First Ride: 2021 Pivot Trail 429 – Pinkbike.com

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Back in 2018 we saw Pivot’s 120mm travel trail bike undergo some major updates, enough so that it warranted a name change from the 429 Trail to the Trail 429. For 2021 the bike has once again undergone a number of changes, most notably in the geometry department, and the shock is now vertically oriented in the frame as has been the case for other bikes that Pivot has released over the past 18 months.

Travel for the bike remains at 120mm and, as with the previous version, riders can choose between running 29″ wheels or 27.5″+. If riders do choose to roll with the smaller wheel size, they’ll want to install a taller lower headset cup in order to keep the geometry of the bike in check and the front end where it should be.

Pivot Trail 429 Details

• Wheel size: 29″ / 27.5+
• Rear travel: 120mm
• 130-140mm fork
• Full carbon frame
• 66° head angle (lower setting)
• 75° seat angle
• 608mm stack / 455mm reach (medium)
• 432mm chainstays
• Weight: 27 lb (Pro X01 build, size Medium)
• Price: $5,599 – to $12,499 USD ($8,499 as tested)
www.pivotcycles.com

The new Trail 429 has more standover than before, while still providing plenty of room to fit a water bottle inside the front triangle. There are five sizes, XS to XL, with the XS fitting riders down to 4′ 11″ and the XL serving riders up to 6’7″.

All of the models are carbon and there are several different build kits available at the Race, Team, or Pro levels. Each level has the option of a Shimano or SRAM kit. Prices range from $5,599 USD for the Race XT build all the way up to $12,499 for the Team XX1 AXS Fox Live Valve build with carbon Reynolds/Industry Nine wheels.

Frame Details

The Trail 429 carries over a lot of updates seen elsewhere in Pivot’s line and it sheds a good bit of weight from the previous Trail 429, tipping the scale at 5.9 lbs, nearly 3/4 lb lighter than before on a size medium. All frames are Fox Live Valve ready, there is internal cable routing throughout, and everyone gets a full-size water bottle. There are also two bolts on the bottom of the top tube that can hold a tool, such as Pivot’s own, or other accessories. There is integrated frame protection on the chainstays and downtube.

The 157+ Super Boost spacing remains in place, in line with Pivot’s other more aggressive bikes. Riders can mount up a 29 x 2.6″ or 27.5 x 2.8″ tire with room to spare. Pivot holds fast to this spacing, claiming it allows them to build a better and stiffer frame with more rear tire clearance, along with increased wheel stiffness. The BB is the PF92 which Pivot pioneered, and although there are detractors, in our experience it’s proven to be completely reliable.

For the derailleur hanger, the Trail 429 utilizes SRAM’s UDH, a welcome addition to any and all frames at this point in time. There’s Live Valve compatibility on all frames, and although there is a Di2 battery port there’s no hole between the front triangle and swingarm for Di2 routing. Riders can run the wire externally but not with the same integration other Pivot frames have.

All frames use a unique size-specific layup and tubing diameters that correlate to frame size. Pivot does this to keep the ride characteristics similar on bikes so that a tall rider has the same experience and frame feel as a shorter rider would. Looking at the tubing, the large has a similar diameter to the Switchblade while the medium and smaller frames clearly shed some heft from the previous iteration of the Trail 429.

Last but not least, it bears mention and some applause that Pivot have done away with the Pivloc handlebar and grip system and have designed a new grip that doesn’t require cutting your fancy carbon handlebar. The new “Phoenix Factory Lock-On Grip” is designed in-house at Pivot. It’s left and right specific and has a tapered core to fit snugly on the bar. The ergonomic grip tapers from 30mm to 32mm and has a soft rubber compound that is designed to damp vibration.

Suspension

The Trail 429’s rocker llink has been flipped, but the amount of travel remains the same at 120mm. The shock is a metric trunnion style, 165mm long with a 45mm stroke. The suspension has been made more progressive and the shock sits higher in its travel to keep the pedaling snappy, and to keep the lower BB height from causing too many pedal strikes.

While the Switchblade can be run with a coil shock, the Trail 429 cannot; even if the shock has a separate bottoming control, that doesn’t provide enough progression for the frame, according to Pivot.

The bike is available with a DPS or DPX2 shock, depending on the build. The more aggressive “Enduro” build utilizes the DPX2 coupled with a 140mm Fox 36 fork vs the standard build which has a 130mm Float 34.

Geometry
Geometry undergoes the standard steeper, slacker treatment along with more reach, although keep in mind that we’re still talking about a 120mm trail bike here. For a size medium, in the lower setting, the Trail 429 now has a 66-degree HTA (1.3 slacker), 75-degree STA (1 steeper), 455mm reach (15mm longer), and 432mm chainstays (2mm longer). The addition of the 140mm fork in the Enduro package will reduce that head angle by approximately .5-degrees.

The bike is capable of running 27.5″ wheels with the addition of a lower headset cup which alters the numbers slightly. Riders can also opt to run the bike in a “low” setting which steepens everything up a bit more by utilizing the flip-chip in the rocker link. The chip can be rotated by simply loosening the bolts and rotating it, which means there aren’t any parts to lose trailside.

Ride Impressions
I’ve only had the new Trail 429 for a few days at this point, but I did spend a considerable amount of time on the previous Trail 429 and still have a Switchblade in the fleet, which helps in drawing some comparisons.

The biggest takeaway is the Trail 429’s increased efficiency from the previous model. The older bike was efficient in the grand scheme of things, but I did find it to be a bit overbuilt, especially when pitted against the latest crop of shorter travel trail bikes. The new bike is light, nimble, and quick. The reduced heft is noticeable and the suspension rides higher in its travel and with a lot more life.

The bike is easy to navigate up and over messy bits of trail while holding a line, and it stays planted when faced with off-camber chunder, the suspension staying smooth and supple throughout its travel. On bigger compressions, I struggled to find the bottom of the travel, which isn’t always the case on shorter travel bikes that offer a good amount of traction on the top end. The increased suppleness coupled with more progression makes the new bike much more intuitive and easy to ride.

I’ll keep riding the bike in the coming months, hopefully logging more miles as spring arrives and the trails de-thaw. My initial impressions of the Trail 429, or as I’ve started calling it, the “mini-Switchblade” are positive and I’m looking forward to seeing if that trend continues once I’m able to properly put it to test. For many riders, the new Trail 429 will be a more versatile version of the Switchblade that’s friendlier on the uphills and easier to maneuver in tight quarters.



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