First Look: Transition Smuggler

Introducing the third long-term test bike to arrive at Bike Hub HQ, the Transition Smuggler. Admittedly, the Smuggler is a bike that I've had my eye on for a while. I'm a huge fan of short travel bikes designed for ripping single track. Slap on a set of 29er wheels and I'm in trail bike heaven.

 

Having reviewed Transition's all-mountain bike the Patrol, I know that the Giddy Up suspension is super capable, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it translates to this shorter travel bike.

Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 7.jpg

 

In brief, the Transition Smuggler is a 29er trail bike with 115 mm of rear travel designed for use with a 130 mm fork. These numbers might not seem all too impressive but, with the Smuggler, Transition seems to be trying to kick convention in the nuts. Spoiler alert: I've already taken the bike out for a few rides and so far the bike is stupendously capable.

 


Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 1.jpg

Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 2.jpg

Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 3.jpg

 

The Transition Smuggler is an all aluminium frame. Our extra large test bike is black, with its unashamed welding seams, is (in my eyes anyway) a bike that looks like it wants to be ridden hard. Transition jumped on the modern geometry movement some years ago and the Smuggler is no different. On my extra large bike, the head angle is 67.5 degrees, reach is a roomy 483 mm, chainstays are 436 mm, wheelbase is at 1218 mm while bottom bracket drop is 35 mm. Check out the full geometry chart below.

 

Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 6.jpg

 

The team at Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. have put together a very sensible build. The frame is shipped from the factory with the high volume RockShox Monarch DebonAir shock. On this build, it is paired with a RockShox Pike. The Guide RS brakes are arguably the ones you want in the Guide range, offering the best features for the price. The cockpit complements the frame geometry with a 785 mm wide Race Face handlebar and 55 mm stem. A lengthy 150 mm dropper seat post makes all the difference, especially for those tall enough to be riding an XL frame. Wheels are a set of suitably wide Easton Arc 27 rims laced to a set of Novatec hubs while the Maxxis High Roller II tyres should provide buckets of grip. This Smuggler is geared for some serious trail riding.

 

Attached Image: Transition Smuggler 4.jpg

 

I will be riding the Transition Smuggler for the year. I am very keen to see how far I can push the Smuggler and how well it holds up against much more aggressive bikes. My initial impression is that it will do well, but let's see if this holds up over 12 months of riding.

 

Build specifications:


  • FrameTransition Smuggler
  • ShockRockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir
  • ForkRockShox Pike RC 130 mm
  • CranksetRaceFace Turbine
  • ChainringRaceFace 30T
  • Bottom BracketRaceFace Turbine X-Type
  • Rear DerailleurSRAM GX
  • ShifterSRAM GX
  • CassetteSRAM XG-1175 10-42T
  • ChainYBN SLA 11
  • BrakesSRAM Guide RS
  • RotorsSRAM Centreline (180 mm front; 160 mm rear)
  • HandlebarRaceFace Atlas Low Rise 785 mm
  • StemRaceFace 55 mm
  • GripsRaceFace Half Nelson
  • RimsEaston Arc 27
  • Front HubNovatec D881SB
  • Rear HubNovatec D882SB
  • TyresMaxxis High Roller II 2.30
  • SeatpostRockShox Reverb
  • SaddleSDG Circuit
  • Frameset PriceR23,000

 

Geometry:


Attached Image: Transition Smuggler geometry.png

 






27 Comments

Comments

Nick, Feb 17 2017 08:10

I know a few Hubbers own or have owned this bike. Care to share a brief review? And what should I be expecting?

BigTom, Feb 17 2017 08:11

Wow.  Great looking bike.  Eager to hear the long term report!

Johnathan CavalierDeTempê, Feb 17 2017 10:15

R23k for the frameset? Eish!

hellocolour, Feb 17 2017 10:30

Mini Review from my experience: I never thought I could possible like a 115mm rear travel bike which you have to set @ 35% sag... and a 29'r. It went against everything happening in the industry and a lot of logic. In fact I questioned my sanity when buying mine but then consoled myself with the fact the Banshee Phantom runs even less travel at the back and that takes no prisoners. 

