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  1. #1
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    Pivot Mach 429SL Carbon vs Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL vs Trek Fuel EX 9.9 or ?

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.

    I've long put off upgrading my very old ('98) Specialized hard tail Stumpy. I didn't need a fast bike since I rode mostly with my dogs and all a fast bike would do is frustrate me and kill them. But now its time to pull the trigger...on the bike not the dogs.

    I live near Boulder, CO and probably would ride fast not terribly technical cross country single track near here 75% of the time (ie The Dirty Bismarck loop) and 25% up to the mountains for climbs and descents.

    I'm not a kid, but in ok shape. 57 yo, 5'7", 138#. Figuring this is my late midlife crisis bike and a chance to have one last really good to great ride. Was thinking $5500 to as much as $7500 (ouch but whatever to get the "right" bike).

    I'm not set on any one brand. Thinking light weight since I'm not that big and am more aerobically (runner) fit than pedal mashing fit, friends tell me slack head tube angle, dropper post, best wheels and components I can justify in order of importance - rotating components first of course.

    Bikes that caught my eye so far -
    1. Pivot Mach 429SL Carbon
    2. Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL (probably with some upgrades - wheels, etc)
    Not sure it matters but the chain stay is aluminum, not carbon.
    3. Trek Fuel EX 9.9 - is probably too pricey at MSRP $8500+ (Trek needs a price point in the middle from 9.8 to 9.9)
    4. Something else ?

    Anyway, open to ideas and recommendations before I do it. I need to go test ride, but weather just got shxtty again so doing research in the meantime.

    Thanks for your help and hope you get some great rides in!
    Chuck

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    ...57 yo, 5'7", 138#. Figuring this is my late midlife crisis bike and a chance to have one last really good to great ride....
    Last really great ride? I'm in my mid 60s and bought 4 new bikes since turning 57. I'll expect I'll get a few more before expiring.

    The three you are looking at are all great bikes. IMO, aluminum vs carbon makes little difference on FS mtbs, except for saving some weight. You're light, so an overall light bike is more important than it is for heavier riders in climbing and flat speed. The EX has more travel than the other two and is optimized for a bit faster gnarlier descending and a bit less for flat speed and climbing. The Pivot has a DW link rear sus compared to Trek's ABP/Reaktiv. Lot's of little pros and cons and some will favor one over the other but they both work great.

    There are a dizzying number of other comparable bikes you could consider. There can be value in having a good LBS that carries the brand.
    Do the math.

  3. #3
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    You really need to ride them all before dropping that kind of coin. As said above, they are all great bikes. The 429SL and TF are both intended for the same purpose (XC race bikes) & it will likely come down to which one fits you best. The FEX is a trail bike and not such a direct competitor to the others (it's Pivot counterpart would be the 429Trail). You really need to find a way to demo them. I know trek and Pivot have trailers of bikes they tote around the country doing demo days. My LBS carries both brands and hosts demo days every year as well as renting demo bikes for $50-60 a day year-round that they will take off of the purchase price if you buy from them.

  4. #4
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    One thing about the SL for me was the frame weight. I was looking at making a switch from my Ripley to something with less travel as I really don't need 120mm.

    I was very seriously considering a 429 SL until I found out the frame weighs as much as my 120mm travel Ripley so I wouldn't gain anything and lose travel. If you really want lighter then go with the Trek.

    Since you mentioned the EX, it's slightly more than a 1/2 lb heavier than the SL, at that point you could look at a Ripley LS, 429 Trail as well.
    OG Ripley v2

  5. #5
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    Thanks a ton for taking the time to comment Lone Rager, notso, & TwoTone.

    Will check around Boulder / Denver for demo days as you're right, the proof is in the riding. I remember the wide range of differences in how different bikes felt last time I tested. Weight is a big concern, so thanks TwoTone for pointing out the differences.

    And Rager, appreciate the inspiration. I need to remember that while I'm not a kid, I'm a long long way from dead yet.

    Gracias

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.

    I've long put off upgrading my very old ('98) Specialized hard tail Stumpy. I didn't need a fast bike since I rode mostly with my dogs and all a fast bike would do is frustrate me and kill them. But now its time to pull the trigger...on the bike not the dogs.

    I live near Boulder, CO and probably would ride fast not terribly technical cross country single track near here 75% of the time (ie The Dirty Bismarck loop) and 25% up to the mountains for climbs and descents.

