First Impressions

Transition Spire

Words Tim Coleman
Date Oct 21, 2021
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Four months ago Transition launched the Spire, a new nameplate for Transition, who claim the the bike offers downhill bike like descending capabilities, but in a package that isn't a chore to pedal. Ever since the Spire launched, I've been keen to try one.


The new Transition Spire Carbon in Primer Grey colour.

So what is the Spire then? The Transition Spire sports 170 mm travel front and rear with downhill bike geometry. With pedals, the XL size I'm on weights in at a reasonable 34 lbs. For a 170 mm travel bike I think that's on the lighter side. I'm testing the carbon frame with the GX build, which will set you back $8,299 CDN.


Random non-drive side shot because it's pretty.

For thorough details on the frame geometry, leverage curves etc you can see the launch article on NSMB here, and I have to say that I'm excited about the geometry of the Spire. A slack 62.5° head angle in the slack setting, a 1,324 mm wheelbase for an XL, with a longer bike available for tall people?! Giddy up. Transition does the Spire with two different chain stay lengths; a 446 mm stay on the Small, Medium and Large, and a 452 mm stay on the X-Large and XX-Large sizes. Combined with a reasonable seated position for comfy climbing, and it looks like an enticing package.


The rear end layout is standard Transition, and that's not a bad thing. The trusted Horst 4-bar system should offer up a great compromise of characteristics.

The Spire is available in three main build options; XT, GX and Deore. The XT build is the most expensive coming with Fox suspension and a Shimano XT drivetrain. I'll be testing the mid-range GX build coming with Rock Shox suspension and a SRAM GX drivetrain. The entry level Deore build uses Marzocchi / Fox suspension and a Shimano Deore drivetrain.


Big juicy 170 mm travel Rock Shox Zeb Ultimate up front.


The ANVL house brand bar and stem are used on all the Spire builds except the Deore build.

Transition has made an interesting choice with the bar spec; the ANVL Mandrel, which is Transition's house brand (not unusual). The interesting bit is that the bar rise changes with size. The head tube length increases on the larger sizes, but the additional taller rise bar makes some sense to me. Taller folks always seem to like using more spacers / taller rise bars. Great to see part specification changing with bike size to offer a better fit.


I was happy to see Code RSC brakes on this Spire. GX Shifter, and OneUp dropper post are good choices. The XL size gets a higher rise 30 mm bar. The Sensus Lite grips feel great.

Transition spec's the Spire with a 220 mm front rotor and 200 mm rear rotor with the GX build. I'm a big fan of the bigger rotors, and stoked to see this on a stock build.


A Rock Shox Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock handles spring and damping duties for the rear wheel.


The OneUp post controls the height of the ANVL Forge Cromo saddle, which has been surprisingly comfy so far.


The Spire comes with 165 mm cranks and a 30 tooth chain ring. I personally prefer 175 mm cranks with a 32 tooth chin ring, but I'll give this setup a fair shake, and report back. I appreciate the inclusion of the bash guard.


GX derailleur and cassette are plenty adequate these days.

Component spec wise, the only beef I have is with the tires. While I love the Schwalbe Magic Mary and Big Betty, I'm not wild about the casing / compound choices. I like the Big Betty in the Orange "Soft" compound as a rear tire, but I'm worried about the relatively thin Super Trail casing. For the front tire the Orange "Soft" component is too hard for the riding around here. For my personal bike I'd change both tires to Super Gravity casings, with a the purple Ultra-Soft compound for the front. I think that's a more appropriate, albeit heavier, spec for a bike of this travel/intended use.


Not a shabby looking sled!

Overall I'm looking forward to spending some time on the Spire. I like long travel bikes, and I like long pedally rides. Could the Spire be the perfect daily driver for the types of rides I like most? Time will tell, with a long term review in the coming months.

Tim Coleman

Age - 37

Height - 183 cm / 6'

Weight - 86 kg / 190 lbs

Ape Index - 1.055 / +10 cm

Inseam - 81 cm / 32"

Race Enduro and Downhill

Bar Width - 800 mm

Preferred Reach - 500 - 520 cm (but this is stack and head angle dependent)

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gweb  - Oct. 21, 2021, 2:17 a.m.

Any word on availability of the Spire in BC? 

Have a deposit down for one, but so far no word on when it might be actually arrive apart from early next year.


Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 21, 2021, 4:27 a.m.

I know of people who have taken delivery of theirs about a month or so ago..


gweb  - Oct. 21, 2021, 4:28 a.m.

Thanks. Hopefully won't be too long then.


Tim Coleman  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:57 a.m.

Fingers crossed for you!


grambo  - Oct. 21, 2021, 1:56 p.m.

Check with Kinetik in Coquitlam? I pre-ordered my new Patrol in June and got it mid August. When I had my bike in for some work in mid September they had a bunch of Patrols and Spires on the shop floor. North Shore Bikes had some stock as well, not sure if it's sold through yet though.


Gage Wright  - Oct. 23, 2021, 12:55 p.m.

Check out North Shore Bike shop in North Vancouver, they had some and some patrols.


+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:05 a.m.

It’s really nice to see them specifying a taller bar on the bigger sizes. Same with the rotors. They’re two of the first things I change on a bike. Although 40mm rise on a XXL is not huge, I would at least give the cockpit a chance before switching to a 75mm+ bar and matching 31.8mm stem.

