American brands have tended to be conservative in terms of geometry, but Pivot has moved with the times and the Trail 429 has a much more progressive frame shape than its cramped predecessor.
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Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR frame
Pivot’s ‘hollow-core’ construction uses special techniques to achieve denser carbon layers. The one-piece ‘double wishbone’ rear triangle is joined to the mainframe by two sets of stubby alloy links – a more conventional take on Dave Weagle’s DW-link design — which drive a latest-generation metric shock on oversized, wide-stance pivots.
A Super Boost Plus rear axle, using 157mm spacing, enables the chainstays to be kept short and ensures excellent mud clearance, whether you run 650b+ or 29er (up to 2.5in) wheels/tyres. But the specific hub means the Trail 429 is only available as a complete bike, not a frame, and may be harder to fix.
Because the Trail 429 is single-chainring specific, Pivot has been able to widen the main pivot and bottom bracket area (which holds a longer crank axle, to work with the wider rear end).
The result of all this is a seriously stiff and precise frame. There are five sizes, with reach stretched to 480mm on the XL, which in today’s market is a roomy rather than radical number.
Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR kit
This Pro XT/XTR build includes a Factory series Fox 34 Float fork and DPS shock, both of which use the latest EVOL air spring design, with a larger negative chamber for extra sensitivity.
The unusual rear axle spacing stretches the hub flanges wider, for a better spoke brace angle, and a subsequently stronger and more balanced wheel. As well as being extra-solid, the DT Swiss hoops are lively, fast-rolling and quick to accelerate.
The Wide Trail Maxxis Minion tyres are a decent choice, but it’d be good to see a 3C version up front for better grip in the wet.
The thick own-brand grips use WTB’s PadLoc technology, which means they have to be fitted to a special bar with a corner cut off. A ‘wedge’ inside then helps resist spinning.
They’re well-cushioned, but a bit spongy on the ends when loading the bike in turns. Thankfully, Pivot includes bar plugs so you can swap to your favourite grips instead.
Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR ride impressions
The carbon Trail 429 feels absolutely rock solid. Thankfully, that doesn’t translate to a harsh or jarring ride, since the stiffness is dull and reassuring, rather than sharp and brittle.
It holds a line firmly, and really reacts when you steer, lean it or throw it round berms. When pumping edges and dips, it’s obvious how well it builds speed, with or without power through the drivetrain.
There’s proper XC-race-ready zip when you sprint too, and it surges up climbs with energy, whether you’re soft-pedalling or stomping, seated or stood up.
This urgency means it’s one of the best-climbing trail bikes around, though it’s not quite as ridiculously good at making molehills out of mountains as something like the tighter-feeling Ripley LS.
I preferred the way-more-supple ‘trail’ (rather than ‘race’) sag position on the handy shock gauge, but it’s always clear that the Pivot is a short-travel bike.
There are no hard clunks or bottom-outs, but the taut Trail 429 is a trail bike with modern geometry, rather than a wannabe enduro rig.
The wide tyres and punchy suspension allow plenty of scope to ride harder trails though, and it’s the 34 fork that’ll likely be the limiting factor for aggressive riders.
While the DW-link suspension is effective, other 120mm bikes iron out more trail chatter, small root webs and stones, so it feels more optimised for speed than comfort and cushioning.
On that note, the Pivot rips through most terrain at a lick, with some trail feedback, and rewards physical efforts by feeling lightning quick.
It’s a stunning, speedy machine for longer loops and (maybe with a beefier fork) perfect for just messing about in the woods too – as long as your wallet can handle the high price.
Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR specifications
- Sizes (*Tested): XS, S, M, L*, XL
- Weight: 13.46kg
- Frame: ‘Hollow-core’ carbon fibre, 120mm / 4.7in travel
- Fork: Fox 34 Float Factory, 130mm / 5.1in travel
- Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL Factory
- Chainset: Race Face Æffect SL, 30t
- Bottom bracket: Race Face
- Cassette: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 11-46t
- Chain: Shimano HG700
- Derailleurs: Shimano XTR
- Shifters: Shimano Deore XT M8000 (1×11)
- Hubs: DT Swiss 350
- Axles: 15x110mm Boost (f), 12x157mm Super Boost Plus (r)
- Rims: DT Swiss M 1700 Spline
- Spokes: DT Swiss, butted
- Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 29×2.5in WT (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO 29×2.4in WT (r)
- Wheel weight: 2.17kg (f), 2.71kg (r), inc. tyres
- Stem: Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail, 55mm
- Bar: Phoenix Team Carbon PadLoc, 760mm
- Grips: Phoenix Team PadLoc
- Headset: Sealed cartridge
- Saddle: WTB Pro Vigo
- Seatpost: Fox Transfer 150mm dropper
- Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 180mm Centerlock rotors
Pivot Trail 429 Pro XT/XTR geometry (29in Wheel, L)
- Seat angle: 74.6 degrees
- Head angle: 67.3 degrees
- Chainstay: 42.9cm / 16.9in
- Seat tube: 46cm / 18.1in
- Top tube: 66.4cm / 25in
- Head tube: 10.92cm / 4.3in
- Bottom bracket height: 34.29cm / 13.5in
- Wheelbase: 1,186mm / 46.7in
- Stack: 60.6cm / 23.9in
- Reach: 46cm / 18.1in
- Price: £6,450 / $7,199
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