Moving to Santa Cruz does weird things to a person. Take a guy who is a solid mountain biker, who likes to jump normal sized jumps, who loves to log long rides, rack up miles and generally get out in the woods to have a good time and move him to Santa Cruz and he’ll decide that he NEEDS a “big air” bike.
Enter the Transition TR250, a “mini” DH sled, jump bike, park bike and generally a misfit in the bike world. While the terrain out here doesn’t technically “need” a 7″ full coil rig to enjoy the trails, why wouldn’t you have one? Today was the first day out on the Purple People Eater and here is what I thought of her.
The testing ground for Mrs Cleo(That’s the TR’s name because reasons!) was Emma McCreary Trail. This is a pretty buff trail overall, it’s about 2.5 miles to climb but can go out a LOT longer if you know your way around the woods. The reasons for choosing this trail are pretty simple, but for getting a impression on a bike this trail does offer a bit of everything.
1. Berms: EMT offers very good bermed corners for really seeing how a bike hooks up in braking ruts and loose sandy bermed corners.
2. Jumps: Now EMT doesn’t have big air jumps, but it does have ALOT of smaller jumps littered throughout the full trail. You have ample chances to turn single jumps into doubles, use off camber jumps to get the bike sideways and overall gives a good feel of the flow of a bike.
3. Speed: EMT is a fast track once headed down, it rewards flow, keeping momentum and offers fantastic sight lines to see riders coming up the trail. This makes it easy to keep out of peoples way and not run someone over.
4. Easy Climb up: The climb up EMT isn’t too bad, while it is 2.5 miles of climbing it’s a gentle climb with no steep pitches and easily doable even on a near 40lb rig like this.
Ok now we got the trail info out of the way lets talk a little bit about the TR250 and what it offers.
Geometry: The TR250 is a very planted bike, offering quite a bit of adjustment in numerous areas; wheel base, chain stay, shock travel, bb height and head angle are all things that can be changed quite easily. For the purposes of this test, the TR was set up in 7″ rear travel mode, shortest chain stay, and slackest head angle. Which leads to a low slung, well planted and slack set up perfect for railing corners and keeping an over eager (ME!) rider out of trouble.
Suspension Setup: Just like the geometry, the suspension on this bike is extremely adjustable. The TR is running a Fox DHX RC4 Rear Shock and Fox Vanilla 180 FIT RLC in the front. Both shocks offer low speed, high speed, and rebound adjustment. In my set up the bike is currently set up with a fast rebound, poppy compression settings (to help give that pop off lips on jumps) and finally to suck up the bigger hits at the end stroke of the suspension set up.
Lets get to the dirty secret of this jump eating, hill slaying, crazy machine. It’s really not a bad climber all things considered. It is a 40lb rig that is slack, low and set up to be squishy and there is no getting around that, BUT it pedals very well, doesn’t bob in its travel, rides high in its travel (which I love) and made it to the top of this climb with little to no fuss. I’m impressed and feel that with a dropper post one could put some miles on the bike and not hate life while doing so.
This was an eye opening experience. I know EMT very well, I know the turns, I know how fast I can enter these turns on my normal bike, I know where I can push and where I need to scrub speed. All of that knowledge went right out the window, the TR250 will bring you through a corner, the bike loves to be tossed into a corner and it will bring you out on the same line it took you in. Thanks to the 150mm rear axle, and giant front stanchions / 20mm axle the TR holds lines you don’t think it should. If you have traction the bike gets you through. Simply put, this bike is a demon in the corners and led me into numerous situations where my brain was screaming at me to slow down but the TR just didn’t care to listen.
Now no one will mistake me for Brandon Semenuk with my jumping ability. To put it bluntly, I get through more with just going for it and hoping for the best than sheer ability. I’m not a smooth jumper, but I can get to where I want to go….usually. The TR250 today changed that for the better, this bike loves to jump, cleaning lines where it really has no business cleaning. Essentially trust the bike, have ample speed and you’ll clean what you’re trying to clean and come out the other side. In time the TR250 may just upgrade me from HACK to SLIGHTLY Dangerous to Myself in regards to jumping, and yes that IS a step up.
Overall for a first ride impression I’m extremely impressed. Granted the TR250 does have some drawbacks and we’ll eventually cover those, but to be honest a lot of those are niggling details that any type of bike similar to this would have. The biggest drawback I would consider is a pronounced about of brake jack, take a step back though and realize you’re on a single pivot bike with 7″ of travel and really the amount of brake jack just really isn’t that surprising.
My thoughts on the TR250 are very good, this is a bike that will improve your riding if you trust it. If you screw something up, it will bring out out the other side, and treat her right and she’ll take care of you. If you are in the market for something to push your skills on, to improve your riding and to generally have a great time on a bike, the TR250 is a fantastic option.