Transition Rapture frameset review£499.00

Fun and affordable cyclocross racer

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Transition is best known for its rowdy trail bikes, but it's clear the company’s employees just like to play in the dirt, regardless of tire size. The Rapture is a no-frills steel cyclocross bike that’s a good option for first-timers and racers on a budget.

Riding the Rapture

The Rapture’s handling is best described as neutral. Even when leaned hard into corners there’s never a sense of oversteer. The bottom bracket is low enough to make it feel carvy without being slammed to the point of catching pedals when spinning through off-camber sections.

The 4130 chromoly steel frame doesn’t ride as sprightly as high-end steel tubesets do, but it does a commendable job of smoothing out rough courses.

Transition chose to route the rear brake line internally through the top tube, so there’s no cable in the way when grabbing the tube or shouldering the bike.

The rear brake line is routed through the top tube of the rapture:
The rear brake line is routed through the top tube of the rapture:

Internal routing for the rear brake line

The cables for the front and rear derailleurs are routed externally along the down tube. These cable stops can be removed as needed for a 1x drivetrain or when setting the Rapture up as a singlespeed.

The downtube cable stops can be removed for if not needed for 1x or singlespeed configurations:
The downtube cable stops can be removed for if not needed for 1x or singlespeed configurations:

Since I was running a 1x drivetrain, I only needed one cable stop on the down tube

While we’re on the subject of singelspeeds, the Rapture uses rocker-style dropouts to tension the chain. I prefer this system to the trackends used on several other popular singlespeed ’cross bikes, because it allows for quick wheel changes and ensures the rear wheel, as well as the rotor, is always properly aligned in the frame.

A close-up of transition's dropout design:
A close-up of transition's dropout design:

The Rapture's dropouts are simple and effective

Budget-minded but big-boned

Our test frameset was outfitted with sram's force cx1 drivetrain and brakes. enve supplied the cockpit and wheels:
Our test frameset was outfitted with sram's force cx1 drivetrain and brakes. enve supplied the cockpit and wheels:

Even with a high-end build kit, the Rapture is still no flyweight

Transition provided a high-end build kit for our Rapture frameset. The drivetrain and brakes consisted of SRAM’s Force CX1 group while Enve’s light and stiff XC wheels and tubeless-ready WTB Crosswolf rubber kept me rolling. Enve rounded out the build with a carbon stem, handlebar and seatpost. This was about as top-shelf as one can get, and would set a rider back about US$5,000. Even with all this fancy kit bolted to it, the Rapture was far from the lightest bike toeing the start line, with a complete weight of 8.3kg / 18.3lb.

When compared with today’s lightweight carbon wunderbikes, or even to custom steel ’cross bikes, the Rapture is a bit hefty. The frame weighs 2.1kg / 4.56lb. Add the 1kg / 2.3lb matching steel fork and you’ve got a frameset that tips the scales at 3.1kg / 6.86lb.

While it may be twice the weight of some top-end framesets, though, it’s less than half the cost. That seems like a fair tradeoff to me.

Riders looking to cut weight can always build the Rapture up as a singlespeed. Swapping the 1 1/8in steel fork for a carbon version with a tapered steerer is also an option, thanks to the bike’s 44mm head tube.

The rapture comes with a steel fork with a straight 1 1/8in steerer, however the 44mm head tube means a rider can run a tapered carbon fork, if they wish:
The rapture comes with a steel fork with a straight 1 1/8in steerer, however the 44mm head tube means a rider can run a tapered carbon fork, if they wish:

A 44mm head tube gives the Rapture a bit of versatility when it comes to aftermarket fork options

Last but not least, the fact that the Rapture sticks with a 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell, 135mm rear axle spacing, and quick-release axles at both ends means it can easily be built up with components that might be collecting dust in your home workshop thanks to the cycling industry’s relentless need for technological change.

Verdict

The Rapture is a good option for riders looking to dabble in their local ’cross scene as well as for folks who don’t take cyclocross too seriously. If you’ll gladly take beer hand-ups and have been known to race in costume, the Rapture might be the right bike for you.

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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