Considering the success of the aluminum Pivot Mach 429, one might think Pivot could simply create a carbon copy (get it?) and call it a day. Not inclinded to rest on their laurels, however, Pivot took what they
learned from the original 429, further revised
the geometry and dw-link suspension, and
pushed the limits once again with the Mach
WHO ARE THESE MADE FOR?
With its lighter weight and stiffer frame, the 429 Carbon
is more versatile than the aluminum 429—and that is saying
a lot. Versatility was a highlight of the original 429. We’ve
seen aluminum 429s raced in cross-country events, used for
endurance events, and ridden as a do-it-all trailbike and, in
each case, they put a smile on the face of the rider.
To illustrate the very different roles their new frame can
play, Pivot set us up with two 429 Carbon test bikes, each
built with a different rider in mind. One bike was spec’ed
as the ultimate trailbike, designed to rip both up and down
trails. The other was spec’ed as a featherweight cross-
country rig bent on crushing climbs and getting to the finish line first. We’ll call it the 429 XC.
WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM?
Pivot places a high priority on frame stiffness to get the
most performance out of their full-suspension platforms.
Like the Mach 5.7 Carbon, the 429 Carbon’s frame is
formed using Pivot’s own hollow-box internal molding
process, resulting in a denser carbon structure with
smoother internal walls. According to Pivot, this creates a
lighter, stiffer and stronger frame.
The frame’s tubes are noticeably more robust to improve
lateral stiffness, and the 429 Carbon uses a 1 1/8-inch to
1 1/2-inch tapered head tube; 92-millimeter, Press-Fit
bottom bracket; and a 142x12-millimeter rear thru-axle.
The one-piece carbon rear triangle is also connected via
oversized dw-link pivot axles.
Pivot Mach 429 Trail
Pivot Mach 429 XC
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Each bike is essentially a dream build for its intended
use. With the beautiful design, execution of the carbon
frames and the no-holds-barred parts specs, it’s hard to
know where to focus your attention.
Both bikes are equipped with Fox Factory-series
suspension components with Kashima coating and
CTD damper technology. The 429 Carbon is designed
to work with either a 3.9- or 4.7-inch fork. The 429
XC build featured a 3.9-inch Fox Float, and our trail
build came equipped with a 4.7-inch fork.
Fox tunes the shocks specifically for Pivot’s dw-link
rear suspension. This design needs very little assistance from the shock to provide a firm pedaling platform for the rider.
The trail build got the top-of-the-line Shimano treatment. The XTR 2x10 drivetrain featured their Shadow Plus rear
derailleur, and XTR Trail
brakes handled the stopping
duties—and then some. The DT Swiss wheelset featured bulletproof 240 hubs and tubeless-ready XM
450 TL rims.
The KS LEV is a favorite dropper seatpost, so we
were naturally pleased to find the 4.9-inch-drop version on our green machine.
Our black 429 Carbon was decked out as if it were ready to be wheeled to the starting line of a World Cup cross-country race. SRAM’s new
XX1 1x11 drivetrain feels right at
home on this build, keeping the
overall weight down and the
cockpit clutter-free thanks
to the single Grip Shift. In
true Pivot fashion, they
even machined an elegant,
anodized cover for the
unused, direct front-derailleur mount.
The Magura MT-8 brakes feature a carbon lever and are
some of the lightest brakes available. To top off this light-weight build, Pivot equipped our race bike with DT Swiss
carbon tubular wheels.
HOW DO THEY PERFORM?
Moving out: Setting up the 429 Carbon is incredibly easy. Pivot takes the guesswork out of the equation by
including a sag gauge on the shock. The rider position was
slightly different on each bike, thanks to different cockpit
geometries, but the rider weight placement felt similar—fairly neutral with a slight rearward bias.
The trailbike came with a 90-millimeter stem
with positive-rise, 29.5-inch-wide handlebars and a taller
stack height under the stem. This setup, along with the
slacker head angle created by the longer fork, had us sitting up in a taller, more relaxed position.
The race build took a more aggressive approach,
with a 110-millimeter stem flipped for a negative rise and
27.5-inch bars set 10 millimeters lower on the steerer tube.
The more-aggressive, forward-leaning race position gave
credence to the claim that the 429 Carbon can fill multiple
Cornering: Pivot wanted the 429 Carbon to roll like a
29er but turn like a 26er. Mission accomplished. From the
first switchback we tackled, we knew Pivot had hit on
something special. The 429 can carve very tight lines
around corners, and the short rear end follows without
Its nimble nature isn’t the whole story, though. The 429
also gets it done on fast sweepers where the stiff chassis
and dialed suspension really shine. The dw-link keeps the
rear end active and hooked up.
