A girl, her new Transition Syren, & Kamloops Bike Camp

Jun 13, 2008
by Mr. Gnar  
Mountain biking can be a tough sport for female riders to break into. We talk about progression, riding, coaching, and how things are changing for female riders.

Nicky is like many female riders - she got into mountain biking through her husband. However, in three seasons, she's gone from a timid noob who hadn't ridden a bike for twenty years to a confident intermediate rider. She knows what terrain she likes to ride, and now has that passion for mountain biking we can all relate to. Weekends are planned well in advance - who to ride with, and where. There's no time for long lazy days at the spa, a makeover, or shopping. It's all about riding the dirt, rock and gnar.The crux came this season, her third year of riding. After a year of riding her husband's inherited 8" travel bike, something had to give. The core problem was riding a heavy 44lb bike. Although the squishy long travel gave Nicky lots of confidence on the rough stuff, and she was carving sweet confident lines through rock gardens and rock steeps, it was tiring. Her energy was sapped after a couple of runs. Plus, everyone knows you just have to love your bike, and an inherited bike is just not going to do that for a girl!

So in early 2008, the "shopping" began. The internet was scoured for detailed information, bike reviews were read, notes were made, friends were quizzed, and lots of thinking was done. But nothing was really clicking, and it wasn't until Nicky walked into Cyclepath, Kelowna, that the love affair began. It was lust at first sight. Cyclepath had a sweetly built small framed Transition Syren sitting in the shop. Nicky looked, gazed, and stared, and some primevil feminine thing was occurring deep inside. Transition designed the Syren especially for the female market. It has a centre of gravity and ergonomics to suit the female body. As a result, both bike fit, comfort and performance should improve. Transition took the advice and input of 30 female riders, and stepped forward to design one of very few female-orientated freeride frames. This is a brave move, and Transition should be applauded in this difficult, catch-22 situation. With fewer female riders but not much in the market for them, makes for a tough challenge. Let's hope that word spreads and more female riders check out the Syren.


Nicky says "the guys at Cyclepath are very approachable. I feel confident asking them any questions and because of the relationship we've built up I totally trust their advice. It's not a hardcore bro situation, the guys make people feel comfortable regardless of their gender, age, skill or experience level. Because they understand my level of knowledge, they're not at all patronizing". They'd built the Syren into a beautiful product - pearlescent satin white frame with Juicy 7's, and hints of red in the Transition Revolution hubs, pink Transition decals and a few other touches". But hey, guys do have their limitations and so Nicky had to apply a bit of additional feminine charm on the Syren to add a few details the guys missed. She chose a beautiful Marzocchi Bomber 66ATA fork, Marzocchi seat, red Atomblab pedals, and a few other detailed touches. But this wasn't a mountain biking version of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" - she had practicality and performance very much in mind. The 66's look perfect with the white frame, girly 66 decals, and the red touches, but doing her research, Nicky knew it had the right adjustability for her to dial down (7" adjustable down to 5.5") and haul ass uphill ready for a quick descent, or to adjust the fork for different trails. "I ride Silver Star quite often and the simple adjustability means I can quickly tune up for a fast wide open trail like Rock Star, or a gnarly slower trail such as Dags or Double Dog". This girl sure knows her stuff. And that knowledge comes from help and advice from the Cyclepath crew (Springfield Road, Kelowna) combined with personal experience of riding, riding, and more riding. Thanks to Rich and Matt for weeks of advice, discussion, and direction and putting together a fantastically spec'ed Syren. You guys totally rock!

The beauty...the Satin White frame actually does glitter in the sunshine:

Now we get on to the Queer Eye for the Straight Mountain Biking Guy section. Guys, if you're looking to sweeten up your lady riding partner, check out Sombrio clothing. Sombrio sponsors both Claire Buchar and Kathy Pruitt so let's just say they know a bit about female riders. The new 2008 Sombrio Girl's range is rocking out, and designed by girls, it means lady riders no longer have to look like guy-wannabees out on the trail. They can have character of their own and be assured that the fit will be right and the style will be bang-on. Sombrio adds another dimension to the fact that things are progressing for female riders.

