PIVOT Mach 429 Trail – riding verdict: by c_g

It is hard to believe that this review is already drawing to an end. Since I have introduced you to my ride for the short 2 weeks here in the US, the PIVOT Mach 429 Trail, I have had plenty of time riding it and shredding the regional trails.

28 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

Aesthetically it is a winner already, but it also is an impressive performer out on the trail.

The trails and the ride: During my time on the trails around Bend and Sisters, Oregon, it became clear that the Mach 429 Trail was spot-on for the trails I got to ride. Just like the bike’s travel figures may sound somewhat tame – 116mm on the rear and 130mm on the front are no long travel figures by today’s standards – so are the local trails at first sight: Fast, smooth and flowing for the most part. But then there are those punchy rock gardens that appear seemingly out of nowhere, invisible drops and dirt jumps mixed in to keep the riders on their toes. There is no time to get lazy around here. Not to forget the unforgiving nature of the volcanic rock, ever ready to throw you off the chosen line and slash your tires …
But then again this bike is a PIVOT and with the ‘Trail’ word in its name it should be right at home in this somewhat diverse riding environment, shouldn’t it?

32 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail 23 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

FRAME: The sleek and well designed frame looks almost understated with its few labels and the blue in blue finish. I never thought I would say this about a PIVOT bike which until recently had been slathered with labels all over it. The carbon frame is torsionally very stiff and super precise steering. Even under max load I could only get the frame to flex a tiny bit …. and the rear end is no different, being very precise and direct. No surprise there as all PIVOTs I had ever ridden shared that trait, but it’s very reassuring to know.

7 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail 25 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

The Set-Up itself of the FOX DPS Factory shock is as easy as it gets. With the sag indicator guide on the shock the rear end is dialed in very easily and the front is no different with just one air chamber to fill. With the two indicator lines showing exactly where the rubber ring should be if you were in for a ‘Race’ or a ‘Trail’ setting. I have never had any reason to tinker with air pressure on the back (it simply works extremely well). A small thing was the mounting position of the shock with the dials tucked in between the top tube and the shock. All was well protected with the 3-stage compression dial being easy to reach, but adjusting the rebound was another thing. ON the other hand, when carrying, there was no lever poking into my shoulders .
But it took a bit more time and effort to get the new FOX 34 FIT4 Factory fork right. I found it to be hard to find the fine line between being very sensitive with a tendency to bottom out and a bit too direct with great big hit capabilities. Luckily the new generation of FOX forks can be tuned via volume spacers and I would think the issue could easily be solved with one or two volume spacers. Other than that, and once the optimum was found, the F34 was a really great fork and definitely a fair improvement over its predecessor.

27 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

Bend, Oregon – Flow trails with plenty of technical sections mixed in between. It hardly gets any better than this.

The seating position on the bike is very universal and balanced. Just right for a bike with such a wide spectrum of uses as the Mach 429 Trail is designed for – not to XC-ish stretched or low on the front and not too compact or high like some trail bikes, but just right with a good range to move around on the bike, even if it were not equipped with a dropper post. During the review the only change I did to my bike was to lower the cockpit by two spacers  – not because the bike needed it, but it felt even better for me.



36 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

The PIVOT Mach 429 Trail also delivers on the uphills.

The first few trail rides were a mixture of getting to know the bike as much as the trails here in central Oregon. Later on I did several day-long rides with more of a XC character and also a few shuttle runs into more technical trails.

26 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail The thing that struck me from the beginning and remained to be the most impressive quality was how neutral the chassis of the Mach 429 Trail feels. No worry, “neutral” is not my term for saying ‘mediocre’ but here I mean how excellently active the suspension absorbs most anything the trail throws at you while still resisting any bobbing or rider induced suspension action. The Mid-Travel DW-Link manages to hit the bulls eye of what such a bike should feel like. It is super efficient when pedaling, no matter if you are leisurely pedaling along or cranking hard out of the saddle. Yet the rear end does a remarkable job in keeping the wheel well planted. Of course one part of this is the short travel character of the rear end. Another is the excellent new FOX DPS shock. But all of this would not be this good if the Mach 429 Trail’s DW-Link kinematics were not so good, too. Really good!

