Transition TR500 - Review

Jul 28, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  


Since their inception, Transition has gained a reputation for creating durable, no-frills machines, designed with the knowledge that can only come from years of real world riding experience. The TR500 is the successor to both the TR250 and the TR450, and features adjustable geometry that lets riders build it up in multiple configurations. Everything from a mini-DH / bike park ripper with 180mm of travel all the way to a downhill race bike with 203mm of travel is possible, and adjustable chainstays allow the bike to accommodate 26” or 27.5” wheels. Given Transition's location squarely in the heart of Sasquatch country, it's fitting that they also expanded their size range, adding an XL option for riders whose proportions mirror those of the elusive beast. There are four different complete build kits offered, in addition to a frame only option. Our test bike, outfitted with a Fox 40 FLOAT, DHX RC4 and Shimano Saint brakes and drivetrain retails for $6199 USD.


TR500 Details

• Intended use: DH / Freeride
• Wheel size: 26" or 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 203 or 180mm
• Aluminum frame
• Fox 40 FLOAT 203mm fork
• Fox DHX RC4 shock
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Colors: orange, pearl green, raw
• Weight: 37.5 lb (size M)
• MSRP: $6199 USD


Frame Design

Constructed from hydroformed 6061 aluminum, the TR500's frame has a modern, low slung look, aided by the fact that the linkage that drives the rear shock is hidden inside the split seat tube. Internal cable routing adds to the look as well, with the rear derailleur housing and brake line entering at the integrated fork bumpers and traveling through the downtube to their respective destinations. Both travel and geometry adjustments are available on the TR500, although Transition has done an excellent job of making them as inconspicuous as possible, thus avoiding the whole Erector set / science experiment look that can arise when companies decide to go down this route. In addition to the two shock travel positions, there are chips in the rear dropouts that can be flipped to set the bike up with either 434 or 442mm chainstays, although 27.5” wheels can only be run in the 442mm position. The bike's head angle and bottom bracket height can also be altered by flipping the chip that's located where the seatstays mount to the rear shock linkage, giving riders the option of choosing between a 63 or 63.5° head angle and the corresponding -10 or -4mm of bottom bracket drop. Other highlights include a threaded 83mm bottom bracket, a tapered headtube (useful for riders who decide to run a single crown fork), and ISCG 05 tabs for running a chainguide.

Transition TR500 review
  Hidden behind the TR500's split seat tube is a short link that joins the rear swingarm to a vertical link that drives the rear shock.

Suspension Layout

Like its predecessors in the TR range, the TR500 uses a link driven single pivot suspension layout. A short link connects the one piece rear swing arm to a forged link that is situated in between the split in the seat tube. The link that drives the rear shock has two mounting positions – the upper position is the 203mm setting, and the lower sets it at 180mm. Transition has slightly changed the dimension of the rear shock linkage in order improve the feel of the rear suspension, with the end goal being for the bike to feel consistent through its travel, giving it a smooth ramp up as the shock nears the end of its stroke.



Specifications
Price $6199
Travel 203 or 180mm
Rear Shock Fox DHX RC4 Kashima
Fork Fox 40 Float RC2 FIT Kashima
Headset FSA
Cassette Shimano 11-25t
Crankarms Shimano Saint
Chainguide e*13 LG1+
Rear Derailleur Shimano Saint
Shifter Pods Shimano Saint iSpec
Handlebar ANVL Mandrel 800mm
Stem ANVL ARC direct mount
Grips ANVL Punch
Brakes Shimano Saint
Wheelset TBC Revolution 150
Tires Schwalbe EVO Magic Mary
Seat ANVL Forge chromo
Seatpost Thomson
Transition TR500 review



bigquotesThe TR500 has the ability to make short work of the most chopped up and blown out trails while also possessing a flickable and playful side that came out on smoother, jump riddled trails.

The Whistler Bike Park is the ideal place to rack up the vertical while testing a downhill bike, containing a wide variety of runs featuring everything from seemingly endless jump lines to trails brimming with roots and rocks that are challenging aboard any bike. Our test TR500 arrived with 26” wheels and set in the short and slack position with 203mm of travel, giving it a 63° head angle and a 434mm chainstay length. This ended up being the configuration the bike remained in for the duration of my time on it, simply because it felt so well balanced and matched to the terrain in the bike park there wasn't any need to alter it.

There are some DH bikes on the market that are incredibly demanding to ride, requiring such a high level of rider input that it can feel like work simply trying to get around a corner at anything less than the speed of sound. Those bikes are best reserved for riders whose primary focus is getting down the hill as fast as possible, not seeking out the little side hits and bonus features on the way down. Luckily, the TR500 falls on the more mild-mannered side of the scale, with an easygoing nature that doesn't require World Cup racer level skills to make it come alive. While it usually takes a few laps to figure out a bike's little quirks and handling characteristics, with the TR500 this 'getting to know you' period lasted maybe half of a run. Maybe. After that, it felt as if I'd been riding the bike for months, not minutes. It's an incredibly intuitive bike to ride, and it didn't take long before I found myself plowing into the rough stuff at full speed without a second thought about the bike's handling.

