First Impressions: Transition Scout 1

The all-new trail bike is designed around the Horst Link suspension system

Transition Bicycle is the kind of company that likes to have fun. It’s small–just 9 people work at the office in Ferndale, Washington–and it’s owned by two former software engineers who started making mountain bikes on the side in 2003 because they weren’t happy with anything on the market. Freedom from the demands of shareholders and corporate accountants means they can pretty much do what they want, and it shows in Transition’s bikes.

The all-new Scout reflects this ethos. It’s a playful trail bike that is fun right out of the box. The Scout is one of four new bikes Transition is introducing here at Interbike, all of which use the Horst Link suspension design, or ‘Giddy Up’ as Transition named it to poke fun at the common misconception that the link is called ‘Horse’ Link.

Transition had for some time been looking to update its single-pivot full-suspension bikes, and opted for a four-bar design once they knew the Specialized-held patent was close to expiring. Using suspension kinematics designed by the Sotto Group, Transition’s ‘creative ninja’ Darrin Seeds has been working on the new line for the past two years with a goal of developing a platform that would be effective across multiple models and retain the bikes’ playful feeling while also improving climbing capabilities.

The Scout sports the RockShox Monarch RT3 shock with 125 millimeters of rear travel and a 140-millimeter RockShox Pike RCT3 fork up front. The alloy frame is designed around 27.5-inch wheels and long, low and slack geometry. The 585-millimeter toptube (on a size medium) and 67-degree head angle make it easy to get your weight over the front of the bike, and charge descents, while the suspension allowed me to power up and over punchy, steep, rocky uphill sections with ease.

The 1×11 drivetrain uses a SRAM X01 rear derailleur paired with a Race Face Turbine Cinch crankset. The Scout turns on WTB Frequency Team i23 rims with DT Swiss 370 and SRAM MTH hubs wrapped with Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires.

At a retail price of $4,900, that’s a lot of quality packed into a sub-$5,000 package. There is also a Scout 2 built with the same rear shock, the Pike RC a Shimano Deore/SLX 1×10 drivetrain and WTB Frequency STi23 rims that is a steal at $3,300. The frame and shock only retail for $1,800.

The Scout and the rest of Transition’s new line including a short-travel 29er, a 155-millimeter all-mountain bike and–gasp¬–a new 26-inch bike, will be available in about a month. In the mean time, watch for a very Transition-esque video to land next week announcing the bikes.