Pivot Cycles, the mountain bike make headed by former Titus designer Chris Cocalis, has unveiled a pair of new carbon fiber 29ers, the Mach 429 and the company’s first hardtail frame, the Pivot Les (pivotless, geddit? We’ll be here all week…)
Cocalis was known at Titus for very nicely-sorted suspension systems, and Pivot’s name set out his new project’s stall when it was launched in 2007. A hardtail is a bit of a departure, therefore. Pivot says it’s for “those race days when it is essential to be as stiff and light as possible.”
It certainly ticks all the boxes in the list of ‘things a modern race hardtail needs to have’: high-compression carbon fiber frame, using moulding technology that makes for very smooth internal surfaces; tapered headtube; internal cable routing with an access port under the bottom bracket; and 142 x 12mm through-axle rear dropouts with replaceable hanger.
A bit less obvious are the optional ‘Swinger System’ singlespeed dropouts which use indexed screws for precise adjustment of the rear dropouts and therefore the chain tension. Pivot says the new drop-outs make for “fast wheel removal without needing to mess with the brakes.”
The Pivot Les is intended to be used with 100mm or 120mm travel forks. Frame weight is claimed to be under 2.5lb. We’re quoting directly there – are we the only ones who wish the bike industry would pick a system of units and stick to it? If you think in grams, 2.5lb is a bit under 1150 grams.
Pivot Mach 429 Carbon
More than just a carbon version of Pivot’s existing Mach 429, the new full suspension 29er has two years of development work in it, with new geometry and revised DW-Link that Pivot claims make it handle and accelerate like a 26-inch wheeled bike.
The Mach 429 Carbon shares the Les’s high-compression moulding technique, internal cable routing and tapered headtube. The cranks spin in a 92mm bottom bracket shell that makes for wider and stiffer, well, everything: pivots, bearing supports, and down tube. ISCG 05 mounts are included.
It sits below a direct mount front derailleur and out back are 142 x 12mm through-axle dropouts with a 7075 aluminium derailleur hanger and 160mm post mount for the rear brake. You can fit a 100mm or 120mm travel fork.
There are frame protectors made from rubberised leather on the chainstay, inner seat stay, and down tube. There’s a smutty remark about leather-clad kinkcycles in there somewhere but it’s just not happening for us on a hot Thursday afternoon.
The shock is a custom-tuned Fox CTD with trail-adjustable Boost Valve and Kashima coating. Pivot says it “incorporates the widest range of adjustment and smoothest action of any air shock ever developed.”
In C mode the shock is has maximum pro-pedal damping. Pivot says this setting is very close to a lock out mode and suggests it be used for the pavement ride to the trail and ultra smooth fire roads.
T-for-Trail mode can be preset to one of three levels of platform damping. You therefore choose the level of control you prefer in advance and stick to it. A very light blow off valve allows the suspension to quickly react to the terrain.
Finally D mode shuts off all the platform damping. Pivot recommends this for most general riding, and T1 or T2 for cross-country racing.
Prices and availability
Details of UK prices and availability are not firm, but Rory Hitchens of importer Upgrade Bikes/Pivot Cycles UK says we can expect to see Les frames in January 2013 for about £1600. The Mach 429 Carbon frame and shock will be around £2350 and available from December 2012.