Hey there! Are you in the market for a new bike? Or maybe something sparked your curiosity about the difference between an Enduro mountain bike and a Trail style mountain bike, specifically the Pivot Mach 6 and Pivot Trail 429.
We are going to cover the differences not by doing a deep-dive into the technical weeds, but instead by examining the experiential difference between the two styles of bikes.
To clarify, what I mean by “experiential” is how I feel interacting with the bikes, whether or not I enjoy the experience, and if the bike matches my preferred style of riding and desired handling characteristics. In order to do this, I picked a few areas that came to mind of how I interact and use the bikes.
Before we start, I get it. Sometimes you don’t want to read a whole article. We got you! If you'd prefer to watch a review, here is a video with the same info. And if you just want the really condensed version of our thoughts, the Quick and Dirty section is for you.
Quick and Dirty Conclusion
The Enduro style Pivot Mach 6 is punk rock. Once you point the bike downhill you’ll have a hard time getting the smile off your face. It’s fun, playful and comfortable. The Mach 6 is a different story uphill though - you'll work your butt off to earn every vertical foot of elevation gain.
The Trail style Pivot Trail 429 is precision wrapped in invigoration that rewards you for putting the pedal to the metal. It's a rocket uphill that will amaze you everytime you ride, but it requires a much higher level of intention and focus when descending.
Both are great, the real question is which bike matches you and what you enjoy most when riding.
Cool, let’s get into the good stuff for those of you that want more. For reference, in this article I use the term Enduro to refer to the Pivot Mach 6 and Trail to refer to the Pivot Trail 429.
Enduro: For as long as I can remember, everytime the trail points uphill with this bike, I start wishing it was a more efficient pedaler. It certainly does the job but man, I have to work hard at it. No matter how far into the season it is or how in-shape I am, after a day of climbing I am spent.
Trail: This thing is a rocket! The harder you push it the more rewarding it is. I feel great pedaling this thing and really enjoy it. The pedaling difference is very noticable between these two bikes.
Grip (When Climbing & Cornering)
Enduro: Along with being a bit of a beast climbing, this bike doesn’t seem to offer large amounts of traction uphill. This means my butt has to stay in the seat unless I want to lose traction. I really thought this was just the way of all bikes, it wasn’t until the new bike showed me things could be different.
As far as grip goes when descending, when the Mach 6 was new I struggled with the front tire washing out. And I still struggle now. Last year I took a pretty good spill on the bike when the front tire washed out. Can’t blame the bike, but I might still hold a slight grudge.
Trail: Along with it being a rocket uphill in general, this thing also has grip for days. Obstacles I thought I didn’t have a chance to clear are almost a snap. I also have the benefit of not having my rear end stuck in the saddle 24/7. I can now stand up and pedal without losing traction which helps in so many situations.
The bike is still very new to me, so I am still learning how much body weight I need to add when throwing this bike around corners. I have noticed a few times that the front tire started to wash out and I had to correct it. It may just be me - a skill I haven’t mastered yet. Probably.
Enduro: The name Enduro alone makes me think this bike should be able to clear just about anything. According to the specs, the bottom bracket is 13.6” with 175mm crank arms. All I can say is that this bike is a magnet for pedal strikes - like all the time. I don’t know exactly how many times this has either led to a crash, or near crash, and once I had to finish a ride pedaling on the nub of the crank arm after shearing off the pedal after a rock strike. That was fun.
Trail: This Trail bike excels in the clearance department. It is so much better. There are times when I ride over something carelessly and pre-cringe with the expectancy of a pedal strike to be surprised with nothing. Funny thing is, on paper these two have almost the same bottom bracket height, but when I pull out a tape measure, I see a ½” more clearance when measured from the ground to the bottom of the pedal surface on this bike. One more thing to add - the crank arms on this bike say 170mm, which is less than ¼” difference from the 175mm on the Mach 6.
Enduro: This bike sports a pair of 27.5” tires on aluminum rims. They are fast to change direction, super fun and add to the flickable nature of this bike. The aluminum rims have lasted almost 9 years and they are still going strong. Some of the decals have come off, but that’s about it.
Trail: This bike has a pair of 29” tires on carbon rims. I remember the first time I tried riding a 29er I hated it. The bike felt like a school bus in the corners and I think I actually just tipped over trying to turn the thing. Things are a bit better now. One of the most notable differences is how the tires roll. They roll right over obstacles that I had to deal with in some fashion on the 27.5s. They seem to want to stay moving when it comes to holding speed to cover surprises on the trail. What about the carbon rims you may be wondering? First set for me - and they were a big upgrade - and I can tell a difference. They feel so fast, not sure what they weigh, but they just feel fast. I really enjoy them. I can’t speak on the durability yet, but they come with a lifetime warranty, so I’m not concerned.
Enduro: This is where this bike shines! It has an accelerator pedal the size of Mars, and you can’t help but go full boogy when the trail points downhill. This bike is so fun and playful, it truly welcomes anything the mountain throws at you. In the 9 years or so I rode this bike, I don’t ever remember a time where I felt like I reached the limit of this bike.
Trail: This bike is very capable and fast downhill - you just have to be more intentional with this bike. You have to use your body and watch you lines. It rewards more precise and intention riding.
Row-ability (How tired you get & if you can ride for multiple days in a row)
Enduro: Maybe I ride too hard or maybe I have to work harder than some because I have short legs. I’m not sure but this bike wears me out. I am spent after a ride and can count on sore muscles the next day. I have almost always spaced in a day of rest between rides with this bike no matter how good of shape I am.
Trail: Scratch what I said about my short legs and riding too hard, this bike is a totally different story. I can ride much longer rides and ride multiple days in a row without a problem. Before you blame the weight of the Enduro bike, according to my scale they both weigh 28 lbs.
Enduro: Super fun. I could and should just leave it there. This bike has been everywhere, on all sorts of trails, bike parks, lifts and so on. They have all been fun, this bike is a hoot. The fun comes from the ability to just cut loose and tear it up however you want.
Trail: So fun. Again, I should really just stop there. This bike makes you feel like a racer and it keeps giving the harder you push it - that’s where it's strengths come from. This bike feels good to ride because it's so damn good and so rewarding.
Let’s wrap this thing up already; I love both bikes, and I love them for different reasons. The Enduro Mach 6 is punk rock. It’s all gas and no toot when you point it downhill. The Trail 429 is a rocket, it’s surgically precise and keeps on giving and thrives when you ride with intention.
If I had to pick just one winner, today it would be the Trail 429 because I enjoy riding most often in a way that the Trail 429 is so so good at. I love tearing it up downhill, and the smiles the Enduro bike offers are hard to beat. But the efficiency of the 429 feels so good and is so rewarding.
I will leave these as my final thoughts. If you are looking for a new bike, decide what kind of riding you want to do most of the time and find a bike that fits the bill. And if you’re lucky, get a second bike for the times you want to ride something a little different.
That’s all for now - leave me a comment and share your thoughts. There are so many good bikes out there, it’s easy to get lost in the choices. Cool thing is, you get to pick what’s right for you. And make sure you demo the bike on a trail not just the parking lot before you buy it.
Thanks and adios,