2017 Transition Scout Carbon
Size Tested: Large
- Drivetrain: Sram X01
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC
- Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3
- Rear Shock: Rockshox Monarch RT3 Debonair
Travel: 125 mm rear / 140 mm front
Blister’s Measured Weight: 27.7 lbs (12.56 kg) without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada
I rode the Scout at Interbike’s outdoor demo, which is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. While people like to shun Vegas, the Bootleg trails are a little oasis of awesomeness in a land that’s otherwise dominated by neon excess. Bootleg has a mix of fast, sandy flow, and rocky cheese grater gnarliness that’s plenty technical. If you haven’t been, Bootleg is a worthy stop on any southwestern road trip.
Normally, Blister tries to get as much time on a bike as we realistically can so that we have time to play around with setup, get comfortable with the fit, and hopefully reveal any durability issues that might arise. But for obvious reasons, spending an hour or so on a bike at Interbike’s outdoor demo doesn’t give us the time to give the bike our usual treatment.
That said, there’s a lot of value in riding a bunch of different bikes, back to back on the same trails. Traits that might not be obvious when the bikes are ridden weeks or months apart become evident.
We try our best to get the bikes set up like we’d set up our own personal bikes, so that means dialing in the cockpit and suspension as best as possible, and we’ll often fuss with air pressure and other settings mid-ride to try to address any perceived issues. But given the short time on the bike, there’s only so much we can do, and we also take the component spec as we get it – sometimes the bars are too narrow, the seat too wide, or the tires too… crappy.
The “too long, didn’t read” version of this caveat is simply this: back to back comparisons on great trails are useful, but don’t take this as the final word on these bikes, especially when it comes to maintenance and durability issues.
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Transition Scout Carbon.
Transition has been killing it lately – I’ve been pretty psyched on both the Patrol and the Smuggler, but this was the first time I’d had a chance to swing a leg over the Scout. Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Scout falls right in line with its siblings – I challenge anyone to ride the Scout and not have fun on it.
Kind of like the 29” wheeled Smuggler, the Scout is one of those bikes that hits that perfect middle ground of efficiency on the climbs, suppleness on rough trails, and downhill prowess when things get interesting. While there are a lot of great bikes in the “mid travel 27.5 trail bike” class, of the ones I’ve ridden, the Scout comes out on top.
I rode the Scout Carbon with Transition’s #2 build kit. It’s primarily a Sram build, with an X1-ish 11 speed drivetrain. By X1-ish, I mean that it gets an upgraded X01 rear derailleur, an X1 shifter, and a downgraded GX cassette (which works fine but weighs more). Transition also mixes in some Raceface Turbine Cynch cranks, which I’d argue are actually preferable to X01 cranks because of the Cynch system’s versatility. Transition also gets credit for giving the Scout a threaded bottom bracket, which is approximately 98% less likely to creak than a press fit one.
Bumping up to Transition #1 build kit gains a Sram Eagle 12 speed drivetrain (and, among other things, some carbon wheels), which would be awesome for those dealing with a lot of steep climbs, but it certainly comes at a price.
The Scout also gets Sram Guide RSC brakes. Those are top performers, and as expected, functioned flawlessly on our test bike.
The Scout gets Rockshox suspension front and rear, with a 140 mm Pike RCT3 out front and a Monarch RT3 Debonair producing 125 mm travel in the rear. Both of those units work fantastically, and for a bike like this, they’re some of the best options on the market.
The Scout was rolling on the new Stan’s Arch Mk3 wheelset, which is pretty ideal for a bike like this. They’re light enough that they stay true to the bike’s intentions (which inevitably include long climbs), but they’re wide enough that bigger tires (2.3 – 2.4”) work nicely and don’t feel squirmy in corners (because long climbs lead to long descents). Bigger guys and those inclined to smash into stuff might opt for something a bit burlier, but at least for me, they’re a great option. It’s also worth noting that the Scout has a 142 mm rear end, so if you’re building the frame with your old parts or you’re just generally of the opinion that Boost spacing is stupid, Transition has you covered.
And speaking of 2.3” tires, that’s what the Scout gets – a Maxxis DHF in the front and DHRII in the rear. That’s easily my favorite tire combination of all time, so that’s pretty neat.
Fit and Geometry
The Scout follows the same trend as Transition’s other bikes in that it has progressive, modern geometry without going overboard. I rode a size Large because Transition was out of Mediums at the demo, but if I were going to buy one, I’d go with the medium for my 5’9” height.
The Large I rode had a reach of 457 mm, which is at the long end of average for modern bikes in this class. A steep 74.9° effective seat tube angle helps with climbing (and it’s effectively steeper on the smaller sizes), and also keeps the effective top tube length down to a pretty average 614 mm.
A 67° head tube angle is a bit slacker than many of the other bikes in this class, which helps the bike feel more stable and planted as speeds pick up. It does slow the bike’s handling down a little bit, and on the steepest of climbs might make the front wheel a little wandery, but I didn’t find that to be an issue in the slightest.
Out back, 425 mm chainstays are a little shorter than average for a bike like this. They’re short enough that the bike feels playful and flickable, but not so short that the bike cornered weirdly.
All those numbers put together make for a bike that’s long and slack enough to gain some stability, but without feeling like a big cumbersome bike that lacks maneuverability. For sizing, I’d say Transition’s sizing chart is spot on – unless you have a strong preference towards a bigger (or smaller) bike, I’d stick with Transition’s recommendations. It’s also worth noting that the aluminum version and the carbon version of the Scout share the exact same geometry, so all of this applies for both versions of the bike.
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line