Transition has long been standing behind the “by riders for riders” anthem. They build bikes they like to ride, and it turns out, we like a lot of the same things. They were not the first to have high end carbon frames or the lightest bikes out there, but they always build bikes that are a ton of fun to ride and can handle any trail. When we heard about the Spur, we were intrigued; how would Transition tackle an ultralight, short travel trail bike? Well, we have had our hands on one for the last few months to find out. We never knew 120mm could be this good.
THE LAB Right out of the box, the Spur is a looker. A long and sleek top tube connects to the seat stays in a strait line that stands out against any lineup. We received the X01 build, which included 800mm Oneup bars, and short 35mm stem, and DT swiss 1700 aluminum wheels. Right away, you can tell this is not your typical XC trail pinner, it has the pedigree to shred. Transition spec’d a full SRAM X01 drivetrain, G2 brakes with 160mm rear and180mm front, and the suspension was all SID. Full build is just over 25lbs on our scales, which is the lightest bike we have ever seen from Transition.
The frame is a full carbon custom Toray fiber blend that focuses on balancing weight and strength, which proved to be true as we took some big rock hits to the frame during testing. Along with looking the part, the Spur has all the right angles for a sweet spot trail machine: head tube 66.0, seat tube 75.9, chainstay of 435mm, and a reach of 480mm. One unique weight savings area on the Spur is the one piece flex stay rear triangle which allows for a slight flex of the seat stays, eliminating a pivot. The leverage curve is near linear at the top with a 30% progression as you work in with a nice dash of anti-squat. The shock is a 190x45mm which provides for 120mm of travel with optional volume spacers but a 190×37.5mm shock could be fitted to reduce travel to 100mm.
Transition specs Enduro Max sealed bearings throughout, a threaded bottom bracket, and over molded rubber chainstay and down tube protectors to protect your investment. There is room for a bottle on the top of the down tube plus an accessory area on the bottom of the top tube and if you are real thirsty, an extra bottle can be mounted on the bottom of the down tube.
THE DIRT So, what do you do with a 25lb bike that is aimed at all day rides up the most remote backcountry trails to pinning your favorite trail for a PR? Motor pacing e-bikes and sprints on downhills is how we spent most of our time. Climbing on the Spur is a totally new experience compared to other Transitions. I was very impressed at the usable anti-squat that allowed a natural platform with compliant suspension when needed. While the Spur in 120mm travel spec, is likely not the most efficient bike in the world, it sure put the hurt on several of our riding buddies on the climbs. The nicest thing about the efficient climbing is having loads of energy left for the monster downhill you just drug yourself up. We did throw on a set of ultralight XC wheels with low rolling resistance tires and found the Spur to be an absolute maniac on the climbs, coupled with the shorter shock, we would like to see this thing get sideways in a few XC races in the future.
Once you finish your bottle at the top while you wait for your buddies that aren’t on e-bikes, you get the experience of descending on the Spur. The new flex stays along with the ultra stiff frame and SID fork create a speed generating machine. Every trail pop, roller, and mini double turn into a downhill pump track. When pushed into features, the Spur bounces back with forward momentum that left us with several PRs on the downhill sections of our test tracks. The Maxxis combo of Dissector front and Rekon rear held their ground in all but the slickest of root section and was a nice balance of grip and rolling speed.
Since we were putting time into all our best efforts on our local tracks, we took the Spur to some of the steeper trails we have found throughout the PNW to find the limit of this 120mm bike. Well, the only thing we can say is that the bike will outride the brakes. The G2 RSC required heavy pressure that wore our hands out after several minutes on the limit. The bike handled well above its travel though, maintaining grip and lines that we did not think were possible on a 120mm bike. On sustained steep root sections and gnarly rock gardens, we were required to be more selective on line choice compared to some of the 160mm+ bikes we were testing with but the Spur was not any slower.
We have had quite the stable of short travel trail machines in for testing this season and we have to say, we all were impressed with the balance that the Spur has struck. Transition calls it their “all-country” bike, which is a very accurate description. The Spur will get you to the top of any trail you can find with minimal fuss and give you all the speed you can handle on your way back down. If you want even more speed, throw a set of carbon wheels on but if you find yourself with the excess speed coming into corners that we did, reach for a bigger four piston brake as your first upgrade.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Spur has redefined “trail speed” for us. Due to the lightweight build, aggressive geometry, and stable handling, our braking points on our test track were completely different and we found ourselves brake checking some bigger gaps as we were always carrying more speed. The Spur is able to squeeze out every bit of performance from the ultra light SID suspension and take full advantage of the lightweight components. The only thing we would change is spec a bigger brake as we were continually taking the Spur into progressively gnarlier terrain. If you are looking for the most capable 120mm bike out there, go throw your leg over the Spur. We will definitely have it at the front of our stable for the foreseeable future.
Punches far above it’s weight class Straight lines and low weight Gold on Grey colorway
G2 brakes are not as powerful as the bike is fast
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