Surrey Hills MTB


Transition Scout 650b

Transition Scout? NomNomNom

So last night was an interesting TFIT in a number of ways, Steve F had his new RC3 Monarch Plus resplendent on his FSR and Bob M was demoing an Orange Four Pro from Cycleworks to see how it compared with his trusty Orange 5 26er.

Steve reported all was good and groovy with the shock but Bob was slightly less than convinced about the Orange. I think it was a good looking bike but without a doubt the frame was too small for Bob (a medium) and the headset was as tight as “Yorkshireman at the shops”.

It’s also (or at least the demo one was) twitchy as bananas on the trail. As with all modern bikes it’s “all out front” but the bike did not feel stable when the speed increased when compared to our other bikes, and in particular, in my opinion, Bob’s Scout.

Now speaking of the Transition Scout – last night’s TFIT was somewhat special for me as I managed to get to Cycleworks in Haslemere before closing and I picked up my new ride – and OMG she’s a beauty!

My new Scout frame has been augmented with a Rockshox Pike 150mm at the front (to marry with the Rockshock RT3 Monarch at the back) as well as a Rockshox Reverb Stealth B1 dropper.

The rest of the kit is a direct swap over from my Transition Bandit, (Kore, XT 1×11 with Blackspire go and stop kit with Hope on Hope wheels) and although there are some definite cosmetic improvements to be made (purely for vanity reasons…) including new grips, custom headset cap, red seat clamp and stealth stickers for my Pike – but essentially she is good to go.

So I very rapidly and roughly pressured up the fork to recommend level and the shock to get roughly 30% sag (definitely need to work on this when time permits to get it right) and barreled out of the door for a pre-TFIT and then TFIT ride.

Initial impressions – well the Pike was a revelation – although 10mm more than the build kit forks you get with a Scout I think I have very much made the right decision. Comparing a 2017 Pike with my 2013 Fox Kashima 140mm is a bit like comparing Apples and Aardvarks (things have soooo moved on technology wise) I have to say that hands down the Pike wins the favourite bounce battle. It’s an awesome piece of kit and tamed Marbles with ease, particularly in conjunction with the Monarch at the back in “Giddy Up” mode.

The Reverb B1 is also a massive improvement on my old Reverb dropper. Apparently Rockshox have re-designed the internals and again, initial impressions are it’s just brilliant. Very smooth and very controllable when compared to my old Reverb and the internal routing (mandatory for a Scout frame) is superb.

I was slightly worried that putting on longer travel forks would stuff up climbing on the Scout but I have to say – not in the slightest. The Scout feels super planted heading upwards and is, as Transition say, very ready for riding up and down hills! However, it’s the down bit where all the fun begins – the Scout just simply rocks. It’s a nimble, enthusiastic, trail monster and OMG it made me feel (if not look!) good. I love it – there – I’ve said it.

So a massive thanks to Tom P@Cycleworks for all his help building up the Scout – let the pre-Les Arcs shenanigans begin!


My Transition Bandit is Dead. Long live my Transition Scout

Best… Day… Ever?

So as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, my trusty Transition Bandit acquired a deeply disturbing crack in the chainstay – “oh the humanity” – “oh the emotional carnage”.

I’ve got to confess, despite having Bob M’s Transition Scout on loan I have been slightly wallowing in a puddle of depression ever since. I mean… my bike… it’s dead… *sob*…. what was I going to do?

However I’m extremely glad to report that today brings AMAZING NEWS – I’m getting a replacement frame – and its a Transition Scout 650b (in Stealth Black – yeeehahh).

I have been glued to the internet over the last few weeks, looking at frames from everywhere and everyone as a rising tide of “not riding panic” began to grip me. There are some lovely bikes out there at the moment, however lovely as they are, I realised (reinforced by a few cheeky rides out on Bob’s Scout) I could not face being unable to ride a Transition steed of some kind as my main trail weapon of choice.

IMHO the Scout is a true “spiritual replacement” to the Bandit in every way. Riding Bob’s Scout is such a “familiar” experience and it loves – just LOVES – the point of the ride when gravity becomes your friend and you let go of the brakes. Last night’s TFIT was a good case in point. Cutting loose on a Transition is the point where the “playfulness” arrives. It invites you to push harder, corner harder and smile harder!

Anyway, the lovely, lovely frame is coming (as a crash replacement – this is why I love Transition Bikes!) from the lovely people at Windwave – UK importers of all things Transition and I’m Tom at Cycleworks is going to be swapping all my go and stop kit from Bandit to Scout as soon as this can be done although I’m giving serious thought to ordering a Rockshox Pike 150mm to augment the bounce on the front.

