The Pivot Trail 429 Enduro combines the new 429 frame and an over-forked Enduro build - and we love it.
The Pivot Trail 429 was first introduced into the Pivot line up with the inception of the company way back in 2007. The bike has come a phenomenal way since then (it’s worth a quick Google to see the original model). Pivot have just releaed the updated Trail 429, and this Trail 429 ‘Enduro’ build is a short travel bike that fits in the aggressive, over-forked category similar to the Norco Optic we tested last year.
The 429 frame has seen the same revisions the Pivot Switchblade received last year, moving the shock from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one. In doing this, Pivot have shaved weight off the frame and increased the frame’s stiffness. In the suspension department, Pivot claim the new design offers increased progression and pedalling efficiency. Additional benefits include better standover clearance, and a full-size bottle will fit in the front triangle of all sizes.
Alongside the bottle cage mounts inside the front triangle, there’s mounting bolts both underneath the downtube as well as underneath the top tube for Pivot’s Phoenix Dock Tool System, which allows you to store a tool underneath your top tube. I’m a big fan of this, as these additional mounting options make it easier for riders to ride packless with all the spares and nutrition they need.
The lower standover height of the new frame is accompanied with a shorter seat tube. This gives riders more flexibility to select a frame size based on their geometry preferences, as well as run the longest possible dropper. My large test bike came with a 175mm dropper, and XL bikes will ship with a pleasingly long 200mm dropper.
Continuing on the attention to detail front, the finish on the frame is fantastic, and things like cable lengths, as well as the cable ports in the frame are all done well. The Pivot Trail 429 Enduro in the Pro X01 Enduro build I received weighed in at 13.45 kilograms without pedals in size large. I think this is acceptable considering the burly fork and shock, as well as the sturdy wheels and meaty 2.4” rubber.
There are no shortage of options for the new Pivot Trail 429, whether you're looking for the Enduro build or otherwise. Pivot have builds with Shimano or SRAM 12-speed, including AXS options and Fox Live Valve. You can also order the frame kit to build your own dream bikes. The Trail builds have a 130mm Fox 34 and DPS shock, while the Enduro builds have the 140mm Fox 36 and DPX2, as tested here.
Pivot Trail 429 Enduro Pro X01
The Pivot Trail 429 Enduro features the same 120mm travel frame as the new Trail 429, however the Enduro build equips this frame set with a Fox DPX2 shock, and pairs it with a 140mm Fox 36 with the GRIP 2 cartridge. The 429 Enduro sits under the Mach 5.5 and Switchblade in Pivot’s line up in terms of travel, with the standard 429 Trail and Mach 4 SL being Pivot’s shorter travel options.
The Pro X01 build I received retails for $11999. As you’d expect from the name, the drivetrain and brakes are a full SRAM affair. The drivetrain is an almost complete X01 group set, with the exception of the GX cassette. The brakes are SRAM’s 4-pot G2 RSC brakes paired with 180mm rotors front and rear. The Shimano XT/XTR Enduro model is $10999.
The wheels specced on the Pivot 429 Enduro are another nod to the bike’s aggressive intentions. The DT Swiss alloy XM1700 wheels spin on DT 350 hubs and get the job done in no-nonsense fashion. I appreciate this spec inclusion from Pivot, as DT Swiss alloy wheels are a perfect choice for any hard charging trail bike. On the topic of wheels, the new 429 retains Pivot’s 12 x 157 ‘Super Boost’ rear wheel spacing, which aids in shorter chainstays, greater stiffness and increased wheel strength.
The wheels are wrapped in Maxxis Dissector tyres in the 2.4” size, 3C compound, and EXO casing. The Dissector tyres are a nice match for the 429 Enduro’s aggressive but nimble character as they’re relatively grippy in a variety of terrain whilst still rolling well.
Whilst the 429 Enduro can definitely be pushed beyond the EXO casings’ limits, particularly in the rear, Pivot have had to straddle the line between capability and weight with the 429 Enduro. In the tyres department they’ve opted to shed some weight, but you could always swap the rear tyre out for something burlier if you’re planning on getting rowdy from the get-go.
Other highlights include Pivot’s own grips, which were surprisingly supple and comfortable for a house brand grip. The sag indicator on the rear shock makes shock setup super simple, which is always appreciated. The chain stay, seat stay, and down tube protectors are also well done, and the stay protectors kept the noise down throughout testing.
In terms of complaints out of the box, I wasn’t a massive fan of the Pivot handlebar’s ergonomics, but that’s a personal preference and a component that’s pretty easy to swap.