Don't take the term 'mild-mannered' the wrong way either - this bike has plenty of gumption, and easily handled the trickiest lines that Whistler had to offer, whether it was steep, fall line rock rolls into loose, sandy corners or gunning it through off camber root sections. The TR500 has the ability to make short work of the most chopped up and blown out trails while also possessing a flickable and playful side that came out on the smoother, jump riddled trails like A-Line and Dirt Merchant, a combination that makes it well matched to the demands of a bike park. Taking a look at the numbers to figure out how Transition managed to make a bike this fun reveals measurements that aren't radically different from what we've come to expect from a modern downhill bike, but it's the way all of these numbers work together that make it such a treat to ride. The slack head angle keeps it composed and stable at high speeds when everything turns into one big blur, but at the same time switching lines or making quick maneuvers to evade basketball sized rocks doesn't pose any trouble thanks to the relatively short chainstays and low center of gravity. Even at slower speeds on tighter, twistier trails the bike was quick and lively, diving in and out of corners without any sluggishness or lagging.


Transition TR500 review
  Whether it was blasting through berms or charging down rock faces, the TR500 kept its calm.

Suspension Performance

Geometry and frame design play a large role in how a bike feels on the trails, but on a downhill bike suspension is also of the utmost importance, especially given the high speeds at which obstacles need to be dealt with. The combination of the TR500's Fox 40 FLOAT in the front and a DHX RC4 in the rear felt extremely well matched, working together as a cohesive unit to filter out those brake bumps that can wreak havoc on unprepared hands and forearms. Fox's claim that they've increased the compliance of the 40 FLOAT's chassis is a welcome one, and on the trail it rang true – the level of stiffness has been reduced from 'bone-jarring' to 'just right'. Previous versions of the 40 could be a bit brutish, and it often seemed like the fork had its own idea of which direction to go in. This feeling is a thing of the past, and the 40 FLOAT strikes an excellent balance between stiffness and suppleness, with a stroke that feels like it combines the small bump sensitivity of a coil sprung fork and the progressiveness of an air spring. The air bleed ports are also a nice touch, a quick way to let out any air that builds up due to heat or pressure changes.

Although air sprung forks like the 40 have become more prevalent, especially among downhill racers, the same can't be said about rear shocks. The current offerings are getting close, but the feeling of a coil sprung rear shock is still tough to match. The DHX RC4 felt like a high end coil shock should, and silently worked to smooth out the most jarring of impacts, the kind that come from landing way too deep off of a drop, or trying to double up a section of roots only to land a half a wheel length short. The setup for both the fork and shock was straightforward, and minimal tweaking was necessary once the base settings were dialed in.



Transition TR500 review
  Built up with a Saint gruppo and a mix of ANVL and Transition branded components, there's not much that we'd change on the TR500.

Component Check

• Shimano Saint brakes / drivetrain: It's hard to go wrong with Shimano's Saint parts group – everything from the brakes to the rear derailleur are well designed to hold up to the rigors of DH riding. The brakes are particularly impressive, with an excellent lever shape complete with dimples for extra traction in the wet. Even though they share many of the same design attributes of the less expensive Zee brakes, the Saints require less force to reach full power, providing an extra level of control that makes it possible to enter corners faster and to wait longer before giving them a pull.

• ANVL Components: Our test sled came with a slightly different build kit that what Transition normally offers, with a smattering of ANVL Components offerings (pedals, stem, handlebar, grips) installed on the bike. I'm a fan of thin, low profile grips, so the thicker Punch grips wouldn't be my first choice to wrap my hands around, especially since they also have an extra portion of rubber at the front for additional cushioning that ended up being more of an annoyance than anything. Luckily, ANVL offers a more traditional, thin lock-on called the Rasp that is thinner and without the ergonomic shaping. The pedals were grippy, thin, and concave, meeting all of my typical criteria, but since I haven't put enough miles on them to comment on long term durability, look for a review sometime in the future once they've been dragged through the mud and bashed on a few more rocks.

• Transition HD wheelset: The TR500 rolls on Transition's house brand wheelset, which uses 32 hole, aluminum rims laced up with a 3 cross pattern to a set of sealed cartridge bearing hubs. It's pretty basic stuff, but it also held up without any spokes coming loose or major dents in the rims, a feat that can be difficult to achieve given Whistler's wheel eating trails. If anything does happen to the wheels, replacement parts should be easy to find and rather inexpensive, a reassuring thought considering the toll that bike park riding and DH racing can take on components.



Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesThe TR500 is something special, a downhill bike that feels familiar right out of the box, with impeccable handling that reduces the time needed to unlock its secrets and increases the amount of time available for pushing it as hard as possible. When you're spending hard earned dollars on lift tickets or race entry fees, the last thing you want is to waste time trying to relearn all the little handling quirks of a bike every time you roll it out of the garage. That's where the TR500 shines - just hop on and start charging, and the TR500 will get the job done in style, whether it's roaring across the finish line, or whipping sideways over a floaty booter. While it may not garner the same amount of press as the carbon race steeds of the World Cup circuit, that doesn't mean it's any less capable, and the adjustable geometry allows it to be configured to meet just about any rider's needs. - Mike Kazimer



190 Comments

  • + 190
 Looks like I will be selling a kidney
  • + 89
 Let me know when you find a buyer....i got one i dont need either....
  • + 29
 Lost myn a couple weeks back, a new one would be much appreciated!
  • + 11
 You wouldnt happen to have a table in a back alley along with a trench coat full of surgical tools and some good drugs to?
  • + 30
 @BlinkProductions The kidney or the Transition?
  • - 18
flag richierocket (Jul 28, 2014 at 6:35) (Below Threshold)
 Seems a little expensive with the choice of wheels they are offering. IMO.
  • + 10
 Love all the features on this, but the 450 just had that look that i loved
  • + 2
 i got a left anyone got a TR500? Trades?
  • + 2
 hmm.. what body part/appendage could i sell while still being capable of riding my new tr500.... decisions.

