Pivot Trail 429 first ride review

Modern tech proves you can do more with less

Pivot's Trail 429 is the latest version of the brand's ever-popular Mach 4 29 Trail bike. Pivot's dropping the Mach name of past iterations, but this 120mm travel 29er is still undeniably fast and fun even when blasting through terrain typically reserved for longer travel bikes.

Pivot Trail 429 highlights

  • Full carbon frame
  • 130mm / 120mm front and rear travel, can take up to 140mm fork
  • 29in and 27.5+ capable, fits 27.5+ x 3.0 or 29 x 2.6 tires
  • SuperBoost Plus (157mm) rear axle spacing
  • 2.9kg / 6.4lbs frame weight in size Medium w/ rear shock 
  • X-Small–X-Large

Cornering stiffness has increased with a Super Boost Plus rear end and wider links
Cornering stiffness has increased with a Super Boost Plus rear end and wider links

What's new with the Pivot Trail 429?

Pivot gave the new Trail 429 the same 460mm reach as its longer travel, trail-focused Mach 5.5 and more enduro-oriented SwitchBlade.

True to form, the head angle slacked out a bit to 67.3 degrees, chainstays are snug at 430mm and interestingly the seat angle is tipped forward slightly at a respectable 74 degrees when in its 29er setting.

27.5+ wheels and tires, and this striking Blue Steel color, are options on the Trail 429
27.5+ wheels and tires, and this striking Blue Steel color, are options on the Trail 429

"We shortened up the bike's rear end while increasing its reach," explains Chris Cocalis, Pivot's president and CEO.

"The overall wheelbase grew in length, which adds stability, but it's not so long that it takes away from the bike's versatility. The short chainstays actually add to the Trail 429's ability to quickly accelerate and keep the bike nimble in tight conditions."

On the frame itself, Pivot borrowed technology from its downhill race bike, the Phoenix, with wider upper and lower links. The lower link gained 25mm to boost stiffness front to back.

Adding to that is the double uprights on the rear end, making the Trail 429 Pivot's first no front derailleur bike, other than its DH sled.

The Trail 429 employs Pivot's version of the DW-link rear suspension
The Trail 429 employs Pivot's version of the DW-link rear suspension

Helping to keep the rear-end behaving, Pivot also added its SuperBoost Plus rear-end and its mega-wide 157mm axle. Pivot claims a 30 percent increase in rear wheel stiffness. 

There's frame armor in all the usual spots and it's replaceable if needed. Pivot did add a new lower linkage guard to prevent the pesky little rocks that typically work their way in between the link and the frame.

And for those adverse to carrying water on their body, every frame size fits a full-size water bottle inside the main frame.

Pivot Trail 429 first ride impressions

29in wheels, a Fox 34 Factory fork and a Fox DPX2 rear shock formed the bike I rode. Moab’s endless rocks and ledges were the bike’s testing grounds and with that, it was instantly clear Pivot was aiming to show off the new Trail 429’s capability.

Like all Pivots I've encountered, the bike was fun to ride. Accelerations were quick, cornering response was accurate and the stiffness for going fast or simply tossing the bike around the trail was excellent.

With a 2.4in Minion tire, stubby stem and wide bars, the days of delicate, noodley front ends are over
With a 2.4in Minion tire, stubby stem and wide bars, the days of delicate, noodley front ends are over

Uphills were dispatched with DW-link’s traction and excellent responsiveness. The anti-squat properties of the frame let the bike gain altitude without any annoying sag or feeling of lost power. This is a bike that even all-day climbing torture rides would be fine on. 

Pointed with gravity was equally as good. Oddly enough, small bump sensitivity felt a bit compromised. Perhaps in a trade-off for pedaling efficiency or perhaps it was the shock tune and/or set up.

Dialing the compression out of the DPX2 rear shock helped with the unrelentingly choppy and jagged Moab rocks and smoothed things out.

Aggressive or bigger riders take note, Fox DPX2 shocks are available
Aggressive or bigger riders take note, Fox DPX2 shocks are available

What was surprising was the Trail 429's bigger hit capability. Tossing this bike into ugly situations was where the modern tech and capability really showed. 

Moab's bike-wrecking trails can be ledgy and steep. Getting caught off guard and using the pull and pray method of riding ended with soft landings and controlled compressions.

Frame stiffness, especially front to back, was noticeably excellent, as were the Fox dampers on both ends. Both displayed excellent end-stroke control and bottom out resistance. If you plan on pushing this bike hard, the DPX2 rear shock is smart spec.

Pivot Trail 429 early verdict

Pivot has a created a bike for the 90 percent with the new Trail 429. Seemingly most trails, obviously downhill-only tracks are excluded, are fair game on a bike as versatile as this. 

Big 29in wheels wrapped in excellent Maxxis Wide Trail Minion DHF and Rekon 2.4in tires, and 130/120mm travel allow the Trail 429 to slip into the sweet spot of having enough rollover and suspension to conquer hacked-out terrain that just a few years ago would have demanded a 150mm or more travel bike. 

Yet, the riding position and efficiency of the DW-link rear end make climbing a non-issue. Whether taking on mellow, smooth trails or sneaking into all-mountain terrain, the Trail 429 is fun, fast and capable.

Pivot Trail 429 pricing and availability

29-inch vs 27.5+ wheel comparison
29-inch vs 27.5+ wheel comparison

Each wheel size is offered with three builds, Team, Pro or Race, each with Shimano or SRAM drivetrains.

Pivot Trail 429 Team

  • Team XTR 1x: £7,299 / $7,799
  • Team XX1: £7,999 / $8,699

Pivot Trail 429 Pro

  • Pro XT/XTR 1x: £5,599 / $5,699
  • Pro X01: £6,499 / $6,799

Pivot Trail 429 Pro with Reynolds carbon wheel upgrade

  • Pro XT/XTR 1x: £6,599 / $6,999
  • Pro X01: £7,499 / $8,099

Pivot Trail 429 Race

  • Race XT 1x: £4,749 / $4,699
  • Race X01: £5,149 / $5,199
  • Australian pricing not available
  • In the UK, add £150 for the Fox Factory shock upgrade
  • Available now
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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