On the Trail
I tested the bike on the rough trails of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. This was an ideal test ground to see if using burlier components in a shorter travel package would stack up in technical terrain. On my first ride to the trails via the road, the revised DW linkage pedalled just fine in the fully open position. The 429’s revised 75-degree effective seat tube angle also puts you in a better seated pedalling position from the off.
The new Pivot 429 frame features geometry adjustability through the use of a pivot flip chip at the top of the linkage. I rode the bike exclusively in the ‘lower’ setting, however the ‘low’ setting raises the bottom bracket (BB) by 11mm and steepens the head angle by half a degree.
Key numbers on the 429 Enduro in the lower setting include a 65.5-degree head angle, 336mm BB height, 432mm chain stays, and a 470mm reach in the size large tested. The 429’s tight package adds up to a 1205mm wheelbase. This is shorter than many bikes I’ve been on recently, but I think Pivot have nailed the geometry for the type of riding the 429 and 429 Enduro are intended for.
The 429 Enduro is lively and likes to be ridden in an engaged way. The bike’s light weight and relatively short travel encourage you to switch to smoother lines by hopping the bike, as well as pumping undulations for speed. The bike is also more eager to change direction than longer travel rigs, which is lots of fun riding blind and feels fast on tight and twisty trails. Longer travel bikes can dull the fun on some trails, and the Pivot 429 Trail is agile and fun on a wide range of trails.
Pivot’s decision to spec the Fox 36 fork holds up the front of the bike well in technical and rougher sections of trail. The 20mm travel difference front to rear doesn’t feel unbalanced, and the geometry feels spot on for the bike’s intentions. In the rear, the tune Pivot have chosen for the 120mm of travel offers plenty of traction and support, although when you’re charging down rough trails it’s better to opt for a smoother line if possible. The bottom out support at both ends is great, and if you’re bottoming the bike out you can always add volume spacers for more progression.
Where the Pivot 429 Enduro comes into its own is on fast and smooth terrain, as well as steep and smooth descents. The stiffness of the fork combined with the frame means the bike holds its line well at speed, while the shorter travel gives a noticeable increase in speed when pumping compared a longer travel bike. In steep but smooth descents, the 429’s eagerness to change directions allows you to tackle sharper turns with more ease than a longer travel bike, while the Fox 36 holds the front up and resists flex under heavy braking.
Another area where a burly shorter travel bike is good fun is more mellow undulating terrain. The bike saves weight over a traditional enduro bike, and having less suspension makes the bike livelier on tamer trails. If you’re not hammering down rough downhills for the fastest possible times, I found the 429 Enduro more fun in most other trail situations than a longer travel bike.
On the climbing front the 429 Enduro also has the edge over longer travel machines. The DW link is great at delivering traction without sapping your energy or stalling you on ledgy climbs, and the sturdy chassis and fork of the 429 Enduro means you can run it into obstacles more recklessly than aboard a traditional trail or long-legged XC bike.
As I mentioned, the only area I truly noticed the bike’s lack of travel was in sustained rough and fast descents. On these sections of trail, I needed to pick my lines more carefully, but I felt this only added to the fun and charm on offer with the Pivot 429 Enduro.
Compared to a trail bike with less aggressive componentry, say for example the regular 429 Trail, the 429 Enduro is a far more capable bike. This being said, the burly components come with a weight penalty, so if you’re mainly riding smoother and less technical trails, or getting up the climbs swiftly is important to you, the regular 429 Trail might be a better choice.
I don’t think we’ll see any of the Pivot’s EWS riders lining up to an EWS start line with the 429 Enduro. Thats said, the bike is appropriately named for Australian conditions. In the hands of a skilled pilot on a course that’s not too rough I think this bike could do some serious damage in the right gravity races!
Overall, the Pivot 429 Enduro is about as much fun you can have on two wheels, particularly if your idea of a good ride involves challenging yourself on a variety of terrain. Whilst the 429 Enduro is a bike that’s hard to define, it’s a bike I’d happily own if I could only own one bike. Its combination of a capable suspension and parts package with a lively feel across a breadth of trails makes it a great choice of bike for trail riding just about anywhere in Australia.
There’s no doubt the pricing is on the premium end of the scale, but Pivot have always been a boutique manufacturer in the same space as brands like Yeti and Santa Cruz. Whilst you could get a bike with better componentry for the same money, the entire frame set package is definitely high quality, and this will be enough to justify the premium for many.
If I owned the bike personally, I’d run a different handlebar, some beefier tyres, and a bigger front rotor, but that’s about it. The Pivot 429 Enduro really lives up to its name, and riders who want a shorter travel bike with plenty of capability will thoroughly enjoy this bike.
For full details and availability head to the Pivot Cycles Australia website.