Where trail meets 29.
Proper all-mountain riding has long been off limits to wagon wheel machines, but bikes like the latest Pivot Mach 429 Trail XT/XTR Pro 2x Complete Mountain Bike refuse to be excluded. The Mach 429 Trail is competent on terrain that was previously reserved for 27.5in enduro sleds, but it also excels on fast hardpack, making it one of the most versatile machines in the mid-travel range. We aren't all able to assemble a quiver of bikes, but the Mach 429 SL's versatility and the blend of Shimano XTR and XT in the double drivetrain make it the right choice for almost anything this side of gravity runs.
The key tech lies in the hub width and the linkage. The rear hub plumps out to 148mm, and the linkage incorporates elements of the big-hit Phoenix, Pivot's DH bike, in a design tailored for mid-travel that opens the rear triangle so Pivot could slam the wheel up into the seat tube. That keeps the chainstays relatively stubby so the bike strikes a playful note that we don't typically associate with wagon wheels. Despite the dice-happy back end, the Mach 429 Trail leads into terrain with a moderately slack head tube that ticks a few degrees lower than its XC-minded predecessor, the 429SL, bringing it more in line with the versatile 29in Switchblade. The front end showcases the linkage's gravity pedigree by attacking rock gardens and root lattices with stable, point-and-click tracking that doesn't wander on climbs or sacrifice handling in low-speed manuevers.
The 429 Trail's DW-Link suspension takes a handful of queues from Pivot's Mach 6 and Phoenix frames, teasing a depth out of the 116mm of travel that feels closer to a proper five-inch trail bike. The canny cyclist may spot elements of Pivot's DH clevis and enduro lower linkage in this model, but the completely 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 begins life with 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. Despite that focus on keeping weight down, areas like the bottom bracket and head tube are built-up to increase drive stiffness. Combined with the added stiffness of Boost hubs, this all-but eliminates the noodliness that we've associated with our first 29er experiences. The result is a bike that's slack enough to challenge big lines but nimble enough to pick its way through enduro-grade terrain—all while sticking climbs and roosting berms in the manner that first made us fall in love with the Mach 429 line.
- A wagon-wheel trail machine that does the work of three bikes
- 4.5in of dw-link suspension feels bottomless but stays responsive
- Playful geometry leans toward enduro up front with dice-happy stays
- Boost hubs and impeccable construction stiffen the 29er platform
- Bottom bracket designed with Shimano for stiffness and longevity
- Removable front derailleur mount for tidy one-by drivetrains
- Shimano drivetrain blends XTR and XT for all-purpose racing and riding
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Reviews & Community
mid travel all terrain monster
Have ridden this bike from the Arizona trails, California hardpack, Colorado mountains, to Michigan singletrack. This bike has just ate up everything that I have thrown at it, and just kept looking for more. It is NOT a XC race bike, not that it could be used so, as it is heavier than most 20 pound XC race bikes. It climbs with confidence, is predictable over obstacles, and within its travel can go down hill with any bike out there. Component speck is almost perfect, as I had to install a Oneup 47 tooth sprocket for more lower gearing for my replaced knees. Personal preference. The fork and shock have held up to constant abuse, on average 15 to 25 mile days, 4 days a week. With some adventure 40 to 50 mile extreme days. There are longer travel bikes out there, but most people can not use the travel, and deal with the tip over affect longer travel bikes have. As in carving through tight Michigan trails, through trees and brush areas. This bike just seems to have that uncanny ability to steer, pivot or hop around anything I throw at it. What makes a great bike? The smile on your face when you are finished with a ride, and itching to go again the next day.