Results time, is the TransAm an overpriced steel ornament or a fun trail ripper? Jim Clarkson give his verdict
- 29er ‘all-mountain’ hardtail
- Durable steel frame with adjustable chainstay length
- RockShox Pike fork with 120mm travel
- Available as a frame-only for £499
What attracted you to the Transition TransAM 29?
As a hardtail fan (or retro grouch, if you must) the TransAm was one bike that I’ve had my eye on for a while. Up-to-date geometry was a particular draw, and it helped, too, that it has a reputation for exploding the myth that 29ers can’t be nimble or fun.
Did you change anything straightaway on the Transition TransAM 29?
Yes. I fitted a higher quality seat collar after the first ride, as the seatpost kept slipping in the frame. I also ditched the hard compound tyres for a Schwalbe Magic Mary/Nobby Nic combo in softer TrailStar guise. My local riding is often wet, muddy and loose, so running the right tyres is critical.
Everything else stayed stock for the first few months, but more recently I fitted a Wolf Tooth 40t expander cog to increase the range of the 1×10 drivetrain and keep my legs spinning on the climbs.
Was the Transition TransAM 29 easy to set up?
Come on, it’s a hardtail! Joking aside, getting the TransAM up and running was a doddle. I fitted an extra token in the Pike for additional support on the descents, and I played around with the adjustable dropouts at the extreme ends of the adjustment range before returning to a mid-setting.
How did the Transition TransAM 29 ride?
Every time I pulled the TransAM 29 from the shed I’d get all giddy with excitement. It is such a fun bike that you can’t help but look for roots and rollers to boost off like a little kid.
The geometry and handling encourages playfulness and the sturdy frame and 29in wheels mean that the TransAM has your back if you get too carried away. Best of all, due to the slack angles and stability of the long top tube and wheelbase, I was never dealt any nasty surprises. But of course, there are trade-offs.
Which brings me to the bike’s Achilles’ heel — its weight. Even though it rode lighter than the scales suggested, after an hour or so I’d notice that climbs were more of an effort than I’d expect on a high-end hardtail.
Did anything break or wear out on the Transition TransAM 29?
Other than burning through a couple of sets of brake pads, and having to adjust the cones on the rear hub, the build kit on the TransAm has been 100 per cent reliable.
If you could change one thing about your longtermer what would it be?
I’d put it on a diet. Sure, the robust components, coupled with the 4130 steel frame, make for a bombproof ride, but once I fitted some lighter wheels, the TransAM really started to motor. Ultimately, a lighter bike allows you to ride longer for the same effort — so if the weight could be addressed, it would really add to the TransAm’s versatility.
Would you buy this bike?
No. If it came with a RockShox Reverb and better tyres as standard, I could probably be persuaded to part with my hard-earned, but as it stands, it’s simply too expensive. That doesn’t stop it being a great bike though, and although I’ve bemoaned its weight, the TransAM 29 has proved to be bomber solid and a total blast to ride.