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  1. #1
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    Scalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL

    First time posting here and looking for some buying advice. I'm riding a 2017 Trek Fuel EX 8 (aluminum) with low range components. I'm looking at two bikes, the Scalpel Si Carbon 4 and the Pivot Mach 429 SL. The guys I ride with are all on Scalpels, and I have a tough time keeping up (the engine is the main reason). I do want a racier and lighter bike with better components, even though most of my time is trail riding when I'm solo (and it turns into XC when riding with them). I like the Scalpel because it's always what I'm chasing, but I like the Pivot a lot.

    Any advice would be appreciated, including other bikes I should be thinking about. I'm working on the engine part!

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    Scalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL

    Does the pivot you are looking at have fox 34 set at 120?

    I don’t have anything against the looks of the Cannondale, but I would lean towards the Pivot for my terrain and a great all around bike you could take around the country and ride almost anything.

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  3. #3
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    Yes.

  4. #4
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    Thanks FJ. That's pretty much how I'm leaning. I really appreciate the input.

  5. #5
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    Is there an updated 429SL coming our way anytime soon?

    Seems to be getting a bit long in tooth.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  6. #6
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    I cannot speak for the Cannondale but after attending several Outerbike demo events the 429SL has always been my favorite cross country ride. It is just so easy to ride fast and for rocky terrain in AZ where I live it is really ideal. Love the way the bike seems to dig in going up hill providing excellent traction. Even if the Cannondale rode just as well I think I would steer clear because of the proprietary components and wheel builds. I like to try new equipment to compete with my friends and in races and don't want to put my money into equipment that can only fit one bike...the Cannondale. If the equipment purchases are not a concern then borrow a buddy's Cannondale and give it a go. If you fail in love then get it. You wont be disappointed with either..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndoAgain View Post
    I cannot speak for the Cannondale but after attending several Outerbike demo events the 429SL has always been my favorite cross country ride. It is just so easy to ride fast and for rocky terrain in AZ where I live it is really ideal. Love the way the bike seems to dig in going up hill providing excellent traction. Even if the Cannondale rode just as well I think I would steer clear because of the proprietary components and wheel builds. I like to try new equipment to compete with my friends and in races and don't want to put my money into equipment that can only fit one bike...the Cannondale. If the equipment purchases are not a concern then borrow a buddy's Cannondale and give it a go. If you fail in love then get it. You wont be disappointed with either..
    Ditto.. go Pivot. Interchangeable components, great frame design, dw link suspension,... great bikes !

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    Thanks Endo. I wish I could hop on one of those Scalpels but they're all XLs! Too big. I also really appreciate your point about how propieratry the Cannondale's are. Not good. Pivot just keeps looking better.

  9. #9
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    Rocky Mountain Element could also be interesting, I did a demo on regular one (120f/100r), loved it both on trail and on techy terrain, single lever suspension lockup was awesome for climbs and somehow suspension felt like it is bigger then it actually was.

  10. #10
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    The 2019 Scott Spark 900 series bikes are Fox 34SC, 120/120, will take 2.6 tires, have current trail oriented geo and are very light. 25.35 lbs for the Premium.
    https://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/p...icle=269754007

  11. #11
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    I have a 429SL. It's absolutely an XC race machine and not a trail bike. For mild terrain or midwestern, it'd make a fine XC bike all around for some people. For others, 20mm more travel wouldn't hurt. I got the bike for racing. I run it with either a 100mm 32 SC or a 120mm 34 SC. I notice the different in slower handling and harder climbing with the 120. I think it rides just fine with the 100mm and you get the benefit of being able to make quick line changes and avoid trees fast. With 29er wheels, it's in no danger of endoing. The 120mm fork is nicer on longer rides like some of the endurance races I do (100 miles), but I don't see it as a necessity. If you aren't going to race much, 120mm would be fine, but the bike is at it's best with 100 IME.

    This is not the bike to take to Sedona and do all of the cool tech trails. It's ability is better with the 120mm, wider tires and a bigger front brake, but you are taking the frame out of it's element and you should really be on at least a 429 Trail at that point.

    It's a very stiff frame, great power transmission. It's hard to get caught in too-high of a gear, because it seems you can always just stand and put the power down and get out of a bogging situation due to the efficiency and power transmission. Does not ride harsh, rides balanced IMO.

