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.