Tran­si­tion Scout NX

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

It’s not just the Scout’s rear travel that’s grown for 2018 (by 5mm), it’s also got a 15mm longer reach (475mm on the large size), mak­ing it one of the length­i­est bikes on test. This is part of Tran­si­tion’s ‘Speed Bal­anced Ge­om­e­try’ con­cept, which com­bines longer reaches and slacker head an­gles with shorter fork off­sets in a bid to give ex­tra sta­bil­ity and con­fi­dence without mak­ing things feel too slug­gish. And it works – the Scout is far more ca­pa­ble down­hill than its 130mm of rear travel would sug­gest.

That does come with its own issues, though. While the ge­om­e­try lets you push the bike hard down tech­ni­cal trails, you reach the lim­its of its sus­pen­sion quicker than you might ex­pect, which can thrust you into trou­ble (al­though some may find this fun!). We also can’t help feel­ing that the Scout has lost a lit­tle of the char­ac­ter that made the pre­vi­ous­gen­er­a­tion bike one of the most fun and play­ful out there. It still has a nicely pro­gres­sive sus­pen­sion ac­tion, which lets you load it through corners and pop over rocks and roots, and its low BB and slack head an­gle make it one of the best-cor­ner­ing bikes on test. But its sta­bil­ity at speed calms it down and de­liv­ers a smoother, more com­posed ride, rather than the ragged, grin-in­duc­ing feel of old.

The al­loy frame is a solid base to build a bike around, but the US brand can’t com­pete with Euro­pean di­rect-sale out­fits when it comes to spec value. While the SRAM NX gears give a fair range, they’re put in the shade by the Ea­gle driv­e­trains on other bikes here. Rock­shox’s Rev­e­la­tion fork doesn’t feel as smooth and com­posed as the Pikes found else­where, and we’ve no­ticed some in­con­sis­tency in per­for­mance be­tween dif­fer­ent Revs on test. The SRAM Level T brakes are ba­sic and lack power. On the plus side, the wide (29mm in­ter­nal) WTB rims and grippy Maxxis tyres aid cor­ner­ing.

While the Scout is still a fun bike to ride, the changes make it feel more like its longer-travel sib­ling, the Pa­trol. As a re­sult, if you’re look­ing for a more de­scent-fo­cused ride with bang-upto-date ge­om­e­try, you might be bet­ter off opt­ing for the big­ger bike.

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