Crossing into Spring!
Finally, after what seemed like a long winter, we can now consistently ride on dry trails. Cold weather and snow kept me indoors for too long this winter so I was very happy to finally get to a point where I can ride any day outside without a jacket! Of course we’ve been lucky in the past with a couple of mild winters so a real winter was bound to happen.
With the arrival of Spring comes the air of newness. Everything starts to turn green again as we start a new season of outdoor activities. This year I have a new bike and a new role with Transition Bikes as a “Brand Ambassador”. I’m excited about this year since I’ve been following a training routine from Jonny G MTB and am riding a bigger wheeled bike on the Bandit 27.5.
2014 brought the new Transition Bikes Bandit 27.5 to market. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to ride this bike this year as it’s my first jump to a bigger wheeled bike in 3 years. I hesitated to jump to the 29r wheeled bike in previous years because I loved the handling of the Covert 26″. I read all of the reviews and listened to rider feedback over the years but hesitated to make the move, until now.
The 27.5 wheel is bigger than 26 (obviously) but not quite the “wagon wheel” of the 29″ wheel. My first few rides I noticed that I had a bigger wheel but it wasn’t as obvious as my experience on a 29r. The jump to this size really seemed seamless. So far the biggest change has been the difference in rolling through rock gardens and overall rolling speed, both of which are improved!
It really is an amazing bike for the price!
Transition Bikes Bandit 27.5 – size XL (XO1 kit)
KORE Mega 35mm rise – 740mm bars
KORE Reput 35mm stem
KORE Rivera lock-on grips
Wheels & Tires:
Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheels
SRAM XO1 11spd
Crank Brothers Mallet DH pedals
Crank Brothers Kronolog dropper post
MRP AMG Guide
All Mountain Style frame guards
Also new this Spring are the wheels I’m running. I was fortunate enough to get a set of the new Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheels. This wheel/tire system is SO nice! Having been a bike mech for 10yrs in the past, I was familiar with the Mavic brand and quality, it was really nice to see the high quality first hand. “WOW” is what I think my first words were when I pulled them out of the box. That of course could have been the reaction to the bright yellow hubs and rims but it was an honest reaction to what I was unpacking. It’s really nice knowing that you have the best wheels on the market!
On the trail I was really interested to see how the wheels and especially the tires handled. I haven’t dialed in the tire pressure yet but I think somewhere around 25psi should do the trick. Before writing this review I wanted to make sure I had plenty of rides in before I headed down to Middle Run trail in Delaware. The trails there offer some fast flowy descents that can test you and your bikes handling capability. On my local trails I noticed the tires hooking up nicely but that wasn’t enough. I hit some of my favorite descents at Middle Run and tried to let the tires speak for themselves. I was really surprised at the performance but I shouldn’t have from the reviews I’ve read and the input from guys like Jeff Lenosky, a fellow NJ resident and Mavic rider.
Tires and wheels are a critical cog in fast trail riding and enduro racing so you want to depend on them not to fail when you need them. You want to count on them when flying into a turn and these wheels & tires certainly have my confidence up!
So far the biggest difference that I’ve noticed is how the bike pedals. The Bandit goes and goes fast. I have the FOX Float X CTD shock and FOX 34 Float 150mm CTD fork and when they are set to the climb (“C”) mode the bike feels and rides like a hard tail. This really makes the bike pedal efficiently when needed…on the way up! Having ridden a Covert for the past 3 years I was a little concerned when making the move to a new bike but I feel great on this thing. I have made what little adaptations that I’ve needed to make. The bike rides and handles like I was hoping it would. I feel that with the way I have this bike spec’d I am ready for anything. It really is an amazing bike for the price!
I use Strava to track my progress and evaluate my fitness. Since moving to the new bike I’ve had several rides where I had multiple pr’s on segments (climbs and descents) ridden previously on my Covert. I have a new bike, bigger wheels and a new fitness routine from my coach, Jonny G MTB. So what is making the difference? Hard to tell but all three have certainly been a welcome improvement so far this year.
Stay tuned as I get closer to the race season next month and start to post on some adventures to different trail locations and pre-rides!