    I'm not a kid, but in ok shape. 57 yo, 5'7", 138#. Figuring this is my late midlife crisis bike and a chance to have one last really good to great ride. Was thinking $5500 to as much as $7500 (ouch but whatever to get the "right" bike).

    I'm not set on any one brand. Thinking light weight since I'm not that big and am more aerobically (runner) fit than pedal mashing fit, friends tell me slack head tube angle, dropper post, best wheels and components I can justify in order of importance - rotating components first of course.

    Bikes that caught my eye so far -
    1. Pivot Mach 429SL Carbon
    2. Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL (probably with some upgrades - wheels, etc)
    Not sure it matters but the chain stay is aluminum, not carbon.
    3. Trek Fuel EX 9.9 - is probably too pricey at MSRP $8500+ (Trek needs a price point in the middle from 9.8 to 9.9)
    4. Something else ?

    Anyway, open to ideas and recommendations before I do it. I need to go test ride, but weather just got shxtty again so doing research in the meantime.

    Thanks for your help and hope you get some great rides in!
    Chuck
    Unless you are racing, forget the 429SL, get the 429 Trail. You live in Colorado and have access to amazing terrain, the only way I'd recommend a 429SL there is if you have another bigger-travel bike and you wanted a hardcore XC racing rig for just that purpose.

    Around 120mm travel is a good starting point.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  7. #7
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    ^^^I kinda sorta agree, though there can be a wide range of types of riding, riding conditions, aspirations, and preferences. And, once you start riding a new bike in new places, all of those may change. I occasionally ride with guys on hardtails, full rigid single-speeds, fat bikes, etc. There's room for it all. That said, 120-140 FS trail bike has great versatility.
    Do the math.

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    Awesome you are getting a new ride.
    I am 55 and retired and just did the same.

    I demo rode tons of bikes over the past 3 years. Outerbike events have been invaluable.

    I too thought 429 would be a great bike for me on paper. After demo ride back to back with other bikes it was not for me. Trek was good for me and in the running. Other bikes also surprised me, both good and not as good as I was hoping.

    Bottom line. Rent, demo, ride some bikes on similar trails. It really shows the differences. Saved me from making a big dollar mistake. I ended up building up bike that I really enjoy and fits my needs well.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Figuring this is my late midlife crisis bike and a chance to have one last really good to great ride.
    Whoa whoa whoa, I'm 49 and you're not *that* much older than me.... "one last really good ride"??!! Yikes!!

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    Nice photo FastSkiguy! Is that you?

    Thanks and yes, keep rolling. Thats the mantra. Weight down, keep moving, don't get hurt, make good choices. I want to be out there for a very long time.

    I feel a bit of a slow down at 57, but some, maybe a lot, of it is personal stuff that hit in the past 2 years. Lost both parents (91 and they had a good life mostly until near the very end. So not a bad life really, but super hard for us kids keeping them afloat), then my super great dog passed of a brain tumor in August. We'd ride the Boulder open space back in the day with him flying down the trail beside me, it was a thing of beauty and shear magic.

    So I'm working to get the mojo back. A new bike is a big part of that.

    BTW, thanks all you other guys who commented in. I appreciate it a ton. And yes Stevoo, you are right and thanks for reinforcing the demoing part. I get the hots for a bike online, but need to actually crank on a few.

    Appreciate the sentiment on the 429 Jayem. Right now the plan is one bike, but maybe a second or third in the offing. My friends are loving fat bikes in this cold snowy weather.
    The Dirty Bismarck is a cross country loop and right out my door so its easy and quick. But up in the hills, would an XC bike do it, that'll be a smaller part of my riding, but I still want to do it. One ride that does it would be great, but is that reasonable to expect from one bike? Yeah, I need to demo ride. Stupid snow came in and is sticking around, not exactly great demo days.

    Thanks guys (and gals maybe?). Appreciate the help, hope to see you out there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.

    I've long put off upgrading my very old ('98) Specialized hard tail Stumpy. I didn't need a fast bike since I rode mostly with my dogs and all a fast bike would do is frustrate me and kill them. But now its time to pull the trigger...on the bike not the dogs.

    I live near Boulder, CO and probably would ride fast not terribly technical cross country single track near here 75% of the time (ie The Dirty Bismarck loop) and 25% up to the mountains for climbs and descents.

