Ah yes, the Mach 429 Carbon. Trumpeted by my peers, Pivot, and numerous media mouthpieces as a ?do-it-all? trailbike, my anticipation to ride such a lauded bike was palpable. So, after parting the horde of onlookers at the Outerbike demo event in Moab this year, I was giddy to be gifted the opportunity to take the Pivot out for a brief hour spin on some intermediate-tech singletrack. After all, my weapons of choice usually fall into the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc/Niner RIP9 RDO realm, and some a shade bit more nimble with similar geometry/capabilities sounded right in my wheelhouse.
Nimble it was - instant power transfer was synonymous with pedaling. The polyamorous union of shorter stays, rearward axle path, short travel, and light swingarm developed razor-sharp handling. The slacker head angle, long front-center, and big wheels kept the playful nature of the bike in check whipping through berms and flat corners. Unfortunately, the very aspects that make the bike fun also bled through when the going got rough. I?m not a bigger guy (150-160lbs), but have the riding finesse of a yak powered by a pro road racer?s cardio system...that likes to go airborne. The 429 was quickly overwhelmed in the rougher stuff and repeated small, fast bumps would cause the rear suspension to pack up and run through its travel at a fairly rapid rate. The often-spec?d Fox 32 was not quite up to the par for trailriding duties, suffering the same fate as the 4-inch rear end.
That said, the Mach 429 is a perfect alternative to many short-travel XC race platforms in the 29er world, and will likely delight anyone coming from a hardtail bike. The playfulness, low weight, and relaxed geometry makes it perfectly suited to areas with smooth trails and a general lack of technical features.
Unfortunately, Pivot claims to not have any longer-travel bikes on 29ers in development, and those looking for something more rowdy would be better suited investigating the Ripley, Tallboy LTc, or RIP9 RDO.