Among the four exciting new models launched by US brand Transition for 2015 is the Scout, which we first previewed as part of a haul of gear that showed up late last November. This short-travel, 650b bike boasts some promising numbers. We hit the hills to see how they translate to the trail.
Frame and equipment: precision-tooled to hit Giddy heights
Each of the four new Transitions uses their new Giddy Up Link suspension system, essentially a four-bar Horst Link set-up. With the Scout, it’s tailored to work with 125mm (4.9in) of rear travel. Short 425mm chainstays and a low, corner-carving 324mm bottom bracket height are combined with a relatively slack (considering the amount of travel) 66.9-degree head angle. Well thought-out features include a stiff 12x142mm rear axle and user-friendly 73mm threaded BB, internal dropper post routing, an integrated rubber chainstay protector, and space in the front triangle to fit a water bottle.
Race face’s turbine cinch cranks head up the 1×11 transmission: race face’s turbine cinch cranks head up the 1×11 transmission
Race Face’s Turbine Cinch cranks head up the 1×11 transmission
As is the current trend, the short-travel frame is paired with a longer 140mm (5.5in) travel fork. There are two builds on offer – a Shimano SLX/Deore bike or the pricier SRAM equipped model tested here, with an X1 cassette and shifter, X01 rear derailleur and Race Face’s impressive new Turbine Cinch cranks. Joining you to the trail are Schwalbe’s new Nobby Nics, which are far better treads than the originals.
Ride and handling: a playful pleasure with well-thought out suspension
The naturally playful feel of the Scout becomes apparent within seconds of rolling into the first piece of singletrack. It’s easy to throw the Transition about, skipping between obstacles or launching entire sections with confidence. The wide bar and short stem keep handling lively and, combined with the short chainstays and low BB, make slamming from turn to turn a real pleasure. Where you might point, shoot and hold on for dear life on some bikes with similar travel, you’ll want to launch the Scout over and into whatever is ahead.
The sorted geometry and quality spec add up to a grin-inducing ride: the sorted geometry and quality spec add up to a grin-inducing ride
The sorted geometry and quality spec add up to a grin-inducing ride
Slow, out of the saddle, pedal grinding climbs do reveal a little bit of suspension bob at the rear, but a flick of the shock’s low-speed compression lever soon tames this. Open the shock up on the descents and you’re instantly rewarded with an active back end that tracks the terrain well, helping to keep you glued to the trail.
What we really liked though was the smooth, progressive stroke that uses every inch of the bike’s travel yet feels like it has even more to offer. This leads you to ride the bike harder and harder on every run, and the Scout just laps it up. There’s a tiny bit of cable rattle, but careful ziptie-ing where the cables enter the frame fixes this. The 140mm travel Pike handles the hits impressively too, and sticking a fork with a stiff chassis on a short-travel bike only further elevates the Scout’s razzing credentials.
Price for frameset only: £1400 / US$1799 / AUD$2699