Cheaper alternatives to the Transition Smuggler?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 40 of 40
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498

    Cheaper alternatives to the Transition Smuggler?

    Yesterday I went to the Duthie Bike fair. I was only able to be there for a few hours, but I was able to demo 4 bikes that day (each pretty different from each other, as I was wanting to figure out what "genre"/category of bike I prefer).

    I rode my bike (Kona Process 153 AL 29'er), a Canyon Spectral, a Transition Smuggler, a Pivot Mach 5.5, and a Diamondback Mission.

    The Transition Smuggler was the runaway favorite for the day. It sounds cliche, but it was the only bike (including my own) that had me grinning on the exit of every turn, as I finally felt I was able to nail the turns with it.

    And, proof was in the pudding. My GPS data for the day said I was significantly faster on the smuggler. On Voodoo child (blue jump/drop trail with some good berms) I hit a max speed of 24mph on the smuggler, and on the same trail, with other bikes I was in the 18-20mph range.

    I know GPS have some inaccuracy, but I also wayyyy overjumped the final jump on the trail with the Smuggler on that run, so I'm pretty confident I was cruising relative to my normal pace.

    When I got home I looked at the geo charts compared to my Kona, and was surprised to see that the geo is actually very similar. Same HTA, STA's within like half a degree. The chainstays on the Smuggler were 5mm longer, and the WB was 5mm shorter, and those were the largest differences.

    The only other thing I could think being different enough to feel was the reduced offset fork. It was the first/only bike I've ridden with a reduced offset fork. Perhaps that was what I was feeling? Or maybe it just has better suspension that was setup better? Or perhaps it was just that I maybe prefer a short travel bike? Not sure, but I liked whatever it was.

    I'll be seeking out another demo with it sometime, even though its a bit too much for my budget to comfortably handle, as I'd love to figure out what made me like it so much.

    And, until then, I'm curious to look at other similar bikes in the same category, especially any that are cheaper. So far I've found the ibis ripley, and Whyte S-120. Both look to be pretty similar from the geo/travel perspective. Sadly, both are also only available in Carbon (builds starting from ~$4k). Am I missing any others?

    Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the help Mtbr .

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    349
    How about the Norco Fluid? I love my Sight but it is similarly priced to the Smuggler I think? I think Norco is doing a demo at Duthie this weekend as well.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: skiahh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,946
    Or wait until the end of summer and get a demo; they sell the fleet after the season at pretty good prices.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    I didn't even think about the fluid. I'll have to take a closer look at it, as I'm not remembering the exact geo.

    And, Norco did have a booth at the fair, but I didn't have enough time to demo as much as id like, and I won't be able to get down there today to try anything else. Do they do other demos locations? I do like how transition is just north of here, and I can go grab a demo pretty easily almost any time I want.

    Oh, and speaking of transition. I noticed last year that they do pretty decent deals on their old demo bikes. It's just usually they only demo the high end models. So even if it's a better deal, the total price is usually pretty close to the same. If the sold the alloy nx build still, I would probably jump on it if it was on any sort of decent sale.

    Thanks for the tips so far .

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldHouseMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    4,189
    Devinci Django 29?
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  6. #6
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,919
    Used Transition Smuggler. I am willing to bet most high end bike frames are good for a solid 2000-2500 rides. I have put 1,100 rides on a Turner 5-Spot (I kinda miss that bike), it was fine when I sold it after 7 yrs. if you buy a USED Smuggler from someonr that rides 2-3 days per week, and is not a hard/advanced rider, you can buy a Smuggler 1/2 price. If its a year old it will have 80-90 rides on it if not used in winter.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Just took a quick gander at the geo for the Norco Fluid. Its closer than I thought to the smuggler. Sadly... I can't demo one anytime soon, as the only one in the area is happening today. Guess I should have remembered to check it out yesterday :/.

    I hadn't looked at the Django before. It seems interesting, but the geo is a bit different. If I get the chance to ride one, I'll for sure take the chance.

    I've just started checking the used market for Smugglers. They do exist, but there aren't tons. So far the only ones on pinkbike that are under $3k are pre SBG (2017 and earlier). Maybe some 2018 Alloy models will show up eventually.

    I'm not in dire need of one, as I've already got a bike. It just intrigued me enough to start seeing what else there was out there like it, and see what pieces I could shuffle around to make one happen, or if the price point is just too far out there.

