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We've all heard the "longer, lower, slacker" motto that seems to regurgitate with every single new bike we see these days. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but hey, how about we try something different?!? Transition has done exactly that, not only with the 2018 Patrol, but with all of their new trail bikes. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though - the Patrol is in fact longer and slacker than last year's model, but there are some very important differences in how these numbers are achieved. The Patrol utilizes a very unique approach to frame geometry, and Transition is calling it Speed Balanced Geometry (SBG). What's the scoop on SBG? Let's get into it - or if you don't care to endure the brain pain of learning the nitty gritty details, and you just want to know that it's awesome, then you can skip the whole next section called "What is SBG"?
What is SBG?
As bikes have evolved over the last several years, we've seen top tubes get longer, seat tubes shorter, head angle slacker, stems shorter, and bars wide. These are all arguably positive changes, and have helped to shape some of the most capable mountain bikes we've ever ridden. One area that hasn't changed is fork/steering trail. SBG incorporates the perfect balance of three key geometry traits, including reach, seat tube angle, head tube angle, and trail. Most of our familiar with the first three, but some of us may not be familiar with trail. What the heck is that?
Trail is a geometry dimension which takes into account both head tube angle and fork offset, which in turn affects steering feel and handling. It can be thought of as the tire contact point trailing behind the steering axis. Less trail equates to faster steering, effectively making the bike feel more nimble, but less stable at high speeds. More trail equates to slower steering, but provides more stability at higher speeds. With SBG, the head angle has been slackened, and the fork offset reduced, effectively providing more trail. That means the suspension fork on the 2018 Patrol has a 37mm offset, which is about 7 - 9mm shorter than a typical 27.5" suspension fork. The shorter offset fork brings the front axle rearward and under the rider, increasing front tire traction and provides more direct steering connectivity from the rider.
Head Tube Angle
Transition has slackened the head angle on all of their SBG bikes. The slacker head angle allows the fork to absorb impacts better at all angles, and reduces deflection. It also tends to reduce fork dive. positions the front wheel further forward in relation to the handlebars.
Seat Tube Angle
Seat tube angles on SBG bikes have been increased (steepened) by about 1.5 degrees. This puts your body in a more central location between your two tires while climbing, improving traction and reducing the amount of suspension sag while seated.
Transition's SBG bikes utilize a longer reach, but also are meant to be used with shorter stems, no longer than 40mm. Shorter stems provide a more direct steering path from your handlebars to your front wheel.
Transition believes they have achieved a balanced design here that effectively incorporates all of these factors, all while still achieving a nimble and responsive ride. This overlay effectively shows what an SBG bike looks like compared to Transition's previous model year bike.
That's it for SBG
Alright, now that we've got SBG covered, we can move on the other fun stuff! The Patrol has always been targeted as Transition's go-to rig for enduro and general all-out aggressive riding. This certainly hasn't changed for 2018. The Patrol gets a 5mm bump up in rear travel up to 160mm, and is designed around a 170mm fork. Along with the implementation of Transition's new SBG and improved GiddyUp suspension kinematics, the Patrol is more capable than ever.
The 2018 Patrol utilizes metric shock sizing, as well as a Trunnion upper shock mount. Instead of a traditional DU bushing eyelet at the upper end of the shock, there are now two mounting ports on either side of the actual shock body that attach directly to either side of the main rocker link on the frame. Additionally, there are bearings housed in the frame linkage where it mounts to the upper end of the shock, reducing friction significantly compared to a standard DU bushing and traditional mounting hardware. The lower end of the shock uses a traditional eyelet and DU bushing. The Trunnion mount also effectively reduces the overall length of the shock pretty significantly, giving engineers more room to play with when designing frames, which is a big plus and will benefit us all in the long run.
Other highlights include Boost 12x148mm rear dropout spacing, new rattle-free internal cable port covers, molded rubber downtube and chainstay protectors, as well as increased seat tube bore for compatibility with longer dropper posts. Boost dropout spacing has allowed for whopping tire clearance up to 2.8". A threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell is another big plus in our book, as well as collet-style main pivot hardware makes for very easy maintenance. And for those who want to keep the weight off their back, the Patrol has clearance for a full size water bottle inside the front triangle.
The Patrol frame is backed by Transition's 3-year manufacturer warranty.
- Wheel Size: 27.5"
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Rear Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance
- Rear Susp. Travel: 160mm
- Rear Shock Size: 205x65mm
- Rear Shock Hardware Size: Trunnion Top
- Rear Axle Standard: 12x148mm Boost
- Brake Mount Type: 180mm Post Mount
- Max Rear Rotor Size: 203mm
- Max Rear Rotor Size: 203mm
- Max Chainring Size: 36T Single
- ISCG Tabs: I-'05
- BB Standard: 73mm BSA
- Seat Post Dia: 31.6mm
- Seat Clamp Dia: 34.9mm
- Headset Standard: ZS44/ZS56mm
- Front Derailleur Mount: NA
- Max Rear Tire Size: 27.5" x 2.8"
- Water Bottle Cage Mounts: One
- Intended Use: AM/Enduro
- Warranty: 3 Years