So after all the talking, what's the ride like? We hooked up with Chuck Brennan at Kamloops Bike Camp. Chuck's been running his operation at Little Shushwap Lake for six years now, and knows about coaching riders to the next level. He also knows a bit about mountain biking - he hosted Darcy and the crew from The Collective during the making of "ROAM". His passion for everything mountain bike related shines through. Driving up to his parked truck, we were welcomed by his huge smile and bouncing-up-and-down, contagious, enthusiasm for mountain biking. How can you fail to have a good day with that early-morning greeting! Chuck has access to varied types of trails. We chose his 26 km local singletrack network for a full day of ripping. Chuck was gentle with us at first - a quick razz down "Elementary School" warmed the riders up and gave him a feel of our skill level. The terrain was very different from our usual hard packed dry rocky Okanagan trails. Loose, loamy, damp, and often sketch, it meant working on a whole new set of skills. Where we'd usually let loose with plenty of grip, we had to hold back, use more balance and control, and generally work the bike more. Sketch-outs happened on every run. We progressed to Bull Moose, Old School, and Bambi. Nicky says "with a new bike, and on unfamiliar terrain and trails, it was hard to get a comparison on the pro's and con's. I can say that the fit and comfort is just superb, the feel and handling seems intuitive for my build and riding style. I know that the lighter bike (with a 35lb build, she trimmed down 9lbs of bike) saved a lot of energy for me, and I felt much sharper during the day. Five runs on challenging singletrack is a lot for me, and I felt I handled it far better. Going from a twin crown to single crown fork takes some getting used to, I have to work the front end stability a bit more. It was far more maneuverable and lighter to move around on the trail. Moving from SRAM X-7 to X-9 has also been a big step forward, changing is smoother and quicker, and the two-gear incremental change is really sweet". Chuck helped her fine tune the suspension based on her riding style. Then it was on to riding skills. Chuck advised on stance, braking skills, and ways of handling the loose, loamy conditions. "His advice on handling cornering, and general bike handling skills, were simply explained and really easily understood. He showed patience and put the trails into perspective, as we were riding some very technically challenging terrain. Even if I did something wrong, he explained the things I had also done right. He also followed me down the trail to shout instructions and ensure I was applying the advice at the right time".

Chuck explains how to get the best out of riding a steep section:

Kamloops Bike Camp has progressive singletrack trails from introductory up to the most technically challenging level. We chose the local singletrack because we wanted to get back to the heart and soul of mountain biking, and work on the core riding skills. Chuck can tailor a session for any skill level, group size, or trails to suit any trail type or riding preference. He's totally patient, understanding and non-judgemental. Email chuck@kamloopsbikecamp.com or give him a call at 1-877-377-8665 to discuss your requirements. We hooked up at the very impressive Quaaout Lodge but you can tailor any accommodation needs to suit your budget. Just ask Chuck!

Catching up on a summary of bike skills:



