Wagon-wheeled 29ers have a knack for covering miles of rolling singletrack, but there are some of us who would politely opt for a little more squish and comfort from our rides. For those of us who crave unyielding traction combined with a pedaling platform that soars up climbs Pivot brings us the 2018 Mach 429 Trail 27.5+ Race X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike. This plus-sized rig is not unlike a good beer — a little hoppy, a little smooth, well-balanced, and ultimately delicious. It hosts 4.5-inches of lively DW-link suspension tuned for trail riding, with small bump compliance that eats up roots and rocks on technical climbs, while stubby chainstays keep the rear end right underneath you for playful control and power. When you point the 429 Trail downhill you might forget for a moment that you're rolling on just 4.5-inches of travel —its plus tires and plush suspension combine to give the ride the illusion of bottomless travel.
The 429 Trail's DW-Link suspension takes a handful of queues from the Mach 6 and Phoenix, teasing a virtual depth out of the 4.5in of travel that feels closer to a proper 5in trail bike. The canny cyclist may spot elements of Pivot's DH clevis and enduro lower linkage in this model, but the new upper linkage translates those big-hit designs to the traction-focused language of a trail bike. By bringing the 429SL's small-bump compliance and race-worthy trail-contact into conversation with the Mach 6's terrain-erasing capabilities, the 429 Trail defines the crossroads where XC speed meets fearless enduro aggression.
The frame itself benefits from Pivot's hollow-core internal molding process for uniform, controlled wall thicknesses and material distribution. This process virtually eliminates inconsistencies and resin pooling, increasing structural integrity while targeting areas for weight loss. The frame emerges from the molding process with a 67.5-degree head tube angle and relatively stubby chainstays, making it slack enough to challenge lines across rock gardens but nimble enough to pick its way through enduro-grade terrain—all while sticking climbs and roosting berms in the manner that made us fall in love with its immediate predecessor, the 429SL.
The wide PF92 bottom bracket anchors the stiff Boost axles, accommodating wider pivot placement for longer life in the suspension's bearings and a stiffer rear triangle. We suspect that the PF92/Boost 148 collaboration is also responsible for the room to slam the rear wheel up and shorten the chainstays, making for even more power-transferring efficiency and the nimbleness described above.
- A well-balanced bike for powering up switchbacks and conquering descents
- 4.5in of DW-Link suspension feels bottomless but stays responsive
- Geometry sits on the slack side of moderate to clean bigger lines
- Carbon construction and boost hubs provide a responsive ride
- External cable routing reduces cost and simplifies maintenance
- SRAM's X01 and GX Eagle come together for a massive gear range and crispy shifting