Pivot Mach 429
We have extensively tested the Pivot already â€“ see our test videos on YouTube. Right now, we use the Pivot as the gold standard to compare other bikes to. In this test we rode all three of the bikes back to back to directly compare them A to B to C.
First, the Pivot shares one bad trait with the Specialized Comp 29 the ground clearance problem. We fixed this problem by opting for a 120mm Fox front shock instead of the factory recommended 100mm; this is our fix for this annoying problem. Unlike the Specialized the Pivots geometry can support a longer fork with only minor effects / the bike has a slight tendency to drift a little wide in the corners and the front end gets a little light in very steep climbs. Therefore, not everything is perfect with the Pivot but so far, it has been one of our favorites.
Where the Pivot really shines is the DW link rear suspension; I believe it is the most bob free design that we have tested to date. Hardtailers moving up to full suspension should love this bike and its hard tail like pedaling efficiency. The Pivotâ€™s rear suspension has a tight and taunt feel to it not spongy like the Specialized. The down side of this stiffness is its tendency to hop and skip some in the very rough stuff; it is not as compliant as the RIP 9.
We mounted a video camera on the back of all three bikes to check for bob on a very steep climb up the concrete damn at San Lee Park. The Pivot DW link had the least amount of bob of the three bikes tested.
The one very interesting thing I learned by watching our test videos is how important it is to have a seated riding position with a smooth pedal spin for efficient climbing with these bikes. Forget about hardtail out of the saddle sprints while climbing. That climbing technique turned all three of these big full suspension bikes into pogo sticks including the Pivots DW link. The trick is to be less human like by not jumping on the cranks and more motor like â€“ a nice smooth spin for the most efficient climbing. All of the bike manufactures concentrate on advertising the benefits of there rear suspension design over the others but that is only half the story, that nice soft plush Fox front fork can bob like crazy with the out of saddle stuff too, so one more reason to be smooth.
There are too many variables to accurately calculate which bike is the fastest. I felt all three bikes were reasonably fast with maybe a slight edge going towards the Pivot mainly because of its efficient rear suspension. Over the long haul these Niners will hold their own against a sixer â€“ they have lower rolling resistance / better traction / they can take a straighter path down the trail / they have a much smoother ride and donâ€™t forget the big momentum, all that against the sixerâ€™s lighter weight and bone jarring ride.
The Fox RP23 rear shock, which is, located just below the top tube on the Pivot matches my personal bike; this familiarity allows me to switch into ProPedal on the fly. Of the three test bikes, only the Pivot allows for on the fly engagement of the ProPedal lever a big negative in my opinion for the other two bikes.
Overall, the Pivot finishes the shootout in second place Speed and efficiency its main attributes; negatives include weight, ground clearance, and aggressive ride.