    And I'm still curious if what I felt about it that I liked was the reduced fork offset? I mean, the geo was nearly the same as my current bike. Just less travel, and the fork offset. That's pretty much the only significant difference. Or maybe it was just the travel was more supportive?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: David R's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,361
    What hoolie said. Transition only have a 3 year warranty so it's not like you're missing out on much there by buying used.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    358
    You found your bike, go get it.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    138
    Giant Trance 29. Longish reach, reduced offset fork, short travel, solid suspension design. Good price point.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mr_manny's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    386
    What about the bike that influenced Transition Bikes.

    The Kona Process 111.

    Seems like an angleset would update the Geo nicely.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cheaper alternatives to the Transition Smuggler?-smuggler.png  

    Ride, Enjoy...Repeat.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    GT sensor is an almost identical smuggler copy! It even has very similar suspension layout and kinematic. Their builds kinda suck, but they have a carbon front+alloy stay frame with deluxe rc3 for $1800. Thatís a steal! It has proper tire clearance and is one of the stiffest frames I have ever felt.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    58
    Was also going to recommend the fluid.

    Another option is the Fuji Rakan. Same deal though might be tough to find a demo.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

    I'm not in any hurry to make a switch, but I'm starting to read reviews, look at builds, comparing geo charts, etc. I'd forgotten about the GT Sensor completely, and for some reason thought that the Process 111 was out of production longer ago than 2017. And now I'm kicking myself for not looking at the Giant as well, as they were at Duthie the other day as well.

    That said, I went to the Duthie bike fair with the intent to try of riding multiple genres of bikes, just to see which category spoke to me. So I think that was productive, I just didn't come prepared with enough bikes from each category to look into, or enough time to ride all of them even if I had known.

    And it definitely sold me on the importance of demoing. Like I said, even though geo numbers are almost identical to what I have already, it felt wildly different.

    I'm also going to try see if I can figure out which part of the smuggler was causing me to like it. Maybe I prefer suspension with a lot more support (I ride a Yari with no LSC, while the Smuggler had a Fox 36 with the Grip 2), or maybe I just loved the reduced fork offset. Those are my primary guesses atm anyway.

    Thanks again everyone .

  15. #15
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Something a little more boutique would be the Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol (can convert to a pistola for 130mm out back).

    Do you know which version of the Smuggler you were running for parts comparison? Are you looking for something that you can exclusively demo first?

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Oh, good point. I should have mentioned.

    I was on the Carbon X01. Because it was a demo, they tend to only have the high spec bikes available to lure you in. In this case, the X01 has an MSRP of $6k.

    I realize it is a higher spec bike than my Kona (which I paid $2k for), but I don't "think" the increased confidence railing turns was entirely due to that. Mostly because many of the other bikes that I rode had similar/the same suspension, and didn't make me rail the turns like the smuggler did.

    I'll add the GG to the list as well . As I said, I'm mostly in the learning/research phase at this point. Just curious what other similar options were out there, and I really appreciate the help.

    At this point I'd have a preference of getting an actual demo of any of these bikes, but we'll see how things change as I research/learn about all the options (and maybe what the used market has to offer come off season).

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    Did any of the other bikes you demod have the reduced offset? There are very mixed opinions on it, but I feel like it does really help me rail corners. It adds a little front wheel weight bias compared to standard offset so front wheel traction is improved. And for whatever reason initiating turns and holding a line is much more intuitive for me.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    Did any of the other bikes you demod have the reduced offset? There are very mixed opinions on it, but I feel like it does really help me rail corners. It adds a little front wheel weight bias compared to standard offset so front wheel traction is improved. And for whatever reason initiating turns and holding a line is much more intuitive for me.
    The smuggler was the only bike I rode with the reduced offset fork, which is why I am thinking maybe that was the "feeling" that I liked.

    Your statement mirrors my own experience though. For me it just manifested in the feeling of "Man, I really nailed that turn" vs coming out of the turn thinking "I need to do another lap, didn't quite feel like I got it that time".

    Maybe I just need to try to get my weight a bit farther forward in turns then?

    Also... I've not looked into this. Can you swap the lowers on a fork relatively cheaply? I've got a 29'er Yari that I've been thinking about adding the charger damper to in the future, maybe a reduced offset lower could be a good swap for me, assuming it doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

    Incidentally, a buddy of mine went to the fair with me. He doesn't know bikes very well (not models/parts/etc, even though he rides with me all the time). He was basically just riding whatever was available in his size. Both of the bikes he says were his favorite were models with reduced offset forks (Yeti SB130, and the same Smuggler I rode). I thought that was interesting, as he was basically doing a blind test (never read any bike reviews/etc).

