TRANSITION SYREN: BIKE REVIEW BY SHARON BADER

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SOURCE: Muddbunnies/Sharon Bader

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TRANSITION SYREN: BIKE REVIEW BY SHARON BADER

Transition Bikes is a small bike company out of Ferndale Washington. They are very popular amoungst the downhill freeride crowd and now they are trying to create a bike specific for Women. The swayed top tube allows for smaller riders as well as some changes in suspension design and geometry. The shorter wheelbase and weight lower down and in the back made rearing the front end wanna make you shout Hi Ho Silver AWAY!

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Frame
I ride an 18inch frame which puts on a Large Syren. The swayed top tube made for generous standover for my 5’9″ frame.The squared seat and chain stays were super beafy, the joined top and down tubes would add to the strength of this frame. At 40lbs the bike was tough and built to push through the chunder. Transition’s Temple 50mm, 6degree riser stem added to the slack geometry and put this bike more into the hucking catagory. I measured the chain stay to be 16.5 inches, the theoretical top tube at 22.5inches. The bike is a SLACK 67o. The frame easily accommodated the 2.5 Minion DH tires. This bike also came with only a middle ring.
For me this is a slack short bike.

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Front and rear end
This bike came with the 115-160mm Coil U-turn Rock Shox Domain 318 (6.5lbs) with the Motion Control which allows for adjusting the fork platform to allow better climbing. 35mm stantions and the 20mm Maxel made the front end pretty stiff. The Fox DHX Coil shock was great and I never had an issue with bottoming out or too much rebound. One issue is the air cap on the cartridge is under the suspension linkage so I’m not sure how you would be able to adjust the air.

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The guys at Transition decided to mount this shock vertically with the seat stay attached to the shock plate. I’ll let the suspension experts weigh in on the rationale for this. The rear triangle looks a lot like the one on the BottleRocket with the seat stay attached to the shock plate lower on the bike. This lowering of the center of gravity of the bike should provide more stability and shift the main weight of the bike back to provide more stability and make it easier to manipulate the front of the bike. The rear wheel was bolted on. I guess the guys at transition figured the girls wouldn’t mind this since they don’t fix their flats anyway! If they are going to on the trail, they’ll need to carry an extra wrench to get the rear tire off. The saddle I think is not a women’s specific one and was pretty hard for my child bearing hips. I would definately put on a more comfortable saddle.

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About Sharon:
I am 5’9″, weigh 150lbs. I have been riding since 1991 mostly on the North Shore. I also ride in Whistler – Bike Park and Muni trails, Squamish as well we do a lot of road trips to the BC Interior, Washington, Utah and a few trips to California. As mentioned above I come from an XC hardtail background but have moved with technology and ride a Titus RacerX for XC, a Turner 6 pack for DH and Shore riding and a Norco Team Ti set up for more freeriding/shore/technical XC riding. My Bikes!

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Performance
The Shore:
As an old schooler my preference is to ride up. So I like a bike that is comfortable to climb unfortunately this is one area where this bike is lacking. The short cockpit and slackness made longer flat rides or climbs arduous. A granny gear would have facilitated some of the longer climbs. This was compensated for during technical and fast descents where the bike tracked easily and when I had to slow down to negotiate a more technical section the bike reacted effortlessly and predictably. The Domain was really stiff and predictable offering a confident focussed ride. The bike was quiet on the descents, this could be attributed to the single middle ring and the more ‘single pivot’ suspension.

My first ride was down Dirty Diapers/Neds/Bottletop. These Mt. Seymour trails give you a good variety of terrain. Right away I was comfortable on the bike – except for the seat which I had to adjust… The structures on Dirty Diapers were handled with ease. The steep rooty pitches were nothing on this bike. The short uphill climbs were pretty effortless. This frame fit me well and I really enjoyed the stiffness of the Domain having ridden with the Fox 36 TALAS on my Turner 6 pack, and also having used the Rock Shox Lyric on another bike. As I got more comfortable with the bike I was able to let it fly off the hucks on Neds I usually avoid. As an old school shore rider, hucking is not my forte, but on this bike it was begging for it so I had to let it huck. It was fun. Almost too easy.

