Transition Covert £2663

One for both the ups and the downs

BikeRadar score 4/5

The all-mountain genre is increasing in popularity as materials facilitate lower bike weights among the big boys. But can Transition, a small rider-owned US company, keep up with the bigger fish? For 2010, the staff’s bike knowledge and enthusiasm for riding has led them to make some subtle changes to the feisty Covert to reinforce its all-mountain pedigree.

Ride & handling: A fantastic ride that oozes stability and inspires confidence

When you hit the climbs and put the power down, the Covert gains height with surprising ease for a 6in bike, offering a comfortable, unwavering and grippy ride when you point it uphill. With the Boost Valve switched on, the platform remains constant and there’s minimal pedal bob when you start to really grind the gears. A slightly longer stem than the supplied 50mm model would certainly add much welcome stretch to the Covert’s climbing position.

The RP23 shock had a good range of adjustment and worked in harmony with the Fox 36 up front. The Fox fork was incredibly stiff and was an asset when hitting the rockier singletrack that the Alps tend to throw at you. The 20mm quick release thru-axle ensured the steering remained precise throughout and the supple, controlled nature of the fork meant the front wheel was able to consistently fight for every ounce of grip thanks to the superb tracking.

On the bigger hits, confidence never wavered due to the smooth, progressive nature of the fork. Its adjustable travel is a definite bonus – but it never seemed to be completely necessary on the harsh Alpine terrain where 160mm is just enough to get you out of tight spots, while not being enough to hinder you too much on the climbs.

It’s when you point the Covert downhill that you realise how well the complete bike package works. With the superb geometry and compliant suspension, the rider can sit centralised on the bike, ready to attack or react to whatever the trail throws at you. With both fork and shock sitting and working well into their mid-stroke, the bike feels extremely stable at speed and doesn’t hesitate on the nastiest terrain. The 45in wheelbase handles high speed well but is still manoeuvrable enough when the trail tightens. The wider bar and shorter stem may not be the most appropriate on the climbs but the control and leverage that they enable is quite astounding. 

The weight of the bike ensures a reasonably sprightly feel that exudes versatility with every pedal stroke. It’s easy to throw around if and when you need to, but will stay planted to the ground when you start to reach your limits. The Avid Juicy brakes are more than powerful enough to stop this burly trail bike and the 203mm front rotor is a nice touch that ensures a more consistent feel when the descents are long and drawn out.

Frame: The suspension and linkage design lets you pedal to your heart’s content

The latest incarnation of the Covert gets a tubing revamp that facilitates better weld contact points at critical areas and also increases the overall strength of the bike. This means that, aesthetically, the Covert retains its clean and simplistic look with a little more flair thrown in for good measure. The rocker link is now fully CNC-machined and, combined with a box section rear triangle, it does a good job of ensuring the rear end remains laterally stiff when thrust into corners and pinballed through rocks gardens.

Transition has approached the do-it-all design with clear emphasis on the Covert being ridden aggressively. Drawing inspiration from both cross-country and downhill bikes, the Covert’s geometry is set to inspire confidence to ride hard. The drawn-out reach keeps things comfortable for climbing while the slack head angle of 66.2° lets you rip any downhill sections.

The neatly gusseted head tube and additional bracing between the top and seat tubes add strength where heavy loading is unavoidable without breaking the scales; the 28.8lb set-up we had on test is certainly a competitive weight for an all-mountain rig.

Equipment: Decent spec and extra wide bar

Controlling the rear end is the Fox RP23 shock with the full bells and whistles Boost Valve technology. The ProPedal switches the Boost Valve on or off and provides a good platform when you start to hammer the pedals.

On the whole, the spec is well thought out and nicely suited to the Convert’s no-nonsense approach, with SRAM X.9 gears and Juicy Seven disc brakes. Transition has specced a 760mm bar, which adds to the bike’s versatility: cutting the bar down to size enables you to customise your bike without forking out for a new bar altogether.

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