Jumping, jibbing, partying! What might sound like the front page of a Mallorcan hotel brochure, is perhaps the easiest way to describe the new Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS. We’ve tested Bellingham’s notorious party animal to find out whether it can behave on the trail or if you’re at risk of falling off the wagon.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: North America’s Finest – 7 models in review
About twenty miles south of the Canadian border lies the small town of Bellingham, USA. It’s known not only for its sprawling trail network, which extends over Galbraith Mountain and beyond, but also for being the hometown of Transition cycles. Following the motto “Rider owned for life”, Transition started building bikes in the basement of founders Kevin Menard and Kyle Young back in 2001. Over the past two decades, they’ve grown to become an established, internationally recognised company. While a lot has changed in twenty-two years, the brand’s philosophy and drive remain the same. In a nutshell, the boys and girls at Transition just want (you) to have a good time riding, and are exceptionally welcoming! Transition’s focus is clearly on gravity-oriented mountain bikes, with their portfolio including a wide range of models, from down-country rigs to DH bruisers, and everything in between. After a long period of e-scepticism, the American manufacturer has finally added an eMTB to their range too. Their enduro rig, the Patrol, is a true evergreen and has been an integral part of Transition’s portfolio for a long time. Over the past few years, it has undergone countless updates, and in summer 2022, the classic alloy Patrol was joined by a new carbon variant. To mark the occasion, Transition also gave the Patrol a haircut, delivering both the carbon and alloy variants with a mullet wheel setup. Generating 160 mm of travel front and rear, the Patrol was designed to party hard on the trail. In Transition’s portfolio, it’s positioned between the 170 mm Spire and the 160/150 mm Sentinel, which has itself grown to legendary status over the years. Our Patrol X0 AXS test bike in size L tips the scales at 14.9 kg and is the flagship model in the Patrol range, retailing at € 9,899. To get one, you can either book a flight to Bellingham and break it in on the trails it was developed for, or you can buy one from your closest Transition retailer. Alternatively, you can order one directly from the Transition website and get it shipped either to your house or to an official dealer if you don’t want to assemble it yourself.
The Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS in detail
The Transition Patrol Carbon relies on a clear design language. The straight lines and sharp edges ensure a clean, elegant look, while the matt finish and minimal branding add a pleasant touch of understatement. Unless you’re running a fully wireless setup, the cables for the rear derailleur and dropper post are routed internally, disappearing into the frame through cable ports on the headtube and only reappearing shortly before reaching their destination. Unfortunately, the dropper post cable isn’t clamped sufficiently, causing an annoying rattling noise on the trail. In contrast with the current trend, the brake line is routed externally, making it easier to service the bike, but the tidy routing concept doesn’t spoil the bike’s clean look. A tool mount on the bottom of the top tube takes all the tools you’ll need for essential trailside repairs, and there’s still enough room in the main frame triangle to accommodate a big water bottle in the cage. A generously-sized chainstay protector extends far over the front section of the chainstay, preventing chain slap and paint chips, while a thin down tube protector shields the frame from stray rocks. This is complemented by a shuttle guard, which protects the down tube when you throw the bike on the back of truck, American-style!
The spec of our Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS
Transition rely exclusively on high-end components for the spec of the Patrol Carbon X0 AXS. FOX supply the top-tier Factory suspension, consisting of a 38 mm GRIP2 fork and matching X2 air shock. Both offer externally adjustable high and low speed damping adjustment on both the rebound and compression circuits, allowing you to fine tune the suspension to suit your needs and riding style. Stopping is taken care of by SRAM’s new CODE Ultimate Stealth four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear. The brake levers are mounted on 800 mm OneUp carbon handlebars. As the name extension suggests, the Patrol Carbon X0 AXS comes equipped with a wireless SRAM X0 Transmission drivetrain, which is secured directly to the frame via SRAM’s proprietary UDH mount. SRAM’s optional bashguard for the X0 Transmission cranks is superfluous on the Patrol Carbon, because it comes standard with a OneUp Bash Guide, which protects the chainring from impacts and keeps the chain in place together with the matching chain guide. OneUp also supply the 180 mm Dropper Post V2, which impresses with good remote ergonomics and can be fully inserted into the frame. For the wheels, Transition combine a Race Face Aeffect R wheelset and Schwalbe tires, with a 29 x 2.4″ Magic Mary at the front and a 27.5 x 2.4″ Big Betty at the rear, both in the Super Trail casing and ADDIX Soft rubber compound. For such a potent bike, we would prefer a more robust casing like Schwalbe’s Super Gravity and the softer ADDIX SuperSoft rubber compound at the front – that’s something Transition could still improve.
