In the beginning, there were fully rigid XC bikes—essentially 'cross frames with bigger tire clearance. Then came moto-inspired gravity sleds with dual-crown forks that dropped in like demons but pedaled like deflated balloons. Now, we're in something of a golden age, with bikes like the Pivot Trail 429 Carbon 29 Race X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike, which doesn't pedal like a road bike or descend like a DH sled, but it does both well enough that we've yet to find its limits this side of a full-on gravity run. Though it has X01 in the title, this build is kitted out with a curated blend of X01, GX1, and even Shimano at the brakes. The result is a climb-happy one-by drivetrain that gifts riders with the granny gear of the gods, ensuring you'll have one last card to play while slugging up climbs in order to earn your laps. All of that means that, though it technically defines the middle space, the upsides are more of a happy large than a happy medium.
Perhaps the most natural place to start when diving into the new Trail is with its completely reshaped frame that gives the bike its progressive geometry. Unlike the smooth swooping top and down tubes we saw on the Mach 429 Trail, the Trail 429 is a bit more direct, with a more angular approach that brings the bike into the cutting edge with clean lines, a slacker head tube to instill confidence and composure on steep lines packed with chunky granite, and a steep seat tube that keeps you dialed in the cockpit when you push your way up punchy switchbacks laced with root lattices. On top of this new geometry, the Trail also sees a feature we've been longing for over the past generations: internal cable routing. This makes for a cleaner setup with cables that are neatly tucked away, and its done without upping the price from its externally-routed forefather.
We've had a sneaking suspicion that Pivot's Super Boost spacing wasn't just for the Switchblade, and the new Trail confirms it with a stretched out rear hub that boasts a whopping 157mm width. This wide hub means a few things: first, it allows for a stiffer bracing angle when lacing up your wheel, which translates to power, responsiveness, and control when you book it into a blind corner and are met with particularly chunky sections you weren't expecting. Next, the wide hub offers extra room for loftier tires in 29er form, and better clearance if you decide to toss in a pair of 27.5+ hoops that keep you floating through loose dust come mid-summer. Finally, the wider hub carries through to wider stays that enable the rear wheel to be tucked up closer to the seat tube, which allows Pivot to shorten the chainstays for snappy, responsive power as soon as you put your power to the pedal, along with light and nimble handling when you cook it into twisted technical trails. This translates to a ride that's confidence is (ahem) boosted through downhill sections, without jeopardizing the uphill versatility.
The wide PF92 bottom bracket anchors the stiff Super Boost axles, accommodating wider pivot placement for longer life in the suspension's bearings and a stiffer rear triangle. We suspect that the PF92/Super Boost 157mm 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.
The new Trail 429 carries on with the pivotal DW-link suspension design that you've seen on the 429 Trails of the past, keeping your traction locked in, and squat at a minimum — but with a touch of extra travel, moving the 116-millimeters of years past to a full 120-millimeters of smooth, custom-tuned suspension. The Trail's DW-Link suspension owes its capabilities to a handful of cues taken from the Mach 6 and Phoenix, teasing a virtual depth out of the 120mm travel to conquer lines that you'd previously only charge down on a proper 5-inch trail sled. 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.
Balancing the build with materials that can handle the terrain, the Trail 429 is crafted from a painstakingly precise mix of composite fibers and resin, then meticulously laid to create a frame that finds the happy medium of strength, stiffness, and weight. The chassis 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.
- A trail 29er that climbs out as well as it drops in
- 4.7in of DW-Link travel feels bottomless, but remains responsive
- 29in wheels steamroll chunky sections and carry greater momentum
- Slacker and longer for descending confidence and a roomier cockpit
- Carbon frame with Super BOOST Plus rear axle for a responsive ride
- Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro 29 carbon wheels for precise tracking
- Eagle drivetrain ensures you've always got a granny gear in reserve
- Clears 29er tires up to 2.6in for plenty of traction on rooty climbs