@Quesadilla34 is right about the 450 having "that look", it was the main reason i bought mine
  • + 1
 @connorcraig that's grim, hope the recovery goes well and you get back out there soon on 2 wheels- healing vibes!
  • + 71
 i always lol at dh bike reviews, "The TR500 has the ability to make short work of the most chopped up and blown out trails while also possessing a flickable and playful side that came out on smoother, jump riddled trails"... thats every downhill bike right there, they are all so similar.
  • + 16
 This.
  • + 16
 In case you forgot, the same can be applied to any decent top-brand XC, AM/Enduro, DH, etc, review lmao. But really, there are tons of different DH bikes out there with pretty much the complete opposite ride characteristics. Also imo, until one starts riding different bikes out there and gets a personal feel, that is so much more meaningful over any very well written article as there is only so much you can really convey except just to confirm the general expectations and basic pros/cons of the bike
  • + 43
 All a review can really tell you is that there are no obvious glaring faults that ruin the bike completely, apart from that you really need to throw a leg over to know whether its for you.
  • + 8
 Ahh - you beat me to it! I was about to post that exact same comment... I normally come here for the photos bc the reviews get redundant. I just need to test ride a bike for myself!
  • + 67
 I wouldn't say that every downhill bike has a 'flickable and playful side', at least one that's as easily accessible as the TR500's. Take a bike like Banshee's Legend, or the Scott Gambler - they're both highly capable bikes, but 'playful' wouldn't be the word that immediately comes to mind when describing them. Of course, I'd recommend a test ride as well - the point of a review is to give you an idea of what to expect, a little background information you can use when narrowing down your choices.
  • + 8
 I agree with you guys. I used to read all the road tests in Motorcycle News until I was about 14 and realised they're all the same. Still, Pinkbike has great photos, that's why I come here. And there's usually some banter in the comments.
  • + 6
 @mikekazimer

good reply, and valid point - other bikes I would add to your list would be the Specialized Demo 8 in its current incarnation and Devinci's Wilson Split Pivot

both are very, very capable bikes but not playful, and often feels like overkill unless pointed down the steepest, gnarliest terrain you can find
  • + 4
 Man I wish I could remeber which one, there is a mtb mag / publication website out there that does a yearly mtb shootout. They did a lot of DH bikes this year and the reviews are videos of three dudes sitting in a garage talking real world comparrison of riding all these different bikes. I wish I could find it for you guys. Cool format.
  • + 6
 there you go -
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEg7lC4yx0cELGs32lXD5EpPaquw2AAdw
done by bike magazine - most is about trail bikes but there are DH bikes as well
  • + 7
 You're referring to the bible of bike tests by BikeMag.. I couldn't agree more about the fresh take on reviewing format..
www.bikemag.com/2014-bible-of-bike-tests/exclusive-2014-bible-of-bike-tests-begins
  • + 1
 Snap
  • + 1
 yep thats it guys, I dont remeber what all DH bikes they reviewed but the guys above can get some real info on the ones that they did. Ive seen one of the bikes mentoined above on that list anyway.
  • + 8
 I would like to see pinkbike talk about the suspension design performance on track rather than the suspension parts. We know the fox kit and its reviewed extensively, what this review fails to do is really highlight the suspension design and how it works on the trail. This just tells us the fox gear is good. Well we know that but how does this bike suspension curve work and feel, it mentions its goal in the design part but nothing about the on trail feel of it and what sort of curve it is. Is it playful or is it a rock hugging absorption machine or inbetween.

Its really a crucial part of a bike how the suspension works with the trail regardless if you have fox, vivid, CCDb ,bos etc in there and this review fails to actually talk about the suspension of the frame/bike.
  • - 2
 slideways did you read the review ?
  • + 2
 Its hard for the writers, so dont forget to give them where credit is due. Problem is that no matter what, a bike ride can be personally subjective just like how some people will praise one car while others hate it.
  • + 1
 @hampsteadbandit I'd for sure agree with the devinci (rode my friends and it seemed to want to stick to the ground and give incredible traction) but my demo is super playful with the short back end, possibly because a harder suspension set up?
  • + 2
 @hampsteadbandit
I ride a wlsn and find it super poppy, that being said I run about 25% sag, and alittle more lsc then average.
  • + 1
 ^ You find it poppy because of the slightly oversprung 25% sag. On a decent DH slope you're probably getting even less, ~15% sag lol. But the Wilson always had a very typical dead (good way) feeling of a DH race bike. While Demo is the more FR, poppy active suspension.
  • + 1
 30% is average. The thing tracks through rock/root sections no problem, the suspension is very balanced and I still see almost full travel when I come short. I compare pop to my slope bike.
  • + 1
 Your theory is also dependent wheather how you achieved the desired sag, proper spring rate or cranking in the preload
  • + 2
 I've also heard that if you go up by about 100lbs in spring weight on the Wilson, it makes a great fun park bike. Most people try it with the recommended spring for 30% sag or more, and then say it feels super grippy and fast, but not fun to ride. I guess the same could be said of any bike - the setup makes the biggest difference to how it goes. I'd love to try the Wilson in the hi setting with a SC fork and 400lbs spring.
  • + 1
 Darkstar63
Yes I did read it.
The suspension part was only talking about the kit, ie fox. Not about the bikes suspension design. As far as the review is concerned that part reviewed the fox kit not the bikes suspension design.

