Pivot's New Trail 429 - First Ride
Key changes include bumping up the rear travel from 116mm to 120mm, increasing the reach to more modern numbers for all sizes, steepening the seat tube angle, and slightly slackening the head tube angle. The Trail 429 also uses Super Boost Plus spacing, which means it has 12 x 157mm rear spacing – more on that in a moment.
Frame Details The Trail 429's carbon frame has a cleaner, less busy, and much more eye-pleasing look than the Mach 429 Trail that it replaces. The top tube angle lines up with the seat stays, and there's now a double-wishbone rear triangle. The 120mm of rear travel is still delivered by a DW-link suspension design, but the shock is tucked a little higher up between the seat tube and top tube, with wider pivots and larger bearings. There's also more room for longer travel dropper posts, thanks to a shorter seat tube on all sizes. The lower link is 25.4mm wider than before, an increase that was made possible by eliminating any front derailleur compatibility. 1x drivetrains have become the norm, and the benefits of ditching the option for front derailleur outweighed keeping it around for the few remaining fans of multiple front chainrings. There's plenty of room for a large water bottle, even on the extra-small size, and even when a shock with a piggyback reservoir is installed. The brake, dropper, and derailleur housing are all routed internally through the front triangle, with the derailleur housing emerging on the underside of the downtube and running externally below the bottom bracket shell, while the rear brake line is routed safely on top of the chainstay. Pivot have also stuck with a PressFit 92 bottom bracket — after all, they're the ones who originally developed the system. According to Chris Cocalis, Pivot's founder, their frame tolerances are tight enough that they haven't had any issues with unwanted creaking, and they see PressFit as a better system for carbon frames, one that's closer to what's used for a headset, as opposed to bonding in a threaded sleeve, and then threading in cups with bearing pressed into them.
Super Boost Plus
The Switchblade was the first bike that Pivot unveiled with SuperBoost Plus spacing, and the Trail 429 is the next model to receive a 12 x 157mm rear end paired with a 73mm bottom bracket shell. If you missed the Super Boost memo, here's the quick primer: Super Boost Plus isn't a new axle spacing standard — DH bikes have used 12 x 157mm hubs for years, but on a Super Boost Plus hub the flanges are spread further apart in order to create a better bracing angle, which in turn should create a significantly stiffer wheel.
GeometryThe Trail 429's reach numbers have increased significantly, and the size large now has a reach of 460mm, where the previous version measured in at only 423mm. The seat tube angle has been steepened to go along with the longer reach, and it's now 74°, up from 72.8°. The head angle hasn't changed quite as drastically, since Pivot wanted to preserve the bike's quick and lively handling, but it did drop from 67.5° down to 67.3° degrees. The 27.5+ version uses a 17mm lower headset cup to prevent the BB height from getting too low with the smaller wheels, but that cup is also included with the 29" version, where it can be used to slacken the head tube angle.
The other number worth noting is the chainstay length – it's been reduced from 443mm down to 430mm. In short, all of those changes bring the Trail 429 right up to speed when it comes to modern trail bike geometry without getting too radical. Pivot did experiment with an aluminum mule that had the same amount of travel but some very extreme numbers, like a 62.5° head angle and a 530mm reach on a size XL, in order to see where the limits were, but ended up settling on the current numbers in order to have a bike that handle well going up and down, and was well suited to a wide range of riders.
Specifications Riders can choose from either the Team, Pro, or Race complete bike options, and within each of those categories there's either a SRAM or Shimano option for the brakes and drivetrain. The priciest model is the Team XX1 version, which includes a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Guide Ultimate brakes, Fox Factory 34 Float fork, and Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro 29 wheels for $8,699 USD. At the other end of the spectrum is the Race XT 1x model, which has an 11-speed Shimano XT derailleur, SLX cassette and shifter, SLX brakes, Fox 34 Performance fork, and Sun Ringle Duroc wheelset for $4,699 USD. At the moment, due to the relatively limited number of Super Boost Plus wheel options on the market, Pivot is only offering the Mach 429 as a complete bike, but that could change in the future.The otherworldly terrain of Moab, Utah, served as the location for the launch of the Trail 429, which meant that there were plenty of chunky climbs and even chunkier descents on the menu for the day's ride — Mag 7 to the Portal Trail. It only takes a few pedal strokes before the bike's high level of efficiency becomes noticeable — there's a snappiness to its handling that encourages standing up and really putting the power down. I never even contemplated reaching down to flip that climb switch, since even in the fully open position there's plenty of support to keep the shock from going unnecessarily deep into its travel. Moab's trails are about as hard as it gets, and I mean that in the literal sense — they're mostly comprised of sandstone, and there's no shortage of square ledges and rocky fins that are perfectly placed to impede forward progress if you're not paying attention. The Trail 429's suspension felt rather firm over the small bumps, even with 30% sag and equipped with Fox DPX2 shock, but I was impressed with how well it handled bigger hits — a few accidental hucks to flat didn't seem to rattle it in the slightest. Of course, it usually takes more than one ride to really dial in a bike's suspension, but my initial impression is that the Trail 429 is more oriented towards pedaling than plushness, which makes sense given that there's only 120mm of travel to work with, and that Pivot has other models in their lineup for riders who'd rather aim and pray instead of picking their way through a spicy section of trail. Speaking of spicy trails, it was on the Portal Trail where the bike's limits began to appear, but that's not exactly surprising — steeper, really rough terrain isn't really where the Trail 429 was designed to excel. On that particular trail, which is comprised of multiple awkward, slower speed sections through tight rock gardens, with some higher speed portions thrown into the mix, the Trail 429 felt a little undergunned — I wouldn't have minded a little more suspension to take the edge off those jarring square-edged hits. The bike was able to handle it all, but I definitely needed to pay extra attention to my line choice and body position in order to avoid getting pushed where I didn't want to go by an erratic rock outcropping. As far as the parts list goes, it's great to see more and more trail bikes showing up spec'd properly, free from the sketchy tires, long stems, and narrow bars that seemed to be the norm on 120mm 29ers from most manufacturers just a few years ago. I'm still not sold on the WTB PadLoc grips, which are mounted to Pivot's carbon PadLoc-compatible carbon handlebar, but I do like the fact that the Trail 429 comes with a short stem, a 150mm dropper post, and proper 2.4” tires in the form of a Maxxis DHR II up front and a Rekon in the rear. Overall, the Trail 429 is a welcome evolution of the Mach 429 Trail. It hasn't lost any of the zippiness that earned the prior model a loyal following, but it now has better handling on the descents and in technical terrain. It's a trail bike through and through, with crisp pedaling performance and quick handling that make it a speedy, energetic, and entertaining ride.