Review: 2020 Transition Scout

Updated geometry and travel for 2020 make this 27.5 trail bike fast and playful

27.5 Pro Reviews

Popping off curbs and creatively linking together unique features within the manmade infrastructure that made up the concrete jungle of my youth, memories that drift through my mind as I pedal up the dusty forest service road. A wheelie here and a nose-bonk there. Simple yet luxurious, they were a recipe for gobs of positive energy and inspiration. Fast-forward 20 years and mountain biking still bring me the same joy and positive emotions. Sure, any bike can provide the willing with a tool, but a tool that inspires this creativity and play can truly be worth the asking price.

As one of Transition’s first modern trail bike, the Scout was designed to be a do-it-all, mid-travel 27.5” bike at its first launch. As riders have progressed the sport – many of whom live and ride in the PNW – and trails become more commonplace around the country, there’s a niche of riders are seeking bikes that inspire playfulness and creativity. Transition’s latest iteration of the Scout is designed as that bike. For 2020, the Scout gets longer, slacker, and even receives 10mm of additional travel front and rear. But who’s this 140mm travel, 27.5” trail bike, targeted toward and what type of trail terrain does it excel in and ultimately, is this the next bike for you?


Transition Scout 2020 Highlights

  • Full carbon frame (front triangle, rear triangle, and rocker)
  • New, progressive suspension design
  • 148mm Boost dropout spacing
  • Stock rear travel 140mm with 57.5mm stroke shock
  • Up To 150mm rear travel with 62.5mm stroke shock
  • Enduro Max sealed bearings with bearing shields on main pivot
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Molded rubber chainstay, seatstay & downtube protection
  • External rear brake cable routing
  • Water bottle storage inside front triangle
  • Accessory mount on underside of top tube
  • 27.5-inch wheels with tire clearance up to 2.6-inches wide
  • Weight: 7.05 lbs frame with shock, complete GX – 29.9 lbs as tested

Transition Scout Pricing and Build Packages

Available in three different build packages and also as a frame-only option. Prices range from $3199 for frame-only and $4,499 USD up to $6,599 USD for complete bikes. The mid-level GX Scout build sells for $5,499 USD (as tested) and comes equipped with a full SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Code RSC brakes, Stans Flow S1 Team wheels, a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock. Build packages are rounded out with handlebars and a saddle from Transition’s house brand, Anvl, along with Sensus grips and a OneUp dropper post.


Transition Scout Geometry and Frame Details

Available sizes range from XS to XL. Our Large-sized Scout test bike features a 485mm reach and 617mm stack height. Important frame geometry angles include a 64-degree headtube angle, 77.2-degrees seat tube, and 1217mm wheelbase, and all sizes of the bike get 430mm chainstays. These angles follow the industry trends of longer, lower and slacker utilizing Transition’s brainchild SBG (Speed Balanced Geometry).

Continuing with the rider designed improvements, the latest Scout can accommodate the growing interest of longer dropper posts with a good deal of standover height and a shorter seat tube allowing for longer droppers in all sizes–120mm dropper on the XS, 150mm on a small, 180mm on a medium and up to a 210mm on the large and XL frames.

Long dropper posts are becoming the norm and the latest Scout can accommodate them. Our large GX build test bike was equipped with a 210mm OneUp Dropper Post.

Frame details display Transition’s commitment to reliability and ease of service most of which comes from the brands wealth of quality rider input from employees and brand ambassadors, all of whom are extremely talented riders. To keep the bike clean and quiet, cable routing is mostly internal except for the externally routed rear brake cable making it more easily serviceable. Fully guided rear derailleur cable routing in downtube and chainstay help make cable and housing replacement an easy chore. While ISCG05 mounts allow for the option to run a chainguide setup — which I opted for mainly to add a skidplate for desert riding.

Enduromax bearings are housed within the stout looking carbon frame.

Other important frame details include a threaded bottom bracket and integrated rubber chainstay, seatstay, and downtube protection. Pivot bearings are sealed Enduro Max bearings and ours have remained quiet and smooth thus far despite lots of dust and quite a few washes and wet trips of the back of the car. The frame will accommodate up to a 27.5″ x 2.6″ tire. You’ll also notice that all sizes will accommodate a water bottle in the front triangle and additional waterbottle gussets beneath the toptube allow for additional carrying capacity for things like tools or a pump, a nice touch, but we haven’t used it yet.

