The first 29er I ever rode was the Pivot Mach 429. It was at a demo day in Charlotte, NC, well before Bikerumor was a twinkling in my eye, and it hooked me. Immediately after that test loop, I rode the 26″ version and felt slow and clumsy. Twenty niners were it from then on out for me.
Now, almost a decade later, I hopped on the latest and greatest version of it, the Mach 429 Trail. Compared to the standard Mach 429, the “Trail” version adds 16mm of rear wheel travel (116mm total) and pairs it with a 120-130mm fork (up from 100mm for the more XC/race 429). We rolled out on the Shultz Creek trails in Flagstaff, AZ, to see what it could do…
The Mach 429 Trail uses a DW Link suspension design, which is perhaps the most inherently efficient suspension system I’ve ridden. It climbs like a goat and sprints like a cheetah, both of which are enhanced by the ultra stiff carbon frame.
The bike now uses a Boost rear end, which lets it also run 27.5+ tires up to 2.8 on 40mm rims. Max tire size for 29ers is 2.35 to 2.4 depending on rim width, but the bike comes stock with 2.2 and the safe recommendation is topping out at 2.3. I rode it as a 29er in the XT/XTR trim with Fox 34 Boost fork and DPS rear shock.
Everything pivots on Enduro Max cartridge bearings with cold forged alloy linkages. Check out our Pivot HQ tour for a look at how those are made and prototyped.
Under the downtube and on the driveside chainstay are rubberized leather frame guards. They’re molded to fit the frame perfectly and retain access to cable guides and ports. The frame is ready for anything (Di2, standard, SideSwing, 1x, 2x) thanks to a modular cable port system. Most everything is run externally on the bottom of the downtube for easy maintenance, with stealth dropper posts entering just in front of the BB shell.
My size XL frame gets an appropriately tall headtube. If I were riding it long term, I’d have put a slightly longer stem on it and flipped it to bring the cockpit a bit lower. Other than that, the bike fit really well for my 6’2″ frame of fairly average proportions. Pivot’s size guide puts the Large at fitting riders up to 6’2″ and the XL at 6’2″ and taller, so if you’re on the fence, try to test ride both.
Before wrapping up my ride thoughts, it’s worth showing off what a pro can do on this “short” travel trail 29er. Pivot rider Bernard Kerr simply shreds it at Peaslake in Surrey Hills, UK:
Our ride consisted of flowing through Shultz Creek, up Brookbank, ripping down Sunset and then finishing back to the car on Shultz Creek again. It was about a two hour ride (including stops to talk and take in the view) and a good test. Techy rock-and-root strewn climbs really highlighted the bike’s ability to simultaneously avoid pedal bob while absorbing bumps under power to maintain traction. That was probably the most impressive part of its performance.
A close second was the frame stiffness. It holds everything where it needs to be, making for a predictable ride, but never felt “dead”. Not quite as “lively” as some other frames, but if I had to err on either side of that equation, I’d lean towards the stiffer frame. As for Boost wheels, yes, they continue to impress. As a package, the 429 Trail inspired confidence down grin-inducing groomed descents and over rock gardens. This is a bike I’d like to spend more time on.
Pivot has east coast, west coast and European demo vans with a schedule on their website if you’d like to try one.