A carbon downhill bike from Transition? The Internet went nuts for a few days, earlier this season when photos of Tahnée Seagrave piloting the new TR Eleven made their rounds. Her wins aboard the bike didn't hurt either. For its part, Transition officially launched the TR Eleven a few weeks back. Photographer Ross Bell caught up with mechanic Matt Allingham and got the skinny on the new bike—there’s a lot more going on here than a mere swap in frame materials.
So, Tahnée has been on this frame since Fort William round of the British Downhill Series, right?
It’s exactly the same frame. We had two sent over. Despite what’s been written in some places, it was actually a full production frame, just from the very first batch of them. so Yeah, we were lucky to get them quite early in the World Cup season. We did a week’s worth of testing before the Fort William BDS, just to get it all dialed in, but we were already comfortable with the bike since we’d already been testing it last summer. It’s an amazing bike. We’re all so stoked to have it.
How heavily involved was Tahnée with the development of the bike?
There was a lot of feedback given. We did a week of testing on the bike last year, in Canada and we ironed out some issues. Transition was really good at getting the production bike sorted out as quickly as they could.
What are the key differences between this bike and the old TR500 that it replaces?
Well, the carbon fiber, for starters. There’s a massive difference in the weight of the bikes. We calculated—using roughly the same components as last year—and the new bike is almost 2 kilos (4.4 pounds) lighter. It’s just a massive difference, really. It's not just the swap in frame materials. The paint on the TR500 was also one of the factors, whereas this is a raw frame.
Then there’s the Horst linkage or GiddyUp linkage as Transition likes to call it—it tracks the ground amazingly well. It’s just such an efficient bike to ride. It also has a more modern geometry with a longer reach as well. Tahnée is running a Small frame, but the reach is quite a bit longer than on last year’s bike, so this Small is actually a little bit longer than last year’s Medium. We considered experimenting with a Medium frame for Tahnée, but the races are so tightly packed this year that we decided to just stick with something that is closer to what she was comfortable on last season. We’ll probably give the Mediums a bit of a test during this coming off season.
In terms of the suspension kinematics, how does it differ from the TR500?
It is a very progressive design now. A coil shock works really well on this bike. You don’t need to run an air shock with bands in it to get proper ramping.
So was Tahnée on an air-sprung shock on the old bike?
Nope, she never tried it. The TR500 was fairly progressive as well, so there was no need to try an air shock on that bike either.
In terms of contact points, has that just carried over?
We’ve messed around with the angles of the levers a bit, but we pretty much get the settings dialed in at the beginning of the season and then just replicate it if we need to swap frames at some point.
Does Tahnée play around with stack height at all?
No. It’s pretty much always slammed. Tahnée pretty much just gets on with it and doesn’t change her set up much from track to track. She’s pretty comfortable with her settings and then just adapts her riding and her style to whatever track she’s on.
Anything unique going on with the components?
We modified the cassette a bit and went 8 speed. But other than that, the components are all pretty much stock—stock DT Swiss hubs, stock rims, stock Shimano Saint… the Fox forks are on the RAD program, so we have the RAD damper on that, and then some really cool, one-off Ergon kit.
In terms of set up, how fussy is Tahnée?
She’s not very, but she knows what she wants. Tahnee is really easy to work with. If something isn’t right, you’ll know about it. A change is made and what’s done is done. There’s not a whole lot of puzzling going on. The changes get made quickly and then she just goes out there and gets on with the job.
Tahnee's TR Eleven rolls on a tried-and-true combo: DT Swiss 240s hubs mated to the company's EX471 rims. While DT Swiss positioned that 475-gram rim as more of a hard-hitting enduro offering, it's proven a mainstay in the World Cup pits. Magic Mary's round out the rubber end of the equation.
Shimano Saints... 'Nuff said.