30 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

The kinematics of the DW-Link eliminates nearly all pedaling influence while staying nicely active … regardless if the shock is in OPEN or MEDIUM mode. In the beginning of the review – primarily out if habit – I switched a lot between OPEN and MEDIUM modes of the shock, but I soon learnt that the Mach 429 Trail is one of those rare bikes that is both active and efficient in either mode. I have learned that the modes are not mere necessities to chose between going up efficiently and staying in control on the way down like with most other bikes, but here it is a veritable option to modify the bike’s character. After a week on the bike I was not hesitant to ride the Mach 429 Trail in OPEN mode in most any condition and be happy. During and after some of the longer rides I was often very thankful for the comfort and efficiency that the bike provides in OPEN mode.
Sometimes though I had that desire to go all out XC-style, or the more pump track like sections called out for a bit more suspension support that had me go into MEDIUM mode.

29 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

It is one of the highest praises I could give to the Mach 429 Trail when saying that it never was the inclination dictating what mode the bike felt best in (even when going up really steep stuff the rear would sink in reasonably little) but the character of the trail and my personal attitude that made me choose one setting over the other. Along the same lines, the rear end is exceptionally supportive even when in OPEN mode. Interestingly I always felt like despite the shorter effective travel the rear end definitely never struggled to keep up with the 130mm front … and this is while I would say the new F34 is a hugely improved fork over its predecessor.

21 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail 21a PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

–> So, the PIVOT Mach 429 Trail is one of the few bikes, where the shock setting are less about up or down, but about changing the character of the ride. On this bike the settings are less of a necessity to switch from efficient to comfortable, but an option do adjust the character according to the terrain and attitude. One of the biggest compliment I can give when talking about a bike’s suspension.


38 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

The bike’s handling is exactly what I had hoped for: Spot on! As one would expect from the slack front angle (67.5°) the bike feels very stable and surefooted when running at high speeds or railing berms. But the real trick was that PIVOT got the Mach 429 Trail still feel alive at slower speeds and in techy sections. Simply well behaved and fun all over! I had wondered whether the front end would start feeling light on steep uphill punches, but found myself climbing up super steep stretches with little more weight shifting than I am used to from other very versatile bikes. I think the not-too-short rear end with an effective CS length of 44.5 cm (17.5“) is partly responsible for this, too.



35 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail 24 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail 33 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

As for the components my test bike came with, which was close to a XTR/XT Pro 2x build, I have nearly no complaints. The 2×11 SHIMANO XT drive train is superbly precise and defined in its feel and the updated XT brakes (180 front/ 160 rear) ride just as powerful and precise as its predecessor. Maybe even better.
The DT-SWISS XMC 1200 wheels, which are an optional upgrade to the build (they come stock on more expensive builds), are everything one could ask of wheels – light, precise and tough. They are some of the stiffest and nicest wheels I know. I got to be honest though, that I cannot detect any difference in stiffness or steering precision over the non-Boost XRC 1250s I had on review a while ago. But then again those wheels had been fabulous as well. The extra width (new 2016 XMC is 24 mm inner width) certainly helps support wider tires, allowing me to ride the MAXXIS tires with as little as 1.6 bar (23 lbs/in).
Speaking of the MAXXIS High Roller II that PIVOT mounted on the front, just for me and for this review – this tire really works well on the sandy and/or rocky trails and has saved me from crashing on several occasions. The only thing I am not too happy about is the WTB Vigo seat, that just does not feel right for me, but such a personal thing is hardly a real reason to complain about.


30 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

Summary: What can I say? The Mach 429 Trail is a true PIVOT. I had expected the frame to be torsionally stiff and precise riding and the handling to be spot on for its intended purpose, but it was the neutral suspension and the universal character of the bike that really impressed me. Instead of sensing, that travel figures vary front to back, the bike feels perfectly balanced and both, superbly efficient pedaling and still extremely capable in the rough … and what is more impressive, this remains with the shock ridden in Open as well. The PIVOT Mach 429 Trail is at the forefront of what a short travel trail bike should be – extremely capable, efficient and versatile both for a trail bike and even for a XC-bike.

39 PIVOT Mach 429 Trail

Endless trails, a breathtaking scenery wherever the eye wanders and an awesome bike to ride – little to complain about.

No question, the Mach 429 Trail is not a budget bike and a PIVOT likely never will be, but then again, I hardly found anything wrong with its performance and as such it is a fair deal.  You pay much but you get a lot for it, too.