Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Transition Bandit tested and approved.

Whats up Roots fans. I've gotta tell you guys about Transition's newest release, The Bandit. I had James order me up one of these bad boys after an unsuccessful stint on a six inch all-mountain bike this spring. I picked up the frame and took it home at the beginning of the month and immediately built it up. The Bandit is a five inch trail bike so i had a bit of customizing to do. I got a medium to keep the final product nimble and quick. My fork is a Fox 36 at 163mm of travel so i dropped the travel by about an inch and a quarter (now just under 150mm) using Fox's travel reducing spacers to better match the back end and keep my front end low. I grabbed some really wide Kore Torsion bars from the shop to give my self some good leverage in the corners. These are the same bars that came on my TR250 and i'm really stoked on them. Rounding out the build was a Shimano XT drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels and a KS Supernatural dropper post. Once i finished 'er up it was off to the local trails to work out the kinks and get used to 'er. As i pedaled out of the driveway towards Hartman's Rocks i thought to myself, "Well this feels good." The next two hours were the stuff of dreams. No longer did my bike suffer from pedal feedback, wallowing, or sluggishness. No longer did i feel like a passenger on my bike, i was in control. Everything was just right.

The Bandit loves to rally. While seated and pedaling the Bandit does not bob. There are two main reasons for this. One is the regressive curve rate that the boys at Transition integrated into the linkage design. Forces on the suspension from pedaling do not overcome the curve rate so the suspension does not want to react to your movements. The other is the new generation of Fox's RP23 rear shock. Fox changed up this year's shock to include its Adaptive Logic technology. This is just a fancy way of saying that you now have a climbing mode (heavy on the propedal) and a three descending modes (medium and light propedal, and no propedal). It definitely makes way more sense and works 100% better than the previous generations, which basically had three climbing modes and only one option for descending. This all adds up to the Bandit being a very quick and efficient pedaler. When the trail turns to gravity assist the Bandit can hang with its more aggressively designed brethren.The bandit is stable, aggressive, and playful. The frame is nice and stiff considering the light tubeset, and the headtube is tapered to make the front end feel solid. The bottom bracket is relatively low and, with my customized fork, the headtube is relatively slack. The regressive curve rate allows the bike to feel really plush at speed. When you near the end of the travel, the RP23's boost valve kicks in and helps achieve a bottomless feel. Add in some wide bars (31.5") and a stout wheelset, and this baby rips the downhills to shreds. I can't count the times i've finished up a good downhill with friends and they ask what the deal is with my bike. I hear things like, "that thing's only got five inches?" or "no way is that just an all-mountain rig." I just tell 'em "there's no smoke and mirrors here, She's just a well designed bike with a need for speed." As far as playfulness goes, the rider is the limiting factor. The Bandit loves to manual, air off the slightest trail feature, and corner and drift like a rally car. Whatever skills you bring the table, the Bandit will oblige.

In summary, the Bandit has met, and in a lot of cases, exceeded my expectations. I like to ride as aggressively on the after-work trail ride as i do on a downhill track on the weekend, so i expect a lot out of my trail bike. The bandit does not disappoint. If you're in the market for a trail bike to get the most out of those tasty Lunch Loop trails, check in with the fellas at Grassroots Cycles and test out a Transition Bandit for yourself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

MSC #8 Blast The Mass Race Results

I know this is really late, but I've been pretty busy lately. Better late than never... right!?

Anyways, we had 5 team members, Kazzy Saito, Adam Lavender, Blake Treadway, Andrew Templin, and Eric Landis, in attendance for this year’s Blast the Mass MSC race. This race was interesting because it had two DH races instead of a 4X or Dual Slalom. The race on Saturday was mainly a huge let down to most racers. The race course was like a throwback to the late 90’s in that it was just tape flowing down the open ski runs with grass as high as your handlebars. This made seeing what you were riding over very difficult and dangerous! It was so bad a lot of racers boycotted it and decided not to race to try and teach Snowmass that they can’t get away with a course like that in this day and age. By race time, most of the grass had been beaten down (or weed wacked) and you could see what you were riding over. The fastest pro time on this course was 4:26 by Joey Schusler.

