John Owen from Stan’s Cycle in the UK
A bit of a long one but hopefully you can take the time to read and make use of what I have to say.
Over the last few months, Stan’s Cycles in Shrewsbury, England, UK, have signed up to be a Pivot Pro shop, and what an incredible move that has been. As an employee at the shop for over 9 years, starting as a Saturday boy and only being 21 years old now… I feel privileged to have had the chance to ride so many bikes, testing, demoing, thrashing and sometimes destroying them. A job that many enthusiastic people would dream of. Still, not one day of that 9 years has gone to waste and bringing all my knowledge together to take the time and write a couple of reviews for the unmatched 429 which when I had one demo, didn’t want to give back and the just sensational 5.7carbon – which I have since chosen to be this years weapon of choice and so far, it has not disappointed claiming me a race win and high finishes in other events in the Elite category. I am pushing the Pivot brand all I can, on the Twitter, Facebook, in the shop and on the trails. May the current success of Pivot continue.
From the moment anyone offers me a ride on a 29er, I am always slightly dubious, especially when the Pivot 429 started rolling out the back of the van and I was asked “you’re not going anywhere muddy are you? The rear tyre is looking pretty slick”…
Throughout the debut ride on the lightweight 429 carbon, I grew a love for the bike. After being so dubious at the start, I was soon feeling well in control of a bike I had never ridden and by all accounts I was not riding this thing gently. As every trail centre I seem to have been to starts with a leg-burning climb, I was pleasantly surprised with just how polite and positive the bike’s feedback was up the hill. Significantly stiff and responsive, the bigger and so called more draggy 29er wheel wasn’t by any means a slug and was doing exactly what my legs were telling it to, ultimately a feeling of incredible efficiency with power being sent directly to the back wheel. Even on tight uphill switchbacks, the front wheel wasn’t forcing itself into the air, but staying firmly planted resulting in pinpoint accuracy. The 429 was taming the undulating trail with its pedal efficient DW link and again super stiff carbon chassis with bolt through axles, allowing pop between whoops and heaps of acceleration out of corners flat or bermed. So far the bike was performing and tolerating the beating of what I would be doing normally on a 150mm plus 26” rig. Negotiating wet roots seemed a breeze with a bigger wheel, significantly reducing the height at which the obstacle stood proud, maintaining momentum was simple with even just a light turn of the pedal, only a sodden and boggy Eastridge making pedalling hard going. One area of the bike which surprised me the most considering the bigger wheel, was just how easy the 429 is to pedal!
Onto the downhill, the area I am most familiar with. Telling myself before the ride, “this isn’t a downhill bike so ride it how it should be ridden.” But how would anyone know what the bike’s limits are if they aren’t tested? I am writing this not with a broken leg but after having taken the 429 to various places from trail centres to super natural, loamy trail bases and then back to pure up and down mountain biking over the hills of Shropshire and Wales, and everywhere it has been, it has stayed rubber side down. Mistakes I have made on this bike have been due to poor judgement and fault of my own, and somehow I have ridden out of trouble. I am yet to find the limit, and trust me… it has been severely punished. The bike has taken me through some tight and nasty off-camber and tyre piercing descents, whilst only faulting in cramped and lairy corners you would expect a bigger wheeled bike to do so in, and even then I was comparing it to a downhill bike. There is confidence when getting airborne due to the well-balanced geometry with getting stylish feeling such light work too despite all the different forces and scientific issues that a bigger wheel is said to have. At high speeds, it feels comfortable and stable with obviously a slightly larger wheelbase being partly to commend. The rear wheel seeming to effortlessly stay glued to the ground for maximum grip, but stiff enough to change direction or hop ruts and rip your self out of trouble. There was certainly no lack of grip even on the slick when cutting fellow riders up on the inside line after a mass start down wide-open fire trail. Even under braking the bike was still predicable and controllable, inspiring me to ride faster knowing that stopping was not going to be an issue.
Taking the rigours of national downhill tracks and climbs of the Welsh hills so beautifully, it is more than fair to say the bike exceeded expectations across all aspects, whilst staying so fitting to cross country racing or weekend trail bashing, it really can do it all. With a super stiff carbon frame, the bike constantly feels alive and nimble, and just begs to be ridden evermore aggressively up or down. Yet to find an obstacle the 429 cant handle, I honestly didn’t think before taking the bike out, just how capable this 100/120mm travel 29er would be.
I am lucky enough to have ridden many 29ers over the past two years and yes, I am one of those people that struggled to accept the change from 26” to 29er. Two years on I now see good as well as bad in the bigger wheel, but this one really does have me scratching my head to find the negatives. An extremely stiff and versatile bike, playful enough to hit the senders and efficient enough to get you back to the top, all day long.”
It seems that these days, one of the most important, but realistically quite irrelevant factors of a bike, is the weight. No bike company will strive to have a heavy bike and anything below that 29/30lbs mark is considered pretty light, most bikes are coming sub that straight out of the box! However, on arrival I lifted the 5.7 carbon from the cardboard container and slapped it straight in the scales. To my delight the scales read a satisfactory 27lbs… considering the bikes capabilities that is not to be sniffed at!
With plans to spend some quality time on the 5.7 I altered the stem, bars and tyres to suit and hit the trails with a familiar set-up, and wow. The first striking characteristic of the bike hit me as bluntly as a punch in the face, stiff, as a word doesn’t even cut it. With the intelligent DW link onboard, the anti-squat back end and super stiff carbon chassis is a match made in heaven, with minor if any pedal feedback from this 145mm travel beast even when tearing the pedals out of the saddle! Having such a bulked up BB area and stiff lay up, the 5.7 just welcomes the pedal strokes and as mentioned above, the DW link encourages momentum to be carried effortlessly with the feeling of being hoisted through the sickest of rocky, uphill stints even bringing a slight smile to the face of the fortunate rider.
The sick uphill stints aside, the overall climbing ability of this bike is hot. Being nimble and well poised on tighter switchback climbs and a solid grafter on the long slogs, the5.7 is no slouch.
The excitement I have had from this bike will be a hard one to match. Almost every element that makes a good bike is present, and that’s no different when heading down. Control comes in its masses bringing confidence and predictability, even with the rubber sliding millimetres from the point of no return, it seems to know and willingly corrects itself keeping it dialled between ruts and maintaining a stable composure when crossing between them.
Cornering is accurate with the super stiff chassis, it really is a point and shoot kind of bike with wet roots and rocky off cambers not bouncing the bike off the desired line, thus allowing you to look ahead with the reassurance of knowing the bike will do what you have just told it to. In all honesty, the Mach 5.7 has never been to blame for rookie mistakes; only the rider’s misjudgement sends this thing off course.
With a perfect angled headtube (67degree) the Mach 5.7 remains responsive on swoopy corners yet tracks on the steeper loamy downhills, easily popping jumps and drops and encouraging a fun off-piste play in the pine needle covered woods.
After a couple of successful races onboard the Mach 5.7, it is safe to say it has lived up to expectations under pressure, coupled with a 150mm or a more gnarly 160mm fork, I am yet to find anything this bike cant do. For me – it has brought a new definition to the word “fun” and there is never a rainy day where I wish to stay inside, knowing there is copious amounts of enjoyment to be had on this ultimate trail weapon.”
Again, please find use for these if you wish – it would be great to see them posted somewhere, check out the photo attached, me on-board the 5.7 on the way to victory. I love it!
Cheers, John Owen
Stan’s Cycles, 53-54 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1XJ