Results time, is the TransAm an overpriced steel ornament or a fun trail ripper? Jim Clarkson give his verdict

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Transition Transam 29


  • Excellent handling — the TransAM 29 is fun to ride on any trail.
  • Amazing Pike fork with 120mm travel matched the frame and geometry well — thru-axle reliability and strength front and rear.
  • Versatile and built to last. Solid steel frame construction.


  • At 12.88kg (28.4lb) the TransAM is approaching full-suspension weight.
  • Seat clamp issue — although easily solved, has continued on and off for the whole test period. Maybe this was Transition’s idea of a dropper seat post!
  • The super-short chainstays reduce tyre clearance behind the BB.


Transition TransAM 29 longterm review


Price as reviewed:


Key points

  • 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.

Tranisiotn TransAM 29 longtermer riding 1

Who says steel hardtails aren’t fun to ride?!

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.

Chainstay length adjustment is easy on the TransAM

Chainstay length adjustment is easy on the TransAM

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.

Transition TransAM 29 longtermer riding 2

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.

Less wheel weight equalled more ride time for Jim

Less wheel weight equalled more ride time for Jim

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.

Jim Clarkson

Transition TransAM 29 longterm featured


Frame:TransAM chromoly
Fork:RockShox Pike RC, 120mm
Wheels:SRAM MTH 746 hubs, WTB Frequency STi23 rims, Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35in Pacestar tyres
Drivetrain:Race Face Ride 32t chainset, Shimano Deore iSpec shifters, SLX Shadow Plus r-mech
Brakes:Shimano Deore, 180mm
Components:Race Face Respond stem, Kore Durox bar, Kore 2 seatpost, WTB Volt saddle
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:12.88kg (28.4lb)
Size tested:L
Head angle:67.5°
Seat angle:74 °
BB height:320mm
Chainstay:418mm (short)
Front centre:710mm
Down tube:725mm
Top tube:599mm