The Covert from Transition Bikes is their answer to the All Mountain rider's demands for a bike that can ride the whole mountain - the ups, the across and the downs. At 6 inches, it falls into suit with a lot of other All Mountain bikes, well how does it work on my local mountains and where I ride? We've had the Covert for 4 months of trail time and it's been all over British Columbia now and even in it's own back yard of northern Washington.Read on to see how it fared
,Initial impressions of the Covert
were all visually related as I'd seen pics of prototypes floating around, with very little details to go with those pics. The new tubeset was nicely shaped, it had a tapered head tube, the angles looked good, but what were they? How much travel was in the back, all kinds of things were riding through my head. I guess we'd have to get one in for testing, so that we'd know more and be able to tell you all about it too.
I picked up the Covert just days before Crankworx and took it for a nice rip in Bellingham to make sure it all fit and then headed up to Whistler for 12 days around Crankworx. I had heard from the guys at Dirty Fingers Bike Shop in Hood River, Oregon that this would be a 3 helmet bike and that I'd be stoked no matter where I took it. Whistler is the Mecca of all things mountain biking for a reason - it is all there for you to enjoy and over the next two weeks, I got to know the Covert a lot better and worked out the fit and part details as I went. From Whistler it was off to the Hurtin' for Vert trip
and then the rest of the summer was a blur of great trails that were sampled at the bars.Summer on the Covert:
Let's look at the spec first and then I'll get into how it all worked over the past 4 months. I went with the All Mountain
build kit (build kit retail is $1471 Canadian) with the Fox Float 36 fork ($826 Canadian through TBC) up front and the Fox Float RP23 shock out back. The 28" wide Truvativ Stylo 30mm rise bar was swapped out for a 30" T-Bar (N/C swap for customers) and then cut down to 29" for my ideal bar width for my riding style and size. There are no pedals in this kit, but I would be rocking clipless pedals for the duration of the test any how. Man I seem to take a lot of flack for the clipless choice, but for me it works for getting out and long days of pedaling. Tires were swapped 3-4 times during the test as I like to be able to run the best tire for the job whenever I am able to take advantage of the options at hand. I did make a few other swaps and try parts out to see how they'd perform or enhance my ride - I'll get into that in a bit.
|Frame and Size||2009 Transition Bikes Covert|
•150mm (5.9") travel
|Rear Shock||Fox Float RP23|
|Fork||2009 Fox 36 Float R|
|Headset||FSA Orbit MX / TBC Integrated|
|Crankset||Truvativ Stylo 175mm arms, 44/32/22|
Our bike came with a bash instead of the 44T ring
|Bottom Bracket||Truvativ GXP|
|Pedals||2002 Time Atac Clipless|
|Chain||KMC Z9000 9 speed|
|Cassette||Sram PG-980, 9 speed, 11-32|
|Front Derailleur||SRAM X.9|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X.9, 9 speed, mid cage|
|Shifter Pods||SRAM X.9 pods, 9 speed rear and 3 speed front|
|Handlebar||TBC T-Bar 30|
760mm width, 31.8mm clamping
Stock spec is for Truvativ Stylo 30mm rise
|Stem||TBC Temple Lite, 31.8mm clamping diameter, 50mm reach |
Stock spec is Truvativ Team 75mm
|Grips||ODI Cross Trainer X lock ons, Black|
|Brakes||Avid Elixir CR, 8" front and 6” rear rotors|
|Wheel Set||TBC Revolution AM|
•Front 20mm, sealed bearings
•rear sealed bearings, 135x10mm regular Q/R
|Tires||Maxxis Advantage 26 x 2.4, Kevlar Bead|
Stock spec is Maxxis Highroller 26x2.35, Kevlar Bead
|Tubes||Maxxis Ultralite, Presta|
|Saddle||TBC Park n' Ride AM|
|Seatpost||Truvativ Team Dual Clamp|
Trying a frame out is one thing, but swapping parts to see if they will benefit, hinder or give you a better idea as to why a company specs specific parts and not others all comes into play. While a stock, traditional seat post is reliable, I have grown attached to my Crankbros. Joplin post and it's infinite possibilities for seat height placement. The downside to Joplins is their reliability and I found myself back on a standard post midway through the test - I guess spec'ing a standard post is a good idea.