  19. #19
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    The smuggler was the only bike I rode with the reduced offset fork, which is why I am thinking maybe that was the "feeling" that I liked.

    Your statement mirrors my own experience though. For me it just manifested in the feeling of "Man, I really nailed that turn" vs coming out of the turn thinking "I need to do another lap, didn't quite feel like I got it that time".

    Maybe I just need to try to get my weight a bit farther forward in turns then?

    Also... I've not looked into this. Can you swap the lowers on a fork relatively cheaply? I've got a 29'er Yari that I've been thinking about adding the charger damper to in the future, maybe a reduced offset lower could be a good swap for me, assuming it doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

    Incidentally, a buddy of mine went to the fair with me. He doesn't know bikes very well (not models/parts/etc, even though he rides with me all the time). He was basically just riding whatever was available in his size. Both of the bikes he says were his favorite were models with reduced offset forks (Yeti SB130, and the same Smuggler I rode). I thought that was interesting, as he was basically doing a blind test (never read any bike reviews/etc).
    Yes you can... it is the CSU that needs to be replaced, not the lowers that changes the offset if I remember correctly. Believe that you can buy them from Universal Cycles (also the Charger 2 damper, which was cheapest I found online, not 2.1).

    I have mixed feelings on the shorter offset. I started my GG Smash with a 51mm offset and then a few weeks later moved to a 42mm offset. There is definitely a difference in how the bike handles but I am not sure if it is a good or bad thing as the terrain that I ride has lots of sharp switchbacks (where I believe shorter offset is king), but also lots of long, swooping, flow type trail (where longer offset is king). Regardless you will get used to whichever you end up riding/buying and it will eventually melt under you. Probably the biggest take away from the demo day is that there may be something (setup/tuning wise) that is "off" about your bike. May be time to go through everything and do a full bike teardown and refresh bearings, do suspension service and whatnot.

    I actually just went through this partially with the shorter offset fork. Is a Lyrik RC with MRP Ramp Control and for the life of me I could not get it to feel "Plush" like everyone claims it is. Since I bought used and am pretty sure that a service was never done to it I broke down and did a lower leg service on Friday. Rode it yesterday and definitely feels better. Could it be placebo effect, definitely could but when I pulled the lowers off, the grease on the airshaft was pretty gunked up and hardish, oil was nasty and dark colored, foam rings were dirty and the wiper seals were nasty. Replaced with new slick honey, some 15wt oil and PUSH wipers and it felt much better.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Thanks for the info. Just looking around online, replacing the CSU + charger would set me back more than I'd like to spend right now. So, good to know its doable, but its not exactly an air spring upgrade in terms of price.

    Like you said, I know its "something" about the smuggler I was feeling, and totally agree that some of it could easily be my own bikes setup.

    The bike is new as of this January, and I've only had it out ~10-15 times this year, so I'm pretty certain that the pivots/etc are still good. But, this is my first bike with air suspension, and while I did take the time to set it up after I got it, I didn't get too far beyond setting sag, and rebound, and haven't fiddled with it since (although I've been messing with tire pressure each ride).

    I think after this experience, I'm going to play around with air pressure some more, as I'm thinking some of the difference may have been the front diving under turns (the smuggler has less travel, and a better damper, so maybe it wasn't wallowing so much?). As air pressure experimentation is free . And so is playing with the other suspension settings.

    And, I'm going to go demo the smuggler again sometime this summer, as they're under 2hrs north of me. Maybe with some more seat time on it I'll figure out which piece of the puzzle it is. And in the mean time, maybe I'll see if I can find a demo of any of these other bikes that were recommended.

    Thanks for all the help everyone .

  21. #21
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Thanks for the info. Just looking around online, replacing the CSU + charger would set me back more than I'd like to spend right now. So, good to know its doable, but its not exactly an air spring upgrade in terms of price.

    Like you said, I know its "something" about the smuggler I was feeling, and totally agree that some of it could easily be my own bikes setup.

    The bike is new as of this January, and I've only had it out ~10-15 times this year, so I'm pretty certain that the pivots/etc are still good. But, this is my first bike with air suspension, and while I did take the time to set it up after I got it, I didn't get too far beyond setting sag, and rebound, and haven't fiddled with it since (although I've been messing with tire pressure each ride).

