Transition Scout NX
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.