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Got my 2018 Patrol this week and got in my first ride this morning. Thought I'd post up initial impressions.

TL/DR: I'll try not to gush, but this SBG business is awesome. Transition claimed it would make you ride better up and down, no matter your skill level. I thought that was a pretty big claim but I believe it now. I wouldn't be surprised if reduced/no offset forks and similar geometry are the norm amongst all brands within two years. I love that Transition is the brand leading the charge.

About Me:
6'3", 170 pounds. Riding in Phoenix. Rocky, loose, and twisty. I'm not pro level fast, but I can typically hold my own. Been riding for over 20 years. I haven't ridden anything but Transition for about ten years, so all my comparisons are with their pasts bikes.

The Bike:
Stock GX build with the bar and stem swapped out for a 800mm enve bar and 40mm stem. Looking to throw some carbon wheels on soon. Transition has always been a little behind on the finishing details, but these bikes are their best yet. Really nice cable routing, internal routing ports, and frame protection. I feel like aesthetic design has always been a little weak with Transition and I think the 2017 patrols were their best looking paint job yet, but this is fine. I thought the revised swing arm looked a little weird in pictures but it actually looks really nice in person.

Experience:
I put in nine miles this morning. I started with three laps on a 1/2 mile long, super steep and loose DH run with a few small jumps and drops. The reduced offset fork does not feel different when I'm on the bike, (I didn't feel a need to get used to how it feels to be on the bike) but I noticed very quickly the improved front wheel traction. It's hard to describe, but it seemed like in loose, off camber turns, the point where my front wheel would typically start to break lose either came later or didn't come at all. I actually did feel like I needed to get used to the additional stability and confidence in the corners. In berms I felt less tempted to brake. By the third lap, I was riding the line as fast and confident as I ever did on a DH bike, and that's after a year away from that track. I scared myself a couple times by how aggressively I was riding it. Hard to say how much of that is SBG or how much of it is new bike stoke.

From there I made a few laps on a smoother, less steep trail peppered with medium sized jumps. Before my ride, I set sag and rebound in my driveway. Didn't touch anything else. After hitting the jump line I slowed down my shock one click and sped up my fork one click and didn't mess with it again. (Typically I mess with suspension a lot). Felt crazy balanced and plush. The Fox shock feels awesome. Having owned a Bottlerocket, TR250, TR500, Patrol, and Scout, I haven't been this stoked with how a Transition descends and jumps since the TR250. Not really sure, why but this Patrol feels a lot more plush, balanced and comfortable on the jumps then I could ever get my 2017 to feel.

I finished the morning with a 4 or 5 mile long trail ride, half of which would probably ideally be done on a shorter travel bike. Let's not pretend like this bike is magical, it's hefty and super slack. BUT, Transition's claims about SBG benefitting descending and climbing are true. Despite the slack angles and long wheelbase, it felt more well-mannered than my previous Patrol. Slow speed corners were less twitchy and less work. Best of all, I made it around some super steep and tight switchbacks that I had never made on my previous Patrol. You're not going magically climb vertical walls, but I noticed a distinct improvement in manner and traction on steep climbs and particularly tight corners while climbing. In other words, I felt like it handles slow speed stuff better than any bike of this weight, wheelbase, and head angle typically can. Pedal bob wasn't an issue, never even thought about flipping the switch on the shock. Should've tried it now that I think about it.

On the descent, filled with lots of off camber turns, I noticed the increased traction again. Super fun.

Questions/concerns.
The only downside I experienced was a handful of times I felt like I was hanging off the back of the bike a bit. Not sure why, but I think it's probably just me needing to work on my body position a bit, specifically staying confident with weighting the front wheel. I went with the Large frame, despite my height, because I have shorter arms and torso then typical. (I've owned a large and XL patrol in the past). I tend to prefer the wheelbase of the Large, but don't mind the reach of the XL). The steep seat angle made for a really short feel in the saddle, but I didn't feel like it hurt my climbing. And I didn't buy this bike for how it feels in the saddle. Out of the saddle, it felt fine.

I am really curious how an XL would feel. In general, I'd say take Transition's advice not to size down. I would also love to do the exact same riding on the Sentinel and see how it compares. I've ridden the Bandit and Covert 29, and I'm wondering if I should make the switch over to 29. Had Sentinels been available, I may have got one instead. But still not sure I want to give up the extra travel and bit of playfulness from the smaller wheels.

Anyway, if you're thinking of one of these bikes, I'd say the hype is real. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them unless you're a weight weenie, then hang tight for the carbon to show up as I'm sure it will soon.
 

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Nice review! Where did you get your bike and were you able to demo it before buying it?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got it direct from Transition. No demo. But didn't have any worries because of my experience with past bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, 6' 3", I have really long legs and a short torso, so didn't want the reach to be too long. But I would say to everyone, just get the size they recommend.
 

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Just wondering what systems/trails your riding as I'm living in Phoenix for winter and ride mostly gnar? Tempted by the scout but worried it might not handle my favorite rocky trails as well as the patrol.

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm sure the Scout can handle it. Just depends if you want a little more plushness and downhill bias. They pretty much weigh the same, so...
 

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Hey ruppguts! I just got a new 2018 NX Patrol (literally....yesterday evening). On the box there were some accessories that I have no idea what they are...can you help me?

These guys, I'm guessing....cable routing things?:



Rings?




Thanks!!
 

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Those are for cable routing, one of them is for a hydro dropper hose and it’s slightly bigger, I may or may not have found out the hard way.... not sure what’s those rings are may Be for headset


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What rebound settings are people using front & rear on the sbg patrol, went out yesterday on my first spin & the bike felt a bit dead to me. Felt like I was landing on a plank if wood going off drops & stuff. Sped up the rebound a little & felt a bit better. Be good to get some opinions anyways.
 
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