    I think after this experience, I'm going to play around with air pressure some more, as I'm thinking some of the difference may have been the front diving under turns (the smuggler has less travel, and a better damper, so maybe it wasn't wallowing so much?). As air pressure experimentation is free . And so is playing with the other suspension settings.

    And, I'm going to go demo the smuggler again sometime this summer, as they're under 2hrs north of me. Maybe with some more seat time on it I'll figure out which piece of the puzzle it is. And in the mean time, maybe I'll see if I can find a demo of any of these other bikes that were recommended.

    Thanks for all the help everyone .
    LOL

  22. #22
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Honestly you have a pretty decent bike there and your time/money may be better spent renting something like the ShockWiz and getting your suspension tuned properly, or going and sitting with a shop and having them help you tune it.

    Personally when I had the Yari RC, like I believe you have, I found the damping to be garbage for my local trails that have a lot of varying terrain. The mid-stroke was fine when it took bigger hits or had flowy trail with g-outs but start throwing any chatter, mid-sized hits or anything else in there and the "off the top" suppleness was just not there. I ended up selling and swapping to a Lyrik RC (Charger 2 damper) and that has been much better than the Yari, but still not completely impressed with it. But I know that I still have some tuning left to do on it.

    So it really would be worth it to do some tuning runs and get things dialed. Riding a different bike after just buying yours is a recipe for disaster (and a flaming wallet). When setting up your Yari, did you use the RS Trailhead app? What pressures are you running in your fork/shock? What about rebound settings? Do things feel even between the two or does one feel faster/slower than the other?

    What about the rest of the bikes setup? I have had my new bike for just about 2 months now and I am still fiddling with fit and tuning the suspension. This is a granular process where you should be changing one independent thing at a time when you ride and noting the difference.
    Tire pressure helps but it really should be a range that you sit in (for me it is between 21-27psi with the front usually being about 2-4psi lower than rear, normal is usually about 23psi front and 25psi rear sometimes will run a bit lower but that is usually the average) and really should be good for the majority of the trails you ride and their conditions.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    I have mixed feelings on the shorter offset. I started my GG Smash with a 51mm offset and then a few weeks later moved to a 42mm offset. There is definitely a difference in how the bike handles but I am not sure if it is a good or bad thing as the terrain that I ride has lots of sharp switchbacks (where I believe shorter offset is king), but also lots of long, swooping, flow type trail (where longer offset is king). Regardless you will get used to whichever you end up riding/buying
    Since youíre basing this on your experience Iím sure it hold true for you. But I think itís counter to the general narrative about reduced offsets. Which is:
    the 51 mm offset makes the steering lighter and less floppy, which is helpful at slow speeds and should be easier to turn in and hold your line on tight, slow switchbacks. The reduced offset slows the steering and has more stability at high speeds.

    Or so they say... one this is for sure, like you said, you can adapt to either.

    To the OP, my advise on riding a 29er, not that you asked for it, focus on ďloadingĒ the front wheel and adjust your setup to help.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    LOL
    Guilty!

    I'd been riding on an old 2012 XC hardtail for months (having only gotten into the sport last year). In January JensonUSA had a great deal on the previous year Konas, and it let me jump into the full suspension side of things for not much money/risk (as the resale atm is about what I paid for it right now), and at least get me learning what my preferences were, and continuing to grow my skills while I waited for the bike fair (the best demo day all year, which I'd missed the previous year).

    Its done great at that, and, even after all of these demos, I found that I liked my bike better than the other 3 bikes I rode, all of which cost more than twice what it did, so I'm still happy with my purchase. I've just now had my horizons broadened.

    And like I said, I'm not looking to dump this bike and move over immediately. But it interested/surprised me enough to look into it more, and see 1) what it was that made it feel "better", 2) what I could do to my bike to make it feel that way and 3) what other similar bikes were out there that perhaps I could test.


    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    Honestly you have a pretty decent bike there and your time/money may be better spent renting something like the ShockWiz and getting your suspension tuned properly, or going and sitting with a shop and having them help you tune it.

    Personally when I had the Yari RC, like I believe you have, I found the damping to be garbage for my local trails that have a lot of varying terrain. The mid-stroke was fine when it took bigger hits or had flowy trail with g-outs but start throwing any chatter, mid-sized hits or anything else in there and the "off the top" suppleness was just not there. I ended up selling and swapping to a Lyrik RC (Charger 2 damper) and that has been much better than the Yari, but still not completely impressed with it. But I know that I still have some tuning left to do on it.

