Pivot Mach 429 Trail

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Nate had more time on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail than me and my observations were a bit jaded by my end-of-the-day stupor and flat out awe-struck wonderment after my ride on The Following so I asked him to write this review.

I’ve edited a few things and I’ll add my thoughts at the end, but these are Nate’s words.

“Our goal when designing the Mach 429 Trail was to create a new category of trail bike – one that takes advantage of the best features of 29 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

Pivot did not disappoint! The new, trail version of the 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 and we were very anxious to ride one. Finally, at the end of the day we were able to get our hands on a large and just catch the last shuttle up Bootleg Canyon.

We put the 429 Trail against The Following by Evil on this ride. The two bikes were extremely comparable in geometry and feel despite the Following being a size medium and the M429 a large, and 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 429T giving it a more aggressive bent.

We knew these wagon wheels would handle the climbing (and we were tired), so we opted to shuttle up and come down Boy Scout. After riding the same trail on the Mach 6 and other long-travel bikes, I was surprised how smooth the 429 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 429 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.

Nothing about this bike felt like the 29ers from the past. It’s made for serious trail riding and enduro racing (assuming you’re not doing EWS venues on WC DH 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 2x 11 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, if that’s what you’re into.

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 of the 429 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.

There’s also something to be said for Pivot’s customer service. Most booths we visited were crowded, disorganized, and often, basically rude. Pivot was a better experience all around. They moved people through quickly, remembered you, and had fun. The techs knew each bike really well and talked us through everything while they set up the suspension and pedals. When we returned the 429, well after the cutoff time, they had no complaints. We were even applauded by Chris Cocalis (CEO of Pivot Cycles) and his team before leaving for the night. And, while you shouldn’t buy a bike based solely on service, it definitely helps you choose one company over another.

So, in summary, 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. 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-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.

It was hard to capture the stunning blue on the Mach 429 Trail but we both liked it a lot.
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2 x 11 Shimano gearing, with internal routing on the CS only
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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. (At least I think, that’s what their marketing speak for the Trail model is saying)
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Mmmm, shiny paint….. and more subdued and sparse graphics than we’ve seem from Pivot in the past. Like.
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This is KRob again. I’ll just add a couple responses to queries about these two bikes here from private messages and posts on mtbr and on the blog to give you a feel for my slightly different view point on the M429 Trail.

I liked the M429Trail quite a bit and think Pivot did a good job creating a bike (though I’d question whether they’ve created a new category) that covers a wide range of riding from XC to aggressive trail quite well but not as much as I liked the Following. The Following felt like a low slack, short travel all-trail shredder with some impressive overlap into the endruo/am category. Very fast, nimble, and capable. The M429 was impressive and did feel more relaxed and trail worthy than your typical short travel 29er but it had the misfortune of being ridden directly following the, um, Following. I think Nate liked the M429 better than the Following for his purposes which may lean a little more to the XC side of the aggressive trail category.

So for all-day, big climbing rides on moderately technical and rough trail, adventure riding, back country stage races, and endurance races I’d lean towards the M429 Trail, but for more all-around hooliganism and aggressive riding I’d go with the Following all…. day……long.

The 429 Trail is a pretty cool bike, but there were others I liked better. It did fit well and for its skimpy 116mm of travel felt like it had more travel than it did. It was agile enough and tracked well in the rough but felt 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. Overall the 429 Trail hit its mark pretty well, but I think it was too conservative in its “Trail” iteration. I mean if you’re going to keep the standard 429 (which is an excellent bike), why not go a little crazy and separate it more towards the aggressive side of the spectrum. If I had just stepped off a regular XC 29er or 29 HT onto the 429 Trail, I think I would’ve noticed its more relaxed, aggressive, “Trail” character more, but like I said elsewhere, it had the misfortune of following the Following.

Overall we were quite impressed with the Mach 429 Trail but I definitely feel like I’d need some more time on it to get a more complete picture of its strengths.

