2017 Transition Scout Carbon

The Ride

I’ll admit to being a little skeptical of the Scout when I first got on it. Not because I expected it to be a bad bike, but for a shorter travel bike like the Scout, I tend to prefer 29ers. I find that the smaller wheels often feel kind of twitchy, and with less suspension, the benefits of a bigger wheel are more noticeable. Most recently, my preferences held true with the Devinci Django 27.5 and Django 29 – both were fun bikes, but I preferred the 29er version.

So with that in mind, I was pretty surprised at how much I liked the Scout – it has all of the upsides of a 27.5” bike, and it does a really good job of minimizing the downsides. I can throw it into corners and pop and pump off of the terrain more effectively than I can with a 29er, but it doesn’t feel quite as twitchy at speed as some other 27.5” wheeled bikes in this class.

Of course, it doesn’t have the roll-over-ability of a 29er, but the Scout’s suspension did a great job of closing that gap. The suspension is supple enough that it smooths out small bumps and makes for a comfortable ride, but at the same time, the suspension is fairly progressive, which means that it handles bigger hits competently and it has a nice pop when you want to get in the air. The Scout also benefits from having a fairly stiff frame, which instills a bit of confidence when throwing the bike around.

Noah Bodman reviews the Transition scout Carbon for Blister Gear Review.
Noah Bodman on the Transition Scout Carbon, Boulder City, NV.

I think a lot of the bike’s mannerisms come by way of the slacker headtube angle and longer travel fork than other bikes with 120-130 mm rear travel. Those two factors make the bike just a bit more stable, and a bit more competent when the going gets rough. And while that also means the bike gives up a little ground on the climbs, it still does pretty well. It’s not quite as efficient as the Devinci Django, but it still pedals decently and it’s a little lighter. No one will be mistaking it for an XC race bike, but all things considered, the Scout does pretty well when things are pointed uphill.

For anyone that wants a bike that’s a bunch of fun on descents, but isn’t willing to deal with the weight penalty and reduced efficiency that usually accompany a longer travel bike, the Scout should be high on the list. It’s also a bike that should appeal to people that are spending a lot of time on bigger backcountry rides – the suspension is cushy enough to keep from beating you up over the course of a big day, but it’s still efficient enough to handle long climbs.

If you’re looking for some comparisons, you can check out where we ranked the Scout in our 27.5” trail bike roundup. Of the bikes I’ve ridden, the Santa Cruz 5010 is definitely the Scout’s closest competitor. I’d say the 5010 pedals a little bit more efficiently, but the Scout is a better descender due mostly to the longer travel fork and slightly longer wheelbase.

Bottom Line

It’s probably fairly evident at this point that I’m a fan of the Scout – it’s one of those bikes that does everything pretty well, and it’s fun in a wide variety of situations. No, it doesn’t have the climbing prowess of an XC bike, nor does it have the descending prowess of an all mountain or enduro rig, but it does a really good job of finding the high ground in the middle. And for that reason, it’s a bike I’d recommend to those that want a bike to do a little bit of everything, which is a pretty large group of people.

To be a little more specific, I’d say the Scout is the most downhill capable of the shorter travel 27.5” wheeled bikes that I’ve ridden. It still has the efficiency on the climbs that comes with a shorter travel package, but it can hang on rowdy descents surprisingly well. And that combination makes for a bike that’s just a damn good time.

3 comments on “2017 Transition Scout Carbon”

  1. Noah,
    Awesome review! The Scout is on my short list, as is the 5010v2, so I appreciate the direct comparison. I think I’ve narrowed my choice down to one of those two or the Evil Following. I see you mentioned “rowdy descents” in your comparison, does that mean that you think the Scout will handle drops better than the 5010 (or Evil)? Stiffness and durability are major factors for me, so any input there would be very much appreciated. Judging by your review (and a few others around the web) I’ve perceived the Scout and Following to be a bit more poppy than the 5010, does that come at the expense of a bit less ability in the tech? Again, your feedback is much appreciated and your willingness to directly compare bikes in your reviews awesome!

    • Hey Justin,

      First things first – I don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of those bikes. They’re all really, really fun.

      I’d agree that the Scout and the Following are a bit more poppy than the 5010, but I also wouldn’t say that the 5010 is un-poppy (it’s just a bit less poppy). To some extent, all three bikes are in the same neighborhood, and each could be made more or less poppy relative to each other with different shock tunes.

      At the risk of stating the obvious, the outlier in the group is the Following, mostly due to the 29″ wheels. On rough, technical descents, I’d say the Following is the best of the three in a straight line, and it feels a bit more stable at speed. The Scout and the 5010 are a lot easier to work through tighter corners, and they’re maybe a bit easier to be precise about line choice. Purely in terms of drops, I’d probably give a slight nod to the Evil just because it’s a bit more progressive, but all of these bikes are fairly short travel – you’ll find the bottom of the travel pretty easily on any decent size drop. It’s also worth noting that the Following feels longer and slacker. At slower speeds, it definitely feels like more bike.

      You also mentioned stiffness and durability. Of the three, I’d say the Scout is the stiffest, followed by the 5010. The Evil is the flexiest, and probably the least durable.

      Personally, I’d break it down like this:

      -In this travel class (~120-130mm rear travel), I tend to prefer 29ers. They roll through chunky terrain better, and they tend to hold speed really well. They don’t corner as well, and (particularly the Following) can feel like a lot of bike in tight spots, but the shorter travel chassis means that I can make the bike do what I want without too much trouble.

      That said…

      -If you don’t like the slower handling of a 29er, or you’re a destroyer of wheels, cross the Following off the list.

      -If you’re less concerned with going super fast all the time, and more interested in getting a playful bike that will pop off of every little hit on the side of the trail, stick with the 27.5″ wheeled bikes.

      -If you want an efficient bike that descends really well, but still retains decent climbing efficiency, get the 5010.

      -If you want a stiff, stout built bike that can take abuse and rallies on the descents (maximizing playfulness), but you’re reluctant to step up to a longer travel bike for any number of reasons, get the Scout.

      Hope that helps!

  2. I got a scout 2 carbon last month after test riding many enduro bikes from the Nomad, Switchblade, Bronson, Patrol and the scout just screamed out “take me”. I come from an Enduro background and wanted a replacement for a Mach 5.7. My first thoughts of all the new Enduro bikes was how boring they are going DH and how sluggish albeit peeled to the ground on the uphill.
    The Scout is neither. It climbs with the livilness a 26 trail-XC with all the frame advantages of the 27.5 wheels and the long wheel base, but it’s when you hit the trails and DH that this beast comes alive and is incredible fun. It pops off everything while still managing big drops admirably. Every friend who test rode it said that if they buying a new bike would put it at the top of their list. It’s super short chain-stay means the rear is just begging to be slid out. I always ride clipped in but this machines just says, unclip please and throw that rear end around the corners. I got a large frame and am 177cm.
    The scary thing is that with every ride I push the bike harder and harder and it seems to just get more comfortable in the DH. I never expected this with the 120mm in the rear. I was really expecting to hit the limits easily but the more I try the more the bike seems to just find it’s mojo and laugh at the thought of having an Enduro bike.. This bike is the Hot-Hatches of fast bikes. Its puts a big smile on your face all the time.

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