PIVOT CYCLES Mach 429 Carbon – the XC-/AM-test: by c_g

Some time ago we had given you the full and detailed intro to the PIVOT CYCLES Mach 429c from Phoenix based High-End manufacturer PIVOT CYCLES, more recently followed by my first ride impressions of the bike. There I summarized that I see two hearts beating in that carbon skeleton – one of a XC racer and one of a true and worthy trail bike. For further investigation I didn’t want to go through a complete rebuild of the bike though, but only altered what I felt would make the most difference with the least effort – wheels and some key components.

My first iteration was that of a fast „XC-/marathon bike“. I may have swapped the somewhat burly FSA Afterburner components, to save some weight, but instead only went for a change in wheels. Since I simultaneously am reviewing a set of tubular tires wheels by Czech manufacturer TUFO for the German sister site – (in German :)), I simply mounted these, already saving about 2 lbs over the stock setup. Other than that I only took the already negative rise stem down two spacers and was happy for the general XC/going fast approach.

Of course the effect of the lighter and fast wheels was immediately evident. The Mach 429c, which already has been efficient before, now revealed a true racer´s edge. I spent considerably more time cranking the bike standing (note. I am a rider that works most of the time riding seated) and by its tremendously improved acceleration it became a fun habit to battle it out with my peer riders.

All of a sudden I used the granny ring only for really long and steep up hills. Going uphill in the 38t big ring? Sure, no problem! One more reason for riding more in the big ring was also that when cranking hard out of the saddle the Mach 429c was more neutral than in the granny ring. Riding with full pedaling load (and especially in the granny ring) lent to some suspension movement that also made me default more to the pedaling platform on the shock than before. This is no real weakness, since the bike – even with the platform damping ON -is very smooth and comfortable. Somehow I felt that the 120mm fork didn’t really take much away from the XC-capability (only added some on the rough stuff), but for those looking for an even more direct and nimble ride – PIVOT themselves say the Mach 429c is OK with either 100 or 120 mm up front.

Looking at the PIVOT Mach 429c from a XC perspective, I see my thoughts confirmed – be it by its geometry or by its handling, the bike is very well capable to be ridden fast and long XC-style. Of course the bike´s weight on our test mule won´t satisfy the hardcore racer – but spec it differently and you have a bike that would rip an rough XC courses and long marathons.

Weight aside – I nonetheless think the XT shifting and brakes are a great choice if you race on a amateur level and rather invest into an excellent frame – by function there are no compromises hidden anywhere within the frame.


The next testing phase with the PIVOT Mach 429c was to see how it would do as a trailbike.

By robustness and rigidity, I may have taken the stock DT wheels, but since I am currently running a set of AMERICAN CLASSIC All-Mountain wheels with MAXXIS Highroller II and Minion DHR II tires on another test bike, I simply swapped these over to the PIVOT. It was commented before and sure enough a dropper post would have fit here perfectly, but since I didn’t even have a QR-collar, the 4 mm Allen key became my best friend for this period. (BTW: The 400 mm seat post I am running does slide in all the way to the pivot – which is easily enough to give you plenty of freedom to move on the bike.) What surprised me in this set up was the complete weight – which at 12.56 kg or 27.7lbs (w/o pedals) came out only marginally heavier than the stock configuration. After a bit of riding I also went for a shorter stem (80 mm) that enhancsed its playfulness.

On shock pressure: So far my experiences with the bike had shown that the suspension (120mm front and 100mm rear) were actually handling rougher trails remarkably well, so I only take out a few psi from the shock (to where PIVOT sag indicator says I should have run it all along). What I got was an even more comfortable rear end, but when I found myself bottoming occasionally on jumps and drops (which the bike itself is easily capable of) I went back to a higher air pressure again and ran it there happily for the rest of the test. When I mentioned this to Chris, he commented that it seems to be that we Europeans tend to go for a firmer feel, while the US riders often favor a more plush set-up. In this case this sure is correct. Unfortunately I never made it into the Alps with the Mach 429c, but with the diverse and often quite challenging riding on my home trails I dare to call out that the bike is equally capable as a trail bike as it is as a XC bike. Yes, the rear travel still is 100 mm, but the suspension works in a way, that I more often found the 120 mm Evolution series FOX fork to be the limiting factor (… no I never mounted a 140 mm fork on the bike, though, I would guess by performance the rear may well be on par with that also ;)).

One of the key features of the Mach 429c´s trail potential for me sure is its excellent geometry and resulting super fun and secure handling – especially when riding it really hard, it becomes evident, that Chris Cocalis of PIVOT CYCLES has a very good sense of how a bike need to handle. Even in a time where 29″er geometries get dialed more and more it still is rare to ride a bike that meets such a fun balance between agility and confidence inspiring handling – something that enables you to push your own limits.

While my focus of this report certainly is versatility and the ride itself, I still want to point out that the very high level of frame stiffness is another key ingredient for the precise ride and exceptional control. Well done.

SUMMARY: With 3 iterations of the test – one in the stock configuration, one more on the XC side and one on the trail side of things – I have to admit that I am really impressed by the Mach 429c´s level of performance. While for my terrain the stock wheels would be something I´d soon change (either for something lighter … if my focus was XC, or for some more aggressive tires … if rugged trails were what I was after), the frame delivers pretty much everything one can ever expect from a 100/120mm 29″er bike .. and more.

By that the PIVOT CYCLES Mach 429c to me secured itself a spot on the very short list of bikes that covers such a wide range of uses (from XC-race to true trail riding) without going for compromises anywhere (… along with the ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element – my 2012 permanent testing platform – and the BMC Fourstroke FS01). Being a bike with premium performance, the PIVOT Mach 429c also comes with a premium price tag (both here in Europe as in the US) … and therefore may well remain a bike to „dream“ about for most of us.

Thank you to Chris Cocalis and the Crew from PIVOT Cycles for being perfectionists with an awesome sense for bike handling and thanks to Shock Therapy, the German distributor for sending us the PIVOT Mach 429c for review.