The only other part where they alluded to the suspension design was here;
"Transition has slightly changed the dimension of the rear shock linkage in order improve the feel of the rear suspension, with the end goal being for the bike to feel consistent through its travel, giving it a smooth ramp up as the shock nears the end of its stroke. "

This is a design goal it does not mean they achieved said goal. There is nothing actually about the bikes suspension performance on track itself regardless of what shock you put in there.

@spicy mike
+1 its because you're running a stiffer spring. Ideally if you want poppy and playful you should be doing it via damping not spring rate.
30% is average but that 5% makes a pretty decent difference, because while the sag is only 5% the higher spring rate is active throughout the entire travel.
  • + 2
 It's a single pivot there isn't much to talk about. They explained how the bike behaves and changes to the linkage. I'm not sure what else you were after.
  • + 1
 So all single pivots are exactly the same feel and same wheel path and leverage now.
  • + 1
 I didn't say that... what I said is they do talk about the feel of the bike, and about changes made to the linkage. Aside from how it ramps up single pivot bikes do all have a similar "feel" though yes. If it was blowing through all its travel I think they may have mentioned that, I got the idea from reading it that it performed well and as expected. It's kind of a quickie review and I don't mind that... maybe you could write us a better one?
  • + 4
 No problem send me the bike and ill get to it Smile
  • + 1
 Haha
  • + 1
 @cougar797: DiamondBack has what I think you're talking for the Mission Series --- www.bikemag.com/gear/diamondback-mission-2-2015-bible-of-bike-tests/#HWTT8Pud1vklrSxF.97
  • + 44
 Does anyone think transition took a step back aesthetically? Maybe just me but the 250 and 450 were way sexier...
  • + 6
 I agree, should of at least kept the cnc'd linkage.
  • + 3
 I fully agree. The old ones looked a lot better with the top tube blending into the side plates. SInce the Airborne frame is the old TR450, and about $1000 cheaper, I'd buy one of those if I was into this frame.
  • + 2
 I dunno this bike looks pretty beefy and if it rides good who cares what it looks like.
  • + 2
 Well that is true but if you could get a bike which is the same but looks better for $1000 cheaper, you'd be a fool not to hey? If one was that much of a brand whore, one could even have a respray and get some Transition stickers for the Airborne.
  • + 4
 Understandable, my point is that people shouldnt buy a bike based on looks. Don't judge a bike by its cover, or in this case it's linkage and graphics.
  • + 5
 You have to see it in person to appreciate it. The hydroformed plates on the side of the linkage add a interesting presence and strong look to the frame. Brand-wise it still says 'Transition' with a nod toward the overbuilt machine aesthetic. If you think that a bike purchase isn't at least a little bit based on looks you are kidding yourself! Everybody does it, its ok....
  • + 1
 I think this design looks super clean and functional. Maybe not the "prettiest", but still good looking in my opinion.
  • + 10
 I just sold my tr450 to buy a tr500. My wife still rides a tr450. I agree, the 450 was sexier than the 500 is. But as much as I loved my tr450, as much as I thought that bike ripped, the tr500 is better in every single way. It pedals better, it jumps better, it corners better, it feels more planted, it feels more flickable, it rides the trails lighter, etc. I do think the tr450 was a better looking bike, it has great lines, the 500 side by side just looks "good" not great. But you can't even compare how they ride.
  • + 2
 I road the 500 and it felt too free ride for my taste. I like my 450 more although I do ride my 450 in the low setting
  • + 2
 Bike looks monster truck ish, .hahaha kinda looks like a gt fury........
  • + 1
 I rode my 450 in the slack setting and long wheelbase, racing the 500 the same way for most trails/tracks, love the way it feels. I think it's fair to say that the bike will feel different for everyone.
  • + 1
 Good
  • + 2
 I personally think the 500 is much better looking but seems like I'm in the minority.
  • + 3
 it seems they have not transitioned to a new frame design.
  • + 3
 for me, the best part about the new 500 is that there will be quite a few 250's and 450's in the Buy/Sell section
  • + 1
 wurd on that.......
  • + 1
 just wish it was green. "looks" great anyhow though.
  • + 1
 It comes in bright green too. And looks super boss.
  • + 1
 I guess for me is that I went from a large tr450 and tried a large tr500 and the top tube length is quite a big difference between the two. For me an XL 500 would have been more suited seeing as I am 6'4. Still a great a bike none the less just sucks I couldn't truly feel comfortable on the bike do to me not riding a proper size
  • + 1
 @kickstand1: one of my all time favs --- the Tr250 kicking myself ever once in a while for selling it www.pinkbike.com/photo/9582044

current project: BRING BACK THE TOTEM!!!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14012425
  • + 26
 Hey everyone. Pinkbike reviewed a DH bike. Stop bitching about all the 29er and Enduro reviews now
  • + 11
 But...but...how will I let people know I'm immature and closed-minded?
  • + 15
 Transition - giving the customer what they want, the ability to make choices and build the bike how they want. Props to that!
  • + 11
 I own a tr250 and I'm concerned about the future of company support for the bikes they continually release. I can no longer get a pivot kit or replacement chainstay adjustment pieces for my 2011 anymore, and that was only 3-4 years ago. Companies like santa cruz offer support for 10+ year old bikes. This is big for someone like me who cannot afford a new bike.
  • + 9
 I can't believe this self promotion made by Transition was not included in this article --- someone's sleeping at the wheel ---> best dang promo video to date!!!

vimeo.com/86739965

take a pee break and watch it from start to finish --- you'll see the pure science of how they ride -- it's by far the most informative video Trasnition has ever made and I really appreciate the science they put into it. it's sooo much better than listening to people say it's good because it is cool.

