The Smuggler continues to be Transitions lively short-travel 29'er, but now 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 Smuggler has a 42mm offset, which is 9mm shorter than a typical 29" suspension fork with a 51mm offset. 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 talk about what a rippin' good time this bike is. As you may know, we tend to the recent crop of 29'er trail bikes that have come to light in the last few years. We're talking about the 29'er trail bikes for riders who prioritize FUN on two wheels. The Smuggler is like a little wild rabbit on the trail - fast, quick to change directions, and loves to hop. This bike brings the fun to the trail in ways you may not be able to imagine. Granted, it's not going to be the bike that you want point-and-shoot down the nastiest rock garden you can find - sure, you can do it, but it requires more careful line choice. This is a bike that's made for the all-day rides with heavy climbs and equally rewarding descents. With the new Speed Balanced Geometry, we find the Smuggler more rewarding on both the descents and the climbs. With the wildly steep seat angle, the bike puts you further forward than you may be used to. On the climb, that translates to power up steeps like we've never experienced. And when the time comes to attack the descent, once again this bike shines. It takes a moment to get used to the change in body position, but after half a trail, we felt totally comfortable, and were quickly seeking every feature to pop off.
The 2018 Smuggler utilizes metric shock sizing with a Fox Float DPS on board, tuned to get the most out of your 120mm rear travel. 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 allows for tire clearance up to 2.4". 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 Smuggler has clearance for a full size water bottle inside the front triangle.
The Smuggler frame is backed by Transition's 3-year "Got Your Back" manufacturer warranty.
- Wheel Size: 29"
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Rear Shock: Fox Float DPS Evol Performance
- Rear Susp. Travel: 120mm
- Rear Shock Size: 210x50mm
- Rear Shock Hardware Size: M8 x 30mm Top / M8 x 25mm Bottom
- Rear Axle Standard: 12x148mm Boost
- Brake Mount Type: 180mm Post Mount
- Max Rear Rotor Size: 203mm
- Max Chainring Size: 34T 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: 29" x 2.4"
- Water Bottle Cage Mounts: One
- Intended Use: Trail/AM
- Warranty: 3 Years