(Clockwise from top left)An additional toptube mounting point offers an attachment point for optional accessories like tools or pumps. Integrated, molded rubber frame protection tucks neatly beneath the downtube, chainstay, and seatstay. Cable routing is mostly internal except for the rear brake hose to simplify brake service needs. SBG (Speed Balanced Geo) is designed to utilize a super short stem (40mm).


Transition Scout Ride Review

At home on singletrack of all types, we had the opportunity to ride the Scout in a good mix of trail scenarios from the tight, techy rocks of Sedona, AZ to higher speed smashy-tech trails of South Mountain outside of Phoenix along with an eclectic mix of trails in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and the coastal, steep loamers of Santa Cruz.

Bike setup time was reasonably quick. For suspension settings, I settled on a sag of about 26% (recommended 26-33%) in the rear shock which seemed to offer a supple and active suspension feel while still giving solid support and comfortable climbing efficiency, without having to flip levers constantly.

Optional lines were the main line aboard the Scout. It loves to get off the ground.

Right away the bike felt long and low, which thus inspired lots of confidence at descending speeds and through descending turns. The bikes touted playfulness seemed to come really alive most once the trail turned steeply downward. Where it’s length-induced stability gave way to creative interpretation. Looking for things to jump over became a fun game on certain trails and scary on others.

Having spent most of my riding time lately aboard 29” wheel equipped bikes, I found the Scout took a bit of getting used to in negotiating the ledgey nature of the desert trails around Arizona. It’s playfulness got dicey when things got tight as the bikes length and 27.5” wheels seemed to get caught on trail features a bit more noticeably.

When it was time to climb, I found the Scout negotiated techy climbs with ease and seated climbing tended to be the sweet spot with the bikes angles. Once out of the saddle, the bikes length seemed to make it a bit more cumbersome on tricky uphill moves or tight climbing turns, but this seems true with many of the modern longer, lower, slacker trail bikes.

Ledgey, technical climbs took some effort aboard the Scout and finding the sweet spot on the bike for the right mix of traction and momentum was key.

Touted as an ultra playful bike that will bring out the kid in you, I was a bit skeptical given the bikes added length and slacker angles but I did find it’s playfulness hidden in the steeps—like much of the riding in and around Transition’s home base in Bellingham, Washington—where the bike’s playful demeanor truly opens up. Living in a place where we lack steep, mountain bike-centric trails, the Scout wouldn’t be my first choice but if I lived in any number of places with steeper, technical trails or faster, jumpier trails the Scout would be my bike of choice.

If you’re looking for a playful trail bike that pedals efficiently and inspires confidence and creativity on the descents, the Scout is an amazing rig. If much of your riding consists of slow, tight tech or rugged multi-use trails, the Scout may be lacking in some important characteristics.

Speed was where the Scout felt most at home as the trail steepened or the sight-lines opened up, the Scout wanted to play.


Verdict

Transition builds one hell of a bike and the attention to detail is indicative in the brand’s network of rider-inspired input. The latest Scout is not only well-designed and manufactured, but its playful and fun nature has the ability to take us back to the nostalgia of popping curbs and building jumps. But with so many options of bike genres, the Scout fills a specific niche and rider genre. If much of your riding consists of up and down technical terrain or ledgey, rock-laden, multi-use trails, the Scout may not be rig for you. Riders looking to get off the ground and find a new sense of inspiration from their local trails will enjoy the ride characteristics of the new Scout.


Learn more about the Scout and all of Transition’s mountain bikes in our Transition Forum

 


About the author: Jordan Carr

Having spent more than half his life riding all types of bikes at almost every type of cycling event, Carr loves the freedom two-wheeled travel has brought to his life. Having spent many years behind the stand at a bike shop, he’s tested mountain bike products for a number of publications. Follow Carr's adventures as they travel the country promoting trails and mountain biking on Facebook and Instagram.


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