23 thoughts on “Pivot Mach 429 Trail

  1. Great stuff! Do you think component selection had much to do with your preference of the Following over the 429t? I personally didn’t care for the parts spec of the 429t I rode at ODD, and found it hard to get a feel for the bikes potential. The major let downs were the 740mm bar, long-ish stem, 2×11 drivetrain, and Ardent 2.25s on my demo – all wayyyyy to conservative for this radical of a bike! I’d have preferred bars at least 760mm wide and a 50mm stem, 1x, and some meatier shoes for the loose, jagged, and blown out Bootleg trails. Just those changes alone would really help easily differentiate this model and the 429 SL.

    That said, I’m still really stoked on the 429t and plan to get one.

    • Absolutely! I’ve harped on Pivot for their XCish component spec on demos a couple times in the past so when they had moved in the right direction with M429 T I let it pass. Put, yes, I also would’ve preferred 770-785 bars, 40-50mm stem and higher volume, more aggressive tires (not to mention 1×11) on that bike. I think with it set up like that it would’ve narrowed the gap quite a bit with the Following.

  2. To the test rider who is not an29er guy. Have you ridden the M4 Carbon? Are the comparable ? Iiked the M4 “trail build” but this 429T might be the bike for me. I need to ride it before I drop the coin.0

    • Neither one of us are really 29er guys but we’re both fast becoming converts with this new breed of 29ers. I don’t think Nate has ridden the M4c, but I did last year at Outerbike. They are quite comparable despite one being 27.5 and one having the bigger wheels. The suspension was fairly plush on both despite it being only 116mm as mentioned. The M4c was very quick and responsive but really needed some more trailworthy components and tires to get it feeling more trail oriented. The M 429Trail was a step in the right direction with slightly wider bars and shorter stem but it still needed to a more aggressive set up to keep up with others in its class and to really showcase its chops. It was only slightly less agile and responsive than the M4c owing mainly to the bigger wheels.

      More similarities than differences the more I think about it if they were both set up the same. I think it would come down to whether you like 29″ wheels or 27.5″.

      • That M4 was fast and fun. I could sacrifice some flick-ability for some roll over action. 429T looks like the bike for me.
        Thanks for the review. Best one yet.

  3. Hey Kent,

    Firstly, congrats on the new MBTR gig – good to see another “experienced” rider doing some of the reviews! (I’m near your vintage…)

    I just picked up a 429T with the exact spec that you rode and find it to be a terrific ride! Though the Evil The Following is getting rave reviews, I just can’t get over that it is a single pivot suspension – I know that the linkage does a lot to change the leverage ratio through the travel, but I still like the reduced pedal feedback of the DW link on the 429T over the single pivot.

    One thing I really like about the 429T is the predictable way the rear breaks traction just before the front end in the loose stuff/marbles, yielding a smooth oversteer through the turn; it feels like the slightly longer rear center helps in that regard. So far, I’ve been impressed with the ‘flickability’ of the wagon wheels after coming from a 26er as well as how it handles the technical stuff up here on Mt. Tam. Climbing is a joy and descending is ridiculously fast, though I agree that some higher volume tires would really improve a great chassis. Disagree on the 2×11 set up as a negative, I like the wider range and ok with the marginal extra weight added for the ability to spin out a higher gear on the descents while still being able to spin up a 22% grade.

    Hit me next time you’re up this way and we’ll get you on some great stuff on the birthplace of mountain biking!

    • Thanks joby! I enjoy riding and writing up my reviews. I hope they are of some benefit to others. Great pick up on the 429T. Yeah, we didn’t have any major issues with the 2×10 set up and it does provide some additional gear range, I’m just totally converted to the cleaner, simpler 1x. Enjoy the new bike! And I may just take you up on your offer some day. That’s one area of the country I haven’t ridden much at all.

    • I think the M429 T would work well as an XC racer/endurance race bike, especially if your venues lean to the rockier, steeper, more technical (Think: BC Bike Race) or if you just wanted a bike that could do the XC race stuff but was more versatile for a greater variety of trail riding too.

  4. I’ve owned 29er’s (Mach 429 Alloy) but currently have a Giant Anthem 27.5 and really like the quick cornering ability. It seems that the M429T doesn’t give up too much of that. How would you compare it to the SC 5010 V2 assuming you’ve ridden it?

    • I haven’t ridden the v.2 5010 but I owned the v.1 and I would say the M429T felt very similar as far as cornering ability. I didn’t think of it at the time but that would be a good comparison.

