For those who are not familiar with the brand, Transition Bikes is a rider-owned company that has been around for about 12 years now and there has been a good presence of Transition Bikes here on our small island. I’ve always wanted a Bottlerocket back from a few years ago and it was never available in my size, so a few other bikes came and went and I didn’t really took notice of the brand again since, until recently.
“This bike is definitely made for going up and down mountains, with loads of fun squashed in-between.” – the guy in the photo.
If you’ve been following my instagram, you’d probably have seen me riding around on a Trek Slash. I love that frame and it’s been with me on a couple of adventures but it never felt ‘right’ cos it was just too short. It was a medium sized frame and I’ve tried everything from long-ish 60mm stems and risers bars and and after 2 years of solid riding, I finally gave up and decided it was time to reward myself with a brand new frame… in the right size.
And that’s when I saw the new Transition Patrol. And when I read the bike’s specs, geometry and features, I knew that this was gonna be my next shred machine. It was in the next few days that I made a few calls and handed over some cash (Yes, this frame was bought, not sponsored) for a brand new frame. Here’s the full lowdown on why I chose the Patrol;
2016 Transition Patrol, size Large, aluminum.
- Progressive Geometry – Long, Low and Slack
- User Friendly 73mm Threaded Bottom Bracket
- Internal Cable Routing with Stealth Dropper Post Routing
- Syntace X12 Rear 142x12mm Axle and Universal Transition Derailleur Hanger
- Rockshox Monarch Pus RC3 Debonair as standard
- Enough space for a full sized bottle in the front triangle
- Large size frames has an ETT of 613mm, 457mm reach and a stable wheelbase of 1210mm
The 2016 frame is the 2nd generation of the Patrol, and it comes stock with a RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair Rear Shock, Syntace X-12 rear axle and a quick-release seatclamp. There’s also a carbon version of the frame which is already made available. The 2nd generation of Patrols had some tweaks in tyre clearance, and updated colors but other than that, everything else is pretty much similar to the 1st generation. And for some of us who are home mechanics, you’ll be glad to know that the Patrol still uses a standard threaded BB, which is awesome.
Once I got the frame in my hands, I wasted no time in stripping out the old bike to re-use the parts and getting her built. Everything, except for a new headset and a new bottom bracket, was transferred over to the new frame from my old bike. Here’s the full breakdown of this build;
Frame & Rear Shock: 2016 Transition Patrol in Large (Aluminum)
Headset: Chris King Inset 2
Fork: 2014 Rockshox Pike Solo Air RCT3
Stem: PRO Tharsis Trail Stem + BTR Expander 45mm
Handlebars: PRO Tharsis Carbon 800mm
Grips: ODI Rogue Lock-On
Brakes: Shimano XTR BR-M9000
Shifter: Shimano XTR Di2 M9050 11spd
Wheelset/Hubs: Bontrager Rhythm Pro
Tyres: 27.5×2.35 Schwalbe Muddy Mary (Front)/Hans Dampf (Rear)
Saddle: Chromag Lynx DT
Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth 125mm
Crankset/BB: Shimano XTR FC-M9000
Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M9020 Trail SPD
Chainring: OneUp 30T
Cassette: Sram XO1 10-42T
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XTR M9050 Di2
For those who are using Shimano Di2, or planning to change to the XT Di2, you’ll be glad to know that the frame is good for it. My Di2 battery is hidden in the steerer tube (thanks to the PRO BTR Expander) with it’s cable routed internally through the bottom tube and finally hidden away behind the chainstay for a really clean look.
You know how it is when you’re shopping for a new frame. Price was definitely a huge factor cos explaining to the wife why you need a new frame is never an easy task. And then you go into details.. what’s the head angle? How does the pivots work? Why does this frame have so many bearings?? What’s the shock length and stroke? Will it fit me? and it goes on and on.. I spent quite a bit of time reading up on forums and reviews. And a huge criteria for me personally was that I must be able to transfer ALL of the parts over.