    So it really would be worth it to do some tuning runs and get things dialed. Riding a different bike after just buying yours is a recipe for disaster (and a flaming wallet). When setting up your Yari, did you use the RS Trailhead app? What pressures are you running in your fork/shock? What about rebound settings? Do things feel even between the two or does one feel faster/slower than the other?

    What about the rest of the bikes setup? I have had my new bike for just about 2 months now and I am still fiddling with fit and tuning the suspension. This is a granular process where you should be changing one independent thing at a time when you ride and noting the difference.
    Tire pressure helps but it really should be a range that you sit in (for me it is between 21-27psi with the front usually being about 2-4psi lower than rear, normal is usually about 23psi front and 25psi rear sometimes will run a bit lower but that is usually the average) and really should be good for the majority of the trails you ride and their conditions.
    All solid advice. I appreciate you guys helping me out on this. I know I'm kind of the stereotypical new rider right now, but you're all being really patient with me .

    As I mentioned above, I'm not about to bail on the Kona right now. Although I will admit that if I had infinite money (or no self control), I might be out buying the smuggler right now.

    I'm on a Yari Soloair, and I have tossed around the idea of upgrading to the charger damper, and a debonair air spring when I service them at the end of the season. Perhaps I'll go that way if I can't get it to feel how I'd like.

    I'll need to go double check what I set the pressures to in the fork/shock, but I've been watching my travel on all the trails I ride, and I've only bottomed out the fork once, and have regularly been using 80-90% of the travel on every ride. So I think I'm in the ballpark for air pressure. I may test out.

    The Yari really only has high speed compression, and rebound to adjust. I've left compression open, and tweaked the rebound to make the front end snap back to full travel after I compress it hard while standing on the ground, but not so fast that it lifts the front tire.

    Right now I'm trying to decide between adding another volume spacer, or just increasing pressure, as I'm curious if I liked the Smugglers greater support in the turns. Thoughts there about which is a better approach? Does one lead to more mid-stroke/turn support?

    The rear shock I started with maxxed out rebound (least amount of rebound damping), which was WAYYY too fast, and I've settled in the middle somewhere. I need to co count the clicks/write it down, but I don't notice it "bucking" me, nor do I really notice it packing down. Although, I haven't had any super chunky rides to test it out on yet.

    I've been testing tire pressures from ride to ride. The lowest I've run was 18psi, and the highest I've run was 24psi in the rear, and 22psi in the front. On saturday I tried 20psi front and rear.

    At 18psi I may have noticed a touch of squirm, but nothing major. So I bumped it up to 20 this time, and that felt about right. I may experiment further, but right now I'm fairly sure I'm getting close for my current skills/speed/environment (I'm on 29x2.3in DHF's).

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    205
    FYI new Hei Hei is coming and will be more of a spiritual successor to the Process 111 than the current version.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    138
    Santa Cruz Tallboy 3 - sized up is another option. I've been considering this as the Process 111 is no more.

  27. #27
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Guilty!

    I'd been riding on an old 2012 XC hardtail for months (having only gotten into the sport last year). In January JensonUSA had a great deal on the previous year Konas, and it let me jump into the full suspension side of things for not much money/risk (as the resale atm is about what I paid for it right now), and at least get me learning what my preferences were, and continuing to grow my skills while I waited for the bike fair (the best demo day all year, which I'd missed the previous year).

    Its done great at that, and, even after all of these demos, I found that I liked my bike better than the other 3 bikes I rode, all of which cost more than twice what it did, so I'm still happy with my purchase. I've just now had my horizons broadened.

    And like I said, I'm not looking to dump this bike and move over immediately. But it interested/surprised me enough to look into it more, and see 1) what it was that made it feel "better", 2) what I could do to my bike to make it feel that way and 3) what other similar bikes were out there that perhaps I could test.




    All solid advice. I appreciate you guys helping me out on this. I know I'm kind of the stereotypical new rider right now, but you're all being really patient with me .

    As I mentioned above, I'm not about to bail on the Kona right now. Although I will admit that if I had infinite money (or no self control), I might be out buying the smuggler right now.

    I'm on a Yari Soloair, and I have tossed around the idea of upgrading to the charger damper, and a debonair air spring when I service them at the end of the season. Perhaps I'll go that way if I can't get it to feel how I'd like.

    I'll need to go double check what I set the pressures to in the fork/shock, but I've been watching my travel on all the trails I ride, and I've only bottomed out the fork once, and have regularly been using 80-90% of the travel on every ride. So I think I'm in the ballpark for air pressure. I may test out.

