Surrey Hills MTB


Transition Covert

The T Factor: A “Cove of Transition Smugglers”

It was a few years ago when I was given the opportunity to be propelled into “boutique bike ownership” when some piece of scum broke into my shed and relieved me of my lovely Specialized Stumpjumper. Not that I was furious or anything but I just hope he rode it under the nearest lorry the very next day. I was, however, very fortunate to have a decent insurance policy that allowed me to put together a lovely bit of kit.

So I tried out a few options first, I borrowed a Whyte G150 works and took it to Wales, very nice but just didn’t set my pants on fire..

Then I read loads of reviews and borrowed my mate’s Transition Bandit 650b and I thought “Woohoo !! Pass me that fire extinguisher” – the Bandit just had/has that little something extra, it has a sense of urgency, a familiar feel to it and is such a great bike. So I nabbed the last battleship grey, large Bandit frame my local Transition supplier could get his mits on.

Life with my Bandit was lovely. It was a very confidence inspiring bike and very pretty. Bike Parks were sessioned, and the Alps were well and truly “beasted”.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of years or so and another piece of filthy scum relieved my mate of his Transition Bandit 29er (David D). Mr D then proceeded to buy a “rescue orange” Transition Smuggler, at the time Transition’s new short(ish) travel 29er. When David brought out his orange beast I wasted no time and swung a leg over and what do you know, I got the same feeling I did when I first rode the Bandit 650b. The seed was sown…

However, I was initially unsold on the “bigger wheels are best” argument though, I simply loved my Transition Bandit too much. But then then I came across a cheap Transition Covert 29 frame and built up a bike to either keep or sell. Of course, once built I took the covert out for one or two TFITs and the revelation was definite – riding the Covert absolutely sold me on the benefits of the 29er wheel. They just roll better, and I’ll concede that 29ers are slightly less nimble (note the use of the word slightly) but there is a palpable difference, ANDĀ for the type of riding we do in the Surrey Hills it has to be the wheel of choice.

However, the was an issue with my Covert. It was a lovely bit of kit (and a large frame) but it was just way too small for me. And not just me, everyone who rode it commented on the very “compact cockpit”. That said, more modern 29er geometry (i.e. the Smuggler) gives you a spacious, low and relaxed “cockpit” that I love so very much, without the need for pesky front mechs anymore and the rear chainstays can be shorter promoting rigidity in the rear triangle.

What’s not to love?

So, after a bit of contemplation I realised there was only thing for it…

I had to sell my beloved Transition Bandit šŸ˜±…

Then buy a Smuggler frame and put the bits from the Covert onto that.. If I’m honest it took me a fair while to pluck up the courage. But my pants collection was burgeoning and needed burning, so I did it, and she is now entertaining a very nice chap in Sheffield.

Transitions current colour scheme is not exactly jaw dropping and it’s the only disappointing thing about the whole brand, but you can’t have everything I suppose. So, a matte black frame was procured.



Me being me, I absolutely was not going to just leave it at that! So I got my local spray painter to do his thing and sprayed the front triangle. After much procrastination I settled on theĀ surprising bit – an “oh so choice” red..

The I I sold a few other bits from the shed and built up a truly lovely bike giving me the following kit list for my Smuggler:

  • SRAMXX1 drive train
  • SRAMĀ Guide ultimate brakes
  • Rockshox Lyrik 140mm Solo Air forks
  • Rockshox Debonair RT3 rear shock
  • Hope 4 hubs
  • Hope bottom bracket
  • Hope headset
  • Hope bar end plugs
  • Eastern Heist 30mm rims on stainless spokes
  • Race face 150mm dropper
  • Race face turbine stem 50mm
  • Race face turbine 780mm bars
  • HT X1 pedals
  • Race face grips
  • Fizik Gobi saddle
  • Specialised Butcher tubeless tyres

So last night’s TFIT was the first ride of the Smuggler and last night was…, well, just bloody fantastic! It really is a great bike (and I don’t think the guys noticed the steam from my smouldering undergarments in all that slush and mist…)

It says something about a bike when you can swing your leg over for the very first time and feel like your totally at home and ride with a proper grin on your mush, bristling with the excitement and promise of even merely delving into the greater performance and capability that a new, different bike brings.

There definitely is a “T” factor..