Drop the KS LEV seatpost and the 429 gets even
better in the cornering department. Being able to move the
bike around underneath us without the saddle getting in
the way increased our confidence and performance.
While we couldn’t drop the saddle on the fly on
the race build, the supple Geax Saguaro sew-up tubular
tires certainly added something to the mix. We had to
experiment with tire pressure, but the tubular tires’ ability
to conform to the trail surface was seriously impressive.
Climbing: Pivot has a reputation for building bikes with
class-leading climbing ability. So with two carbon rocket
ships at the ready, we knew we were in for a treat. The
dw-link suspension does a great job balancing a snappy
feel at the pedals with enough give to eat up climbs littered with square-edge bumps and keep the rear wheel
gripping the trail.
Thanks to a beefier tire setup, a dropper post and
other trail-specific amenities, the trail build is 5 pounds
heavier than the race version. Even with the additional
weight, however, the 429 gets up and goes.
At just over 23 pounds with pedals, our race
build could hold its own against the lightest 29er, full-suspension race bikes we’ve ridden. As snappy as the trail
build felt, the featherweight race bike was on another
level. The tubular wheels shined on the climbs. With their
low rotational weight, any bit of effort was met with
instant acceleration, and the added suppleness of the tires
helped the bike stick like glue to the trail.
Descending: Twenty-niners all have one trait in common: let them roll on an open descent, and they’ll take off
like a runaway freight train. The big wheels come through
when you let it loose on descents. The suspension eats up
trail chatter and inspires confidence, especially for a short-travel trailbike.
Once again, dropping the KS LEV post pushed
our trail build to new highs. With the wide tires, extra
inch of travel up front and the resulting 1-degree-slacker
head angle, we found ourselves charging hard on descents
that normally inspire more reserve when we are riding a
4-inch-travel bike. In rougher trail conditions, however, we
found ourselves wishing for an extra inch of travel in the
rear as well to better match the fork’s plushness.
The race-oriented riding position of our light-
weight build tested riders’ downhill skills more than the
point-and-shoot trail model. When compared to other race
bikes, however, the 429 is clearly a front runner in the
descending department, even if it can’t compete with its
Braking: The dw-link suspension is designed to provide
a solid pedaling platform and separate braking and suspen-
sion forces. The rear end follows the contour of the trail,
even under heavy braking, and doesn’t lock up and skip
around. This is an especially critical feature for light-weight bikes that have a tendency for the rear end to
break loose quite easily.
With an active suspension platform under
heavy braking and a set of Shimano XTR Trail
brakes, you just can’t go wrong. Confidence is the
Just like the trail model, the race build performed really well in the braking department. While
the Magura MT-8s don’t feel nearly as powerful as
the XTR stoppers, they are asked to stop a much
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The Kenda Honey Badger tires were okay in
most conditions, but we found an extra bit of performance on our loose-over-hardpack trails with a set of
WTB Wolverines. The swap gave us a more confident
bite in corners, allowing us to push the bike even
harder. It also saved a few ounces.
The tubular tire setup isn’t a standard build
kit offered by Pivot, and that may be for
the best. While the ride is incredibly supple and smooth, a
tubular setup means that the tire and tube are sewn together and need to
be bonded to the rim with a specific gluing
process. This is not an easy task, and certainly
not one you want to deal with when you suffer a
puncture 15 miles from home.
Picking a favorite between these two bikes
comes down to the rider. As a daily driver, we
would clearly gravitate toward the trail build;
however, if we were looking to crush a time on a
climb or enter a cross-country race, of course we
would choose the race build. The beauty is that
both of these scenarios are possible with one
Pivot has always impressed us with the quality
craftsmanship and attention to detail that go into
every one of its topnotch performers. The Mach
429 Carbon is no exception. With quick, confident handling and a dialed pedaling platform that
blends race efficiency with trail comfort, the
Pivot Mach 429 Carbon is simply one of the best
29er trailbikes we have ever swung a leg over.
Whether you are looking to build a super-light-weight race bike or an all-around, trail-devouring
machine, Pivot can dial in a Mach 429 Carbon
This test first appeared in the June 2013 issue of Mountain Bike Action Magazine
. Every month (we have 12 issues a year because we never take a month off) contains bike tests, product tests and everything related to mountain biking. You can start a subscription by clicking here.