    I'm not a kid, but in ok shape. 57 yo, 5'7", 138#. Figuring this is my late midlife crisis bike and a chance to have one last really good to great ride. Was thinking $5500 to as much as $7500 (ouch but whatever to get the "right" bike).

    I'm not set on any one brand. Thinking light weight since I'm not that big and am more aerobically (runner) fit than pedal mashing fit, friends tell me slack head tube angle, dropper post, best wheels and components I can justify in order of importance - rotating components first of course.

    Bikes that caught my eye so far -
    1. Pivot Mach 429SL Carbon
    2. Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL (probably with some upgrades - wheels, etc)
    Not sure it matters but the chain stay is aluminum, not carbon.
    3. Trek Fuel EX 9.9 - is probably too pricey at MSRP $8500+ (Trek needs a price point in the middle from 9.8 to 9.9)
    4. Something else ?

    Anyway, open to ideas and recommendations before I do it. I need to go test ride, but weather just got shxtty again so doing research in the meantime.

    Thanks for your help and hope you get some great rides in!
    Chuck
    Go over to Spot and test drive the Mayhem. You are so close to them. Also with direct pricing, their builds and pricing will be difficult to beat.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Nice photo FastSkiguy! Is that you?

    Thanks and yes, keep rolling. Thats the mantra. Weight down, keep moving, don't get hurt, make good choices. I want to be out there for a very long time.

    I feel a bit of a slow down at 57, but some, maybe a lot, of it is personal stuff that hit in the past 2 years. Lost both parents (91 and they had a good life mostly until near the very end. So not a bad life really, but super hard for us kids keeping them afloat), then my super great dog passed of a brain tumor in August. We'd ride the Boulder open space back in the day with him flying down the trail beside me, it was a thing of beauty and shear magic.

    So I'm working to get the mojo back. A new bike is a big part of that.

    BTW, thanks all you other guys who commented in. I appreciate it a ton. And yes Stevoo, you are right and thanks for reinforcing the demoing part. I get the hots for a bike online, but need to actually crank on a few.

    Appreciate the sentiment on the 429 Jayem. Right now the plan is one bike, but maybe a second or third in the offing. My friends are loving fat bikes in this cold snowy weather.
    The Dirty Bismarck is a cross country loop and right out my door so its easy and quick. But up in the hills, would an XC bike do it, that'll be a smaller part of my riding, but I still want to do it. One ride that does it would be great, but is that reasonable to expect from one bike? Yeah, I need to demo ride. Stupid snow came in and is sticking around, not exactly great demo days.

    Thanks guys (and gals maybe?). Appreciate the help, hope to see you out there.
    Forget ads and reviews, this is a problem that requires iteration, unlikely you’ll find what you want with a single buy.

    Boulder has a huge number of great bikes per capita. Try and demo as many used bikes as you can. I think you might want to look into a modern high end 21-22# hardtail. I’ve found there isn’t much you can’t ride on one and they’re much more involving. Problem is they are scarce so very difficult to demo. There’s a whole ‘nother kind of bike that you’ll see at endurance races, competent hardtails and efficient fs bikes.

    Enjoy the search, maybe you need another dog?
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  13. #13
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    If I were you I'd be sure to test the Ibis Ripley LS. Light, efficient, nice head tube angle. It's a better descender than it should be. It really ticks all of the boxes for a bike in that class. Check out the GX build with an msrp of $4699, and then put a nice carbon wheelset on there. That would put you firmly within your budget.

    Also... check out the Santa Cruz Tallboy 3.

    They are both some of the most popular bikes on the forums for a reason. (they are rad!)

  14. #14
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    I'm your age, your height, but have about 4 pounds on you. For us, each pound on the bike makes a much bigger difference than for someone bigger. I ride a Pivot 429SL and it's great for me at my weight for 90% of what I ride. I had a 429 Trail and found it a bit cumbersome for most singletrack that I ride. A 429SL with a Fox 34 120mm fork would IMO opinion be a great bike for you to ride almost anything short of black diamond trails or parks.
    You can't buy happiness. But you can buy a bike. And that's pretty close.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Nice photo FastSkiguy! Is that you? .
    Yeah! I'm a fan of the perfect carve and the alpine setup is all I want to do in the winter

  16. #16
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    There's no reason to subject yourself to the steep angles of the 429SL unless you live in the midwest or are racing XC IME. I love the bike for what it is, but it's not a "quiver bike" for people in western states IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    Hey bogeydog,

    Thanks for the suggestion on the Mayhem. Golden's close and a quick at pricing on their top build, which had better components that other bikes, was less loot. Its worth a drive by. Head tube angle is 66, much slacker than others i've specs. be good to see what it feels like.

