Giddy Up! We test the new Transition Scout
The industry and its riders love a pigeonholing of bikes and components, so straight out I’ll say the Scout sits squarely in the “Riding and having a laugh” category.
We’d previously taken the wagon wheeled Transition Smuggler for a spin, which we loved. Again courtesy of the guys at Pedals in Edinburgh we had another of the new Transition Giddy Up bikes between our legs, in lurid limeade to brighten up the early spring gloom in the tweed valley.
Unlike some manufacturers, Transition haven’t stuck all their eggs in one basket regards wheelsize, rather deciding on a particular bike style and then giving riders the choice on wheelsize. In the case of the Scout & its big brother the Smuggler, they are both relatively slack angled, short chainstays, long front centre with short stems. Travel on both is a mismatched longer front and shorter rear, in the case of the Scout 125mm on the back with 140mm up front.
I took the Scout on a similar test loop at Glentress to its bigger brother. Sure there may be steeper and gnarlier stuff on offer elsewhere in the valley but when you mix up the off piste with the on piste at Glentress it gives a great all in one test ride for any bike, combining steep and muddy with trail centre flow, and some fire road bashing in between.
Pointing uphill from the car park straight to the highest point of the forest in one go, the climb up was a pleasure if not quite a joy. At only 125mm rear travel you’d assume you would rocket up, and while the relative lack of travel means you head up without any of the wallowing you might get on a longer bike, the sturdy frame weight of 7.28lb does hold it back from quite being the uphill demon you might anticipate. Where it does become something of a demon is once you head off the smoother climbs and onto the technical where the immense rear end traction from the relatively high amounts of recommended rear sag gets you up the trickiest of tech uphill with ease.
Pointing things down is a perfect example of quality over quantity, coming off a bike with 20mm MORE travel than the Transition, the Scout felt immediately more comfortable in every way. The best demonstration of its capability was probably 500m into the first downhill of the day (ie. First one ever on this bike), turning round to check on my, normally hot on my back tyre riding buddies, to find them nowhere to be seen. The fun on the downhills just kept coming. The Scout was quick and snappy, I even enjoyed getting it airborne; anyone that has ridden with me knows my wheels tend not to leave the ground.
There was a couple of times when the speed picked up that the Scout really kept you on your toes, places where the roll over of the big wheels on the Smuggler, or the longer travel of a bigger bike would have kept you ploughing through or over things. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it got overwhelmed, and I was still faster than I have been on my longer bike, i, just required attention at a time when other bikes might have carried you, but it was still great fun!
So who’s the Scout for? Anyone that wants to ride a bike and have fun! If you are seriously racing or spending long periods riding in places where the terrain is fast and tech like the Alps then something longer travel will help you carry more speed, or simply keep you more comfortable over long days in the saddle. However if you are not a racer, or merely dabbling in a handful a year, or your big mountain riding is only a week a year at best, the Scout is perfect for those other 51 weeks