Up or down, the Transmitter sets a blistering pace
Now in its second iteration, the latest Sonder Transmitter sees a few geometry tweaks and the addition of an XL frame size.
What Calibre is to GO Outdoors and Vitus is to Chain Reaction Cycles, Sonder is to the UK retailer Alpkit. It’s another direct sales model, where your money goes much further than buying through a conventional bricks and mortar bike shop.
The super aggressive frame shape makes the Sonder the slackest bike on test, featuring a 64° head angle. This equates to a bike that descends with complete confidence thanks to an increase in control and stability. At no point do you feel your body position pitching too far forward as the extended wheelbase places you centrally between the contact patches of the tyres. We also noted its ability to allow us to lay the bike down lower in corner, gained from the assurance found in its neutral riding position.
The entry-level Sonder comes fitted with bombproof SRAM Level disc brakes and SRAM NX gearing, both of which give no frills high performance right where you need it most. Love Mud, the own-brand componentry, handling the bulk of what’s left, including the wide handlebar and super short stem that combines perfectly with the aggressive geometry.
Much as we love a hardcore hardtail, and although this box has certainly been ticked by Sonder, we felt a lack of confidence in the rounded profile WTB tyres holds the Transmitter back. It’s not by much this time of year, but when winter rolls around, the lack of bite in wet conditions means you’ll need to swap them out. It’s still cracking value for money and the only bike to challenge the Vitus Sentier VR+.
Within the first few pedal strokes we knew that the Sonder Transmitter NX Revelation was the bike to beat. It instantly felt faster and more agile than its rivals. Maybe it’s the slacker head angle putting the fork in a better position to absorb the hits, or it could simply be that the Sonder’s riding position meant we instinctively knew that any effort would be returned with interest. Either way, it just felt right. And over the course of the test nothing presented itself to make us think otherwise. Even the taller BB height and lack of a dropper post weren’t enough to detract from the Sonder’s standout ride.