We thoroughly enjoyed riding the Pivot Mach 429 aluminium version a year ago, so got quite excited when the carbon version arrived.
– Photos: Dino Lloyd
Neon green – you either like it or you don’t. It certainly stands out! Colour aside though (it does come in a more subdued gun-metal gray option), the Mach 429 carbon is all about the frame, which uses, to quote Pivot, “hollow box, high-compression internal molding technology to ensure greater compaction and smoother inside walls”. Pivot claims this results in a lighter, stronger frame with the best stiffness-to-weight ratio in its class. We assume this is the carbon, 4-inch-travel dual-suss class. It uses the DW-Link suspension design, which is said to deliver optimal pedalling efficiency and minimal braking squat. There’s a 100mm-travel Fox CTD shock, custom tuned for Pivot and the geometry is a slightly relaxed 69.3 degrees (headtube) and 71.9 degrees (seattube.). Cable routing is very neat, with gear cables taken through the sides of the headtube and under the belly of the toptube; and there’s space for one bottle cage on the downtube. It’s been beautifully finished and really just looks valuable. Our test rig came with a Fox Float 29 suspension fork with 110mm of CTD-adjustable travel and a 15mm through axle. There are rubberised chainstay, inner seatstay, and downtube protectors for impact protection and a little less chain-slap noise. The wheelset was Stan’s ZTR Crest wrapped in Schwalbe Racing Ralphs. It had a Shimano XT drivetrain, shifters and derailleurs and Shimano SLX hyrdraulic disc brakes. The one criticism we had was that the front derailleur cable was vulnerable where the seatstay and seattube intersect. A longer outer cable helps change the angle, but it was still rather distracting and we had to move it a few times for fear of it snagging between the frame tubes.
Well, the timing of this test bike allowed us to ride it in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. And boy did we ride it on a lot of different trails! But the trails we most enjoyed were the rough, steep, rocky ones. Why? Well whether climbing or descending, the Mach 429 Carbon never lost its composure. And we’re talking some tricky terrain here. The patented DW-Link design, licensed only to five bike brands (Turner, Pivot, Ibis, Iron Horse and Independent Fabrication) is said to eliminate the need for shock damping and offers greater stability, more traction throughout the shock stroke and less pedal feedback. We focussed on isolating our attention to each of these elements, but it’s hard to make a call on feel alone, although we did have an overall feel of superb confidence and stability. It’s got four inches of travel (100mm), but it always felt more like five… Our Strava segment times were a good indicator of its impressive performance on the challenging climbs and descents. Its snappy acceleration was both surprising and reassuring at the same time.
As usual, we only weighed the bike at the end of our test period. The scale showed 11.89kg (without pedals), but we never felt like we were hauling that up the climbs. It certainly rides lighter than the scale reading. It skipped masterfully over rocks making us feel more skilled than we are. Could be why our (pretty skilled) testers had two hard crashes on the Mach 429 carbon (or off it, if you prefer). Cornering was generally very stable and predictable, although one of the testers’ crashes was in a corner he’s ridden hundreds of times, requiring his shin to be stitched closed at the ER. It couldn’t have been the consistently well-behaved bike. We all decided it was definitely rider error.
Only a handful of bikes have truly impressed us as much as the Pivot Mach 429 did. It’s so well balanced and appropriate for the majority of South African trails and races. Nimble enough to race XC yet comfortable enough to tackle a week-long stage race, it’s the kind of bike you upgrade to when you really want to treat yourself to something special.
*PIVOT MACH 429 CARBON
SIZES: S (17-inch); M (18.5 inch – tested); L (20-inch); XL (22-inch)
TOPTUBE LENGTH: 609.6mm
SEATTUBE LENGTH: 469.9mm
HEADTUBE ANGLE: 69.30 degrees
SEATTUBE ANGLE: 71.90 degrees
CHAINSTAY LENGTH: 448.3mm
PRICE: R49 500 (Test bike build; other build options available)
COLOUR: Gloss neon green with white graphics
FRAME: Carbon fibre
WEIGHT: 11.89kg (without pedals)
FORK: Fox Float 29 with 110mm travel, CTD adjust and Thru-Axle
REAR SHOCK: Fox Float with 100mm travel, CTD adjust and Kashima coating
SHIFTERS: Shimano XT 10-speed
FRONT DERAILLER: Shimano XT
REAR DERAILLER: Shimano XT
CRANKSET: Shimano XT 38/26
BRAKESET: Shimano SLX hyrdraulic disc with 160mm rotors
WHEELS: Stan’s ZTR Crest
TYRES: Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snakeskin 29 x 2.2
OTHERS: Specialized bars and stem; Ryder seatpost, Specialized Phenom Gel saddle
CONTACT: www.completecyclist.co.za; 086 111 6230
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 27, 2014 – All rights reserved