    The Yari really only has high speed compression, and rebound to adjust. I've left compression open, and tweaked the rebound to make the front end snap back to full travel after I compress it hard while standing on the ground, but not so fast that it lifts the front tire.

    Right now I'm trying to decide between adding another volume spacer, or just increasing pressure, as I'm curious if I liked the Smugglers greater support in the turns. Thoughts there about which is a better approach? Does one lead to more mid-stroke/turn support?

    The rear shock I started with maxxed out rebound (least amount of rebound damping), which was WAYYY too fast, and I've settled in the middle somewhere. I need to co count the clicks/write it down, but I don't notice it "bucking" me, nor do I really notice it packing down. Although, I haven't had any super chunky rides to test it out on yet.

    I've been testing tire pressures from ride to ride. The lowest I've run was 18psi, and the highest I've run was 24psi in the rear, and 22psi in the front. On saturday I tried 20psi front and rear.

    At 18psi I may have noticed a touch of squirm, but nothing major. So I bumped it up to 20 this time, and that felt about right. I may experiment further, but right now I'm fairly sure I'm getting close for my current skills/speed/environment (I'm on 29x2.3in DHF's).
    Yeah dont worry we have all been there. Hell when I was waiting for my 2019 GG Smash to be delivered I was looking at other bikes, luckily the winter was a little longer than normal so I didn't have any demo days to "wet" my appetite. We all have upgradenitis at some point, regardless of the bike being brand new or not. So we have all been there.

    Look at the Novy Splug as a possible upgrade to the Yari RC that would be something slightly different than the Charger 2 damper. Mind you I didn't say cheaper just something a little different that will be easier to replace than doing a full damper replacement.

    Seems like you're on the right track for figuring things out, keep up with the tweaking. To answer your question on the volume spacer vs. more pressure. If you are only bottoming out ONCE on the biggest hit you have then you very close to your spot. You might want to add the volume spacer first and try that out as adding more pressure will allow you to not use as much travel but in turn will make things harsher off the top. So that little bit of suppleness you have off the top for small bumps compliance will potentially go away with more pressure. By adding a volume spacer, that will change how the fork ramps up as you move through the travel on different hits. So basically, adding another spacer would make things become progressively harder as you got deeper in the travel (harder meaning more force needed to move through the travel).

    All of this is basically a balancing act, so as you adjust one thing, you will need to slightly adjust other things. Remember on the compression circuits (LSC/HSC) those are SHAFT SPEED based, not your speed on the trail. Then those settings are influenced by the spring rate (air psi). Like I said, a balancing act. I have been riding hard for 10yrs now and honestly this stuff is still very much black magic to me so many times I have to find a good starting point (usually mid settings for everything) and then do some short laps on this adjusting one thing at a time.

    Anyways, go out and have some fun with it, tweak your settings and keep a tab of what does what and how it feels for your normal terrain. Then make minut adjustments.

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    2,180
    You have a good bike, I'd get a lower offset CSU and spend money on some suspension tuning and you'll have an even better bike.

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    I built a reduced offset yari by buying a 27.5 fork used for $300. I sold my old 51mm offset CSU for $100 and the 27.5 lowers for $100. So in the end it was only a $100 upgrade. I figured if I didnít like it I could put everything back, sell the 27.5 yari for not much of a loss.

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    I built a reduced offset yari by buying a 27.5 fork used for $300. I sold my old 51mm offset CSU for $100 and the 27.5 lowers for $100. So in the end it was only a $100 upgrade. I figured if I didnít like it I could put everything back, sell the 27.5 yari for not much of a loss.
    Interesting idea.

    Forgive my ignorance, but which parts can mix and match like this?

    So you're saying that you bought a 27.5 yari, then kept that CSU (the "top" part, that goes through the headset/frame), but then put the 29'er lowers back on, making a "franken-reduced offset fork"? Is that about right? That would give you an even more reduced offset than "29'er" reduced offset, right? Like 41mm vs 44mm, or something like that?

    My current plan is to continue tweaking my current bike to see if some of what I felt was just better setup suspension/etc. I also plan to grab another demo on the smuggler sometime in the future, to see if after a longer ride over more varied terrain I still like it as much as I did on first impression.

    Then we'll see where things take me after that. Its good to know other similar bikes though, in the case that I still have the upgrade bug after fiddling with my bike for another few months, but still can't scrape together enough cash.

    Thanks .

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Interesting idea.

    Forgive my ignorance, but which parts can mix and match like this?

