Pivot Cycles Mach 429 Carbon  2014 Mountain Bike Review

Pivot Cycles Mach 429 Carbon 2014

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Pivot Cycles 59,986

At A Glance

When it comes to looks nothing gets my juices flowing more than a stealthy, muscular bike. Ogling the Pivot Mach 429 Carbon in matt carbon with blue detailing certainly had me salivating The oversize carbon frame on this bike looks like it has been bulking up on the steroids!

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This kind of styling and extra strength might be expected from a long travel trail bruiser, but the Mach 429 Carbon is a 100mm travel 29er, not exactly what you would expect in this category, and I was eager to see how it performed on the trail.

Tech Heads

Pivot make the Mach 429 carbon frame using their hollow box technology, this means that they can create a more precise and compact carbon frame. What Pivot have done is lean towards the side of strength, rather than super lightweight. This is not to say that the frame is heavy, but rather that it is extremely strong and stiff.

Ultra short linkages connect the front and rear triangles, the length and placement of these links ensure that the connection has zero flex.

This latest incarnation of the DW link system maintains high pedalling efficiency, yet gives the rear suspension a suppler feel.

Pivot work closely with Fox to ensure the correct shock tune. In this case a Fox Float CTD BV Factory gives 100mm of rear wheel travel while up front is a Fox 32 CTD Evolution fork with 120mm travel.

Transmission parts are a mix from Shimano, SLX shifters; front mech and 24/38T crankset are matched to a clutched XT rear mech.

Hayes Prime brakes are an unusual find on the spec sheet these days, however they are good looking and offer dependable braking capabilities with a reasonable feel.

Wheels are Mavic Crossrides, these come wrapped in a set of Kenda Slant Six DTC tyres.

An FSA seat post is topped with a WTB saddle.

FSA also provide the 85mm long 6 degree rise stem which holds a 740mm low rise bar.

Pivot Mach 429 Carbon Medium

Seat tube 470mm
Effective top tube 610mm
Head tube 105mm
Chain stay 448mm
Front triangle 680mm
Wheel base 1128mm
BB height 331mm
Head angle 69.3°
Seat angle 71.9°
Reach 412mm
Stack 608mm

Weight w/o pedals 28.7lbs

On The Trail

Two things hit you the moment you get on the Mach 429 Carbon.

Firstly, it is stiff, not just stiff but rock solid - ‘come and have a go if you think you are hard enough’ stiff!

Secondly, I found the stem rather long, I usually ride a shorter stem on a bike, so in order to get the bike set up for me I swapped it out to a 60mm 0 degree rise stem, it felt far more comfortable in the cockpit and control was improved too.

Setting up the Pivot was easy, the bike comes with a sag meter on the shock and I was happy with the way the bike felt at the recommended sag.

During the course of the test period the Mach 429 was put through its paces across a wide variety of terrain, including rooty woodland singletrack, rocky Peak District boulder blasts and super-fast Welsh trail centres. I do not mention this to make you jealous, but rather to explain that at times the bike and components were pushed very hard indeed.

So what made me feel I could push the Pivot so hard? Well it comes down to a combination of that incredible frame stiffness and an excellent suspension design.

It soon became clear that this is a very easy bike to ride; acceleration is good and the smooth rolling Kenda tyres give easy speed. The suspension design eats up trail chatter and the stiff frame ensures excellent power transfer.

Miles slip smoothly under the wheels, many times my 18 mile training loop turned into 40 mile ride outs for no other reason than I was enjoying myself.

When climbing the DW link anti-squat comes into play, this delivers power to the back wheel with very little pedal bob, but rather than making the rear end feel taut and inducing kickback through the pedals the rear end remains plush, gobbling up steps and giving bags of traction.

The same applies when pedalling hard through rough ground, the rear just tracks the undulations and propels you forwards. I also found it easier to power lift the front when powering through chop, the rear digging in rather than kicking back.

Speed comes easily to the Pivot Mach 429 Carbon and the 69.3 degree head angle and 1128mm wheelbase meant that it is an impressively agile bike. Add to this the directness that the frame stiffness offers and craving corners becomes euphoric. The Pivot eggs you on, urging you to go faster, turn harder and brake later.

It is at this point that the fork and tyres start to show themselves lacking.

The Fox 32 fork simply cannot match the frame in terms of stiffness, on a frame like the Pivot a 34mm plush and well-damped fork would far better match the performance of the rear end.

While the Slant Six tyres are smooth rolling and offer surprisingly good grip they do have their limits, a slightly more robust option would suit the Mach 429c better.

Taking on rough technical terrain is a joy, pick the line and let go, the Pivot delivers well-controlled point and shoot riding, only the fork will allow the line to deviate and that only when riding hard over rough ground. At this point it would seem fit to mention that, given it’s abilities on a wide variety of terrain, it would be great to see the bike specc’d with a dropper seatpost. At present it doesn’t come with one as standard as Pivot feel it’s an addition riders like to make their own choice over. You’ll certainly be wanting to add one to your shopping basket for this bike to complete the all-round package.

The Mach 429 can pick its way down steep rock gardens but it will soon convince you that the best way down is to let the bike roll and launch off any lips or slabs that present themselves. I launched off many a 4ft drop to rough ground, it was the limit of what I felt I could ask of the Pivot, but the bike never shied away.

For

Fabulous frame stiffness and great suspension blend to produce a bike that can handle a huge range of riding.

Looks great in that ‘grrr look at my muscles’ sort of way.

The Crossride wheels stayed true and are impressively stiff for a mid-range wheelset.

Against

Depending on how you ride you might want to shorten the stem, the one that comes as spec is a tad long I feel.

Whilst this is aimed at singletrack riding, it can handle so much more. The 32mm legged fork lets the stiffness of the frame down though; it simply deserves a more solid fork.

The Hayes Prime brakes are adequate rather than impressive.

Overall

Pivot has produced a bike that pushes back the bounds of what a 100mm travel 29er can do.

Want a bike that is easy yet fun to ride – check.

Want a bike for XC and long distance rides – check.

Want a bike that flows and craves singletrack – check.

Want a bike that can conquer KOMs and rule at the trail centre – check.

Want a bike to race Enduro – check.

You do??

Then check out the Pivot Mach 429 Carbon, it will take you to new heights… and back down again at Mach speed.

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Videos

This review was in Issue 29 of IMB.

For more information visit Pivot Cycles

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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