We are not surprised to see this. Maybe a few years ago we would have been, but not in 2020. Several other brands are already on the field, limbering up in preparation to have a go at this new category. A category that sits between trail 29er and XC 29er, but whose main players are brands known for their enduro 29ers. Today, the Transition Spur comes out of the bullpen, and we’re receiving it a lot like we would Kramer sliding into Jerry’s apartment. We knew it would happen. It always does. But that doesn’t mean we’re not cheering with delight.
The Spur is a 120-millimeter rear-, 120-millimeter front-travel 29er that, like the Scout and Sentinel just released, is carbon-only, including rocker plates and rear triangle. In the case of the Spur, that rear triangle has no pivot at the dropout, relying on flex stays to make room for the motion. It’s the kind of feature we sometimes need to be convinced is ok, so here goes: Without all that much travel, the amount of flex is at a minimum. And there are durability advantages as well. Those pivots don’t see a lot of movement, so bearings often see pitting over time. Of course, it’s lighter not to have bearings, but not just to benefit the full bike. Dropping the dropout pivots makes for less unsprung weight and better suspension action.
And that suspension action got quite a bit of attention. The leverage curve now has 30 percent progressivity, which is kind of a lot. That’s something we’re seeing often in longer-travel bikes to keep them from wallowing, but not as often on short-travel bikes. The curve has also been straightened, offering more support through more of the stroke. That’s why the Spur can let you run anywhere from 25- to 35-percent sag. On top of that, Transition hints that the Spur’s anti-squat values are a tad higher than those of the rest of the lineup. Numbers aren’t everything, but it adds up that the Spur is going to be quick enough to prove you don’t need to drop down to 100 millimeters of rear travel to get the rocket power of an XC bike … unless you want to, that is.
The Spur comes out of the box with a 190×45-millimeter rear shock, netting you 120 millimeters of rear travel. But you can drop in a 190×37.5-millimeter shock and end up with 100. Because it’s the same eye-to-eye, it won’t disrupt the bike’s resting geometry and you probably wouldn’t want to shorten the fork travel to make up for it, but if you want the bike’s ground floor to be higher up, all it’ll take is a rear shock.
So, about geometry, the Transition Spur is a welcomed sight for those who worry that bikes like the Revel Ranger or the new Evil Following are a little too XC up front. Each is around 67.5 in the head angle, but the Transition Spur is a flat 66 degrees. That pairs with an effective seat tube angle that sits somewhere around 76 degrees, just steep enough for such a supportive short-travel bike. Chainstay length is a reasonable 435 millimeters and the stack height on a large is a not-back-breaking 619 millimeters, just five millimeters lower than the Smuggler, Transition’s aggressive trail 29er that is now missing from the brand’s catalog. Of course, the Spur carries on Transition’s acronym-for-the-sake-of-an-acronym SBG frame design, putting a pretty rangy 480-millimeter reach on a large and pairing it, naturally, with a reduced-offset fork.
Like the Scout and Sentinel, the Transition Spur has the straighter lines that appear to be taking over from the swoopy curves that, frankly, never felt like they suited Transition’s style anyway. And that extends to the shapes cut by the tubes themselves. Thanks to more advanced materials and molding processes, the new models are able to have sharper angles in their carbon while also saving weight and reducing waste. It makes for some absolutely stunning shapes that appear to be from the future which I guess doesn’t really matter now, but it’ll matter in the future.
Also future-proof is the fully internally tubed cable routing and externally routed rear brake hose. Some of us are split on that one, but like the threaded bottom bracket, you gotta say it’s very practical. Very utilitarian. In a word, very Transition, so we’ll take it. There’s an in-triangle bottle mount and another beneath the downtube as well as a couple braz-ons for storage under the top tube. The seatpost insertion is deep enough that smalls fit (and are specced with) a 120-millimeter dropper, mediums with a 150, larges a 180 and–hallelujah–XLs get 210.
That top-end build weighs in at just under 25 pounds, one of three build kits available in the Spur. Again, all Carbon and also, all RockShox Sid, front and rear. Keep in mind, though, that Sid got quite the remake this year, including the addition of a few 35-millimeter-stanchion models. And along with all that RockShox suspension, of course, are all the SRAM drivetrains. The XX1 AXS build gets DT XRC 1200 Spline 25 carbon wheels, but interestingly skips the AXS dropper for a OneUp. That build goes for $9,000. The cable-actuated X01 build gets XR1700 Spline 25s and goes for $6,000, and the GX build goes to Stans Arch S1 and goes for $5,000. One conspicuous trend through all three models, though, is the tire spec. A 2.4-inch Rekon out back and 2.4-inch Dissector up front, both 3C EXO casing. These are not a traditional choice for a bike this deep in the cross-country circle of our sport’s complex Venn diagram. They say as much about the Spur as the shred edit that, as always, Transition gifted us with at launch. This bike is here to party.
Find the rest of the story at transitionbikes.com