41 Comments

  • + 20
 they should make a men specific model becase i like that frame design and suspension. makes a change to the bottlerocket
  • + 30
 Don't see what wrong with riding that one, I would.
  • - 47
flag crashin (Jun 13, 2008 at 7:32) (Below Threshold)
 i personaly would never concider riding it, but is very nice.
  • + 1
 keep the bottle rocket the way it is and just and a new men specific model
  • + 0
 problem with guys riding this frame is that its obviously built for women meaning shorter top tube and longer seat tube. Diamondback, as stupid as that sounds, uses this same suspension set up on a bike i forget whats it called at the moment and im sure its a POS but it is the same set up.
  • + 2
 The shock ratio makes it hard for anyone over 150 pounds, even with the heaviest spring, it sags more than 45% for me, but if you are light, this bike is sweet, super low standover and easy to bounce around on
  • + 1
 I only weigh 153 pounds too, don't come back calling a fat ass, sweet bike for a good price
  • + 1
 yeah i love the bike i would have no problem riding it even knowing its a wsd bike
  • + 1
 bcroots ate all the pies (the low fat pies)
  • + 0
 lol
  • + 3
 I know a couple of women with the Syren. They absolutely love that bike. Their riding has improved considerably since getting it as well. Nice job Transition. I want to try to get up to KBC this year and give those trails a rip.
  • + 2
 It's about time! I have been riding for 10 years and it has been a struggle to find bikes that fits me properly. Slowly the industry is starting to accommodate the female rider. Clothes are starting to fit better and now finally they are making bikes for us too. Nice work Transition! I know where I'll be looking when it comes time to purchase my new ride!
  • + 2
 Great article and sweet looking bike. Nice to see the industry beginning to take notice of the ladies. Any plans on a 24" version for the younger riders? (looking at a Grom-Hit for my daughter atm, be nice to have more of a choice). Big props to Transition and Sombrio. Good luck with your continued progression Nicky Salute Big Grin
  • + 1
 I agree with you, Transition should make a kid's version of the Syren. It would fill that little niche for small, but very well built, kids DH/FR bikes. And props to Nicky, too! We just don't see enough female freeriders or DH'ers out there.
  • + 0
 id like to have that bike as a kid haha
  • + 0
 yeah i was looking into the Specialized GromHit too, and its very nice for kids, its not that heavy either so you can probly catch some height on jumps
  • + 0
 I think its just stupid because just because your a different gender doesn't mean you need a whole new bike for them. I mean some women are taller then me and they still moun about how there bike doesn't fit them. I think its just the rider feeling uncomfortable about there skill level and hitting stuff to hard for them in the first place.
  • + 0
 ^^
You sir are a dick
  • + 0
 Syren will work for a dude but only if he is light. If you are more than 170lbs, you don't want to treat it harder than you would an all mountain frame. It uses the Covert tubing and wouldn't fare well to a bigger dude freeriding it.
  • + 0
 If anybody is looking for a Syren we have three frames hanging on the wall. One med. metallic black, One med. baby blue, and One large white. We will sell frames only or custom build to suit your style. As a matter of fact if Transition makes it we carry it including pedals, wheelsets, stems, chain guides, bar ends, T bars, and many frames. And we're just west of Kamloops on the Trans Canada. Check us out at www.cachecreekcycleparts.com
  • + 0
 I'm just here to make sure you have a blast...Look forward to seeing you this summer and Thanks to Nicky for NOT dropping me. From what I saw, Transition really nailed it on this bike...A perfect fit for all the lady rippers out there!!!
  • + 0
 I see a possible road trip in my near future...
  • + 4
 It's a freeride bike, give us some female jump pics!
  • + 3
 Yea just buy it without the pink decals, transition give u the option with the stickers anyway dont they?
  • + 5
 or with the pink decals!
  • + 1
 Great move by Transition.
I'm currently in a "quest" to find a DH bike suitable for a small girl, and it's really hard. I hope the industry will follow lead and see to the female rider needs ASAP (and not just XC riders).
  • + 0
 those bikes are so light, like 35 pounds. The way the bike is for lighter people. Heavier people, the shock will snap because of the way of the geometry of it is. It is not strong enough for a person like 200 pounds or more
  • + 0
 Chuck at KBC is a rock star! I rode with him last summer and had a blast! He will set you up and shuttle you till you can't ride anymore. I am going to try and hook up with those guys again this summer..... Do it.
  • + 3
 so would !
  • + 2
 thats great to hear more women are getting out to shred the gnar
  • + 2
 i like it it looks really good
  • + 0
 the axle path is the same as the bottle rocket, it just uses different linkage to create leverage so lighter riders can use it.
  • + 0
 sorry, not exactly the same, but very similar.
  • + 0
 Similar to the Meta's suspension design.
  • + 0
 that looks pretty sweet.
  • + 0
 i would ride ir
  • + 0
 haha ^^^^ thats funny
  • + 0
 lol il second that
  • - 2
 can 15' would fit to 4'8"(151cm)/100lb(45kg) girl?
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