Review: Transition Bikes


We are exited to see the return of Transition Bikes to Snowmass Demo Days this season!

For those of you who are not familiar with the brand (which is not many these days) they are a rider owned brand from Bellingham Washington. This small brand is absolutely taking off. Regardless of how quickly they are growing, you can still visit the factory and meet the whole crew and the owners, Kevin and Kyle. They will probably even let you take a demo out to the home of PNW riding at Galbraith to test it out, if they have one left to spare.

What is it about their bikes that has led to this explosion? First of all, they build bikes that they want to ride. Market trends come and go and you will often see big brands put out not so dialed bikes to sell based on the hottest new thing. Forcing the popular new wheel size into the same old geometry is a good example. You won't see a Transition bike like that. They won't release a bike they don't like, including the Ripcord. One of the owner's kids got big enough to need a good kid bike, so they made one.

Not chasing the latest craze doesn't mean not being on the forefront though. That is the second thing that is special about their bikes. Rather than following the trends they are usually on the forefront of setting them. When brands started figuring out proper geometries for bigger wheels, they were right there. When low and slack took off they were pushing that envelope. Now we see forward geometry taking over the industry (SBG as they call it) and they were one of the first to go all in on that new idea.

SBG stands for Speed Balanced Geometry and is found in all full suspension trail bikes. It is part of the forward geometry movement that is changing mountain bikes as we know them. If you would like the full rundown, watch the SBG video on To put it simply, it is a total rethinking of mountain bike geometry. For years geometry has been based on classic road bike style frames and 26" wheels. A few companies started to question if that really applied to bigger wheels and the way we ride mountain trails.

On an SBG bike you can expect to be able to control the front end very predictably on a climb while absolutely shredding trails with a new and connected feel for both tires on the way back down. You can expect a cockpit that has plenty of room to move and maneuver your body without feeling crunched up or stretched out. You will go faster while feeling more in control. The bottom line is it REALLY works!

The fit is essentially the same between the four SBG trail bikes but they are far from the same bike in different wheel sizes.

First we have the Patrol. With 160mm travel with a 170mm fork and 27.5 wheels is a common spec for today’s enduro bike, but where it differs is in its agile whippy personality. It also pedals incredibly well.

The Sentinel is an absolute freight train on a wide open downhill. There are a lot of 29ers out there with 140mm rear travel and 160mm forks, but the Sentinel really stands alone in sheer stability. But don't expect to be left behind in the corners! With its low slung bottom bracket and tight chain stays you can lock into a berm like you are on rails and crank through the tight turns too.

The Smuggler is the most XC leaning full suspension bike they make at 120mm rear and 140mm front travel, but it isn't just for the guy wearing the peach smugglers (get it). It does climb like a rocket and build up light in weight, but it has the geometry to rage on the downhill too. It isn’t uncommon to see a few in local enduro races.

Last but not least, we have the Scout. Before they had a name for it, they called it "the slope-style bike" because it is so easy and natural to maneuver, throw around, and jump, but with a strong alloy frame and travel that feels way deeper than 130mm in the rear and 150mm in front, it can handle the rowdiest trails around and make them look good at the same time.

...but don’t just take my word for it, come by Snowmass Demo Days June 29 + 30, 2019 and make it a party!

Evan Winn
Ride Demo Days