I’m interested to see how it rides as I’m tossing up this, an insurgent, range, rebel rail, nomad and Jekyll for my next bike.


+2 Tim Coleman Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Oct. 21, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

If anything, the 130mm head tube on the XXL is a little short but it's the same length as my XL G1's and that's working out so far with 1cm of spacers and a 25mm rise bar, which is fine (I'm 6'6"). A 75mm rise bar on a 130mm head tube is a bit beyond what could reasonably be expected from a manufacturer.

That Transition has managed this many size-specific things is a marvel. It really shouldn't be that big a deal but it is. For taller riders until this summer there was just Geometron. Now there is the Spire and maybe the new Stump Evo. A 40mm bar for the bigger sizes is a very reasonable concession for there being more options.


+1 Tim Coleman
Sethsg  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:35 a.m.

Are you riding an XL even though you are 6 feet tall? You don't find the reach and wheelbase too long?


+1 Cr4w
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:57 a.m.

I find the reach and wheelbase fit me really well. I'm on a couple bikes with that wheelbase at the moment, and like this size. That said, I've always gravitated to bikes sized for folks a few inches taller than me, which I think is because I have a long torso, and long arms for my height. 

On that topic, I commend Transition for having a longer one again. I think it's great that there is a longer one for folks that are properly tall.


+1 Cr4w
Sethsg  - Oct. 21, 2021, 9:19 a.m.

Do you find it at all unwieldy for things like climbing tight switchbacks or descending in trails that have a lot of steep, slow, tight corners? 

I just got a Meta AM 2021 size L, I am 6' exactly and it is definitely a bit harder on stuff like that.


Tim Coleman  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:47 p.m.

I mirror Cr4w's comment on this. The XL Spire is quite a bit longer than the Meta AM in Size L, and I have no problems with technical climbing on it. I find the seated position keeps the front end down well. It's quite slack, and I thought that might be an issue at slow speeds, but so far I haven't found that to be a negative yet. Coming from a downhill background I've always picked my bikes based on descending ability, however I don't find the Spire gives up anything on the way up yet.


+1 bigbrett
Cr4w  - Oct. 21, 2021, 10:53 a.m.

The XXL is almost exactly the same geometry as my XL Geometron G1. 

There's no tight switchback climb I haven't made but I have to be very precise as there's usually only one good arc through. Descending I have zero issues. What's a slow downhill corner?


+1 Tim Coleman
ehfour  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:41 a.m.

Transition has been knocking it out of the part for a while

I've been on there V2 Sentinel and have been loving it.  The new Spire makes me drool, esp in the purple color


Tim Coleman  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

The purple looks awesome! I was hoping for that for the test bike. The matte grey does look nice as well. And agreed on Transition knocking it out of the park for a while, I like the direction they've taken and going.


+4 Tim Coleman luisgutierod Ryan Walters Pete Roggeman
Ddean  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:38 p.m.

Ive got the purple XT, and am quite happy with it. You look at the geo and know right away how it will ride: slack and confidence inspiring but it pedals comfortably and well due to the steep STA, firm suspension platform and lockout, and lightish weight. I had absolutely no surprises getting on it for the first time other than I was blowing through way more travel than I was used to (and still am). I use the full 170 on every ride, and I dont do anything that I would describe as big.

When I ordered it, I departed from my usual of getting a size Large for my 5'9/10 height and bought, for the first time in a LONG time, a Medium because of the wheelbase. My biggest concern prior to riding it was that it would be a big and awkward bike on the slower speed technical stuff that I spend a lot of time on - and my concern was that the wheelbase of the  large would be too cumbersome in that setting. After a couple months on it I think a large would have been fine too.

But Im glad that I went with the medium because it feels like a trail bike (and it still has longish reach) - I think that a large would have worked for me as well; better in some settings but worse in others.

One place where a large would be a big benefit is that it might allow me to use the under the top tube attachment points for something! Nothing will fit on a medium with a bottle in there. The smallish bottle BARELY fits using a side cage - ie, its touching the frame at the top (but I have the one-up pump mount making it a few mm worse than it could be).

Its a cool bike. Love love love the purple (huckelberry is their term). Its got me riding things that I have only hit before on a DH bike, and I can pedal to them easily.


luisgutierod  - Oct. 22, 2021, 1:22 a.m.

great to hear on the 5.10 and medium.. I got a frame, waiting to be built up... and I did the same thinking.. M due to the wheelbase.. the good thing with this bikes is that you can put angleset, reahc adjust and also a 205 60 shock to make it more lively .. not to mention that you can mullet it as well..  cant wait to buid her up..


Hughe Jahsole  - Nov. 1, 2021, 12:42 a.m.

Do you find it pedalling up fire roads a bit heavy?


+1 Tim Coleman
roil  - Oct. 22, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

I appreciate that you listed your ape index and inseam. I have near identical stats and went for the equivalent size on a Privateer 161. Geo between the two bikes is quite similar. Really looking forward to your long-term review.


+2 Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman
Ryan Walters  - Oct. 22, 2021, 1:51 p.m.

Transition are killing it with component spec. Proper suspension and proper brakes on the mid-level build. That price and weight are super impressive considering the competition. Really keen to see how you like this bike Tim.


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