Transition’s Temple stem really allowed me to get off the back of this bike to make the steeps and jumps effortless. Once at speed this bike just flicked over and around roots like it knew where to go. It tracked well and moved where I wanted it to. It was truly confidence building.

The Avid Juicy 7’s are fantastic reliable brakes! They modulated really well and I could very comfortably use one finger breaking.

Pemberton Rock Face Riding:
Pemberton offers different riding conditions and challenges then the technical trails on the North Shore. You can open it up on these trails which are punctuated by steeper rock faces that can be aired or rolled. The Syren was really comfortable opening up and would soak up pretty much everything I pointed it down! This bike will make any trail flowy. We did four shuttle runs in Pemberton. We stuck mostly to the rock face trails that were interspersed with loose rocky, dusty sections. This bike made these trails almost too easy! I didn’t need to stop, I just kept going and going.

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Summary

Pros:
– Very responsive and quick bike
– Burly frame and welds
– Bike handles quick on tight technical trails and is stable on fast loose rocky descents

Cons:
– Flat riding and climbs were compromised by the slack geometry and short cockpit
– Domain was too stiff for most women and added extra weight
– Bolt on rear wheel necessitates carrying an extra tool

Overall Impression:
This would be a great bike for shuttling and bike park riding. It’s quick, predictable and confidence inspiring. This bike will take you to the next level of technical skill. It would not classify as an all mountain bike since it is not that comfortable to climb or ‘ride’. This could be compensated for with a longer stem and lighter components, but then you wouldn’t have the bike that take you there on the steep and deeps!

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Detailed Specifications
http://www.transitionbikes.com/2007/Syren.cfm

FRAME FEATURES: 152.4mm (6.0″) Rear Wheel Travel
– Fox DHX 5.0 Air 7.5″ x 2″ or DHX 5.0 Coil 7.5″ x 2″
– 6000 Series Heat Treated Aluminum
– Sizes: Small (15″), Medium (15.5″), Large (16″)
– Colors: Black Glitter, Satin White, Baby Blue
– Decals: Decal kit with 4 sets of decals in White, Magenta, Baby Blue, Purple
– Frame Weight: 7.1 lbs (without rear shock)
– Complete Bike Weight Range: 33-38 lbs (Depending on Rear Shock and Fork)
– 1.5″ headtube
– Compatible with up to 7″ single crown forks
– 10mm x 135mm bolt-on/QR dropouts
– 73mm bottom bracket spacing
– Accepts up to 8″ Rear Disc Brake Rotors
– Easily fits up to 2.7″ rear tire
– e-type Front Derailleur Compatible
– Frame Weight (without rear shock): 7.4 lbs
– 1 year defect warranty, Lifetime crash replacement

BUILD SPECS:
Shock Specs: 7.5″ eye-to-eye x 2″ stroke, Top Pin 22.2mm x 8mm, Bottom Pin 22.2mm x 8mm
– Front Derailleur: Shimano e-type, top pull top swing
– Bottom Bracket: 73mm x 118mm
– Headset: 1.5″ (deep cup compatible)
– Seatpost: 31.6mm
– Seat Clamp: 34.9mm
– Rear Dropout Spacing: 135mm x 10mm QR/Thru compatible
– Disc Brake Mount: International Standard
– Standard ISCG Mounting Tabs

Suggested Retail of the frame is $1,322 USD with the Fox DHX 5.0 Coil or $1,390 USD Fox DHX 5.0 AIR

The Shock selection and pricing:
$765 USD Fox 36 Vanilla R
$803 USD Fox 36 Float R
$958 USD Rockshox Totem Coil 1.5
$726 USD Marzocchi 55 ETA
$915 USD Marzocchi 66RC-3