I will write some notes on the Scout as soon as I hit the trails over the coming weeks but I am one happy rider!

My Transition Bandit is Dead. Long live my xxx

Oh my God. Well, that was quite possibly the most depressing visit to my LBS I have ever had.

So, I sent my beloved Transition Bandit into Cycleworks Haslemere for some springtime TLC – you know, new go-gear and freshen up the stop gear – nothing drastic and nothing to write home about…

Well, that was until I picked up a message from Tom@Cycleworks about them “hitting a snag”. “Zut Alors!” I thought “What could it be?” and so I beetled off to the shop to see what the deal was – confident it was simply something minor that needed my approval. I was in for a bit of a surprise….

My frame is cracked!!!! F***********CK….

Yep, the lower section of my rear swingarm has a ‘developing’ crack about 1 cm long and stretching through the metal.

Now, I’ve got to be honest – I felt sick – I felt depressed – I felt sad – I felt like someone had just dynamited my cat.

I love my bike – it is fully awesome in every way and the source of sooooo much joy – and I was totally unprepared for the complete and utter emotional wrench of frame damage.

Anyway, emotional damage aside (sniff…), after speaking to the awesome and very sympathetic guys at Cycleworks I moped off home (wiping the occasional tear from my eyes…) and I started a frantic internet related search and came across this article on Singletrack which has much better photos but interestingly has the same crack in pretty much exactly the same place.

Thankfully (unlike the guy in the above post) I am the original owner of my Bandit, so, right now I’ve dug out all the proof of purchase stuff I’ve got and need to get this passed through to Transition who have, in addition to their standard frame warranty, a crash replacement policy:


In addition to our warranty, all Transition Bikes frames are covered for life under our “Crash Replacement Policy” to the original registered owner. If for any reason (and we do mean “any” reason) you should find yourself with a broken frame, you may send us the broken frame section and we will replace it at a cost well below retail. You are responsible for all shipping costs to get the frame to and from Transition Bikes.

Which is just one more reason I fully love Transition Bikes!

The good news is, while I’m going through the motions, the very lovely Bob M has offer me the “long term loan” of his Transition Scout which I’ve ridden a couple of times in the past.

Transition’s Scout is IMHO a Bandit in all but name (but with the added benefit of GiddyUp suspension) and will very much satisfy my Transition urges while my Bandit’s frame shenanigans are resolved.

So for the moment, as Bob is fond of saying, where there is a problem there is always a solution!


 Transition takes the Alps: Bandit, Scout and Smuggler

Well, we’re partly through the weekend of Morzine 2016. Two awesome days in and we’re all having a major blast. So while I sit here basking in glory and sun (in the hot tub) with a well earned beer, I thought I’d post some feedback on how the collective Transitions are handling the trails this year.

We have four Transition Bikes in attendance at Morzine 2016: two 650b Transition Bandits, a 650b Transition Scout and a new and shiny 29er Transition Smuggler.

All of the bikes are slightly different in terms of setup and kit, for example Matt’s Bandit has a Fox Float 34 versus my Fox Float 32, and he has the “oh-so-wide-internal-rim” Easton ARC’s vs my Hope Tech Enduros. Bob’s Scout is just “blinged-up” to the eyeballs with the best Hope and Shimano XT finishing kit and Dave’s Smuggler is just dangerously, worryingly fast. We’ve all “Morzine-ified” them with a disparate choice of tyres (Butcher Grid / Maxxis High Roller II for me, Dual High Roller II’s for Bob, Maxxis High Roller II 3c Max Terra / High Roller II for Matt and Butcher Grid / Purgatory Grid for David) and so far all is good.

I guess all of them are arguably ‘Enduro’ focussed bikes (whatever that actually means), not perhaps suited to the “blackest of black” Alpine backwoods runs but very happy in this terrain. Very happy indeed.

Fundamentally all of them are Transition through and through. Fundamentally all of them are awesome.

We’ve caned Chatel with a slew of Strava PRs and today had fun on the Les Gets berms below Nauchets working on bike control. The smiles are big. And we’re only one man down (Mark T had an end of day stack yesterday and sadly has ripped his shoulder tendons).

My Transition Bandit 650b

I’ve had a year of fiddling with my Bandit. Lots of things have changed, each making little differences to my Bandit’s ride feel.

My wheel change, I have to say, has been a revelation. The Hope Enduros are good, solid wheels which suits me down to the ground. Over the year and through this trip so far they have proved a wise purchase for me. Perhaps not the lightest wheels in the world, but hey, I’m not the lightest rider! The Hope’s have handled the incessant Morzine braking bumps, jumps, rocks and gaps with ease. They are happy here. There is no flex and they feel “rail-like” – real point and shoot kind of stuff. And they suit the larger tyres I’ve fitted for the trip. If I could sum them up in one word, it would be “trust”. I did however lose one spoke on the very last runs on the last day at some point. Seems trail marbles can get me wherever I go riding.

