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Team Sanchez
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I know...I know...I've been a long time hater of all things 29'er. It wasn't until I moved up to XC heaven that my curiosity got the best of me. It's been almost a year and a half since I've hucked my meat on a daily basis, as I did when I lived in southern Utah. In the past few months I have logged some serious miles on 29'ers. It all started when my buddy Ichabod Dilf a.k.a. Slim, purchased a DW Sultan. I spent some time out at Gooseberry, Barrels, and Zen getting a feel for this bike. If you recall I did a mini review of this bike back in the spring. This past month, I've been logging miles on a Santa Cruz Tall boy, and then this past weekend on a Pivot 429. Here are some impressions:

Sultan: An all around excellent bike. 60% pleasure 40% business. The DW Sultan I rode was equipped with a 120mm Reba, and came in right at 30lbs. The Sultan climbed well, and descended even better. A week ago Slim came up for a visit, and I spent some time bombing down the Crest trail in Salt Lake City. The Sultan was not harsh at all. It soaked up small drops and techy chop like I was on a long legged 26'er. This bike railed turns and inspired confidence. No propedal needed on this bike for climbs. The DW suspension was everything I hoped for. This bike doesn't even mind taking flight. Amazing ride!

Tall Boy: 26.9 lbs. 40% pleasure, 60% business. The shop I work at has a demo Tall boy in stock. I've logged about 80 miles on the Tall boy, riding The Ridge Trail(American Fork Canyon), and Mid Mountain in Park City. This bike was equipped with a 100mm Fox float. This bike is a blast to ride. The rear end is laterally stiff, and this bike loves to climb. No propedal needed. This bike doesn't bob. I really felt like a rockstar on this bike. I bettered my best Ridge loop time by 7 minutes on this bike, compared to my 06 5-pack.. The ride is only 11.6 miles. On descents, the bike railed corners, and handled chop moderately well. I would really like to try this bike with a 120mm fork on the front. On long sustained descents, my hands were getting pretty beat and tired. This bike too is comfortable in the air. Overall, I loved this bike.

Pivot 429: All Business, all the time. Last Friday I borrowed my buddies 429 equipped with a 100mm Reba on the front. Both the front and rear suspension were Push'd, and the guy I borrowed it from weighs the same as I do, so no psi adjustments were necessary. I rode 26 miles on Park City's Mid Mountain trail. 3000 feet of vertical climbing, and some long fast descents. This bike weighed 28.5 lbs. I was really hoping to love this bike. I'm sorry to say that Pivot missed the boat on their implementation of the DW Link. Not all DW Link bikes are created equally. The one glowing statement I can make about this bike is that it climbs everybit as well as the Sultan and the Tall Boy. No propedal necessary. On the descents, this bike felt little better than a hard tail. On little hits, this bike was unstable in the air, and felt harsh on the landings. This bike beat me up on the downhills. The one place this bike shined, was on standing efforts. Out of the saddle, this bike rallied up the short steep climbs and sprints.

Conclusion: For pure fun on the trail the Sultan takes the cake. For longer endurance events, the Tall boy shines. For pure racer types, the 429 might be your ticket.

For my money and the type of riding I love, the Sultan would be my first choice. If I do end up getting one any time soon, it will most likely be a Tall Boy, as I can get one on the cheap through my shop, and we are not a Turner dealer. :mad:
 

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Good observations. I wonder if the 429 shock can be tweaked to make it a bit more plush on the downhills...without making it bob much on the uphill standing climbs. It certainly climbs well.
 

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..a great review!!
I'm stick between the tallboy and the sultan. I haven't given either a "proper" demo, but I have putted each around enough to kind of get a feel for the geometry. Both bikes I rode had 120mm forks on them. The difference that stuck out to me was that with the sultan, I felt more 'on top of the bike', whereas with the tallboy I felt more 'in it'.
I was wondering if the reviewer here felt that as well..?

Btw. My purchase choice has been narrowed down to these two bikes because I am 6'7"/230 and need the xxl.
...also interested in any opinions of freakish-sized riders like myself with experience with either.
 

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Rider and Wrench
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Good info, all three are top of the heap but very different personalities. The climbing and out of the saddle efforts are spot on with the Pivot but I am a bit surprised at the feeling the 429 gave you on the rough stuff- I keep thinking the rear suspension set-up must have been off ? This said I do think the 429 is on the less plush end of the spectrum for sure, more snappy and quick feeling than Barker Lounger plush- It seems your pretty on top of your game and don't want to point out the obvious but have found the 429 really requires you to find the sweet spot in the sag for it to do it's magic- otherwise it can definitely come off as too harsh-

I recently came from a Pushed TNT Sultan (very different than the DW of course) but have had a few VPP, single pivots.... bikes as well, comparatively I am more than happy with the 429's overall performance (120mm up front). Of course we all have our preferences and what some of us like or need on our local trails is very different from others. I lean toward an XC style, not any crushing ups or downs, minor drops, and more than enough east coast roots etc... lots of quick ups/downs with little time to make flipping levers worth while, and the Pivot is probably the first set it and forget it bike I have found which climbs and descends with ease.

For the type of riding you describe yourself coming from I can see where the DW Sultan would be the most appealing right from the start- and in this case the only one of the group with 120mm out back and the only one equipped with a 120mm fork up front- This might greatly alter the personalites of both the Tall boy and the 429-
 

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My experience with the 429 has been great. I came off an Ibis Mojo. My 429 is stock XT with the exception of Mavic wheels. I loved the feel for XC but was more concerned how it performed on technical trails. The first thing I had to do was lose the big ring. Once in Moab I adjusted quickly and all my concerns went away. I would like to have an adjustable seatpost to mount up on those trails with aggressive downhill. I think with 29ers the fit is paramount. The 429 fit like a glove while the Sultan I rode felt like a lumberwagon. Maybe I was having a bad day, but there was no comparison for me. I also rode a Mach 5 on the same loop, the 429 crushed it going up.
 

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The Sultan has a nice bb clearance. Has anybody measured the 429 bb clearance with
a 120mm fork? A friend just built up a Mach 4. It has none of the harshness people
talk about. Set up is everything I guess.
 

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Nice write up....I'm on a RIP9 now as was thinking of a change. Rode the Tallboy and liked the way it climbed but liked my RIP for the downhill more. Going to demo the 429 this week. Also Ibis may come out with a 29er next year. Who knows....I got time so many cool 29ers coming out now hard to choose just one bike!
 

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Pivotal figure
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I'd have to say that since the suspension was tuned by PUSH it's very likely they firmed it up too much. The shocks are already custom valved by Fox to perform as designed on the particular frame. Any changes that were made are going to reflect how that person wanted the shock to perform which could be very different. I've seen just how well that bike handles downhills so for it to handle like a "hardtail" just sounds like something was wrong.
 
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