Adam Lavender didn’t get to race in any races at all because he ended up hurting his wrist pretty bad while out riding some fun trails around the area after practice on Friday. He says it’s probably just a sprained wrist, maybe a couple small fractures, but no noticeable separations. He thinks he’ll be good to go for Sol Vista in a few weeks.

The race course on Sunday was the same exact course it has been in years past. Fast and extremely Rough pretty much sums it up. I didn’t make it up to Snowmass until Saturday night and was planning on racing this course on Sunday. Well, according to USA Cycling rules you can’t register the day of the event for Gravity events so that plan was foiled. I did manage to steal Adam’s number plate (since he was injured and not racing) and take a run with Kazzy in the morning for fun. After that run I was pretty glad I wasn’t racing. You really need to have your suspension dialed to be fast on a course like that and I sure didn’t.

While waiting for our first racer on Sunday, Kazzy, to come down, my phone rang. It was Kazzy to tell me he crashed in the top section and dislocated his pinky finger. He went straight to the emergency room where he found out it was dislocated and he had a small bone chip on it too. No surgery, just a splint and he thinks he’ll be back racing soon for sure. Our next racer down the course was Blake, who came blazing through the finish line into 3rd place for CAT 1 Men 30-39…. His best finish yet (See the picture)! Andrew came in next with a very respectable time, but was disappointed with his run because he crashed in the waterfall section. Finally, Eric came flying through the finish line with a great solid run. He and blake practiced all three days together and said they dissected the course more than they ever had before. Apparently it paid off for both of them! The fastest time of the day on this course was 4:03 set by Pro rider Trevor Trinkino

Team Results:

Kazzy (CAT 2 Men 30-39): Race 1 – 3rd 5:12 Race 2 – DNF (Injury)

Adam (CAT 2 Men 30-39): Race 1 – DNS Race 2 – DNS (Injury)

Blake (CAT 1 Men 30-39): Race 1 – 8th 5:04 Race 2 – 3rd 4:41

Andrew (Pro Men): Race 1 – Did not register Race 2 – 28th 4:35

Eric (Pro Men): Race 1 – 7th 4:36 Race 2 – 14th 4:17

~Peter Knepper

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Covert with a newly PUSHed FOX RP23

Last year I had two bikes; an all mountain bike (Santa Cruz Heckler) and a DH bike (Transition Blindside). I sold both bikes and got a new TRANSITION COVERT for my new all mountain bike and I originally anticipated getting a new DH bike. After riding the Covert for a while, I decided not to get a DH bike because it allowed me to ride anything I wanted. The geometry and suspension on this bike really do allow you to shred any trail!

I’ve rode long XC trails and raced downhill on it. While the bike worked great on 99% of our trails around here (Grand Junction, CO), the rear suspension (Fox RP23) felt sort of harsh when we would go to resorts to ride. My husband told me about PUSH Industries, which is a company that can tune these shocks specifically for you , your bike, and your riding style. We had my shock back on my bike one week from when it left the house which is an awesome turnaround time for something like that! We got the works in this shock which ran about $210 total which basically rebuilt the entire shock with a lot of proprietary parts including a huge bottom out bumper for those big hits.

My first ride with the new shock was “The Whole Enchilada” in Moab. I usually can’t tell the difference with the adjustments to my bike, but this time it was different. I didn’t feel like I was bouncing off the trail anymore in the fast and rough sections and it seemed to have calmed down the trail chatter I was experiencing before. I rode at Winter Park a week ago with the new set up and this was the first time this summer that I hadn’t wished that I had a DH bike for the bike parks. The PUSHed Fox RP23 shock made a great impression on me. I’m now taking my Covert to bike parks and loving all of the DH runs. If someone is looking for a bike that can ride ALL trails, the Transition Covert with a PUSHed shock is perfect. What I’ve learned is that it’s not how much suspension travel the bike has, but the quality of it.

~Amy Knepper/Team Rider