In an industry busy in a shock-travel arms race, Transition have taken a different direction and make their own bikes, in their own ways, with they eyes firmly on their gravity roots. 

They don't focus on the numbers, rather eye up really great geo' and making a aggressive, playful (yup on a 29'r) trail bike that can be pushed incredibly hard... and often further than the pilot wants to go. It's a 29'r but it does feel poppy and fun, loves to go down, over and off fast. 

To say the rear seems bottomless is a cliche but every time you look down that red ring is all but hanging off the shock but I have yet to bottom it out on everything or anything. From Blacks to gully jumps to all day trail ripping it is a great 'all rounder' for SA. Not an all rounder as in 'it's pretty average at everything' but it works IN everything and leaves you with a massive smile, tail wagging and wanting to go again. 

I've set mine up with a 140 Pike and I run a 125MM dropper. My medium won't take a Lyne 150mm dropper because of the seat tube kink. 

The only issue Transition face in SA is that trail / enduro people will look at it and see a 115 Semi XC package that they think the'y bottom out every 2 seconds and XC people will look at it and see it's not matching up to XC weights or angles.

To be honest, some people will get it and love it, some won't but Transition will keep on making great bikes made just for riding and having fun where ever, whenever... and that will keep me as a customer. 

Trivia Edit: They called it the Smuggler as an tribute to all lycra wearing, budgie smuggling riders because people keep looking at it and thinking it's an XC bike. If it is an XC bike then it's an XC bike for British Columbia or the North Shore... pedal up big hills then hammer back down as fast as you can. 
 

BaGearA, Feb 17 2017 10:45

Looked at it : Yep thats  sexy  :thumbup:  :thumbup:

Myles Mayhew, Feb 17 2017 11:05

R23k for the frameset? Eish!

Believe it or not, that's actually a pretty darn good price. 

BigTom, Feb 17 2017 11:25

Mini Review from my experience: I never thought I could possible like a 115mm rear travel bike which you have to set @ 35% sag... and a 29'r. It went against everything happening in the industry and a lot of logic. In fact I questioned my sanity when buying mine but then consoled myself with the fact the Banshee Phantom runs even less travel at the back and that takes no prisoners. 

In an industry busy in a shock-travel arms race, Transition have taken a different direction and make their own bikes, in their own ways, with they eyes firmly on their gravity roots. 

They don't focus on the numbers, rather eye up really great geo' and making a aggressive, playful (yup on a 29'r) trail bike that can be pushed incredibly hard... and often further than the pilot wants to go. It's a 29'r but it does feel poppy and fun, loves to go down, over and off fast. 

To say the rear seems bottomless is a cliche but every time you look down that red ring is all but hanging off the shock but I have yet to bottom it out on everything or anything. From Blacks to gully jumps to all day trail ripping it is a great 'all rounder' for SA. Not an all rounder as in 'it's pretty average at everything' but it works IN everything and leaves you with a massive smile, tail wagging and wanting to go again. 

I've set mine up with a 140 Pike and I run a 125MM dropper. My medium won't take a Lyne 150mm dropper because of the seat tube kink. 

The only issue Transition face in SA is that trail / enduro people will look at it and see a 115 Semi XC package that they think the'y bottom out every 2 seconds and XC people will look at it and see it's not matching up to XC weights or angles.

To be honest, some people will get it and love it, some won't but Transition will keep on making great bikes made just for riding and having fun where ever, whenever... and that will keep me as a customer. 


 

Thanks for the mini review.  Definitely makes me want to try one!

hellocolour, Feb 17 2017 11:53

Thanks for the mini review. Definitely makes me want to try one!

If you see me out on the trail on a bright blue one and you're a M then just ask and You can have a crack.

Also Stoke in CT can get the demo one from A-Line if you fancy one for a proper test.

