FIRST RIDE REPORT

PIVOT TRAIL 429

When I got the call to head down to Pivot Bicycles HQ to pick up a new test bike I was absolutely frothing. Excited would be an understatement! I have had a few Pivot’s of my own in the past and have been an on looker to their new models. The build quality and riding characteristics of Pivot’s bikes really suit my style of riding, the new Pivot Trail 429 is no exception.

There are some very pronounced updates to the 2021 Trail 429 model, as well as some hidden goodies Pivot went above and beyond with, but more on that later.

What’s New
Right off the bat you can tell this bike has had some major changes to the frame. Pivot has gone with a vertically mounted Trunnion layout with a new progressive DW Link with 120mm of travel that prioritizes pedaling efficiency. Paired with the new linkage is a high volume Fox Factory Float DPX2, a shock that I am a huge fan of. This new linkage gives you the hard charging support that you want when the going gets rough while also keeping you high up in the stroke on technical climbs. When standing up and grinding up a tough climb, the pedaling efficiency is immediately noticeable.

A change that’s not readily noticed just by looking at the bike is the introduction of a proprietary hollow core carbon mold, as well as full length internal cable routing. The new Pivot Trail 429 frame with the shock comes in at a 5.9lbs, a full 300 grams lighter than the previous version. Our Pro XT/XTR build comes in at an impressive 26.5lbs. This  weight is very noticeable and has helped push my riding distances with less fatigue. While losing some grams Pivot was also able to increase the frame’s stiffness. This is a frame that encroaches on XC race bike’s efficiency and speed with the ground-pounding durability of a trail bike. A really cool feature that I think makes a big difference to the rider is that each size frame has a specific stiffness tune. A size Medium bike is going to be more compliant than a Large in the testing machines, but the theory is that different sized frames will have riders of different weights, and those weights will change the demands put on the frame. So if a size Medium needs to be as stiff and strong as an XL to pass durability testing, a 5’6 145-pound rider is going to get railroaded while the 6’3 210-pound rider will feel like the bike is just right. It’s a great concept that certainly adds cost to the equation but makes sense considering Pivot is a brand that puts performance above all else.

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429

The new Pivot Trail 429 uses 157mm Super Boost Plus rear axle spacing. Although we’re not huge fans of another “Standard” there’s no denying it helps with the overall rigidity of the frame and leaves room for a much larger rear tire. The Trail 429 is approved for 27.5+ tires and for those that like to get rowdy you can also run this in a mullet configuration with the flip chip in the Low setting. The flip chip is yet another new feature on this trail weapon. Pivot gave the Trail 429 two settings, Low and Lower. In the Low setting the bike comes in with a headtube angle of 66.5 degrees and a seat tube angle of 77.5 degrees. With just an Allen key you can switch the chip into the Lower setting slackening the headtube angle out to 66 degrees and the seat tube to 77 degrees. To run the bike in the mullet or 27.5 plus configuration the chip must be in the Low setting.

Our size Large test bike has a reach of 770mm, this is a touch on the shorter side for modern geo but it provides a very comfortable cockpit. For what this bike is intended to do I think this is the perfect size. Out back there are 433mm chainstays with an overall wheelbase of 1,229mm. For a 120mm bike, it is not lacking any agility on the tech while also providing plenty of stability on faster descents.

Don’t let the weight of this bike fool you the build kit is stout and ready to be launched downhill as fast as your mind will let you go. Naturally we gravitate towards the Enduro build option, which prescribes a 140mm Fox Factory Float 36 with the Grip2 damper and a 44mm offset whereas the standard Trail 429 Pro and Team builds come with a 130mm Fox 34 and Fox DPS or Live Valve shock. For the trail model you will get 130mm’s of travel in the same configuration. We got on well with Fox the dropper 175mm Factory Transfer on our size large.