  5. Great review guys. Rode a Ripley LS and was blown away. I’m coming from several yrs on a TBc. Similar specs but any thoughts on how the 429 and Ripley LS compare? I also thought a lot about the Following but can’t pull the trigger on this much spend w out a demo first. 95% of my riding is Marin Co but I’m fast and aggro for an old guy. Thanks for any advice!

    • Fast and agro old guys for the win! Man I wish Ibis had been at Ibike. I really wanted to ride the Ripley LS and M429 Trail back to back. So I don’t have any input on how those two compare but would be interested to hear your more detailed impression of the Ripley LS. Being a SC Tallboy fan you may also want to wait and see what the much anticipated Tallboy LTc update looks like before pulling the trigger. I keep expecting that to drop any time.

      • Thanks KRob. The Ripley LS just did everything really well. I’ve been a long time VPP rider (going back 10 yrs to a blur) but I was stoked on the responsive, snappy feel of the DW link both downhill and even pedaling out of the saddle. I found virtually no kickback or skipping under hard braking or over sections that pop me around a bit on the TB. And like everyone says, it felt bigger than 120.

        It climbed just as well as my TB but that slack HA changed everything going down. I’ve also ridden some 650b bikes lately just to make sure my 4 yrs on 29s was not all a fad, and this bike reminded me why I love big hoops. Incredible traction and cornering, and simply blew through some steeper rocky sections of my local trails and PR’d one very tough section without even really trying. I’m sure the Fox 34 and 760 bars had something to do with it. Anyway, I couldn’t stop thinking about the bike for days and had trouble getting back on my trusty old steed.

        I have a buddy who is pro level, top 10 rider on strava on 90 percent of the trails in Marin, and he rode one for a day and was as stoked as I am. It was nice to hear that my stoke wasn’t just “new bike” lust. But he too would like to try the Mach 429 and the Following. Speaking of which, I finally saw a large Following in the wild today on a group ride and my new best friend is going to let me take it out for a spin.

        • Thanks for your insights on the LS, Jordan. We really liked the standard Ripley we rode a couple years ago and it sounds like the LS addresses the stability issues with steep and faster terrain but still feels fun, poppy, and responsive.

        • I would love to hear your Ripley LS vs. Evil the Following comparison once you get a ride in…. I’m debating between the Pivot Mach 429, the Ibis Ripley LS & the Evil.

          • Yep. Good choices there. If I could get those three set up just like I want them and whatever Knolly is working on for the same shorter travel aggressive 29er category and ride them back to back over the course of a week or two that would be epic. I would really like to know the answer to that question too.

          • Hi Paul, i have the same debate between those 3 bikes, what did you decide?, I´m basing my decision only in reviews cause theres no demos where i live, what i heard so far is the LS is great for climbing but haven’t heard spectacular things on descends, The following a fun and versatile bike, not that great when climbing but the most awesome on descending, and the pivot great on climbs(not as goos as he LS but great) and great on descends, the only con I heard that is supposed to be not that great on very stretch trails, can you tell me what your decision was and why??

          • I just purchased a 429 Trail. It is a sick bike and I think you would be more than happy with the performance, fit and finish of this bike. Climbs like a 429 carbon and decends with confidence . This bike rips and I’m sure the other do as well. I feel DW Link is the way to go.
            5’11” Medium frame. XT 2X DT Swiss carbon wheels. Boost 148.

          • I actually ended up buying a Yeti SB5C (27.5 bike) with a 150 pike on the front and 127mm rear travel… After one demo ride I knew it fit where/how I rode the best. It climbs really well and goes downhill like an enduro bike….I’m taking lines I never rode on my old tallboy…. I love the other 2 bikes, but the Yeti turns so quick, goes downhill better and climbs great…. Mine weighs 27 lbs with ibis 35mm internal rims with heavy maxis DHR 2.4 & DHF 2.5 WT tires…traction is amazing at 20 psi.

            I think the pivot gives you more options such as using 27.5 plus size tires as well the new Ibis mojo 3…….. All the bikes are great….really what fits where & how you ride the best….. Good Luck Never got to ride the evil…….

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