BigTom, Feb 17 2017 12:01

If you see me out on the trail on a bright blue one and you're a M then just ask and You can have a crack.

Also Stoke in CT can get the demo one from A-Line if you fancy one for a proper test.

Thanks for the offer!  Think I'm going to need to find an excuse to figure out where you ride ;)

BigTom, Feb 17 2017 01:32

If you see me out on the trail on a bright blue one and you're a M then just ask and You can have a crack.

Also Stoke in CT can get the demo one from A-Line if you fancy one for a proper test.

I have to admit - this is one of the things I love about the hub.  I don't know hellocolour.  hellocolour does not know me.  I've never even had a direct conversation with hellocolour.  And yet, because of a common passion for cycling, hellocolour is willing to make an offer such as this with a bike of this caliber.  Even if it never happens, the gesture is greatly appreciated!  :thumbup:  :thumbup:

 

EDIT - And I'm not even close to meeting the Routjxie rule. ;)

Zebra, Feb 17 2017 01:39

Trivia Edit: They called it the Smuggler as an tribute to all lycra wearing, budgie smuggling riders because people keep looking at it and thinking it's an XC bike. If it is an XC bike then it's an XC bike for British Columbia or the North Shore... pedal up big hills then hammer back down as fast as you can. 

 

...could not resist...

:w00t: 


Attached Images

  • Attached Image: budgie smuggler.jpg

Peach., Feb 17 2017 01:53

Hopefully ill be able to give my 2 cents in a few weeks time, cant wait to see what the Smuggler can handle

Gramevloen, Feb 17 2017 03:17

Believe it or not, that's actually a pretty darn good price. 

Yeah last time I looked, that was what Pyga framesets were going for.. Oh and speaking of Pyga, anyone else put a Oneten29 next to a Smuggler and squinted a little..? Rad either way although the smuggler seems to have gone further down the longer slacker road.

 

Based on what folks have been saying it sounds like Transition could really do with a series of demo days to let the bikes do the talking..

NotSoBigBen, Feb 17 2017 03:23

I have to admit - this is one of the things I love about the hub.  I don't know hellocolour.  hellocolour does not know me.  I've never even had a direct conversation with hellocolour.  And yet, because of a common passion for cycling, hellocolour is willing to make an offer such as this with a bike of this caliber.  Even if it never happens, the gesture is greatly appreciated!  :thumbup:  :thumbup:

 

EDIT - And I'm not even close to meeting the Routjxie rule. ;)

 

 

It would appear the 'Rouxtjie Rule' has anyway been put on hold since he has absconded ....  :ph34r:

Iwan Kemp, Feb 17 2017 04:18

It would appear the 'Rouxtjie Rule' has anyway been put on hold since he has absconded ....  :ph34r:

 

He's stuck in an infinite loop of doom where he's not allowed to post cause he doesn't have 1,000 posts and can't get 1,000 posts cause in order to get those he needs to be able post which he can't cause he doesn't have the 1,000 posts needed in order to post to get 1,000 posts.

 

It's like a chapter in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

 

(Or a chorus of one of Rihanna's sons...)

hellocolour, Feb 17 2017 06:09

 

Based on what folks have been saying it sounds like Transition could really do with a series of demo days to let the bikes do the talking..

 

I'm pretty sure that ran a demo tour last year but if you have a local dealer near you (like Stoke in CT) they will arrange any of the models for a demo to come down from Jozi for a weekend. 

Beefy, Feb 17 2017 06:16

My frame has been sitting in a box at stoke suspension for 8 months after I broke my wrist just before it was built. ☹ 2 more weeks, can't wait to thrash it.

