Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pivot Mach 429 Carbon first rides

Last year I went looking for a 4" travel, 29er.  I prefer carbon, and I prefer naturally efficient suspension setups vs. ones that depend on a shock "platform" valve to keep things efficient.  I had ridden a couple 26" DW-link bikes and liked them - so began looking for a carbon, 29er, 4" DW-link.

As far as I could tell, none were available until Pivot announced theirs late last fall, so I put in an early order through Bow Cycle.  Rumor has it this was the first one shipped to Canada.

It's a nice bike, probably the most engineered bike I've ever had.  Pivot has no real carbon "tubes", they're almost all custom shapes.  Very few straight lines.  In an effort to reduce future breaking down of parts hassle, XTR filled the spec.  The XTR shifting is as good as cable shifting gets, especially when new, it's really quite impeccable.  The "trail" brakes need nothing more than a single index finger for powerful stops or long descents.  That's really quite an amazing amplification of a finger when you think about it.

This bike has as close to zero pedal induced bob as a full suspension bike could have, in any one of the three Fox modes (essentially stiff, trail, downhill).  I thought it might feel mushy in DH mode, but really it just sits a bit lower in the travel then is easier to activate on bumps, but it doesn't wallow around.

Front and rear wheels track the same line.  It's longitudinally stiff that way, surprising really to feel it be so stiff through the rear linkages.  The DW implementation is spot on, exactly why I opted for this in the first place.  It feels firm and akin to "pushing" you on the climbs as it resists squat.  Yet the rear wheel is supple over little bumps.  It's so easy to just sit and pedal - it makes at least tame terrain mountain biking like road riding - a spin game.

There's something about either the DT hubs and/or the carbon rims that just go.  Cruising back home from Nose Hill, they just never stop accelerating on the road descents.  Those are roads I've ridden for years commuting on mountain/road/'cross bikes.  It's feels closer to a 'cross or road bike - they just continue to pick up speed instead of topping out.

Downsides?  Only a small bottle fits.  Second cage is on bottom of downtube.  I consider this a Pivot oversight.  This isn't a DH or an "all mountain" bike.  It can pretend to be the latter.  It's a luxe cross country and half capable all-mountainer.  One full bottle would be better - this is likely to force me to use a camel back for BC Bike Race.  Secondly, it looks like the suspension linkage could have mud pile up in it pretty easy.  We'll see.

All in, this is the nicest riding full suspension bike I've ever tried.  It's not the lightest (25lbs), but it doesn't ride heavy - those extra few pounds can be felt in overall rigidity and the "features" of the suspension system.  I'm gonna swap out the front Racing Ralph for a Nobby Nic, put my heavier pedals on it, and my bigger grips.  This isn't really meant to be a racer or compete with the hard tail, it's meant to be fun.  

"Cindy, how does your new bike feel?"


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