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Product Review - Pivot Mach 429 Carbon

Posted by: Jens Raz |November 13, 2013 2:30 AM
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Pivot Mach 429 Carbon - Long Term Review

While 29” bikes started out in XC hardtail territory, the more recent onslaught of All Mountain 29ers is enough to get your head spinning.   While the plethora of 29” offerings from companies like Santa Cruz, Niner, Ibis, and many others suggests market saturation, competition has driven manufacturers to develop that "perfect” bike for all situations. 

 

In this review, I provide an in-depth look at one of the more recent 29er mid-travel offerings from Pivot Cycles, the Mach 429 Carbon.  While I am not one to compare every detail specification of a bike, nor smart enough to draw conclusions from seemingly minor details such as such as stiffness to weight ratio, seat angles, or bottom bracket type – I am a true believer in forming my opinion from riding a bike in lots of different conditions over a long time.  There is simply no replacement for saddle time and after flogging the Mach 429 over the last five months, I have formed lots of opinions.

 

 

The Bike

Pivot offers the Mach 429 in a wide variety of options: alloy, carbon, and with component packages ranging from XT/SLX to a full XX1.  All of the bikes come with a Fox 32 CTD 120 fork variant and the Float CTD shock with Kashima coating. 

 

My setup consisted of an XL Mach 429 carbon frame with a Thompson stem and a custom component set that included an XX1 drivetrain with Hope Tech brakes and Stan’s wheels with Continental rubber – a detailed component spec can be found at the end of the review.   My bike weight ranged from 24lbs. to 26 lbs. depending on whether it was set up more geared to XC or all mountain. You can see the difference in set up at the bottom of the review.

 

The frame of the Mach 429 sports a slightly longer top tube than many of its competitors.  The bigger sizing gives taller folks like me a better fit and overall position on the bike without having to resort to an extra-long 120mm stem that could adversely affect descending.  The frame also sports a number of additional features that demonstrate the company’s attention to detail.  The rubberized and integral chain stay protector is a nice touch.  Luckily the protector has not seen much (ab)use thanks to the XX1 derailleur.  The exterior routed cables are also great for anyone who is not in touch with their inner professional mechanic. It is much easier to change, or adjust for the average user. This is particularly welcome if something brakes during a long 24 hour race or in the middle of a long weekend away from home.  Finally, the bike has two welcome water bottle mounts; one inside the triangle and one below the down tube. Unfortunately, the Fox shock makes it a bit difficult to remove and replace the bottle inside the frame, especially under pressure when the rebound adjuster can snag the bottle.  A friend, Guy [local DDS] suggested reversing the shock, which helped that problem.  A quick call to Fox confirmed that there are no negative consequences with this change.

 

The Suspension

Pivot is using suspension designed by Dave Weagle, the DW Link. Dave left his mark on the mountain bike world many times over the last decade and is designing suspension systems that are used by several mountain bike manufacturers on XC, AM, and DH bikes.  For the Mach 429, Pivot decided to use 100mm of rear suspension and 125mm of front fork travel – enough to rip down most mountains yet not so much that it hindered my climbing.  The linkage feels very stiff laterally and is a nice match with the rear thru axle.  There is no harsh bottom-out and the suspension feels responsive to bumps without wallowing under hard acceleration. 


The Fox CTD shock offers three settings, downhill, trail, and climb, that can be changed with a flip of a switch. Most of my time is spent in the trail setting. Indeed it works so well that I often forget to change it when it gets steep (both up and down).  All in all, I probably only spend 10% of my time using the climb position and 20% in the descend position.

 

The Ride

Over the last five months, I have ridden the Mach 429 for nearly 1000 miles in a lot of different conditions.  Most of my riding was done in beautiful, if dry, San Diego on lots of different trails ranging from singletrack, switchbacks, and more mundane fireroads and even paved roads to get to some of the trails.  In addition to many trails in San Diego such as in San Juan, or Noble Canyon, I spent my first week on the bike racing at Sea Otter. At the urging of my brother I even raced the downhill for fun.  While my bike was not set up to fly over the many jumps, it handled surprisingly well for the bike it was.  My main event was the Sea Otter Cat 1 XC race.  Admittedly, this was not my brightest idea after welcoming a daughter into my family.  As most parents know, sleep deprivation does not help training and my race went accordingly. Nonetheless, my initial impression of the bike’s superior handling was confirmed over and over again.  The frame and suspension were well-balanced and gave me much confidence.  I have been riding sections I would have previously walked and now feel in full control.