Blitzer, Feb 18 2017 11:38

I rode the smuggler at a Dirt merchant test day at Wolwekloof in Pretoria .I rode the same trails that i have ridden with my other XC bikes before .Although the bike is a Alu frame and slightly heavier i never felt it .I was curious about the climbing ability and surprised that climbing was as good or even better with the more upright seat post position  .The bike inspires confidence when descending ,so much that i rode drop offs for the first time that i never had the courage  to ride before  before .It takes a few corners to get used to the wider bars and direct steering ,but all makes this a go to ,all day .all-terrain bike 

johanpre44, Feb 18 2017 08:30

This bike is one of three on my wishlist for the next bike. I will have to go and visit Dirt Merchant to see what the bike is like and if I can maybe organize a ride some time on one. Wolwespruit does sound like and excellent spot to try it out, see what it does on those steep climbs and give it a thrashing on the rough stuff going down. Definitely time to break the XC mindset...

Bos, Feb 20 2017 10:43

I would also like to demo this. Even do a review. I might build it slightly more conservatively to keep weight down. What does it weigh as is?

 

There is a unique breed of mtbikers that don't fit into the typically polarised stereotypes. They wear lycra, or baggies, or whatever they feel is more comfortable on the day. They will hang with the XC whippets, on Saturday, whip the Enduro rippers on the Sunday and ride the 24hours of Oak Valley the next weekend.

 

  • You only have one bike.
  • You enter 40-80km races
  • The weight DOES matter
  • The downhill performance must not come at the cost of climbing.
  • However a stock XC race FS bike just does not cut it when boosting rollers, hitting jumps at speed or flying down singletrack at 40kmph.

 

Sign me up!

droo, Feb 20 2017 11:03

I would also like to demo this. Even do a review. I might build it slightly more conservatively to keep weight down. What does it weigh as is?

 

There is a unique breed of mtbikers that don't fit into the typically polarised stereotypes. They wear lycra, or baggies, or whatever they feel is more comfortable on the day. They will hang with the XC whippets, on Saturday, whip the Enduro rippers on the Sunday and ride the 24hours of Oak Valley the next weekend.

 

  • You only have one bike.
  • You enter 40-80km races
  • The weight DOES matter
  • The downhill performance must not come at the cost of climbing.
  • However a stock XC race FS bike just does not cut it when boosting rollers, hitting jumps at speed or flying down singletrack at 40kmph.

 

Sign me up!

 

You know where to find us. You'd be a pretty much ideal candidate for one of these things, just let us know if you want the L or the XL. We have both.

Bos, Feb 20 2017 11:32

You know where to find us. You'd be a pretty much ideal candidate for one of these things, just let us know if you want the L or the XL. We have both.

 

Sick.

 

Yea I guess there's also just something about ripping it up on a short travel bike.. slightly riskey

 

Like a chick going to church with a short skirt and high heels..!! Not that I'd know hahaha

droo, Feb 20 2017 12:20

Sick.

 

Yea I guess there's also just something about ripping it up on a short travel bike.. slightly riskey

 

Like a chick going to church with a short skirt and high heels..!! Not that I'd know hahaha

 

Ride it back to back with the Phantom as well, just for entertainment value. Pretty sure you'll pick the Smuggler though...

Robbow, Feb 22 2017 03:19

Yeah last time I looked, that was what Pyga framesets were going for.. Oh and speaking of Pyga, anyone else put a Oneten29 next to a Smuggler and squinted a little..? Rad either way although the smuggler seems to have gone further down the longer slacker road.

 

Based on what folks have been saying it sounds like Transition could really do with a series of demo days to let the bikes do the talking..

 

My 2c...I have had both the Pyga OneTen and the Smuggler..now the YT Jeffsy.

 

Smuggler way more Enduro/trail shredder than the Pyga...I ran exact same components on both ...just swopped the frames out...The longer..slacker is way more to my liking..I ran a 140mm Pike instead of a 130mm and had no issues

 

Don't be fooled by the 115mm travel this bike can do impressive things and definitely encouraged me to try stupid things!!

BigTom, Feb 22 2017 03:24

I have had both the Pyga OneTen and the Smuggler..now the YT Jeffsy.

I wouldn't mind a stable like that!