In contrast with the current trend, Transition route the rear brake line externally. However, thanks to the overall excellent integration, this doesn’t affect the clean look of the bike and at the same time makes it easier to service or replace the brake
Transition Carbon Patrol X0 AXS
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 160 mm
Seatpost OneUp Dropper V2 180 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE Steath Ultimate 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X0 Transmission 1x12
Stem ANVL Swage 40 mm
Handlebar OneUp Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset RaceFace Aeffect R 29" / 27,5"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary ADDIX Soft, Evo, Super Trail/Schwalbe Big Betty ADDIX Soft, Evo, Super Trail 2,4"/2,4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 14,9 kg
The geometry of the Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS
The Transition Patrol Carbon is available in four sizes, S to XL, offering a suitable option for riders between 163 cm and 193 cm tall. Our test bike in size L combines a short 430 mm seat tube and 480 mm reach, while the dropper post can be fully inserted into the frame, ensuring plenty of freedom of movement on the trail. The chainstay length grows with the frame size, stretching from 434 mm (S/M) to 440 mm (L/XL), which is meant to provide consistent handling across the board. A flip chip in the shock mount allows you to change the geometry of the bike, slackening the 63.5° head angle and 78.1° seat tube angle by 0.5° while at the same time lowering the 333 mm bottom bracket by 7 mm. We rode the bike mainly in the high position.
The Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS on the trail
Riding uphill, the Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS places you in a comfortable pedalling position, which is neither too compact nor too stretched. The front end always remains planted on the ground, even on steep climbs, while the rear suspension generates good traction with minimal pedal bob, making it easy to negotiate short technical climbs without reaching for the climb switch – this is only worth activating on long, monotonous fire road climbs.
Tuning tips: More robust tires, and a softer compound on the front
When gravity takes over, you’re nicely integrated with the bike, and the Patrol impresses with intuitive handling, making you feel at ease from the get go. This is partly due to the excellent weight distribution between the front and rear, which makes it easy to carve through wide, open corners without having to actively weight the front wheel, even on loose terrain. The Patrol Carbon responds to steering input quickly and precisely, encouraging you to spontaneously change your line. However, the direct handling also makes it harder to hold your line in rougher sections, where the Patrol requires a great deal of strength – which is mainly down to the combination of a stiff 38 mm fork and rigid carbon handlebars. The firm rear suspension provides enough pop to generate speed by pumping through rollers and berms, but still offers enough traction and reserves, making you feel as if you had more travel at your disposal, bailing you out of botched landings and allowing you to plough through nasty rock gardens without too much effort.
The supportive rear suspension makes it easy to generate speed by pumping through rollers and berms, but still provides excellent traction and plenty of reserves for big hits – awesome!
Our conclusions about the Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS
Despite its understated look, the Transition Patrol Carbon X0 AXS delivers an impressive riding performance. Uphill, it convinces with good traction and a comfortable riding position, while downhill it impresses with intuitive handling, excellent weight distribution and strong suspension performance. Apart from the choice of tires, the spec perfectly matches the Patrol’s intended use. All in all, the Patrol Carbon is a very good all-rounder, and an excellent companion for all sorts of situations, from relaxed post-work trail laps to challenging enduro sessions.
- Good all-rounder
- Intuitive handling
- Excellent suspension with tons of traction, support and reserves
- Tires don’t do justice to the bike’s potential or intended use
- direct handling requires a vigilant riding style in rough terrain
You can find out more about at transitionbikes.com
The test field
For an overview of the test head to: North America’s Finest – 7 models in review
All bikes in test: Alchemy Arktos 150 (Click for review) | Chromag Lowdown 158 G2-Build (Click for review) | Devinci Chainsaw GX Enduro (Click for review) | Kona Process X CR (Click for review) | Norco Sight C2 (Click for review) | Transition Carbon Patrol X0 AXS | We are One Arrival 170 GX AXS (Click for review)
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Words: Mike Hunger Photos: Peter Walker