**** yeah, you gotta ride em to know what they're all about --- far too many people base their opinions on stuff the read, misguided reviews and worse... looks.

bikes always look better in person, why anyone would diss a bike based on looks is just silly.. sure, it's cool to have a cool looking bike, there's no doubt but seeing one in person vs looking at a prototype drawing --- PPAAAleease.

I have had the Tr250 (twice, once with the Totem, once with a Boxer), then I got a Tr450.. once with a Boxxer then with a Dorado... DUDE!!!! I have been eye balling the one Tr500 (green / large) real hard --- I might have to grab it for myself instead of selling to one of my peeps. man, it's a sick frame and I love the little features they added to the new design
  • + 3
 Love the high tech data acquisition techniques they use! :-)
  • + 7
 i got mine TR500 recently and ist a quite good deal for the frame option.
It feels super versatile but its a bit of a heavy but durable frame !
It performs quite balanced in the air and on track you can run ,
high speed and not even care about where you going it just goes over.
The rear dropouts are quite funky with this changing option, and the chain stay high
too i run mine on the DH settings and still happy with them.... Wink overall good bike
  • + 4
 I have a 2013 TR 450 will full Saint and a Fox 40. Great bike. I completely understand about the ease or riding or "getting used to" period for the 500. I had it at Whistler last year and rode the wheels off of it on all the trials (Full DH to jump lines). TR's are great do it all bikes that are solid and low maintenance. Are they carbon V10's or Wilson's no. But bang for the buck a great bike.
  • + 4
 Got the TR450 for 2 years now , pure pleasure , stable and grounded , easy and player in the air . that s like a motocross bike throught anything . the frame feel like a bmx on steroid , solid . predictable , why i am writing this , i should be riding it now . but yeah , fantastic machine .
  • + 4
 'There are some DH bikes on the market that are incredibly demanding to ride, requiring such a high level of rider input that it can feel like work simply trying to get around a corner at anything less than the speed of sound' - can you specify which bikes exactly do you mean here?
  • - 6
flag dualsuspensiondave (Jul 28, 2014 at 1:30) (Below Threshold)
 Pretty much all of them except the Transition. Not sure that there is another bike out there that corners like this one.
  • + 0
 I want to know, too. Session, V10. Demo? Or something more specifically?
  • + 1
 V10. I have ridden a lot of bikes and Im currently on my second V10 and will not shy away from my 3rd when the time comes.
  • + 2
 V10 and M9/6 probably
  • + 1
 Ridden my v10 for years now and I find it so easy to ride, not demanding in the slightest! Pretty much all dh bikes are the same these days with slight differences in geometry etc setup is key for a good ride
  • + 1
 session for instance
  • + 1
 Depends on what you like an extremly slack demo or still slack but race feel of the session haven't had the v10 yet
  • + 2
 I get what the reviewer is saying, my TR450 was easy to get on and ride, it practically just picked a line and coasted down the hill with no argument. My 951 however was completely different - you had to pick your lines and bully it more, it was more rewarding to me though as my times were better on it and it felt more fun / poppy
  • + 2
 I own a Devinci WIilson, and love the bike. Can't say it needs work to get past rock gardens and roots, but cornering does require some effort (at least for me). I used to ride a SX Trail, and the bike was a cornering fiend, but would not perform half as well as the Wilson on rock gardens, although the SX Trail is not a full on DH bike after all.
  • + 2
 @Caiokv

bikes like the Wilson benefit from a very aggressive riding style going full power, flat out and sideways!

otherwise, very capable but somewhat of a handful
  • + 1
 Aye, I was going to mention the Intense DH bikes as well: super capable, but unless you need that much bike for your terrain(I don't,) they feel huge & unwieldy. Going to sell my M6, might look for one of these, or one of those new Scott Voltage frames. If you live in the US, & don't ride a bikepark very much, odds are a freeride bike set up with a DH fork is all the bike you need.
  • + 2
 I agree about the Intense. I had an M9, and while it was a great bike it was just too much bike for what I needed.
  • + 1
 I would assume that the v10 and the Wilson fit into the category of demanding to ride, but I would also agree that on a lesser scale, the session would also fit into the equation. Which is kind of surprising considering how, relative to suspension design, it's a bit simpler than the other two.
  • + 5
 I thought the session was meant to be a doddle and super neutral

dirtmountainbike.com/dirt100-2014/dirt-100-2014-trek-session-9-9.html#!boZcXD
  • + 1
 You guys missed the point. Ride the Transition, then make judgement. For example, my 2012 Demo handled the rough well, however the TR kills it in the turns. Traction for days, yet is more playful than the Demo and many others. Also, my time on dh bikes has been limited to Wilson(fsr), Wilson(split pivot), M9, Sunday, 951, v10c, session 9.9, Demo, and the TR. Just a really fun dh bike.
  • + 1
 Personally I think you miss the point, in no way did anyone slate the bike or make a judgement. They just asked for clarification on which bikes are demanding to ride, they therefore may be able to make a comparison (if a test bikes not available/suitable)
  • + 2
 For sewer rat, I agree with what you say about sessions. I went from an rm7 to a v10 to a demo to a session, and figured the session to be spot on, but for me- for me, not everyone maybe- I found that my style of riding berms was to ride inside foot up thru berms and turns in general. When riding the session riding inside foot up as opposed to riding fifty fifty made the bike behave much differently. Inside foot up made me way too back wheel heavy and I even would wheelie out, and fifty fifty made me exit corners very quickly and confidently. My body position thru rock gardens has also changed drastically on the session whereas on the v10 especially it mattered less. The sesh is a great bike, but it's a different ride from the other DH bikes I've owned.
  • + 2
 Cornering and stability are tradeoffs. You can't have both, but you can get a good balance. DH is splitting from park in terms of user needs. Park riding needs more nimbleness, whereas DH is all about speed.
  • + 1
 I ride a 6.3" bike. This makes me want 8".
  • + 4
 Help!
Can't decide whether my next bike should be the tr500 or the new 2015 Kona operator?