When it comes to shifting gears and slowing back down to non-warp speed, Pivot specs some Shimano XT M8120 4-piston calipers paired with 180mm XT rotors that offer plenty of bite and stopping power on those long descents. This build kit comes with the 12-speed Shimano XTR derailleur and an XT shifter. This is a great move on their part as the XTR derailleur is an absolute beast and holds hard even when late shifting under power on a climb but passes on a few bucks worth of savings with the XT shifter. The cassette is a Shimano XT M8100 10-51T beast. This bike will get yanked up some challenging climbs with so having the options for gearing are vital. Helping get the power to the ground is a set of RaceFace Affect R cranks with a 32T chainring. While these are not the lightest cranks out there, they are defiantly burly and a welcomed edition to this build kit.

Pivot will have a few options of the new Trail 429 available at price points from $5,599 to $12,499.

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429 Geo Numbers

The cockpit is all Pivot with 780mm wide Phoenix Team Low Rise bars paired with the Phoenix Team Enduro/Trail stem. I did find the bars to be a little to stiff for my preference and would more than likely swap these out for aluminum if the bike was my own. The Phoenix Factory Lock-On Grips were great at dissipating sweat and provided plenty of grip. Being a gloveless rider for me grips are very important, and after hearing our other testers rave about these grips, I was happy to get my own set to try.

Rounding out this build is a pair of DT Swiss XM1700 wheels laced to a DT 350 hub. At 30mm wide, with straight-pull spokes these things are built to last and complement this build very well. The DT 350 hub is stout and has been proven to be extremely reliable, but I think the 36-tooth engagement hub is a disservice to the pedaling prowess this bike has. There is a noticeable lag in engagement, while this is not a make or break type of thing, it is worth noting.

Pivot’s tire choice for this bike is a great complement to an already great shred sled. The 2.4” Maxxis Dissector TR 3C EXO casing tires inspire confidence in marble to golf ball sized rock-littered climbs. There was no lack in climbing traction both seated and standing up. Cornering grip was excellent, like almost weirdly good. While these tires are a perfect fit down here in Arizona, back up in Washington, I would be swapping that front tire out for a DHF to bite into softer soil a bit better, but needless to say, it makes sense they’d spec the tire that works best for their local terrain.

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429

THE DIRT
As a rider that is not the best at technical climbs, this bike had me smiling the entire way up these loose rock littered Arizona trails. This is a bike I can 100% see myself destroying my own PR’s back up in Washington with. Whether seated or standing, you are greeted with an ultra-supportive pedaling platform that is supple enough to not beat you up on long days.

It is hard to put into words but when you are out of the saddle putting the power down the bike responds with authority and rewards each pedal stroke with a boost of speed. This was especially noticeable on undulating terrain with short 5 – 10-second uphill sprints. I was able to easily keep my speed up into the next descent.

I found at lower speeds in a slow cadence the bike did not seem to track all that well. I believe this is mostly due to my inexperience in this terrain. When I was holding a faster cadence, the bike seemed to pop up on top of the loose golf ball sized rocks and fire up the hill. I had my best climbs in an easier gear with a faster than normal cadence.

Tight technical switch backs were a breeze. Thanks to my terrible pedal placement, I am constantly getting crank strikes on my personal bike, a Norco Sight. However with the support from the refined DW-link and slightly taller ride height,  crank strikes on this bike have been very few and far between. This is something I noticed from day one and it has allowed me to really push my own limits on the climbs.

When it comes to descending, this bike wants you to go fast, it tackles rough terrain the way a 120mm bike should not. It rides planted through chunder but when you want to lift off for a gap it is done with ease. The support and progression when landing drops to flat really surprised me. The tune of the shock is as close to perfect as it gets in my eyes. I am usually always fiddling with reducers to get the balance right and with this set up I did not find the need to add in any over the stock set up. At 170lbs with gear I ended up running 203psi in the shock and 87psi in the fork. I found the rear pressure to be a bit lower than I have run in the past with the DPX2 but this goes to show how much progressivity the new DW link has added.

