Don’t let Transition’s joker attitude fool you; the new Patrol Carbon is a serious bit of kit
Transition is probably best known for its clunker videos, sick riding edits and general tomfoolery. But don’t let Transition’s joker attitude fool you; the new Patrol Carbon is a serious bit of kit.
It gets a full carbon frame, bar the welded one-piece rocker link, and even though it’s got the most travel in this test, it’s still the second lightest bike.
You shouldn’t let the simplicity of the design throw you, either. There’s no facility to adjust the geometry, but the Patrol Carbon doesn’t need it, as Transition nailed that first time round when it developed the aluminium version.
In keeping with the sleek, simple frame layout, and making the bike easier to clean, the Patrol Carbon has internal routing, where the cables run through the down tube, then loop under the bottom bracket and along the outside of the stays. Transition’s cheeky Tube Inside Tube technology ensures that changing a cable is as easy as 1-2-3.
Two years ago, Transition started migrating all of its trail bikes from single pivots to genuine four-bar designs. With pivots on the chainstays, rather than the seatstays, Transition branded it the GiddyUp Link.
More interestingly, the Patrol Carbon is one of the first bikes to sport the new Metric size RockShox Super Deluxe shock. It shares the same three-position compression lever as the Monarch Plus, but the longer Metric sizing provides room inside the shock for extra bushing overlap, to reduce friction and improve reliability.
Combined with the progressive linkage rate on the Patrol, the rear suspension is very sensitive, but still offers good support when sat down pedalling. The 155mm travel rear end is noticeably more progressive than the 160mm Lyrik fork, though. This is relatively easy to remedy, where regular riders can remove one of the tokens from the rear shock to help balance the bike. If you are a faster rider, or constantly riding steeper terrain, adding tokens to the fork would be a better solution.
By fitting a 34t chainring, Transition has used the wider range of the 10-50t Eagle cassette to give a higher gear for more top-end speed. SRAM’s superb Guide Ultimate brakes will rein that speed in should things go pear-shaped. Modulation is excellent, and thanks to a heat sink in the caliper that helps to keep the pads cool, your brakes won’t fade, even if you’re dragging them down every descent.
We’ve never tested a bike as quiet as the Patrol Carbon. Even the freehub on the Stan’s Bravo rear wheel has a subtle purr. It is blissful to ride, a little disconcerting even, as you only realise how fast you’re going when you need to slow down.
What makes the Patrol so stealthily quiet? We think it is the combination of good damping in the carbon frame and the increased vertical compliance that Stan’s builds into its Carbon Bravo rims. We also think it’s the way that the driveside chainstay is configured. By dropping it down low, it sits almost equidistant from the upper and lower portions of the chain, totally eliminating chainslap.
It’s a super-easy bike to ride too. That’s primarily because the sizing and geometry are both dialled. Sure, it needs an extra Bottomless token in the fork to balance how the suspension ramps up front and rear, but the Transition Patrol Carbon is right up there with the very best all-mountain and enduro bikes on the market.
Other than the ANVL contact points, the Transition Patrol Carbon is the complete package. It’s easy to set up, a breeze to ride and it always manages to remain calm, composed and silent, even when the trails are anything but. It’s not got the zip of the Santa Cruz, but the more generous sizing and extra suspension muscle makes it a better choice for taller or more aggressive riders. It’s in one of the most competitive categories though, and while there’s no denying its pedigree, it’s up against similarly specced bikes like the Trek Remedy 9.9, and ones with equally good geometry, like the Giant Reign, both of which cost considerably less.