Transition Bike’s products have a reputation for downhill performance. Traditionally Transitions are not flashy and are instead optimized for technical trails. Uncomplicated… almost businesslike, but not looked on as bikes for climbing. This is strange given that the owners of the company spend a lot of time self-powered. The Bandit is Transition’s first foray into the “trail” category (more on what that might mean later). It’s meant to balance uphill and downhill while maintaining Transition’s personality of minimal downhilling compromise.
Generally available to the public in late 2011, the Bandit will probably be one of Transitions’ last attempts to stay away from model years as consumers have been confused by mid-year offerings. Not to make excuses, but this review is not overly tardy. I only had the bike in late August and have now had 40+ rides on it, through late summer, fall and some winter rides.
To summarize, Transition hit the sweet spot for trail bikes with the Bandit. The Bandit is best described as playful. Super poppy but which you can throw around. These are hardly characteristics that you’d associate with the 130mm rear suspension that is now considered to be short/medium travel. The Bandit’s downhill fun factor does not detract from its uphill ability and it is a competent climber. Couple these positive traits with a comparatively reasonable price and you have a high-value package for a rider that wants one bike to do it but with an uphill bias.
Riding in Pemberton, BC.
Carmel Forest in Israel. Video by Bandit fan – Guy Bar
Transition Bandit 2
- The Fox suspension is fantastic. Reliable and tuneable. The front fork was particularly stiff making me feel a lot better about Fox’s 2012 offerings (this was a 2011 fork with 2012 internals).
- Bandit is a “cheap air” machine; fun & playful. Sedate descenders might not get the most out of it.
- Eminently competent climber.
- Lots of room for upgrades
- Lots of room for upgrades (but too be fair; this is a value-priced bike)
- Not everyone is going to like the Euro colours (I like the paint but am a photowhore)
Lee Lau’s Biases
I am 160 lbs and 5’11″ and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I’ve also made many bike trips to Switzerland, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and the Yukon (for example) so I’ve had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedalling up and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.
This is a test bike that will be given back to Transition at the end of the test period. I am not sponsored by Transition and have no commercial association with Transition.