I got a chance to take the Pivot 429 out on a quick haul through the Sea Otter Demo XC demo course. I was out there for less than an hour so this is definitely not a full on review of the Pivot 429 but more of a couple of impressions I got from the short ride.
When I hopped on the 429 and started pedaling, I instantly noticed that this bike has an almost hardtail-ish racy feel. I attribute this to a very solid/stiff rear that transfers power down without any wasted flex. There was no noodley feeling from the rear that I occasionally get with other fs 29ers. This suspension seems to be on the firm side rather than ultra plush. I personally prefer this setup as it suits my riding style to a “t”.
The demo trail at Sea Otter is not extremely technical but it does have a couple of short climbs one being particularly steep and a couple of uphill grinders. It also has some nice flowy singletrack with stutter bumps, small XC-ish jumps and, on this weekend, sand. On all the climbs around the demo course the 429 to performed very well. Standing and seated climbs were easy and the rear suspension never felt like it got in the way. I was particularly happy with the way the 429 climbed a steep section as the rear felt planted and the cockpit felt comfortable enough to change from a seated position to a standing position and back to a seated position without losing balance or being awkward.
The steering feel of the Pivot is neutral. Not fast like the Gary Fisher G2 geometry but not slow either. The bottom bracket height is almost a full inch taller than my Redline but this did not impede handling, nor did it make me feel like I had too high a center of gravity. I still felt comfortable carving the singletrack at SO although the tires did not give me confidence to rip any of the jumps. The stutter bumps were muted by the suspension but did not disappear entirely as the suspension is more firm than plush.
Overall the 429 is a very fun racy bike that fits my type of riding entirely. I would probably go with a tire with a bit more grip both front & rear if I were to ride this but I could see the Kenda Small Block 8 on the rear being used for races.
Click here for pictures of the Pivot 429 prototype seen at Sea Otter 2008.
Click here for the video of Chris Cocalis discussing the Pivot 429.
Click here for Pivot’s website.