While the bike was loads of fun on steep descents it thrived on more moderate terrain where you were rewarded with loads of speed. It seemed to skip across the top of the rocks and gain speed in sections where I would be putting a few cranks in on other bikes. I spent a lot of my riding time on trails near my house that are multi use trails, basically what this means is the corners are terrifyingly flat and littered with nasty loose rocks. Navigating my way through tight switchbacks with nearly knee-high drops was at first daunting, but as I came to learn the limits of the bike I was able to navigate them with confidence leaving jaw dropped hikers in my wake.

Just like on the climbs this is a bike I feel that could shatter some downhill PR’s and just maybe get me back a few KOM’s. While I spent many hours in the saddle on this bike, I still feel I was not able to push it to its absolute limit. I am still somewhat timid on the unforgiving Arizona terrain, but with that said this bike helped me push my own limits!

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429 Geo Numbers

THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION

The 2021 Pivot Trail 429 is a bike that I believe fits a number of rider’s needs. Whether you’re an XC junky that’s looking for a bike to get a little rowdy on or you’re a downhill/enduro rider looking for a lightweight trail weapon this bike will deliver miles of smiles. We can’t wait to put more time on this bike and will certainly be spending more time looking at the clock as this thing is sure to smash some times, and most importantly, we’re going to have fun doing it.

Website: PivotCycles.com

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Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429

PRESS RELEASE

THE ALL-NEW PIVOT TRAIL 429

ALL-MOUNTAIN VERSATILITY WITH AN XC-RACE PEDIGREE

The new Pivot Trail 429 defies categorization, and smashes KOMs. Mixing the progressive geometry and handling of longer travel all-mountain sleds with the responsiveness and speed of dedicated race rigs ushers in a new breed of hyper-capable trail bike.

 The new Pivot Trail 429 is a potent, lightweight trail weapon with the handling and suspension chops to go hard in big terrain, and also the flat-out speed and acceleration to deliver podium level performances at marathon and 24-hour races. It offers unprecedented versatility; equally at home sending rough technical lines as it is with a race number zip-tied to the handlebars.

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429

“We’ve pushed the limits of the New Trail 429 to make a bike even more capable for both aggressive trail riders and those who are looking for the utmost efficiency and pedaling performance out of their trail bike” says Pivot’s founder and CEO, Chris Cocalis. “We designed the Trail 429 to thrive in rough, technical terrain, so we really worked on getting the suspension and handling dialed for the limits being pushed by modern riders. This is the most capable 120mm-travel suspension on the market. At the same time, with the flip-chip adjustability and aggressive weight reduction in the frame, the new Trail 429 also makes for an amazing endurance racer.”

 Constructed of leading-edge carbon fiber materials using Pivot’s proprietary hollow core molding technology, the Trail 429’s frame achieves exceptional strength and stiffness at a weight competitive with dedicated XC race bikes. Size specific ride tuning ensures consistent, surefooted handling and performance across the size range. A more progressive linkage and trunnion mounted metric shock elevate the acclaimed dw-link suspension to superlative performance levels, and the newly incorporated flip-chip allows riders to hone ride characteristics toward either rowdy or racy. 120mm of rear travel has never felt this plush and composed. Nor has it ever felt this fast, and this responsive. Build kits for the Trail 429 emphasize this versatility: Pro and Team builds feature Fox DPS or Live Valve shocks and 130mm Fox 34 forks, and the optional Enduro build is ready for the big hits with a Fox DPX2 rear shock and 140mm Fox 36 Grip 2 Factory fork.

Release & First Ride: Pivot Trail 429 Geo Numbers

Pricing, Specifications, and Availability: The new Trail 429 will be available in Pacific Blue and Metallic Silver and can be purchased in six different complete bike configurations with additional Enduro suspension, carbon wheel, and Live Valve options priced between $5,599 USD and $12,499 USD.  Available now, in sizes XS through XL, at key Pivot dealers worldwide. For more information visit: Store.pivotcycles.com

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