Joe Draperwrote a review of Pivot Mach 4 SL Carbon Team XTR Live Valve Mountain Bike on October 7, 2019
Familiarity: I've used it several times
I'm a skinsuit-wearing, watt-counting, 100mm travel-loving XC nerd with likes his 2.2s, remote lockout, and aero helmet. I prefer a hardtail when I can swing one. The list of XC full-suspension bikes that I like is pretty short, and Santa Cruz's Blur TR currently sits at the top.
Because of my obsessive focus on efficient pedaling, I was intrigued by the Live Valve system, and I jumped at the opportunity to demo it.
I took 2 primary conclusions away from my week-long demo:
1- Does it work?
Yes, mostly. It stiffens up when it's smooth/flat/uphill, and it opens up when it's rough/downhill. I personally wanted it to be stiffer climbing, and more reliably open descending. That said, I'm probably more sensitive than most folks will be.
2-Is it worth the money?
For me, not yet. If I'm completely honest, I didn't like Live Valve more than a good lockout system like you get on the Blur TR. It's incredibly impressive, and it actually cashes the checks that it writes when it comes to performance (I'm looking at YOU brain shock,) but at the end of the day, I don't think that this will speed you up in an XC race application, especially if you're limited to a 4-figure budget for your next bike. If you're a non-XC rider who has the patience to dial it in perfectly, and you're not concerned about spending a pretty penny to have the latest and greatest, I can give it my endorsement. I'm excited to see where Fox takes the system in newer iterations.
***Full disclaimer, I did not ride this particular build. Pivot provided an X01 build with Live Valve for test purposes.***