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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Age - 39
Height - 183 cm / 6'
Weight - 86 kg / 192 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)