Combining excellent climbing and descending mannerisms with playful handling, the Transition Patrol was one of last years best new models.

Combining excellent climbing and descending mannerisms with playful handling, the Transition Patrol was one of last year's top bikes (click to enlarge).​

First launched in late 2014, the Transition Patrol has been a runaway hit for the small Washington-based brand. It features their new GiddyUp Suspension platform, which uses a Horst Link configuration (hence the "horse" play on words).

Claimed weight for a medium frame with piggy back rear shock is a respectable 6.5 lb.

Claimed weight for a medium frame with piggy back rear shock is a respectable 6.5 pounds (click to enlarge)​

Transition announced a new carbon version was in the works earlier this year and have officially launched this week. This new version shares the same long, slack progressive geometry as the alloy version, and mechanic friendly collet style pivots and threaded BB, but sheds about 600 grams. Check out this video to learn more.


Our favorite features of the Carbon Patrol are the P.A.B.S.T. (Put A Bottle and Stuff in There technology) and T.I.T.S. (Tubes in Tubes System). To learn even more about the company and the new model, we reached out to co-owner Kevin Menard. Here's his take on the new bike and more.

We're not sure we've ever seen Kevin Menard without a smile on his face or a cold beverage in hand.

We're not sure we've ever seen Kevin Menard without a smile on his face - or a cold beverage in hand (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: Who are you and what do you do?

Kevin Menard: My name is Kevin Menard and I am co-owner of Transition Bikes. My partner Kyle manages the business operations and product development side, and I handle brand management as well as managing the sales and marketing teams.

Mtbr: If you had to describe your brands in seven words or less, what would they be?

KM: Who needs seven words I can do it in one: FUN. We are all about having fun.

Capes, lab coats, and mini ponies are only some of the unusual things Transition employees deal with during the work day.

Capes, lab coats, and mini ponies are only some of the unusual things Transition employees deal with during the work day (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: Where is Transition based and how many people work there?

KM: We are based in our new headquarters in Bellingham, Washington, about a 10-minute pedal to world class mountain bikes trails and about a 30-second walk to an amazing brewery.

Mtbr: How does being located in the riding Mecca of Bellingham influence your company's bike designs?

KM: We call where we are based Cascadia since in addition to Bellingham and Washington we frequent British Columbia as well as Oregon. It has a huge influence in how we not only design our bikes but also spec parts. We have a super wide variety of styles of trails here, from steep, natural and loamy to flowy jump lines and XC trails so we like bikes and parts that are versatile and can switch between styles very easily. We like grippy soft rubber, wide spaced large lugged front tires for cornering in loam and moving mud through the tires, fast rolling rear tires, wide bars and short stems, and super strong non fading brakes for long steep descents.

The incredible riding around Transition HQ plays a big role in development.

The incredible riding around Transition HQ plays a big role in development (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: It seems like most of your product launch videos feature employees. Does everyone at the office rip? What are lunch rides like?

KM: It is pretty rad because everyone here has a pretty different style of riding and what they prefer to ride, but at the end of the day we always can agree on getting out and riding awesome all natural Northwest style trails. Everyone here is very committed to riding and in a town like Bellingham, where almost everyone is a total ripper, we have to ride hard to keep up.

While Transition generally prefers Hops, PABST is a better alternative for long rides.

While Transition generally prefers Hops, PABST is a better alternative for long rides (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: What kind of beer are we mostly likely to find in the office fridge?

KM: We are definitely love good craft beer especially from our local Bellingham breweries, but we also aren't afraid to throw back a tasty Rainier or Dusty Bullet after a ride. Hoppy IPA's are a company favorite for sure.

Continue to page 2 for more of our interview with Transition's Kevin Menard »



Transition Up and Down Mountains

Mtbr: Rather than confine your bikes to categories like trail or enduro, Transition separates their product line into groups such as "up and down mountains," "jumping mounds of dirt," and our favorite "skidding fire roads." Where did your irreverence for three letter marketing acronyms and industry buzz words come from?

KM: Part of our job as a company is to make sure the mountain bike industry doesn't take itself too seriously. So as you can see that is a full time job. Our marketing philosophy has always been be upfront and honest with what you are selling. When your friend tells you about why they love their bike, I rarely hear anyone use marketing acronyms or technology call outs. As far as categorizing bikes into genres, this one has always been a sore subject for us since we have over seven different style bikes that can ride virtually the same style of trails. We decided to make it as simple as possible to describe it which is where we came up with "up and down" mountain bikes. Lastly, I think it is confusing what an enduro bike is versus an all mountain bike, versus a trail bike, versus a freeride bike when many bikes in the industry fit into all of those categories.

Mtbr: Transition has traditionally produced aluminum and steel frames, why has the brand made the decision to produce carbon now? Is this push mostly for performance reasons or is carbon now a market necessity?

KM: We don't play favorites with any material but use what we think will be best for the application, price, and intended rider. Carbon is obviously a large focus for us, as it is a great frame material with a lot of benefits but we still see huge value in providing options for alloy and steel as well.

The new Patrol is the brands first attempt at carbon in several years.

The new Patrol is the brand's first attempt at carbon in several years (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: What are some of the challenges of developing carbon models for a small brand? Can you go into a little depth about the financial differences between carbon and aluminum production?

KM: Being small doesn't really change how we develop carbon products. We do it the same as any other large brand as far as the design and development process goes. The main difference between us and a bigger brand is we will only open one mold per size to produce our production runs. Larger brands will open several molds per size so they can get the production numbers they need. As far as costs differences between alloy and carbon you would actually be surprised that tooling costs aren't crazy different. With alloy you have to open hydroform tubing molds, forging molds for alloy parts, etc. The real cost savings is that alloy is way quicker to produce and the actual material is cheaper.

Mtbr: Transition previously produced a carbon frame, the 26" Covert, just as the industry was moving to 27.5" wheels. Can you shed some light on that experience and what you learned from it?

KM: We kind of got caught off guard on our first carbon bike. It took almost two years of development and right when we were set with molds and production the 27.5" wheel size took off like wildfire. We only ended up selling that model for one year instead of three, so we took a bit of a bath on the set-up for that project. What we learned is that there are some things out of your control in the bike industry and there wasn't really anything that we did wrong, it was just bad timing. You can't let things like that keep you from developing products. You just have to keep pushing forward.

Mtbr: Last year, Transition introduced four new models using the new Giddy Up suspension platform. How did you decide which one to carbonize?

KM: It was super easy to decide on the Patrol as our first carbon GiddyUp bike since it is the best seller and one of our most versatile bikes. It also benefits a ton from the weight savings that carbon offers, especially since it is the bike most of our customers are racing on.

The use of a four bar suspension provides the new models with plenty of GiddyUp.

The use of a four-bar suspension provides the new models with plenty of GiddyUp (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr: Compared to metal, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with carbon?

KM: Weight savings is definitely a huge advantage, but there is also a distinct feel that carbon offers that a lot of people have come to love. We love having the ability to offer a carbon line up that is complimented by a work horse alloy product line that is a great value and performance for any level of rider. We wouldn't say there are any disadvantages to using carbon as opposed to alloy since both materials require a similar amount of development time and tooling.


Mtbr: What's next? Should we keep our fingers crossed for a carbon Smuggler?

KM: We have a lot of carbon products in the works right now and can't give any specifics, but we are hoping for a late spring 2016 launch of our next carbon model so stay tuned.

To learn more about the new Transition Patrol Carbon, visit www.transitionbikes.com.