The Mach 429 Trail felt more relaxed and trail worthy than your typical short travel 29er (click to enlarge).
Editor's Note: We're excited to welcome longtime forum member Kent Robertson to the front page of the website. Kent (or KRob) has been riding - and evaluating - bikes for almost two decades, and his insightful analysis is a welcome addition to the Mtbr editorial team. You can read more of Kent's bike reviews here. Also note that Kent's pal Nate helped out with this review.
"Our goal when designing the Pivot Mach 429 Trail was to create a new category of trail bike - one that takes advantage of the best features of 29ers and yet maintains the performance characteristics that make you forget about wheel size and, instead, translate to the 'best-ride-ever' every time you ride." - PivotCycles.com
That's the PR spew surrounding the new Mach 429 Trail - and Pivot lived up to their words. The new trail version of the Mach 429 has all the benefits of riding a larger wheel size with the feel of a mid-size, plush bike. The 429 Trail is part of a new league of aggressive 29ers hitting the market this year.
We put the Mach 429 Trail against The Following by Evil (Read that First Ride Review Here) on our Interbike Outdoor Demo test ride. The two bikes were extremely comparable in geometry and feel despite the Following being a size medium and the Mach 429 Trail a large. It was tough to find much lacking in either one.
The most noticeable difference was that the front wheel on The Following looked like it was extended out more in front of you than the 429, which felt exactly like a mid-size wheel from the cockpit. However, the numbers are actually very close. When you look at the math, there are indeed very few differences between these bikes. But those departures do explain some of the differences in how these two feel on the trail.
Though they have similar wheel bases, how they get there is what's different: The Following has a longer front center and shorter rear center along with a slightly slacker and lower stance compared to the 429 Trail giving it a more aggressive bent.
Here's Pivot front man Chris Cocalis talking about all the new-for-2016 bikes.
On the Trail Testing
We knew these wagon wheels would handle the climbing (and we were tired), so we opted to shuttle up and come down the Boy Scout trail. After riding the same trail on the Pivot Mach 6 and other long-travel bikes, I was surprised how smooth the 429 Trail still felt on the ledges and rocks. This can be credited to Pivot's improved, "trail-tuned" dw-linkage, stiff rear triangle, and the slacker head angle of this "trail" model.
The suspension has Pivot's bottomless feel, despite only having 116mm of travel. When it came to riding down Girl Scout, a more flowy trail, the Pivot Mach 429 Trail really shined. It was quick and responsive in the corners, with just the right amount of stiffness to really push through and pick up speed. If I didn't know it was a 29er, I would have believed it was a 27.5 like I'm used to riding.
Continue to page 2 to find out more about our first ride on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail »
Excellent Float 34 Factory fork, external cable routing on the front triangle (except up the seat tube for the Stealth dropper post routing) along with a little cheaper, slightly heavier (but equally stiff) carbon lay up which helps reduce the price point for the Trail model by $500 dollars compared to other carbon models (click to enlarge).
Not Your Average Wagon
Nothing about this bike felt like the 29ers of the past. It's made for serious trail riding and enduro racing (assuming you're not doing EWS venues on World Cup downhill courses), with a light carbon fiber frame and great component options from either Shimano or SRAM to go with it. The model we rode had Shimano's 2x11 with a new side swing front derailleur. We didn't honestly find much use for the higher gears on our rides, but I could see the benefit if you're serious about racing. With the front derailleur removed, the bottom bracket is left looking clean and light, with very little visual evidence of the offending device. Cables are routed under the down tube, with the exception of internal routing from the bottom to the seat for your dropper post. There's even space for a water bottle.
While I'm a big fan of the Rockshox Pike and Monarch, I wouldn't bother changing the Fox 34 Factory fork and Float DPS shock setup that Pivot had on this bike. The fork is excellent and they've got the shock tune matched perfectly to the geometry and leverage ratio of the dw link supension, and I think you'd have a hard time doing better by picking your own. As I said, the ride was smooth and fast. The suspension was perfect for most everyday riding. Also, with the Boost setup, the fork and rear triangle easily accept plus-size tires, opening up new riding opportunities with just a second set of wheels.
So, in summary, I'd say this is a great all-around trail bike for most riders and for 95% of the trails most of us ride, most of the time. It will easily get you up the trail and bring you back down with speed and comfort that rivals most medium-travel bikes out there. It really fits the aggressive 29er description well. I'm not a fan of 29" bikes in general, but this bike has challenged my concerns and changed my opinion of them for the future.
For all-day, big climbing rides on moderately technical and rough trail, adventure riding, back country stage races, and endurance races you can't go wrong with this bike. Its skimpy 116mm of travel felt like more. It was agile enough and tracked well in the rough, but it did feel like it got bounced around some on the rockier sections. I would've preferred bigger, meatier tires for the loose, dry, rocky Bootleg conditions but the Ardents weren't bad.
Bottom line, if you're a bigger guy, or you want that extra rollover capability without the high-seat, slow response of those big wheel bikes of yesteryear, or if you're just looking for a great, do-it-all bike to ride every day, this is a great choice. And, with a price tag significantly lower than the Mach 6 (and Mach 429SL), a great option for your budget, too.
For more information visit www.pivotcycles.com.