Bob very kindly offered his new Transition Scout for a ride. I know that Bob is somewhat torn between that familiar feeling of his Orange, vs a degree of uncertainty on his new steed.
I really looked forward to seeing what the change in the suspension felt like on the latest range from Transition. Bob’s kit is top notch, Carbon Renthal
gatepost bar at 740mm, xt brakes on 180 rotors, and the new xt 1×10 (with expander cog). Bouncy bits included the Pike RCT3 150 (reduced to 140?) and the Monarch RT3 shock with 125mm. Rolling stock was the Maxxis High roller 27.5 x 2.30, and reverb stealth.
I did a regular route up to Holmbury – a roady bit with some climbs, down Yougurt pots and BKB. The first thing I noticed was the shock in pedal mode almost completely eliminates any pedal bob (Not Pedal Bob!). I could never achieve this on the fox RP3. It felt really solid. I had a real suprise on the climbs, when half way up the long drag to Holmbury, I glanced down to see I was 3 cogs away from the highest gear (the smallest on the cassette). This was an ongoing issue, I found the top gear was not really enough for the fast bits, and I never got anywhere near the expander – which I did try at one point, and it almost turned the bike into a static trainer! Could certainly go from the 32t upfront to a 34t, but, that’s personal preference.
Another area I struggled with, was the long bar on a medium stem (I didn’t measure it), and the saddle reasonably slammed back. This made for a long reach. My two issues with this is it restricts your breathing, because you feel crouched over, and secondly, if you recall that skills course with the Jedi – we practiced those turns- a right hand turn had you extend the right arm straight, left arm bent, with the outside foot down. I struggled to get this position because my arm was already stretched on the wide bar, and the only way to solve it was to shift right forward in the frame.
I had a shaky run down yougurts, getting to grips with the 27.5’s. The high rollers are excellent on the gloopy runs – a bit draggy – but a great Morzine tire. I really felt like you could point and shoot, and the bike just took it all. Before running BKB, I dumped 100 bar out of the shock. Down from 320 to 220! This took the sag down to 30%, and gave a much less chatter. I felt encouraged to try and jump off everything is sight (almost to my peril!). I was never going to PR anything, BKB is fairly cut up at the moment, but much fun was had. As hard as I tried, I got nowhere near bottoming out on either end. Some measurement showed I used 118 mm of travel up front, so some pressure fettling there could also help. These new fork and ‘big can’ shocks really do need some extreme experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. I don’t think that setting sag and forget is applicable these days.
My overall impression was the suspension platform is much more solid and stable than the Bandit. The Scout responded really well to being pushed in the turns and pops. My ongoing niggle with Transition bikes continues around getting the saddle out the way, as with the Bandit – a 150mm dropper would help. Cable noise from the internal routing was also very noticeable, a google search showed some trick with cable ties to help reduce the clatter, especially with the new XT 1×10 which is outstanding. Bob’s got a cracking bike – my niggles are largely down to personal preference, with one exception – all that weight shedding bling – and Bob still runs tubes. It’s so last year Bob. Huge thanks for letting me take it out!