    Eri,

    Nice Mod Squad avatar, that style definitely needs to come back.
    From backpacking, I'm a little bit of a weight weenie, but with less weight I've gone farther, faster, safer if I dial the gear right, and feel A LOT less beat up. Enjoying the trail and view more all along.
    So, I think 21-22# would be great for a guy of my stature, but got to demo. Might hate how it feels or find a quiver killer, have to see.

    Yeah, almost went to look at another heeler mix the other day. If the right one shows up, maybe. If I can attach an old pic of my pack I will. I still have one dog. He's a good dog, but Stormy was just something else, close to perfect, for me, as they come.

    MudderNutter,

    Will check the Ibis, the SRAM X01 build looks good, but doesnt leave budget for wheel upgrade if even needed (I looked really fast). The XT maybe. The Tallboy I looked at early, but I think the weight seemed high end?

    BmanInTheD -
    I'm not going to do any big drops that my younger friends might try. So do I need a bike made to do that? To me thats (an aging want-a-be dragging around more bike than needed. A few demos will narrow the type, doubt I'm going to find that kind of bike to demo, but hoping trying lesser builds of a model will give me a rule in rule out idea.

    Fastskiguy -

    I just got back from Zermatt. Was fun for the experience of travel and a small Swiss ski town. wine, cheese, chocolate...yes please! The skiing meh. Had a lot of storms which in Colorado I'd have been dancing in the lift line. There, it closed most of the mountain and the parts that did eventually open got skied off fast. I took a distracted fall one day and tweaked my rotator cuff. It happens, but made me wonder if the upper body guard set I'm trying out for mountain biking may be good for skiing/boarding. If you haven't considered protection, check Leatt Body Protector 3DF AirFit Lite. As I said above, Rule #3 Don't get hurt. I've seen too many peeps near my age with activity ending or activity limiting injuries.

    Jayem -
    Yeah, agree. Need to see what a slack bike feels like versus a cc one. As soon as this snow melts, will go "sit" on a few. Thanks for not letting me lock in on a type. Like blonds or red heads, they ...oh nevermind, this is a family web site....

    Stormy and Shadow one May day on the Flatirons Vista trail near Boulder. It was good, damn good...
    Pivot Mach 429SL Carbon vs Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL vs Trek Fuel EX 9.9 or ?-img_0736.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    check Leatt Body Protector 3DF AirFit Lite. As I said above, Rule #3 Don't get hurt. I've seen too many peeps near my age with activity ending or activity limiting injuries.
    Sounds like a great trip even with sketchy snow. Protection.....never really thought of it but now that I'm approaching <cough>50<cough> I might have to think about it. I hear you, staying away from injury is super key!

  19. #19
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    I liked the 429 Trail a lot as well. It was one of the best riding bikes that I rode at Interbike 2015. This was my review:

    https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...h-116mm-travel
    Dirt Merchant Bikes
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    Seattle area dealer for Turner Bikes & Cleary Bikes

  20. #20
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    Interesting new comer to the segment

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/first-...e-xc-2018.html
    OG Ripley v2

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by crcross View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0736.jpg 
Views:	70 
Size:	133.0 KB 
ID:	1184580
    Each time I scan by that pic it looks like a two-headed dog.
    Do the math.

  22. #22
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    Hey All,

    Sorry, got busy with everything, looking at bikes and demo'ing. I demo'ed a Trek 9.8 SL and an Ibis Ripley. The Ibis felt amazing each time I pedaled it. Fast, efficient, capable, responsive. The Trek felt very good too, just didn't feel as secure on the trail, but it had 2.2 tires versus the 2.6's on the Ibis. A friend suggested that they were different bikes and a like for like comparison was difficult. I thought about going back and demo'ing the Pivot 429 trail, but thats not exactly cheap to do.

    I just ordered the Ibis with the X01 Eagle build from Competitive Cyclist with 942 carbon wheels. Its a far better bike than I am rider, but once in you're life everyone should have a bike like that right.

    Thanks everyone for your input and laughs (two headed dog, what?). This was an important decision for me and others experience and knowledge helped getting me there.

    Have fun, be safe, make good choices, and don't forget, you only go around once. Live a little.

    Chuck

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