    So you're saying that you bought a 27.5 yari, then kept that CSU (the "top" part, that goes through the headset/frame), but then put the 29'er lowers back on, making a "franken-reduced offset fork"? Is that about right? That would give you an even more reduced offset than "29'er" reduced offset, right? Like 41mm vs 44mm, or something like that?

    My current plan is to continue tweaking my current bike to see if some of what I felt was just better setup suspension/etc. I also plan to grab another demo on the smuggler sometime in the future, to see if after a longer ride over more varied terrain I still like it as much as I did on first impression.

    Then we'll see where things take me after that. Its good to know other similar bikes though, in the case that I still have the upgrade bug after fiddling with my bike for another few months, but still can't scrape together enough cash.

    Thanks .
    When transition started the reduced offset thing Fox and RS were not selling reduced offset forks. So they had to do it themselves by using a 27.5 CSU and 29 lowers. Now they sell the reduced offset and they are built the exact same way, the part numbers havenít changed. The offset is 42 mm for RS.

    I just had the thought, you can probably find a 27 Lyrik very cheap right now. You can use both the CSU and damper to upgrade your fork. Then sell the unused bits. I didnít go this route cause I already had a custom damper built for my yari.

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    2,180
    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    When transition started the reduced offset thing Fox and RS were not selling reduced offset forks. So they had to do it themselves by using a 27.5 CSU and 29 lowers. Now they sell the reduced offset and they are built the exact same way, the part numbers havenít changed. The offset is 42 mm for RS.

    I just had the thought, you can probably find a 27 Lyrik very cheap right now. You can use both the CSU and damper to upgrade your fork. Then sell the unused bits. I didnít go this route cause I already had a custom damper built for my yari.
    ^^^ THIS is a good idea. World Wide Cycles has CSU for around 300.00 as mentioned get the 27.5 I run the 42į and like it a lot. Not all 27.5 lyrics are 42į some are 51į so shop carefully

  33. #33
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PurpleMtnSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,112
    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    ^^^ THIS is a good idea. World Wide Cycles has CSU for around 300.00 as mentioned get the 27.5 I run the 42į and like it a lot. Not all 27.5 lyrics are 42į some are 51į so shop carefully
    Right, I remember seeing 46 mm offset for the 27+ stuff.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    When transition started the reduced offset thing Fox and RS were not selling reduced offset forks. So they had to do it themselves by using a 27.5 CSU and 29 lowers. Now they sell the reduced offset and they are built the exact same way, the part numbers havenít changed. The offset is 42 mm for RS.

    I just had the thought, you can probably find a 27 Lyrik very cheap right now. You can use both the CSU and damper to upgrade your fork. Then sell the unused bits. I didnít go this route cause I already had a custom damper built for my yari.
    I was just thinking about this actually, so I'm glad that someone who knows a bit more thought the same thing.

    Sounds like I need to find a "donor" 27.5 lyric with a charger damper, and debonair spring. It would basically be a one stop shop for me.

    A quick look at the pinkbike for sale in my area shows each thing separate, but no 27.5 lyric as of this point. I'll keep watching though (and, I need to fiddle with my current setup more first anyway).

    I was also wondering, IF some if what I liked about the reduced offset was the increased front wheel traction, I guess I could try a bit longer stem as well. I was already between the L and XL for the Kona, so maybe throwing on a touch longer stem could perhaps give the same feeling.

    Or, at least that makes sense in my mind? Or is that crazy talk?

  35. #35
    Short-Change-Hero
    Reputation: gregnash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,412
    Eh... don't know that it is crazy talk but really that traction can come down to a lot of different variables.
    - How well the fork/shock hold the line
    - Rebound setting for fork
    - Wheels selection (carbon vs. aluminum, >30mm ID vs <30mm ID)
    - Tire selection for front/rear wheels
    - Air pressure setting for tires
    - Handlebar rise
    - Handlebar position (how many spacers above/below)

    Other thing to look at is you said you demo'd a tricked out version of the Transition. So you are comparing a $1k+ fork to a $600+ fork with completely different damping characteristics and what not, not to mention different offset. I think the offset is the most apparent but least obvious when riding.

    On top of all that it could be something that is relegated to the suspension kinematics as the GBP suspension of the Transition vs. the Horst-Link type suspension of the Kona, both handle things very different.

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mtbkenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    LOL
    Ha! That pic is hilarious.

