiawan, 3rd, nothing wrong with feeling the guilt about worker conditions around the world, but unless you a willing to give up your cushy 1st world life with all your cool products (including the computer, tablet, or smart a phone you posted with), don't get preachy on a bike forum.
  • + 2
 Wakaba, have you ever considered that there might be something good in this world? You seem really negative.
  • + 0
 Bliss - 4$ per hour in US? I am sorry but I have to ask - is there any special group of people earning in US, less than a cleaner in Poland? Any demographics involved?
  • + 0
 Odd looking bike. There, I said it.
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