My wheels aside, the biggest change for me this year was moving to 1×11. Perfect for the Alps obviously but not bad in Surrey either. It was a love hate relationship to start with but I admit, it is a good upgrade. Ignore the less kit, less weight arguments. In real life it makes shifting a simpler process and for that reason alone just improves the ride. The Blackspire narrow-wide chainring is handling all that Morzine has thrown at it (they have marbles here too) and it’s perfectly matched to the Shimano XT 1×11 rear mech, which again, has handled the shifting duties with aplomb.

Brakes. Yeah. So last year I ran Shimano SLX brakes. Now the SLX is a great brake but perhaps not quite up to an incessant Alpine weekend of gravity related fun. Sure enough those SLX’s caved in after three days – Surrey they could handle, “Panoramique” down through “Serpentine” they could not.

But what about my upgrade to XT brakes for this year? Well, just to kick me off my “Shimano soapbox”, once again, after three days of incessant braking they had had enough. Or at least, the rear one had – the front brake was still OK relatively speaking. I think in truth, as the days progressed and the more tired I became, the harder I was starting to pull on the downs. Add in a good old bit of Alpine dust (which is just EVERYWHERE) to glaze the pads and my rear XT was squealing like a very cross piglet who’d been poked with a sharp stick. I think next trip I will just have to factor in a complete pad replacement / sanding / something at the end of day 2 and go with it.

However, was the upgrade worth it? In a nutshell – yes. I’ve compared my Strava times to last year and I was without doubt running much, much harder on the downs this year. The security provided by the XTs was worth the upgrade.

Now as for my serviced fork? To be honest I have not even thought about or even noticed it – and I think that’s probably it in a nutshell. My Fox CTD has performed flawlessly. I maxed out but rarely blew through my travel which simply meant I had time to think about “other” things on the trail – like the next obstacle. It’s smooth and very much not over-faced by the stuff we are riding. So if you’re riding the Alps – get your bounce fettled is my advice

Lastly, my mashup of tyres. Both the Specialized Butcher Grid and Maxxis High Roller have been absolutely fantastic in the dry Alps. Both provide a superb amount of grip in the loosest of berms or switchbacks. Just like my fork, I had total trust in them. They are performing. Period.

And that kind of sums up my my Bandit here in Morzine. As per normal, infinitely more capable than me, and infinitely flattering to my riding abilities. Whatever difference my kit changes this year have been, all I can say is my smile is “Transitionishly huge”

Matt W’s Transition Bandit 650b


I have nothing but admiration for Matt riding his Bandit this year. Five weeks ago his finger was in four seperate bits following a crash at the Milland Enduro. However, with some excellent binding and some highly respectable riding Matt rode his Bandit like a demon all things said and done. I’m not sure he could let go in full Matt style so didn’t really get chance to evaluate the Easton ARC rims, serviced fork and shock but he had a smile on his face the size of Mont Blanc nontheless. The only major issue was brake failure of his brakes. Air was getting in somewhere and the rear brake totally failed despite a mid-ride bleed in Chatel. Matt solved this by fitting some Shimano Saints which sorted out braking duties in short order.

Bob M’s Transition Scout 650b


So Bob’s still in two minds about his Scout. This is mostly to do with the utter love he has for his Orange 5 which also made the trip out here. Now Bob’s not a man of many words and I’m sure he was getting fed up with my constant questions (“How’s it feeling Bob”, “Feeling the joy Bob”, “Giddy-Up working for you Bob”, etc, etc) however, aside from the odd issue (his fork is not locking out post service) I think even Bob was reaching for the Transition Scout first – “Flowing well”, he said, and “Much more nimble”. I think we’ll call that a win.

David D’s Transition Smuggler 29er


My Transition Smuggler’s first Alpine outing. In simple words – just outstanding! The bike is quick and tight through the turns, and oh so easy in the air. She needed some pressure adjustment on the front fork to get the most out of the travel but essentially that was it.

The Smuggler was much easier than the old Bandit 29er through the tight twisty stuff – it’s a proper “trail hooligan” through the berms, sometimes much faster than I can handle.

The setup is spot on with the exception of having to tighten up a spoke in the rear wheel (lucky spot in the chair lift).

In summary it’s just “all awesomeness”. My Smuggler feels light, supple and quick, limited only by the rider. And if I’m honest, if my old Bandit 29er turned up tomorrow, I’d turn it down. Fact.

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