Parts Kits Kit:
$1,218 USD Freeride – Single Ring
$1,274 USD Freeride – Dual Ring
$1,223 USD All Mountain

Geometry for the Syren is as follows:

Small
Top Tube (Effective) 20.44″/519.25mm
Seat Tube (center to top) 15″/381mm
Head Tube Angle 67°
ChainStay Length 16.75″/425.5mm
Bottom Bracket Height 13.8″/351mm
Standover 27.5″
Wheelbase 42.27″/1073.76mm
Head Tube Length 4.527″/115mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 26″ x 2.7″
Rear Hub Spacing 135mm
Rear Dropout Axle Size 10mm
Head Tube 1.5″
BB Shell Width 73mm

Medium
Top Tube (Effective) 21.5″/546.1mm
Seat Tube (center to top) 15.5″/393.7mm
Head Tube Angle 67°
Seat Tube Angle Actual/Effective 72° / 74°
ChainStay Length 16.75″/425.5mm
Bottom Bracket Height 13.8″/351mm
Standover 27.5″
Wheelbase 43.3″/1100.75mm
Head Tube Length 4.527″/115mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 26″ x 2.7″
Rear Hub Spacing 135mm
Rear Dropout Axle Size 10mm
Head Tube 1.5″
BB Shell Width 73mm

Large
Top Tube (Effective) 22.5″/571.5mm
Seat Tube (center to top) 16″/406.4mm
Head Tube Angle 67°
Seat Tube Angle Actual/Effective 72° / 74°
ChainStay Length 16.75″/425.5mm
Bottom Bracket Height 13.8″/351mm
Standover 27.5″
Wheelbase 44.3″/1126.15mm
Head Tube Length 4.527″/115mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 26″ x 2.7″
Rear Hub Spacing 135mm
Rear Dropout Axle Size 10mm
Head Tube 1.5″
BB Shell Width 73mm

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muddbunnies-mini-small-logo.JPGMuddbunnies Note:
The Transition Syren bike review was based on a size large prototype frame. The production model will have slightly steeper angles to improve climbing. Transition Bikes allows their customers to pick their rear shock and fork configurations so you can choose a pure air setup to change the feel of the ride dramatically. Transition expects most women to opt for a DHX 5.0 Air rather than the Domain fork which was used merely for testing at Whistler and for specific travel adjustment to examine various head angles. The bike tested is not an out of the box model that you have to choose. For spec details/options please see end of article.

Many thanks to Sharon Bader for an excellent article!

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14 Responses to “TRANSITION SYREN: BIKE REVIEW BY SHARON BADER”

  1. girlwithblog Says:

    nice byke

  2. nina Says:

    I’m gonna demo the medium that’s at North Shore Bike’s next weekend. We’ve already talked about putting air shocks on it and specing it pretty light so that its good for climbing. I’m so excited since its the ONLY and I mean ONLY full suspension on the market that will fit me at 5 foot nothing and 28″ inseam.

  3. Pat Says:

    Just on cons about domain being stiff, sorter springs are available for around $35. Makes a world of difference.

  4. Sheri Says:

    Nina, I demoed the same bike (medium) and thought it was a bit big for me. I’m concerned that the small might make climbing more difficult though. Had no problem riding up Fromme but took it to Burnaby Mtn Park and nearly died without a Granny. I suppose it would be the same on Old Buck, Seymour (I prefer not to shuttle).

    At 5’0, what did you think of the size? I’m 5’2″.

  5. dhgoat Says:

    A 40 pound trailbike? LOL
    Transition has many nice bicycles in their arsenal,
    but they have to work on lowering their frame weights…!
    Bottlerocket too…why so heavy for a trailbike?
    Covert too? Its too heavy for the competitive pedallers.
    Downhill bikes only weigh a few more pounds than the
    b-rocket.
    Im sure One day they’ll get it right.
    !!!The pricing is right thats for sure!!!
    keep up the great work Transition but tr to lower those frame weights.

