Pivot bikes are finally becoming something less of a rarity in Europe, so those infrequent sightings in your i-spy book might start getting some company as the Arizona-based brand continue to expand and build a pretty solid fanbase. We’ve had the Pivot Mach 429 Trail on test for the past year to see whether this versatile, all-terrain trail bike merits its position over here.

Having heaped praise on the launch of the Pivot Mach 429 Trail as a serious do-it-all bike, we were especially stoked to see whether its initial jaw-dropping first impression would last the course of the season. As it’s no secret that we’re used to longer-travel stallions, we’ll be straight with you and admit that, yes, we were a little skeptical about the Pivot’s miniscule 116 mm travel. Would this really give us enough reserves on burly trails? After nine months with the 429 Trail, it’s clear that there’s a lot of beastliness hidden in those figures!

The Pivot Mach 429 Trail definitely wasn’t handled with silky gloves, and had to step up continuously throughout the whole season.

The Pivot Mach 429 & its ride

Over the course of the test, the Pivot Mach 429 delivered a raucous, no-holds-barred performance that confirmed its status as an all-purpose weapon! Charging on the flat and zipping up the climbs like an XC bike, the 429 Trail has one of those climbing styles that can probably make you kid yourself that it’s because of from your new-fit-for-2017 self. On long rides, it’s ultra efficient and lollops up long, gravel road climbs. As the rear is achingly efficient, it’s able to consistently offer a lot of traction on techy climbs.

But have Pivot focused too much on its climbing game and overlooked the downs? Not at all! From smooth, flow trails to rutted, nasty ones, the 429 Trail brings its low weight and balanced handling to the front of the pack and rings the bell for another playful round.
Instead of being cumbersome, those big 29er hoops are in their element on mellow, high-speed sections, covering ground in maglev-style. The 429 also keeps composed when the trail gets burlier and the ruts deeper, so it’s only when your own conscious tells you that you’re perhaps better to ease off that you realize it doesn’t quite have the heavy-hittingness of its bigger brother, the Pivot Switchblade. In those situations you’ll also feel the relatively short reach, that is responsible for the playfulness to some degree, but makes the bike less stable at high speeds and in rough sections.

Changes during the season

Alongside the useful sag indicator, all the Pivot bikes come with a mega practical guide on setting up, which basically produces a great base setting so it’ll help less experienced riders to weasel out the best from their suspension. Once up and running, the recommended suspension set-up on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail actually provides a really decent performance, although it’s a little undefined at high speeds.

We added a bigger volume spacer to the FOX FLOAT DPS rear shock to up its progression and improve how it responds to big hits. We did the same up front to the FOX 34, which arguably wasn’t fully necessary in terms of comfort as it was already riding well, but it now keeps it higher in its travel and gives more feedback from the terrain.

A little flick of wonder: The FOX FLOAT DPS uses its 116 mm of travel superbly, yet even with its super efficient rear end we regularly relied on its three-stage platform damping on the long climbs.
The FOX 34 dropped into our office with three volume spacers (out of a potential six that would fit). We played around to see which set-up gave us the most stoke and decided that four was the perfect amount.

We’ve had the XTR build on test, which Pivot have specced with the ultimate parts that justify its € 8,888 price tag. But, as with any bike, an off-the-shelf build won’t suit everyone so our tester has curated certain select changes to suit his riding. The Mach 429 Trail is more than suited for getting loose on descents, but it needed a decent supply of grip – hence the call-up of a Schwalbe Magic Mary at the front and a Hans Dampf at the rear. These might even seem too burly for the Mach 429 but all they really do (other than perform skillfully) is tilt the bike’s purpose slightly more towards the descents. We’ve also gone tubeless onto the DT Swiss carbon rims.

Points of contact with the bike depend on the individual. The WTB saddle was comfortable, but had to step aside in favour of the new SQlab 612 Ergowave during testing.
The same applies to the Pivot grips, which were swapped for a pair of Ergon GE1 grips.
Seeing as the 429 Trail is such a nimble climber and it was mainly ridden in fairly low mountains, we were happy with a 32-tooth chainring. However, head into the Alps and you’d be wise to stick with the 30-tooth model that comes as stock with the bike.
The KS LEV Integra offers 150 mm of travel but if you’ve got long pins then you might appreciate more of a drop. The new RockShox Reverb with 170 mm of travel is a good option!


In the best sense of the word, the Mach 429 Trail’s carbon frame was basically a no-brainer during testing. Its paintjob has come out virtually unscathed and the bearings are all as good as new. The chainstay protector did come unstuck, but Pivot have responded and said that they’ve already come up with a more stable solution for upcoming bikes. Pivot’s choice of external cable routing does make it easier to service the bike, but you have to pay attention while cleaning it after every ride. Other than switching some brake pads and a new chain, we haven’t had to do anything else and the Shimano drivetrain has continued to perform in even the sloppiest conditions. After a hard season the suspension is now ready for a service and the bearings of the bottom bracket are not running all that smooth anymore, but these things are subject to normal wear and tear.

The Mach 429 Trail is one of those all-round killer bikes that’ll bring enduring happiness.

Please, Sir, can I have some more?

While Pivot originally launched the Mach 429 Trail with 29″ wheels, it is actually compatible with plus-size tires, which we found made a significant impact on how it handles in techy terrain thanks to their added traction and stability. However, the plus-size tires mean you’ve got a slightly lower bottom bracket height, which takes some getting used to. During testing we tried both set-ups on a regular basis, but concluded that we’d definitely go for the 29″ wheels with grippier tires, such as those we added in the long-term test.

Pivot are now also taking orders for the Pivot Mach 429 Trail for delivery with 27.5+ wheels and a spacer under the head tube to optimize the geometry for these hoops. The spacer wasn’t available during our test period yet though.
Transformer: With 2.8″ wide plus-size tires, the 429 Trail prepares to pounce as its set-up makes it even more equipped to take on the techy stuff. However, those 29ers are still a better choice for day-to-day riding.

Our thoughts

Even after a year’s worth of trails, the Pivot Mach 429 Trail ticks just as many boxes as it did when it was fresh out of the box (especially with those more aggressive tires). Way more fun than its short-travel numbers would ever let on, this lightweight trail bike has got through the season without a grumble and confirmed our first impression. Able to exploit the benefits of being a 29er while still keeping a playful and poppy edge, this superb all-rounder will appeal to a huge spectrum of riders from XC to trail and back again.

For more info on the Mach 429 Trail head to the Pivot website.

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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Valentin Rühl