Having never ridden either, I would be buying blind! Had my heart set on the Kona, but Transition have now went and complicated matters for me! lol. this bikes looks ace!

What's the general PB concensus?
  • + 5
 I have a '12 Operator and would describe its characteristics similarly, it's a bike you get on and feel comfortable with quickly and well capable thru all conditions. Coincidentally or not kona and transition are literally a mile or two away from each other in ferndale Washington. Both do a lot for local riding with the transition guys getting the nod from me for being more accessible and willing to help even if it's not for their product.
  • + 2
 If I'm not mistaken, you get the Operator for significantly less $, with as good or better parts, if cost is a factor.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the feedback mate. I suppose i couldnt go wrong with either. Im thinking the kona would prob be lighter but ive always wanted to own a transition. Love their company ethos. Guess it might just come down to price in the end! Lol
  • + 2
 I had a TR, and loved it, but it was a 09' DirtBag. A friend had a '13 operator and cracked it open, but he did get a new one under warranty.
  • + 1
 Cracked the frame open! Oh dear. Hope he wasnt hurt.
I think id probably lose all trust in a carbon frame if it exploded on me (regardless of whether it was replaced under warranty!)
Ive cracked an aluminium frame in the past, but it was just a hairline crack at a weld joint after 2 years of abuse running it down dh tracks that it wasnt really designed for! Due to it being alloy it wasnt a catastrophic failure that couldve landed me in hospital.
Ive got a saracen myst just now and im experiencing problems with the carbon swingarm. Think im getting the carbon fear! Haha
My decision is starting to sway towards the tr500.
Has anyone else had any issues with the carbon operator??
  • + 2
 actually, kona's carbon frames are stronger than their aluminum. the exploding stinkys and operators occurred due to a thinness in the metal, about a quarter of the way down the top tube. but with the carbon, that flaw is gone. go with the operator, it's sick
  • + 0
 also, carbon is actually repairable, unlike aluminum
  • + 0
 For the normal person repairing an aluminium frame is easier than carbon, I would much rather ride a welded up ally frame compared to a patched carbon equivalent.
  • + 2
 Wow! Never knew carbon was repairable! U learn something new every day!
Seeing quite a few on my local dh tracks so i guess theyve hit the nail on the head with the magic formula (style+performance+great price=rad!)
I guess i just need to get over my unfounded fear of carbon! Haha
Id still love to see the tr500 in the flesh before arriving at a decision though.
Both brands get my love!
  • - 1
 Who started that Carbon is Repairable urban Legend? where is this information from?

First of all there is no reason to be worried about carbon any more than about any other material. Some frames will crack no matter what material or brand. Just call them Monday-bikes. There is no way of doing a 100% QC and having no mistakes in production so there will always be faulty product hitting the market. Nature of the game. but we are not talking fragile 1990 components any more that splinter if you look at them the wrong way. technology evolved (a lot)

And Yes, Carbon Fiber can be repaired but the result will not be as strong as the original was. Its a highly complicated process requiring specialized personal with specialized equipment just to detect the complete area of damage. Hence this will be very very expensive to do. Usually much much more extensive than replacing the frame or wheel or whatever.
In aeronautics its usually only done in large non-stuctual parts like body panels which due to there size are very expensive to produce and i am not taking 3000USD expensive, i am talking buy a nice car expensive.... Anything structural gets replaced.

Armchair Engineers check this out for an overview:
www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_airframe_handbook/media/ama_Ch07.pdf

On an alloy frame you might be able to find a good welder to weld your frame up, heat threat it so the tensions are gone...

Anyway best would be to hope for a good warranty or crash replacement policy at the the brand of your choice and forget about ever riding that broken frame again. Repairing by no means will be cheap either and you are risking your health!
  • + 1
 I hear ya mate!
I did mention that my worries over carbon were "unfounded".
Just a mental block i need to get over. I am quite aware that any bike can break when exposed to the rigours of dh riding. I have had problems with both alloy and carbon.
Was simply asking opinions to try and weigh up the pros and cons between my next two most desired bikes - the carbon operator vs tr500
Thanks for the input tho. Gotta love a good PB debate! Dont wanna start a world war 3 tho! ;-) lol
  • + 2
 Carbon is repairable. I have done it, and have made carbon parts in my garage. Aluminum can be welded, but you have to re-heat treat the frame after welding. Not something many can do at home.
  • + 1
 no WW3 just want to put a piece of correct info out... Smile

