Transition’s latest long-travel trail bike is a ground-hugging flow rider. Its natural ride character is friendly and forgiving rather than smash-and-grab, but that doesn’t mean it’s slow when pointed downhill.
Clean looks and solid kit
The Patrol follows the usual super-clean Transition template. The big double-curved down tube allows room for a piggyback shock and water bottle inside the frame, while the steeply sloped top tube gives masses of standover room.
Features include ISCG-05 tabs, a direct-mount front derailleur stub, a conventional threaded BB, internal dropper post routing and a 142x12mm screw-through axle. The ‘Giddy Up’ suspension is Transition’s take on the classic four-bar Horst link design, here providing 155mm (6.1in) of travel.
Transition is one of several brands to capitalise on the lapsing of specialized’s horst link licence, and its ‘giddy up’ suspension is definitely the best pun yet!:
Transition is one of several brands to capitalise on the lapsing of Specialized’s Horst link licence
Collet pivot bearings and semi-internal gear and brake lines are easy to service. At around 3.6kg (7.9lb) for a medium it’s a chunky chassis.
The Patrol comes as a frame for or with one of four build kits, of which we’ve tested the second from top. It’s a solid selection of gear too, headed up by a RockShox Pike fork and Monarch Plus shock.
An 800mm wide, 35mm diameter Race Face Atlas bar locks down steering leverage, SRAM’s excellent Guide RSC brakes do the stopping and the gears are a 1×11 mix of SRAM X01 and X1. The 150mm drop KS LEV Integra post gets a neat ‘Southpaw’ under-bar lever upgrade. Broad Easton AR30 rims fatten up the top-spec Maxxis Minion DH front and rear tyre team, and it all rolls on reliable SRAM hubs.
Glued to the ground
It’s not just the hubs that are reliable either. No matter how hard we banked the huge bar over or how choppy and broken the trail got, the Patrol has an amazing ability to keep its tyres glued to the ground. In classic Horst link fashion, the surface adhesion created by the suspension isn’t noticeably affected by braking or pedal input either. This all builds a bike that stays calm and collected through situations where a lot of similar machines would have you sweating and swearing.
The patrol has a traction rich, ground hugging ride, though it can wander under power if you don’t prop the shock up with extra compression damping or air pressure:
The Patrol has a traction rich, ground hugging ride, though it can wander under power
While it doesn’t dare you or drive you into situations with the in-your- face aggression of the Santa Cruz Bronson we rode alongside it, even our more reserved testers found themselves pushing harder and harder through successive sections until they were really hauling.
Thankfully it retains a helpful margin of error if you get too relaxed and confident in its abilities, and you’re going to have to pull some serious Gs to really push it into the red.
The flipside of this casual, drama-diminishing confidence is that you have to provide your own urgency and dynamic character rather than relying on the bike to bring it on. The naturally soft, relatively linear suspension means you also have to flick the low-speed compression lever or run less sag to get rid of demoralising pedalling softness and front end wander when digging deep out of corners or up techy climbs.
The increased grip from the wide rims means more drag too. Effervescent trail character and efficient climbing is more the remit of the lighter, shorter travel Transition Scout though, and if you’re happy to be patient on the climbs the Patrol is a super-confident playmate on the downs.
Felt Decree 2.0
Impressive rear suspension equates to plenty of speed and all-day comfort making it a joy to ride over long distances. See our full Felt Decree 2.0 review.
Santa Cruz Bronson C S AM
If you like trail bikes tough, tight, punchy and infectiously playful, then the updated Bronson is a standout machine. Read our full Santa Cruz Bronson C S AM review.
Commencal Meta AM V4 Race 650b RockShox Red