 

This was confirmed at Noble Canyon’s "Stairway to Hell” and a recent ride on a local trail where a 25% steep, sandy, 90-degree right hand turn caused a walk of shame. Knee deep in dust, riding the 429, I cleared the trail with no issue. With a dropper seatpost it was easy to lean back and descend even the steepest bits.   The low stand-over height made it easy to lean the bike over like Valentino Rossi too. 

The frame’s responsiveness allows mid-turn line changes without the rear end stepping out or the front wheel wallowing. You know you have a great bike when you don’t feel like you are going fast, but are accomplishing PR’s left and right.

 

The strengths of this bike are quick steering, light weight, responsive DW Linkage and its impressive stiffness. The only difficulty I found when riding was climbing steep and tight switchbacks on small loose rocks. It required more attention and input to keep the front wheel from changing it's line. I think that might be due to its quick responsive steering and shorter wheelbase.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a "do-it all” bike, you owe it to yourself to try it! The Pivot 429 Carbon is a fun "light” bike that is suitable not only for all day epics and endurance races, but also enduros and some XC type events and excels when the path points downhill.

 

Geometry and Components

 

Components

XX1 drivetrain (grip shifters) and Sram grips (30  tooth)

Thompson stem 100mm

Thompson DH bars (29.5”) for a good time, or

Easton EC70 bars (27.5”) for XC /endurance events

Hope Tech Evo brakes

King Cage

XPedo M-Force Pedals

KS Lev 125mm dropper seat post or

Thompson Elite set back post for XC/endurance events

Stan’s Crest wheels for high speed and everyday runs or

Stan’s Gold wheels for xc pain.

Continental Mountain and X-King tubeless tires and Race-Kings for XC

 

Rider stats

185 lbs.

6’3”

Suspension Set up

Fork -80psi – Trail adjust "soft" - Rebound 6 clicks out from all the way in

Shock – 150psi – Trail 2 - Rebound 4 clicks dialed in from all the way out

 

 

Mach 429 Carbon Geometry (120mm Travel Fork)

 

STL C to T
Inches (cm)

TTL
Inches (cm)


HA


BBH
Inches (cm)


WB
Inches (cm)

S

17.00(43.18)

23.00(58.42)

69.30

13.00(33.02)

43.16(109.63)

M

18.50(46.99)

24.00(60.96)

69.30

13.00(33.02)

44.17(112.19)

L

20.00(50.80)

24.75(62.87)

69.30

13.00(33.02)

44.96(114.20)

XL

22.00(55.88)

25.60(65.02)

69.30

13.00(33.02)

45.85(116.46)


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anonymous 04/14/2014 3:35 PM
Thanks!
MTB Race News 04/08/2014 8:16 AM
RBM: One of our riders is your height and she has been riding the 429 size small for over a year. She loves the ride and feels comfortable on the bike.
MTB Race News 04/08/2014 8:14 AM
The frame will easy accept a shimano 3/10 set up
RBM CB 04/07/2014 3:12 PM
would you recommend this bike if your height is 5.5' in a small? Or do think its better designed for taller peeps...
edgar 03/30/2014 11:42 PM
can i put the xtr 3/10 to mach 429?
Jim 03/15/2014 12:14 PM
I'm expecting delivery on mine next week. Similar set up, but with Am Classic Wide Lightning wheels. Can't wait to ride it!
Billy 03/03/2014 2:57 AM
Amazing sounding bike. I've had a pivot mach 4 but now looking to get a new bike. I'm torn between the 429C and the Mach 6 which is a little dearer. Have you ridden the mach 6?

http://www.freshmtbreviews.com/pivot-mach-6-carbon-review/
MTB Race News 11/12/2013 8:30 PM
We rode an XL frame
Arne 10/03/2013 11:07 AM
What size of frame do you have?
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