DH mode - low seat - Joplin Post
AM mode - mid seat - Joplin Post
XC mode - high seat - regular post
There is typically a little note on all manufacturer's catalogs and sites that states "Spec may change at any time." This is to cover themselves in the event that a product is not available at the time you order it or if a manufacturer finds a better suited part as time goes by. Our Covert was spec'd with 175mm crank arms in 2009, but will be shipped with 170mm lengths in 2010. 5mm doesn't seem like a lot, but ask any lady and they'll tell you that there is a difference. And just like the ladies, I noticed the longer arms (I traditionally run 170mm arms) with a few additional pedal strikes. The strikes increased when I swapped in a 150mm fork with a lower axle to crown height - this dropped the front end and the BB making the already longer arms more prone to strikes. Hmm maybe they are on to something with the taller fork? Yep throw the 160mm Fox Float R 36 back on and voila, steering was more accurate and the ride height was back to proper angles. Oh and the pedal strikes decreased too! One has to try these things to see what it'll affect in the outcome. The 170mm crank arms in the 2010 kits should really help alleviate all pedal strikes on all but the gnarliest trails.
The rest of the parts spec held up great to the rest of the season - no broke parts and still shifting strong after a few bad rain rides. One part that keeps impressing me as I've had two test bikes this year that were spec'd with them, is the TBC Revolution AM wheelset. To grab some info straight off the TBC site:
"Revolution AM Wheelsetis our lightweight all mountain/enduro wheelset designed with performance in mind. This versatile wheelset can run a standard QR front, 15mm or 20mm thru axle to fit any fork on the market
Standard marketing info, but what they don't say is that the retail is set at $340 Canadian
- there is little to nothing out there at this price point that offers this quality. 2 sets of wheels and not one flat spot, not dents, no need for trueing all season. This product is in my top 10 for 2009 for sure!Specs
Size: 26" front and rear
Front Hub: QR, 15mm or 20mm Thru Axle Front Hub
Rear Hub: 135mm rear hub spacing, 10mm or 12mm interchangeable axle system. Wheelsets come standard with 10mm QR axle but nutted axles are available.
Freehub: Alloy, 3 pawl system Bearings: Sealed Cartridge (2 front, 4 rear)
Rims: Alloy 6061 with eyelets, double wall pinned, 25mm width, 32 hole
Spokes: 14/15g double butted stainless steel black
Nipples: Black Alloy
Colors: Black w/Black Hubs, White w/Black Hubs
Ok enough about the parts, let's have a look at the all new frame that the crew has put together for the riders out there looking to get more out of their rides. A proprietary tubeset is what brings the all new Covert together in both form and function. At just over 7 lbs with the Fox Float RP23 rear shock, this 6 inch travel AM frame is built to take the descents and is still be light enough to hop up the climbs. The newly shaped tubes make for more contact between meeting points like the top/down and headtubes, making for a stronger frame.
The new Covert was made stiffer in a number of other ways besides the tubes. From the new drop outs, chainstay/seatstay yokes to the one piece CNC'd rocker link, it was all done to increase rigidity and add strength and to make the new frame visually appealing too. The frame with a Fox Float RP23 rear shock retails for $1793 Canadian.
The Fox Float RP23 might just be the bar in which all other air shocks are judged upon and for good reason. Air it up firm, turn the Pro Pedal and you've got a trail bike, air down a little soft, open the Pro Pedal and you've got a stable descender or set your sag correctly and enjoy the AM abilities. This shock really is versatile! Turn to the fork up front and I find it harder to tune. Too much air and it gets choppy on the repetitive bumps, too little and it blows through travel - these are characteristics that I encounter being a heavier rider. I should have requested a 36 Vanilla RC2 on this bike for that reason alone but wanted to give the Float R a try. If you are sub 200lbs (180 and lighter is best), then you will likely love the feel of this fork as it's easiest to set up to your size. The biggest change that I made to how the bike handles was when I swapped in the lower axle to crown height fork. This made the bike feel all wrong and it was back to a "normal" feel once I put the Fox 36 back up front.
Looking at the whole package and knowing that it will set a rider back approx. $4000 Canadian, I have to say that I am pretty impressed with the whole set up. The 67 degree head tube allows one to feel more secure once the trail gets steep, while the 73 degree seat tube made for good climbing legs on the ups. The spec held up great to all the trips I took it on and is still going despite the poor weather we are currently experiencing. A one year warranty and lifetime crash replacement also speaks volumes for how Transition feels about their bikes lasting in the field - they are built to be ridden.I'd like to leave you with Transition Bike's owner Kyle Young on board his Covert this past Spring:
To learn even more, please visit Transition Bike's all new site
Tyler "Brule" Maine