  6. Kevin at Transition Says:

    The 40 pound setup was a pure whistler build. We have two other Syren’s built up at 34 and 36lbs. We allow our customers to customize their bikes to work for them.

    The reason the frame weight is higher just like on our BottleRocket is that they are not designed as a primary trail bike, these bikes are meant to be ridden at places like the shore and whistler, their secondary use is as a trail bike and of course there are some compromises that have to be made but make no mistake the Syren is a full on freeride bike and not meant to be an all mountain bike. I think when you compare to other freeride bikes and not all mountain trail bikes you will see that it is actually quite a light frame.

  7. Lola Says:

    Hi , I am 5’2 and am also wondering about sizing. Can I demo, or just ride around the street on one in Bellingham? Dropnzone said the same thing Kevin, around 34 pounds or so with a decent build so Im definately interested. My husband just bought a bottlerocket and loves it so we are definately sticking with Transition.

  8. nina Says:

    Well…I finally demoed it this weekend. At 5’0″ it was actually still too big for me as far as standover and sitting on the seat, I couldn’t put my fleet flat on the ground. Made it difficult to get back on the bike if I was on anything with any kind of slope–felt like I was trying to get on a horse! There’s no difference in standover between the small and the medium.

    I was surprised at how well it climbed. I’ve been off the bike almost completely for the last couple of months and was dreading the climb up Fromme, but it was OK actually. I can see dying on Burnaby mountain though!! Especially with only one front ring.

    Having only ridden a full suspension bike once before I can’t really comment on the downhill riding–it felt really strnage–didn’t feel in control at all–partly size, partly not having ridden in a while. It was also a little to long in the cockpit for me–going down to the small would help a little, but only by an inch.

    Finally, the $3800 price tag is just too steep for me, so I guess I’m still on the hunt!!

  9. Caryn Says:

    I’ve tested the Syren pretty thoroughly and been very impressed with it’s capabilities (see reviews here http://bb.nsmb.com/showthread.php?t=102801). I’m 5’2″ with 30″ inseam and prefer the medium. I’ve tested it DH, FR, and a little XC. For a bike capable of handling the bigger drops at Whistler, it is very light and it pedals extremely well. It certainly didn’t feel like 36 pounds. My real DH bike weighs 43 pounds and it uber squishy so I feel every ounce of that one when I try to pedal it! My XC bike at 28 pounds just isn’t burly enough to handle the drops that the Syren can.

  10. Alex Says:

    umm….i was wondering if you guys have thought about building a guys version and if not… i guess ill be riding a ladies bike… lol

    i love it

  11. Lola Says:

    ya, its called a Bottlerocket

  12. alex Says:

    mmm but its got a bit more squish

  13. Anita Says:

    I am on my way over to Canada next month to try this bad-boy out. I am 5ft nothing and crossing my fingers the small will be the answer to my dh/freeride prayers. Does anyone know of anyone ANYWHERE demoing the small model or anyone who has bought to have a go on it???? Curious. I have just sold my all mtn (Gary Fisher Cake) so I can get a more appropriate bike for dh and then a xc as well. Any other ideas for a free ride for my height would be welcomed…

  14. Susan Says:

    I know these are older posts, but since I used the info from this page to decide to order my new 2009 Syren, I thought I would add some helpful info in case someone else is considering it! I had to commit and purchase a size S over the phone as there was no place to test one – went back and forth as i am 4’10” and usually ride an XS (Intense/Gary Fisher) or XXS (Pivot) frame. However, I am thrilled with my minty green and purple syren – I had it set up with a lighter spring (am 95 lbs). The standover is fine – I can’t put my feet flat, but can easily touch the ground. It’s a bit heavy when trying to lift onto the chairlift, but feels quick and responsive when swooping around the trail or doing small jumps. Hopes this helps someone!

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