A lot of people don't even know what Carbon fiber is or how its produced but might be interested.
Sure enough to read FAA documents you need a certain kind of geekines but maybe some can enjoy it as whatever those guys write is certainly free of marketing (BS) influences Smile
  • + 1
 This is very true. I am growing ever tired of the money machine and its marketing hype. Just wanna purchase a bike that is gonna be trouble free for a change. Out of the 4 full suspension bikes i have owned, 3 of them have either had manufacturing defects or broken! I like to hear what other fellow riders think and value real life experiences far more than a marketing sales pitch.
  • + 1
 Carbon operator.. I've been having a blast on mine. got a frame/shock, brand new/w warranty on here for cheaper than a tr500. Not dissing the tr500 at all though.
  • + 2
 How many people would actually pay for a second hand frame which has been repaired regardless of material? I'm going to bet not many would opt to pay to have the frame repaired too, especially considering crash replacement prices if your frame brand has that policy. Except for the fanatical few, the whole repairs debate with regards to material type is redundant.
  • + 1
 I've got the 2014 Carbon Operator and haven't had any problems with it Smile . Light and rides really well. I only wish I had waited for the 2015 model, the blue looks so dialed!!!!
  • + 3
 Did you test it with both wheel sizes? Forgive my skepticism, but I don't see how any frame that claims to be compatible with both 26 and 650B can have good performance with both.. I'm sure it rides great with at least one wheel size though!
  • - 4
flag Arnoodles (Jul 28, 2014 at 4:33) (Below Threshold)
 Why not? The geometry doesn't change with different size wheels. They'd be a little different, with one being a bit more playful and the other having less rolling resistance. I think it'd be preference more than performance.
  • + 2
 BB height does?
  • + 1
 Bottom bracket height in itself doesn't really matter. The important part is its height in relation the axles, which doesn't change.
  • + 1
 Geometry doesn't change? How about BB height and wheelbase- seem like pretty important changes to me. The Scott Gambler (on paper anyway) has this beat for one frame being able to accommodate both wheel sizes and keeping the geometry as close as possible.
  • + 1
 you're right that BB drop doesn't change, but you should want it to: one of the advantages of going with 650b in the first place is the increased ground clearance letting you drop the BB a little farther between the axles. kinda pointless to get a 650b that doesn't do that.

That said, 10mm drop is probably pretty good, & I'm surprised he ran it that way with the 26" wheels: starts getting really easy to bash pedals & BB with that much drop on a 26". I imagine the slacker setting is partially meant as the proper setting for 650b.
  • - 1
 True that you might want that, however the argument was that the geometry on one set of wheels would be better than another, which it isn't. The only real difference is wheelbase. 650b also has more advantages than just being able to run a lower bb, although I agree that they could have taken advantage of that. A lower bb isn't always better though, so maybe they decided that the height they choose was optimal. Also keep in mind it's a negative 10mm drop, which means it's 10mm higher, not lower.
  • + 2
 I used to think the same re aesthetics , preferred the 450, but now its grown on me and this looks more modern to me it should be a good improvement, like the article says. As for those that think all Dh bikes are the same, you obviously have lots of e experience and little else. The reviewer is quite right, Ive struggled on some bikes just allot of work and others have been fun flickable and easy to get along with, Ive gone to the most extreme DH bike probably on the market the Summun, and it changes everything I thought I knew about DH bikes, Ive raced allot of brands carbon and non and this thing cleans everything before it including cornering and having fun, killed my last carbon DH bike by such a margin Im still stunned, others who have tested it say they are ruined for life. I point this out to basically to think before engaging e finger on sameness, ride more critique less! But this is about the TR500 I think it looks and sounds good. Still wouldn't trade mine for anything else haha, I need the edge!
  • + 2
 Has anyone asked why this is worth the money over the Airborne Pathogen? Not being a smartass either. The Transition has more adjustability and the ability to run the trendy wheel size, but how does it ride? Maybe it's a little lighter? Is it worth the extra money for the bro-cred in the lift line that the Transition gets you?

I feel like Transitions are awesome bikes when you own when and ride it all the time, but then you get a new bike and you realize that it really wasn't actually that special. Going from a 450 to a V10 was eye opening to me.
  • + 4
 I think it's over a pound lighter, plus adjustability, frame bumpers, internal cable routing, modern geometry, legit customer service, and a bike that should have some resale value. Those are the differences I see. Although I like the Pathogen's price, graphics, and the rear maxle.
  • + 3
 agree to a certain point --- but I had an Airborne set right next to the Tr450 -- frame design is very very close but the workmanship that goes into the Tr450 is far better, welds, axle hardware, paint finish, the works --- the Airborne really looks like nothing more than a knock-off Transition.

vimeo.com/86739965
  • + 1
 Look at an Airborne in person side by side with a tr450 or tr500. That should answer all of your questions. One is the original, the other is a poorly made attempt at a copy.
  • + 1
 They are not the same. The Airborne is not even a "copy" ... the similarity comes form mainly those side plates between the seat tube and bottom bracket which are clearly the same catalogue part. What these frames share is that they are both built in Taiwan by a factory under direction of the company. Transition does not build these frames in house but they are well thought out and the geometry is chosen by them they are in effect "designed" by Transition.
  • + 1
 yeah --- somewhere in the 3000+ pshop pinkbike pics, I have a picture of the Tr450 and Airborne next to eachother --- I'll try to find it later..
yeah --- TBC aren't made here in the states, where they ever? not sure... been selling them for at least 10 years but I don't recall the history of where they were actually made. ** side note --- I do remember the day I learned Santa Cruz were made in Taiwan... I bought 3 SuperLite's at the same time... just happened to open one box up-side-down ---- big fat sticker/label and the BB shell ---- "MADE IN TAIWAN" no longer saying MADE IN USA.. that was a real WFT moment since I was still paying the MADE IN USA price tag.
  • + 1
 Manufacturers who "also" make ally versions of their carbon flagships, well those bikes are kinda meh. But guys like Transition & Knolly to name but 2... That's where my heart is at. If you're sponsored and your bikes are free then fine, nuthin' wrong with carbon this and that. But is it really going to mean the difference between 1st & 2nd place? Sam Hill yesterday proved different. And though a rider on a carbon bike may well win the next round, to real people who spend their good, hard earned money on bikes, there's something special about metal. 3

