Source: Ian Millar
Once again the folks in Ferndale Washington have broken the mold on bicycle design. Transition Bikes
latest hit comes in the form of a female specific freeride frame titled the Syren. So how does Transition define a freeride female specific bike? Simply by building a bike with the help of 30 female rippers based on the current trends they are seeing in all-mountain fun. A bike designed for bike parks, local trail networks and of course epic singletrack.
Lets start with the angles, the 67° head tube provides an immediate sense of comfort the moment you throw a leg over the saddle and park your butt in the seat. The easy angles make the bike descent friendly as it oozes with confidence immediately. The 27.5inch low-slung top tube creates a very lady-friendly stand over. The first thing noticed by all of our women test pilots was the immediate comfort factor of the bike. There was no adjusting to the set up, the Truvativ Holzfeller 40mm stem combined with the easy fit cockpit provided an instant connection for the ladies.
One of the reasons this bike feels so incredibly friendly is because the folks at Transition listened to women and gave them a bike that weight wise, is proportionate to a female’s needs. Realizing that the bike would take a little less abuse, and also be attending to a woman’s physical strengths, all 3 available builds are spec’d with parts that provide an easy to maneuver and nimble ride. Our trail-tested model was the Freeride (Dual Ring) build kit. A Fox DHX 5.0 air shock with ProPedal provided a plush 6 inches of travel and the Fox 36 Float R gave a balanced travel to match.
Other notables defining the Syren are the Transition Revolution 32 spoke wheelset, SRAM X9 shifting, Avid Juicy 7’s with an 8 inch rotor upfront, 6 inch rotor in the rear and a Truvativ stem, bar, cranks, and post package. The bike comes well built and for the first time in a long time we had no desire to make any of our own mods to make the bike friendlier to our immediate trail environment. She was ready to roll straight out of the box.Ascending
The first thing we did was send the Syren out on a climb-to-descent type ride. The winding, medium grade singletrack ascent provided many tricky root and rock littered corners. Our first pilot commented on a few awkward moments in technical corners, and taking a few attempts to adjust to the plush 6 inch fork. With the slacker geometry the bike tends to sit in the rear a little more than most bikes in this travel range. But let’s be clear, Transition did not make this bike to climb technical singletrack. Despite that, after a few rides with the Syren our testers came to enjoy climbing the bike. Every one who took a turn in the saddle agreed that if the Syren had an adjustable travel fork or compression lockout, it would be an amazing little up and down bike, and open another personality for it. Transition says that they spec it with a base model fork to keep the weight minimal. I think for most people that would be fine, but we feel an adjustable front travel system on the Syren would make this bike unstoppable and really open up on the uphill. In the end it is an easy upgrade and would only set you back an extra hundred bucks or so.Trails
Trail wise our reports show that this bike loves low angle and high-speed singletrack. One tester commented that the bike “danced.” As promised the lightweight build really allows you to control the ride with your legs and steer with the seat, letting the rider search out all the nooks and crannies to milk on the trail. This was probably the most common remark made about the Syren. Every rider loved its ability to be where you put it; with no forcing, pushing or pulling. Combined with the Transition Stepdown pedals the bike sticks to you and your line of travel.Downhill
As previously mentioned the cockpit is extremely friendly to bike park and shuttle type atmospheres, basically anything slightly downward would have the bike in its glory. Transition bikes never want to stop rolling, we’ve experienced this before with other models they offer and the Syren in no different. It’s a very cruising ride and is just waiting for the next challenge on a trail. A taller (5’8”) rider commented on the T-Bar’s (handlebar) width, saying it could be a little wider for more high-speed stability on the descents while others had no issues with it, even commenting they would likely chop some off.
Our build had a dual-ring setup with bash guard; surprisingly we never dropped the chain. A few times it dropped to the little ring but no one was ever forced to stop to put the chain back on. Suspension-wise Transition has it dialed; smooth rides are a common place on all their full suspension bikes. One rider commented on getting some brake jack on steeper terrain. When the bike goes through its suspension, the wheelbase shortens up and pushes a rider forward on steeper brake inducing terrain. With an already shortened wheelbase the cockpit tightens up quickly. On the flip side, and in the corners, when the suspension contracts in the gut of a turn, it springs the bike out in its full glory. It feels really good to corner this bike especially in the deeper corners. With every bike there are going to be trade offs, you just have to figure out what you are willing to sacrifice.In the end
The Syren is as fast and sexy as it looks. Our ride was Black Glitter with a magenta sticker kit. Most girls loved the paint scheme while one of our grittier riders commented the flower and bird details were a little too girly. The white Revolution rims and matching pink hubs really set off the ladies’ first impressions. To quote one rider “ I love it, I love it, I love it! Can I have it?”
We believe Transition has successfully delivered another bike that we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the near future. As a person who likes to ride mid-travel bikes I see this bike covering many different types of riders. It’s perfect as an entry-level bike. The immediate comfort factor is sure to sell new comers to the sport. While the geometry and build will appeal to riders with more experience, and also appeal to riders who want to add a little edge to their game. If you’re a guy reading this and thinking about getting your girl into the sport or a girl looking to upgrading your current ride, we strongly recommend inspecting the Transition Syren in person and throwing a leg over it to see just what were talking about.
Please visit www.transitionbikes.com
to learn more.