Pivot Cycles Mach 429 Trail 2016 Mountain Bike Review

Pivot Cycles Mach 429 Trail 2016

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Pivot Cycles 64,733

At A Glance

Straight out of the box the Pivot Mach 429 Trail screamed ‘ride me!’ Big organic carbon tubes that hint at a strength in depth and a bang up-to-date wish list of geometry numbers and frame features had me salivating. The Mach 429 Trail is aimed at the rider looking for a capable and fast trail bike with the added bonus of 29er wheels and a full carbon frame.

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It’s on the upper end of the pay grade as bikes go, but as I mentioned you get a beautiful frame with sorted suspension and a load of trinkets thrown into the mix too.

Tech Heads

It is important to point out at an early stage that the Mach 429 Trail will only be offered in the UK as a frame and shock. I like that as I am very particular about my bike builds and am often frustrated by odd kit specifications that leave me with stuff to try and move on. While there will be mention of the components, this is very much a review of the frameset and shock.

One of the reasons that I was so excited about getting my hands on the Mach 429 Trail is that it pretty much ticks all the boxes on my current ‘what I want' list.

The frame offers an unusual 116mm of rear wheel travel that is controlled by a tweaked DW Linkage; this utilises cold forged linkages with Enduro Max Cartridge bearings. This is all controlled by a short stroke Fox Float DPS shock.

Also unusual, but welcome, is the external cable routing, I like to be able to pop new outers on in a jiffy and I hate having to dismantle brakes if I want to swap things around. The exception to this is the internal routing for the 30.9 dropper seat post. There are also two sets of bottle mounts and a removable front derailleur mount that allows you to run a 2x drivetrain.

The big news here is the Boost 148 rear spacing. This allows for wider hub flanges, which brings an impressive improvement in how stiff and strong wheels can be built. But perhaps more interestingly it means that the rear stays can be spaced slightly wider apart. This in turn means that there is plenty of clearance for big 29er tyres and it is possible to run 27.5+ wheels and tyres in the Pivot Mach 429 Trail. This excites me.

The frame is designed to take a 120/130mm travel fork up front. Our test rig has a Fox Float 34 FIT4 Boost fitted. This has an axle spacing of 110mm, which again offers plenty of clearance and makes running a set of 27.5+ wheels and tyres an option.

Our test rig came with a reasonable build kit, the highlight of which is the DT Swiss XMC1200 Spline wheelset.

Pivot Mach 429 Trail Large

Seat tube 483mm
Effective top tube 629mm
Head tube 119mm
Chain stay 443mm
Front triangle 712mm
Wheel base 1155mm
BB height 335mm
Head angle 67.5°
Seat angle 72.8°
Reach 423mm
Stack 625mm
Frame + shock (M) 5.9lbs
Weight w/o pedals 27.5lbs

On The Trail

The first thing to mention here is the ease of set up.

The DPS rear shock has a sag meter clipped to it that made set up a breeze. It has two lines, one for racing and the other for trail, I tinkered with the shock set up and I found I preferred it set at the trail mark.

The new Fox DPS rear shock has been specifically tuned to work in unison with this guise of the DW Link system. It would actually be quite difficult to set the rear end up badly, though as always a little time and experimentation paid dividends.

Up front the Fox 34 FIT4 was a similar story to some extent; a little time meant I was able to get both units singing from the same song sheet. If this were my bike, I would be very happy to match the Fox units together in terms of performance and their capacity to take 27.5+ wheels and tyres.

Throwing a leg over the Mach 429 Trail for the first time was like meeting an old friend. The bike has an easy nature that meant I was able to get on and ride it properly straight from the off. It literally glides along, swallowing trail buzz with aplomb. So much so that I feared the rear end might be a bit mushy when pushed, but that was not the case.

There is a switch to put the shock into climbing mode, but I found I forgot to use it - at no point did I find myself thinking that I needed it. It does help when on steep fire road or tarmac climbs, but I climb mostly on trails and the open setting afforded a wonderful amount of grip without sinking into its travel or bobbing. Our test rig came with 2.2 Schwalbe Nobby Nics, and I was amazed at the wet, rooty steeps I was able to climb.

The Pivot Mach 429 Trail has a slightly steeper head angle at 67.5 degrees than most bikes tend to come with these days. This is a blessing, the handling on the Mach 429 Trail is spot on for trail and singletrack, I found myself tearing through twisty woodland trails panting like crazy, exhilarating in the way the Pivot railed the corners and flowed across the ground. Get the bike out onto more open trails and it has a calmness that belies its speed; you are going fast, it just feels controlled rather than hectic or scary.

Hitting the downhill sections of trail brought about a couple of pleasant surprises. Firstly, the reasonably long wheel base and shorter amount of travel meant the Mach 429 Trail stayed level and remarkably composed, giving a predictability that allowed me to push on a little more than I would have believed.

Secondly, the controlled nature of the rear suspension. Many of my favourite trails feature doubles of around 6ft to 10ft in length and drop offs of 3ft to 5ft - take offs were smooth and the Pivot felt poised in the air. Landing 3ft drops was controlled with no bottom out, I could feel the bike absorb the impact and then recover beautifully, 5ft drops were the limit, bringing about a controlled bottom out.

For

The Mach 429 Trail is an easy bike to set up with smooth, progressive suspension that has true 'set and forget' appeal. It is also an easy bike to ride, but that is not to say it is for beginners or intermediate riders only, the saying ‘still waters run deep’ applies here, this bike can seriously motor in the right hands.

While I did not get to run the Pivot with 27.5+ wheels and tyres, I think it will open up the bikes potential to mix it up on rough terrain and will result in even more smiles per mile.

Against

No real gripes here, although as this is sold as a frameset, I’d love it to feature a threaded bottom bracket, just to make it easier to build up. Sadly press fit is the norm on most bikes these days although I’ve heard rumours that might be changing in the future…

Overall

As mentioned above, our test period saw some horrendous weather and that, in turn, brought about some pretty testing trail conditions.

Every time I looked over at the Pivot Mach 429 Trail a Mona Lisa smile tugged at my mouth and I got kitted up and headed out. That is a testament to the engaging nature of this bike, the fact that on those rides I managed to score some cups (yes, on the dreaded Strava). These were on trails that I had I set times on in the dry, which cements the fact that the Pivot is a fast bike yet easy to handle even in poor conditions.

Rarely have I ridden a bike that would complement such a broad range of riders. Beginners and intermediates will benefit greatly from its easy nature and ability to flow over the ground. More experienced or full-on riders will find it a great everyday bike that is fast and fun and a darn sight easier to get the miles in on than their enduro bike.

Friendly, fast and fun; if the Pivot Mach 429 Trail was a girl, or a boy for that matter, I’d want to go out with them.

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This review was in Issue 39 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!

Tried this? What did you think?