linky: Pivot 2013 Mach 429 Carbon: First Ride | Bicycling Magazine
When it came time to remake the Mach 429 trail 29er, Pivot owner Chris Cocalis and his designers took their sweet time. Why rush it, he must have thought? The existing aluminum model rode superbly, had thousands of happy customers and was one of the top 29ers available. But since its introduction, competitors had introduced high-performance carbon models that weighed less and cost about the same.
So Cocalis spent two years developing the carbon Mach 429, obsessing over every detail. Pivot unveiled the new bike this summer in Park City, Utah, and we took it for a few test laps on the stellar singletrack network at nearby Deer Valley resort.
As one would expect, the carbon 429 is stiffer and lighter than its aluminum counterpart—Cocalis claims it’s 12 percent more rigid and .375 pounds lighter. Pivot also made subtle but important tweaks to the bike’s geometry. Designers relaxed the head tube by .3 degrees and lowered the bottom bracket 1 inch. Even more significantly, Pivot trimmed the chainstays from 18 inches to 17.65 inches to make the bike more maneuverable. Pivot also increased the standover clearance across the range of sizes—the small size has a whopping 1.5 inches of additional clearance. The bike’s DW-link suspension remains essentially unchanged, although the shock has a shorter stroke and higher air volume to accommodate a wider range of rider weights.
Cocalis paid careful attention to the details. The carbon 429 has internal routing for the cables, which enter the top tube and exit below the shock mount on the seat tube through a nifty removable window that should make replacing cables easy. To make the model more capable for rougher trails, engineers added ISCG 05 chainguide tabs and dropper-post guides. The new model also features a pressfit 92 bottom bracket, direct-mount front derailleur, tapered headtube and 12x142mm rear axle. Rubberized leather protects the bottom of the downtube and drive-side chainstay from rock strikes and dropped chains.
The playful carbon 429 has shorter chainstays and a lower bottom bracket.
The bike should be available in November. Frames will run $2,800 and complete bikes will start at about $4,400.
After a few miles I reached a simple conclusion: If you like the current Mach 429 you’ll love the carbon version. The bike’s suspension feels similar to the previous version, which means it works great. It is sensitive and supple over small choppy bumps, but ramps up smoothly to absorb bigger hits. Pedaling is crisp without any excessive movement, yet the rear end reacts to even small stones, ruts, roots and other trail hazards that could send a bike with a less-active suspension design skipping over the trail with little traction.
The bike's steering precision beging with the sleek, stiff, tapered headtube.
Compared to the aluminum model, the carbon 429 feels more playful, thanks to the updated geometry. The front end steers lighter and is easier to loft over obstacles—no doubt the shorter chainstays are to thank. With a lower bottom bracket, the bike also has a lower center of gravity, which not only adds stability, but also makes the rider feel like he or she is steering from within the bike, rather than from on top. The changes make the 429 a more capable descender and I was able to lean hard into corners even on Kenda’s fast-rolling Slant Six tires—when they eventually let go, I could still control the bike’s two-wheel drift.
Even though the March 429 is marathon racer and trail bike at heart, its more aggressive frame prompted me to take on tougher trails, including portions of Deer Valley’s Swamp Fire—a steep, rough, downhill track. The 429 handled remarkably well at speed and sailed confidently over the two- to three-foot drops—though it did bottom out hard on the largest drops, but so would any 100mm-travel XC bike. What impressed me most was how predictably it handled—it even gapped a small double jump without flinching.
I finished the short test ride on some classic high-speed singletrack where the 429’s big wheels and stiff frame allowed it to carve smooth arcs. This was just one short ride, but I was impressed with the new bike—it took a great design and made it even better. It was well worth the wait. Stay tuned for a full-review soon.
From rough DH trails to smooth singletrack, the 429 carbon handled it all.
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