After the tour and technical crash course, we installed some pedals and hit the door headed for the nearest trails. Short on energy and time, we kept it close with a hot lap on some local favorites. Sammy was riding the new Sentinel, while I rode the new Patrol. I was a big fan of the earlier Patrols so I was excited to see what the new generation would offer.
We climbed a fairly casual trail with a few tight switchbacks and some rooty, rocky bits. Looking back now, they were rather uneventful encounters, which makes me realize the new SBG may have worked better than I realized. A major improvement I noted was in the pedaling performance. We rode a section of logging road called The Wall and it gave me some up close and personal time with the top tube. Climbing position was comfortable and seemed to balance fore and aft weight distribution, but the efficiency was what really stood out. With the shock switched over to grunt mode, I felt direct transfer of power to the wheel, pretty impressive for a big-mountain bike.
Likewise, Sammy made his way up the trail, although not with as much ease as I did thanks to his heavy camera pack and general lack of energy. Three thousand miles of motorcycle riding in the heat mixed with a week of Crankworx will do that to ya.
Once at the top we dropped saddles, flipped switches and let gravity lead us down. It was a bit dusty and following a rippin’ local down an unfamiliar trail on brand new bikes proved to be a challenge on this day. As all riders know, sometimes you just don’t feel it. This was one of those days.
Despite our personal business, the bikes were up to the task and were most certainly begging us to be pushed harder than we were willing to ride that day. When we had short bursts of motivation come through, we were able to experience the fullness of Transition’s new bikes. The tight, twisty trail was chock full of fun little doubles into, or out of, tight berms. In these pumpy and tight situations, I couldn’t believe I was riding a 170/160mm bike. The Patrol certainly did not feel like it had that much travel. It pumped and popped with ease and I really enjoyed the centered and balanced feel in the G-inducing berms.
Sadly, due to time constraints and a lack of brain power, I didn’t take the time to fidget with the shock as much as I’d like to, which led to me having a few issues in the chatter. After taking the bike back to Lars, we turned knobs, counted clicks and surmised that my feedback was most likely related to the last rider’s shock tune, and not the bike itself.
I’m eagerly awaiting more time on the Patrol and Sentinel as the SBG program really seemed to work well and I’m assuming that, combined with the suspension feel I’ve grown to expect from Transition bikes, should mean I’ll like these bikes a whole lot more once I get ‘em dialed in.
This is a cool online tool for those wanting to play around and experiment with rake and trail numbers. Click Here.