    I did get a crack in the frame near the main-DW pivot after a couple seasons. If you check in the Pivot forum, there are several of us with the older pre-2017 fame that appear to have had the same thing. They warrantied it and I have a 2018 frame now, which has some subtle re-designs on the front and rear triangle, plus is now boost.

    I got the frame for XC racing and while I kind of wanted a little bit more open main-frame for a bigger front bag, I have to say the bike did everything I wanted during these races and was fun to ride. For my purpose, I wouldn't want more travel and I felt it was plenty competitive at the high expert XC race level, with several top 10 finishes and up to a 2nd with competitive riders. Geometry is a little older, but you can make that up with a shorter stem, the appropriate frame size for your reach, and adjusting the seat a bit, nothing huge and it rides just fine. Again to be able to make quick line changes, avoid an obstacle or tree a moment's notice, it's great and I wouldn't want to sacrifice these qualities.

    Other bikes I was considering were the Turner Sultan (at the time) and Ibis Ripley. Now, some of the bikes like the Cannondale are damn near as efficient as a DW Link, at least to the point where you won't notice IMO, due to single-ring drivetrains that have freed up the designers and engineers to get good pedaling and suspension traits out of the bikes. This is why the Specialized Epic has gone single-pivot now too IMO. One of the reasons I got the Pivot though was company support and a design that could be serviced for year after year riding, as well as the reputation for lateral stiffness. There are definitely lighter XC frames.

    Scalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL-img_5490-edited-s.jpg
    Scalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL-img_5230.jpgScalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL-31950253_1927943347239463_5810010378234494976_n.jpg
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  12. #12
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    Scalpel Si Carbon 4 vs Pivot Mach 429 SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This is not the bike to take to Sedona and do all of the cool tech trails. It's ability is better with the 120mm, wider tires and a bigger front brake, but you are taking the frame out of it's element and you should really be on at least a 429 Trail at that point.

    Great feedback, but...

    I do happen to love my 100/120 capable bikes in Sedona. There are about 2 spots I walk. 1 of the switch back descents (like a 20 foot section) on hiline and the big roller drop on lower hangover. Everything else, it’s plenty for me. Just one man’s preference.

    I like to ride the bike that’s best for 99.9percent of the trail. If I have to walk the one 6 foot drop to flat to protect my frame so be it.

    Tons of guys shredding our trails on 429sl which I would say are chunkier and at times harder, but these are usually very skilled fast riders.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Great feedback, but...

    I do happen to love my 100/120 capable bikes in Sedona. There are about 2 spots I walk. 1 of the switch back descents (like a 20 foot section) on hiline and the big roller drop on lower hangover. Everything else, it’s plenty for me. Just one man’s preference.

    I like to ride the bike that’s best for 99.9percent of the trail. If I have to walk the one 6 foot drop to flat to protect my frame so be it.

    Tons of guys shredding our trails on 429sl which I would say are chunkier and at times harder, but these are usually very skilled fast riders.


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    The pic above is the "chute" on highline, but it's a sketchy affair on this bike. If I'm remembering right, that's the first really technical feature, where you are on a flat and then come to the steep chute between the rocks, then it stays pretty technical from that point on. This is absolutely not the bike for that kind of stuff. I think further on there were 2 spots that I walked down. I was riding with pro riders, and highly skilled riders. I'm no slouch and these guys are in the top % descending skills-wise. The one that did ride everything had a 120 34 fork as opposed to my 100 32, which I think would be a defining factor, but he also broke that frame from that kind of riding. These were our XC rigs for the race and they were way outgunned on those trails. On other trails, not as much, but if you like to hit the odd drop, launch, etc, you really should be looking for something beefier. This is a good XC race bike, a good XC bike, a good midwest FS bike, but not a good Sedona bike for Highline, the Hogs, Hangover, etc.

    To contrast, this bike was pretty decent in Austin chunk. Austin definitely has some chunky riding, but nothing I rode was as challenging as some of the steeps in Sedona and there was many more miles of tamer terrain to really rail on. You can really rail on this bike in places like Bentonville too.