Currently in the market for a big bike and torn between TR500 and a Podium.
  • + 1
 @Mike Kazimer: Which such an adjustable ride with so many options it would be interesting to read what setting you did run?
I really don't want to start the same old discussion so and I am really hesitant to ask... lets see how we could phrase that best... which tire dimensions did you run and did you try other too?
  • + 1
 And could you try both 650B and 26" as well? I'm never sure about bikes that claim to do both.
  • + 2
 I like the playfulness of the Transitions.., can anyone compare a Knolly Podium to the TR500 or TR450? I'm having a hard time making a decision.
  • + 4
 go for the tranny. cause then you get the joy of watching the faces of people who know nothing about bikes when you tell them you ride a tranny
  • + 1
 Haha! I already keep two trannies in the garage and yes I love telling people how much I enjoy putting a tranny between my legs.
  • + 1
 Currently riding a TR250 and loving it. I'm wondering if it makes sense to run the 500 with a 180mm fork and 27.5" wheels? Any ideas? I noticed that on almost all the photos they put a dual crown fork on it...
  • + 1
 Transitions website have got photos of it built up with 180 sc fork and it almost looks better than the dc version!
  • + 1
 she is real capable in the 180mm mode(by mistake off the person who sold me the frame, and since they came here sooner than the states so no information i have ben runing and racing it on the 180mm mode thinking it was the 203)

and the bike is realy fast, agile and smoth, faster than the 450 i had before by far
  • + 1
 What colour did u buy?
I love the raw frame but i am keen to see the other colourways too. Post a pic please!
  • + 1
 www.vitalmtb.com/community/tmano2,14324/setup,25529
there you go mate, bike of the day saturday
  • + 2
 This bike is loaded for the price. I realize now I got ripped when I bought my 2012 session 88. It retailed for $6,299 and I didn't get an ounce of saint on it.
  • + 3
 PB, please do a follow up review of this bike running a 180mm single crown fork.....
  • + 4
 id ride the shit out of that
  • + 24
 It'd probably ride the shit out of you..
  • + 5
 promise?
  • + 3
 I'd ride it and love it, but if we're honest, ride it below the level that it deserves
  • + 3
 nice one, transition. That bikes looks amazing.
  • + 1
 Man either this, a new Demo, or new Devinci Wilson will be my new DH bike in the near future. Planning to build a bike from the ground up.
  • + 3
 sid slotegraaf makes me want to buy this bike!
  • + 1
 "Transition has gained a reputation for creating durable" well thats news to me ive snapped two frames in 8 tr450 frames both in 4 places and everyone ive met has aswell!
  • + 3
 that tr500 definitely makes it to my dream bikes listBig Grin
  • + 0
 Hope it is stronger in the head tube area than the 450. I think there were like 3 TR450 front triangles being used as noise makers on hecklers rock at the Canadian Open last year.
  • + 1
 As long as they don't build a 29er version I'll be happy with it. And it looks like they have no plans to build a 29er version.
  • + 1
 rode my new build tr500 2016 with mrp groove 180 and the fox shock this past weeked at snowshoe bike park....dope!!!!! yes, flickable and fun!
  • + 1
 Very well put, I have been riding my 500 since the day they arrived off the ship from Taiwan, and without a doubt the best bike I have ever ridden!!
  • + 1
 An adjustable wheel size? Thats not in the spirit of shafting people who ride 26" is it? Need to go speak to Spesh and giant and report back,
  • + 1
 I think the front triangle looks prettier but I think overall the TR450 looks prettier. it was just so long and slack and sheerly awesome
  • + 2
 owh finally something dh related
  • + 1
 Think I still prefer the look of the TR450 but this looks like a lot of fun! Can see it being popular in the parks.
  • + 2
 Such a sexy and awesome bike...... if only I had the money.
  • + 2
 That thing would be killer with a set of sc 180's up front *drools*
  • + 1
 With the exception of the head angle. This bike is a copy of the first generation Foes Fly
  • + 2
 when was the last time pinkbike reviewed a downhill bike
  • + 1
 has pinkbike ever reviewed a DJ or BMX bike?
  • + 1
 no I don't think so but I don't think it would be worth it
  • + 1
 got one all ready... this machine is sucks....
  • + 1
 i saw one with zocchi suspension on it an IMO it looked a lot better
  • + 1
 26 inch wheels. free ride. words i can relate to.
  • + 1
 Bought a TR500 yesterday Can't Wait till it gets here!
  • + 1
 Where are these frames made?
  • + 1
 Tempting, but the Gambler is next for me.
  • + 1
 I absolutely love the Anvl punch grips. I find them super comfortable
  • + 1
 Not so expensive! ( OR NOT )
  • + 1
 2500$ for frame perfect price Wink
  • + 1
 I should sell my kidney before I destroy it. I need this *heavy breathing*
  • + 2
 I think it look AWESOME.
  • + 2
 tr450 looks better
  • + 2
 prefer a Darkside myself
  • + 1
 这玩意貌似很重!!!!
  • + 0
 Meh. . . Looks ugly compared to the older ones. Next
  • + 1
 Looking good..
  • + 0
 nice bike. really really ugly pedals.
  • + 0
 Those pedals are sex.
  • + 1
 im in love!!
  • + 1
 soon.......
  • + 1
 Mmm mmm mmm mmm
  • - 2
 "not bad"
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