And the Patrol was a perfect fit. I didn’t want to spend extra money to buy new parts that didn’t fit (seatpost size, boost wheels, BB30/pressfit/blah blah blah, IS brake mounts..) and I was glad that everything that I had was perfectly compatible. The only thing that didn’t fit was of course the BB (the old bike had a goddamn pressfit which I really hate) and the rear brake hose, which came up a little bit too short. The Patrol, for me, was truly plug and play.
Pro-tip: If you’ve bought a new frame regardless of the make or model, always check all the bolts and pivots and make sure that it’s all tightened up. Some bolts will loosen up after the first few rides, and you’ll need to torque them up to bed them in. The same goes for any new headset that’s freshly installed.
Tyre clearance is very healthy on the rear and it looks like you won’t have issues to fit up to 2.5 inches of rubber, and the 2.35 Hans Dampf looks perfect in there.
Suspension setup is pretty easy with the Rockshox Monarch Debonair and Transition recommends a 35% sag for that really sweet spot. While 35% sounds like a bit too much, it does work. Being a heavy rider, I was a little bit skeptical and worried about blowing through the suspension but amazingly, it felt really good. There’s also a pdf suspension chart from Transition if you’re keen to read up more.
After every bolt was checked, I took it downstairs for a quick spin around the neighborhood to make sure that nothing funky was going on and twiddled with the rebound and compression on the rear shock. And the bike size was perfect. I’m 1.79m tall with a long-ish upper body and the roomy cockpit was a breath of fresh air.
The first ride was in Bukit Timah and I was ready to see how it would behave on sections that I’ve had constant problems with the old bike, and oh my… Right off the start gate, the Patrol felt stable, composed and it screams to be ridden hard. The bike may look huge on paper with all the long-ish geo numbers, but on the trail, it was nimble and lively and you can’t help but start popping off some lips and stumps with really good control.
And it wasn’t sluggish in the pedally sections as well. Even though I had 35% sag on the rear shock, there wasn’t any annoying bob on the flats or climbs. It’s definitely not the most efficient of climbers, but it’s still pretty good where you can comfortably climb and still have your breath when you reach the top.
But going down is where it really shines. The bike was grin-inducingly smooth and it urges you to go fast. It’s stout, stiff frame gives you a solid platform to go rowdy all the way down to the bottom, and makes you wanna climb back up for another run, and another.. and another.. Even though some of our trails are pretty tame, the Patrol never felt too much of a bike and you’ll be surprised at how capable it is during climbs. We also rode the Patrol in the new Chestnut trail that was recently opened and it was a blast. Pushing hard on the narrow switchbacks and singletrack was bucketloads of fun and it felt right at home in the air on the jumps.
Buyer beware: While everything above sounds great, there is one trade off. The internally routed cables (rear brake, dropper post and shifter hose) on the alu frame are fucilakhfg!@#$%% noisy. One way to solve is to tie a couple of cable ties along the hose during your build, or you can shove some car wash sponge down the bottom tube. The carbon frame solves this issue with T.I.T.S. and yes, T.I.T.S solves everything 😀
“Threaded BB, awesome. Internal routing, good but noisy. 142×12 rear axle, good.. because boost can kiss my bonetoad.”
– the guy in the photo.
If you think that all of the above sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and it may well be, because there’s always that “new bike syndrome” where your mind plays tricks on you over something new. What started out as a purchase to get a right sized frame turned into something a whole lot more. Even though the Patrol doesn’t look as flashy as some other bikes, the ride quality is on par, if not better. I’m not sure how long my new frame stoked-ness will last but I’m hoping it will stay that way until the frame gives up on me and my boncit-ness. Most importantly, I’ve got a bike that’s got all the right numbers and I’m having fun again.
I’m pretty sure that it’s all in my head, but if thats what makes me grin in the trail, then so be it 😀
Transition Bikes are available at Tiong Hin.