    For what you are talking about, I think a heavier-designed bike with more relaxed geometry like the SB100 would be far better. It's not just about the travel, it's about the geometry and strength of the frame. The 429SL is an XC bike, based on my use and experience. For the OP, I think those are both pretty racy bikes, the C-dale probably moreso.
    Last edited by Jayem; 12-11-2018 at 09:36 PM.
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  14. #14
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    I own the Scalpel si and I have demoed the 429sl. Both ride similar. I think the Pivot is more cushy and the Scalpel is more efficient/precise. Scalpel also has 2 water bottle cage mounts within the triangle. You won’t regret either bike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    The pic above is the "chute" on highline, but it's a sketchy affair on this bike. If I'm remembering right, that's the first really technical feature, where you are on a flat and then come to the steep chute between the rocks, then it stays pretty technical from that point on. This is absolutely not the bike for that kind of stuff. I think further on there were 2 spots that I walked down. I was riding with pro riders, and highly skilled riders. I'm no slouch and these guys are in the top % descending skills-wise. The one that did ride everything had a 120 34 fork as opposed to my 100 32, which I think would be a defining factor, but he also broke that frame from that kind of riding. These were our XC rigs for the race and they were way outgunned on those trails. On other trails, not as much, but if you like to hit the odd drop, launch, etc, you really should be looking for something beefier. This is a good XC race bike, a good XC bike, a good midwest FS bike, but not a good Sedona bike for Highline, the Hogs, Hangover, etc.

    To contrast, this bike was pretty decent in Austin chunk. Austin definitely has some chunky riding, but nothing I rode was as challenging as some of the steeps in Sedona and there was many more miles of tamer terrain to really rail on. You can really rail on this bike in places like Bentonville too.

    For what you are talking about, I think a heavier-designed bike with more relaxed geometry like the SB100 would be far better. It's not just about the travel, it's about the geometry and strength of the frame. The 429SL is an XC bike, based on my use and experience. For the OP, I think those are both pretty racy bikes, the C-dale probably moreso.
    This past trip to Sedona I was on a Top Fuel with a 120 fox 34 up front and a KS carbon dropper. It does make a big difference. I wouldn’t want anything other than that bike and can pretty much ride Hogg’s no dab on it. MOST people would not like a bike with this little travel and geometry on those trails, though, but I value good excellent climbing and light weight for trials moves and my style.

    If you come back to Austin, hit me up. Most of Austin is not mapped. I live off the Greenbelt and have some fantastic routes that hit all of the challenging stuff and 200 ft/mile. If you want big hit and steep stuff, you will never ever find it without being taken there and it is elsewhere in town.

    Another bike that should be excellent in theory is the Intense sniper trail! That should be a really fast 120/120 bike if you are a lighter rider. Frame is 200 pound weight limit.




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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    This past trip to Sedona I was on a Top Fuel with a 120 fox 34 up front and a KS carbon dropper. It does make a big difference. I wouldn’t want anything other than that bike and can pretty much ride Hogg’s no dab on it. MOST people would not like a bike with this little travel and geometry on those trails, though, but I value good excellent climbing and light weight for trials moves and my style.

    If you come back to Austin, hit me up. Most of Austin is not mapped. I live off the Greenbelt and have some fantastic routes that hit all of the challenging stuff and 200 ft/mile. If you want big hit and steep stuff, you will never ever find it without being taken there and it is elsewhere in town.

    Another bike that should be excellent in theory is the Intense sniper trail! That should be a really fast 120/120 bike if you are a lighter rider. Frame is 200 pound weight limit.




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    I might, I'm down that way occasionally and sometimes I bring my bike. I've ridden the greenbelt and that's a nice in-city system to get some miles in for sure. I have to go to Dallas every few months for work and my parents live in San Antonio. I've ridden some pretty chunky stuff in Dallas and to the North as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I might, I'm down that way occasionally and sometimes I bring my bike. I've ridden the greenbelt and that's a nice in-city system to get some miles in for sure. I have to go to Dallas every few months for work and my parents live in San Antonio. I've ridden some pretty chunky stuff in Dallas and to the North as well.
    Greenbelt is a massive area. There are 60+ miles of trails in there, but most people only ride the main trail that is 15 miles out and back since that’s all that is really “mapped”. Nothing in Dallas is nearly as serious as the back trails of the GB. We have a fondo event coming up that will cover a 50 mile route. Strong skilled marathoners will probably do it in 8-9 hours.


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