|With so many brands of mountain bikes available now and so many styles of riding it can be hard to figure out what type of bike is best for you and will give you the best performance on the trails that you ride the most. You might have heard terms such as cross country bikes (XC), trail bikes, all mountain bikes, enduro bikes, free ride bikes and downhill bikes and may not be sure which kind would be the best fit for you. But once you figure out what "type" of mountain bike you need then you can focus on the brand and the components you want.
In this review we will be talking about the Transition Patrol which fits best into the all mountain bike category with a touch of enduro mixed in. All mountain bikes are designed to climb well and descend well but usually don't climb as well as an XC bike and don't take on the rough downhill runs like a downhill bike would do. But for most trails you usually don't need one extreme or the other so an all mountain bike is a great way to go to cover all your bases.
The Patrol comes in a number of build packages with 3 carbon build kits and 4 aluminum build kits for 2017. For the carbon you can get kit 1 for $9000, kit 2 for $6400 and kit 3 for $5200. As for the aluminum version you can get kit 1 for $7800, kit 2 for $5300, kit 3 for $4100 and kit 4 for $3100. If you just want a frame with rear shock it will run you $3200 for carbon an $2000 for aluminum. All models except for the aluminum kit 4 come with the RockShox Lyrik RC Solo Air 160mm fork and RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 shock. All the other components will vary quite a bit between builds but consist mostly of SRAM brakes and drivetrain components. All builds come with Maxxis Minion 2.3 tires and either RoxShox or KS Lev dropper posts.
Other features of the Transition Patrol include a 65 degree head angle for those steep descents, a long wheelbase for stability and a short 430mm chainstay to help out on the downhills. Also included on this bike is Transition's Giddy Up Suspension which improves climbing ability, traction, control and overall performance that can be a whole other article in itself. As for bike weights it will vary on the build but a large carbon frame with shock weighs in at 6.8 pounds and a large aluminum frame with shock comes in at 8.1 pounds.
As for the performance of the Patrol it's pretty impressive. We tested out the Patrol 2 Carbon and climbing was very easy for this type of bike but not nearly as easy as your typical trail or XC bike. If the fork was a dual position where you could lower the travel it would help out quite a bit but at the same time the single position forks seem to work better going down so it's a tradeoff we will gladly take since descending is where this bike shines. When you "lock out" the rear Super Deluxe RC3 shock it stayed pretty firm and there wasn't any noticeable pedal bob coming from the back. Compared to the older Debonair its quite a bit better on the climbs and also felt better when fully unlocked. You can stiffen up the RockShox Lyric fork for climbing as well by using the lockout compression setting but for many people it can make it harder when going up rocky terrain so we found it best to set it in the middle (pedal setting).
When it comes to descending that's where the fun begins. Unlock the fork and shock and get ready to handle anything that comes your way. The slack and low geometry feels more like you are on a TR250 than an all mountain bike when going down and it gives you the confidence to ride over things you may normally go around. It's very stable on rocky terrain and the control is great when you take it off jumps. The 800mm bars on the bike we tested felt nice and wide giving you the control you need when it gets rough. The Velo grips left us looking for something thicker and made it feel like you were holding on to bare bars but that's an easy fix. When it comes to stopping the SRAM Guide RSC brakes were good but felt a little mushy but it could have been a case of them needing some maintenance. They are no Shimano Saints for sure though. Shifting was smooth and the wheelset felt nice and provided good control over the rocks and roots.
Overall the Transition Patrol is an awesome bike and if you are looking for something that climbs well and goes downhill even better then it may be the bike for you. If you are a shuttle only type of rider then you can probably save some money an stick with the aluminum frame but if you like to climb as well then there is no substitute for carbon. And if you don't like the components then buying a frame and building your own may be the way to go but of course that's going to cost you more in the long run unless you go cheap but then what's the point? So if you have a Transition dealer near you that does demos it's probably a good idea to try one out first or if you are ever up in Bellingham WA you can go right to the source and demo one for $40 and try it out on some top notch local trails.