First notes, well I’ve never ridden Rockshox before and I know there will be lots of setting up and dialing in required. This is obviously awesome because it gives me plenty of excuses to “just pop out for a bit” up to the Punchbowl and back.. as if excuses are needed.

And finally, now we are Smugglers x2 at TFITs, the collective noun for The Smuggler was rightly decreed last night.

David D and I now ride as a Cove of Smugglers….

Roll on the trails of 2017…..

Matt W


Transitioning to a 29er

So Matt W has abandoned me. Yep, he’s only gone and bought himself a 29er, abandoning me to be the only Bandit 650b rider… *sniff*.

Anyway, emotional abandonment aside, yes it’s true, after a number of months of making general “You know what, I think I’d quite like to ride a 29er” noises Matt has finally sold his trusty Transition Bandit 650b.

However, Matt’s choice of new bike is quite interesting as he is replacing it with the shorter travel but no less infinitely capable Transition Smuggler. David D has ridden one for over a year now and is, well, “smitten” I guess is the best word I can use.

The bike is fast, fast oh so VERY fast on the trail and despite it’s shorter overall bounce (130mm at the frontĀ and 115mm at the rear) has certainly handled everything the Surrey Hills can throw at it as well as Morzine/Les Gets during last years trip. And as Mr D put it himself, the Smuggler has “scared the crap out of him” on more that one occasion in it’s urgency to head down the trail just as fast as momentum can support.

So the big question is how is Matt going to handle the “Transition” (ho ho ho) from 650b to 29er and how indeed will it affect his riding? I’m hoping Matt can find the time to write some words on the differences both for and against and I’ll post them here.

To be fair, I suspect the change will be fairly easy for Matt to handle because he already owns a 29er – a Transition Covert, which he lovingly built up last year. Consequently the rides that Matt has put in on the Covert (which is a fantastic trail beast of a bike) have firmed his opinion that he has a leg very firmly in the big hoop camp.

The thing I can’t wait to see is what he does with this frame because to put it mildly Mr W is somewhat famous (infamous??) for his “perfectly bling” bikes. Let’s not forget, he is the only bloke I know with balls big enough to take an angle grinder to a brand new bike frame to remove a front mech mounting bracket because “it looked ugly”.

Perfectionist? Yes. Crazy as a box of frogs? Undoubtedly. Transition 29er rider? Apparently so…


You’ve gotta love Transition

So as previously blogged, Matt W has built a custom Transition Covert 29er. She’s a thing of beauty and resprayed ‘stealth black’ to boot. However she can be a frisky madam – she dumped me in 6 inches of mud (at least I think it was mud…) on Monday night for doing something wrong. Matt is rightly proud of his creation so dropped an email to Transition and you’ve gotta love the non-corporate response:

That thing looks SICK. Nice work! I had to get a couple guys in here to drool over those photos. So far we’ve got some stuff in the works for the next year but nothing set in stone. Everything just keeps getting better, but I do love the Covert. That frame is just solid Ā and stealth for sure. Thanks for making us look good!


And THAT is one of the reasons why I love Transition…

I Cove(r)t your bike

So not TFIT for me last night, have work related shenanigans today that require clear, shiny mind and non-weary body, however the faithful were in attendance in the slime last night – all kudos deserved.

Anyway, I did miss a significantĀ event last night – the unveiling of Matt W’s hand-built Transition Covert 29er, so without further ado, I give you the words of Matt W – oh, and Matt – just a legendary headset cover…:

Covertly Blogging

We’ll, I’ve given her a good squirt with my hose and lubed her up ready for the next session…

Sat here with my obligatory post TFIT (shell station freebie glass) of wine that Ness left out, am I that predictable?.. I felt it only ‘just’ that I share my limited ability to blog..

She’s definitely a looker alright..

Whether it’s new bike bravado, a larger wheel placebo or a genuine rolling advantage, I certainly felt something different, you’ll be glad to hear.. There is certainly a place for both or all three (controversial), wheel sizes.

Certainly felt a bit more stable, I’m definitely SRAMĀ not Shimano (but I knew that)..

For a first (shake down ride) it looks good.

How is she different from the 650b bandit? Well, the bandit feels lower and more squat and I’d say more playful, whilst the covert 29 seems to gluide over things easier..

Whether it’s better or not is down to personal preference…

Me, I like potatoes and I like potartoes……

Tutty bye… šŸ™‚

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