    -----------

    To the OP, don't have any suggestions for cheaper version of Smuggler but glad to hear you liked it. Just ordered mine sight unseen so nice to see some positive reviews

    Sounds like you can improve some of the ride feel of your current ride. Best of luck getting the suspension and fit dialed in, trying to learn about all this stuff myself.

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    498
    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    Eh... don't know that it is crazy talk but really that traction can come down to a lot of different variables.
    - How well the fork/shock hold the line
    - Rebound setting for fork
    - Wheels selection (carbon vs. aluminum, >30mm ID vs <30mm ID)
    - Tire selection for front/rear wheels
    - Air pressure setting for tires
    - Handlebar rise
    - Handlebar position (how many spacers above/below)

    Other thing to look at is you said you demo'd a tricked out version of the Transition. So you are comparing a $1k+ fork to a $600+ fork with completely different damping characteristics and what not, not to mention different offset. I think the offset is the most apparent but least obvious when riding.

    On top of all that it could be something that is relegated to the suspension kinematics as the GBP suspension of the Transition vs. the Horst-Link type suspension of the Kona, both handle things very different.
    You're right, there are a lot of variables here. I totally understand that. Its hard to tell if its the geo/kinematics/offset/etc, or if it was just that nice suspension actually is proving its worth.

    Your list promted me to take a closer look at the specs.

    The tires are nearly identical (same size/tread pattern in the front, but different compound, the rear is a DHR instead of DHF). No idea on pressure though. The Smugglers wheels were alloy wheels (Stans Arch MK3's). So, nicer than what I have, and a bit narrower internal width, but not crazy carbon wheels.

    The smuggler has a 5mm shorter WB, 5mm longer CS, 5mm lower BB, 3mm higher stack, and identical reach, HTA and STA. My personal bike has a 38mm riser bar on it but it started at a 3mm disadvantage in stack, while the smuggler has a 30mm riser bar. So, the geo isn't exactly identical, but its actually quite close (every measurement is off by 5mm or less).

    And, I realize that they (all companies showing up to give demos) always have the high priced ones for a reason (best foot forward, etc), but it would be nice to ride the lower spec ones as well. Maybe I'll call/email them and see if thats something that can be arranged at some point this summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtbkenny View Post
    To the OP, don't have any suggestions for cheaper version of Smuggler but glad to hear you liked it. Just ordered mine sight unseen so nice to see some positive reviews

    Sounds like you can improve some of the ride feel of your current ride. Best of luck getting the suspension and fit dialed in, trying to learn about all this stuff myself.
    Well, if my test ride is anything to go off of, I imagine that you'll be really happy with the new ride .

    And yep, I've got some more fiddling to do, but thats part of the process. At least now I know there is room for improvement, which I didn't know before this whole thing started.

  38. #38
    aka bOb
    Reputation: bdundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    8,739
    What about the Commenal Meta Trail? No experience just one to look into.

    https://www.commencalusa.com/meta-tr-29-c102x3534529

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    508
    I bought am Ican P9 for $2,895 plus shipping last year. Carbon rims, carbon frame, xt group. Horst link with rocker. Great 29er trail bike.

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mtbkenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Well, if my test ride is anything to go off of, I imagine that you'll be really happy with the new ride .

    And yep, I've got some more fiddling to do, but thats part of the process. At least now I know there is room for improvement, which I didn't know before this whole thing started.
    Hope so!

    Yeah until last Fall when I started researching more seriously I just thought you bought a bike and rode it, and it was what it was - don't like it buy another one! Now I'm realizing all the fine tuning you can do, adjustments you can make etc. I thought most changes were for performance (like in speed) which I was'nt so concerned about. Now I'm seeing it's also about fun, fit, ergonomics, eliminating issues like wrist pressure, back pain, etc.

    Lot to learn, seems like this Forum is a pretty good resource so far!

Similar Threads

  1. Interesting Loop H-bar alternatives - $ cheaper, riser bar with a front loop
    By ranier in forum Bikepacking and Bike Expedition
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-02-2019, 06:29 PM
  2. Cheaper alternatives to 2018 Epic with similar relaxed XC geometry?
    By stillkeen in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 12-27-2017, 06:55 AM
  3. Smuggler vs Scout? Can I make a smuggler more nimble?
    By BobbyLight350z in forum Transition Bikes
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-02-2016, 12:24 PM
  4. Transition guys - smuggler ride question
    By trailbrain in forum Transition Bikes
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 11-06-2014, 01:31 PM
  5. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-14-2008, 12:23 PM

Members who have read this thread: 225

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.