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  1. #1
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    Transition sentinel review

    Did a review on this bike for worldwide cyclery, figured I'd share it here also.
    Transition Sentinel Review

    Rider Stats
    Chris Muntz
    Height-6'2"
    Weight- 200lb
    Age- 34
    Ability- Pro

    Bike Setup-
    Large Frame
    Minion DHF 2.5 DH Front
    Minion DHR DD 2.3 Rear
    Fork- Lyrik RCT3, 90 PSI, 4 Tokens
    Shock- Fox DPX2, 235 PSI
    Recent Bikes Ridden- 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower LT, 2018 Specialized Enduro 29 Ohlins Coil Edition, Evil Wreckoning, Yeti SB 5.5

    Initial Impressions
    Built like a tank. It's SLACK. Sitting on the bike the reach feels deceptively short due to the steep seat tube angle.

    First Ride
    This bike is not the most efficient climber; the bikes weight and intended use are quickly revealed on the climbs. 35 pounds and FSR suspension is not a recipe for xc wins. The seat tube angle and climb mode on the shock make the bike completely manageable on the climbs so long as you aren't in a hurry/ race to get to the top.
    Once the gradient points back in the fun direction the first thing I noticed is the bikes willingness to initiate a turn. As soon as you drop your shoulder into the turn the bike immediately follows. This caught me off guard initially, and I was hesitant to commit at the level the bike was trying to. The second thing I noticed is the bike holds a crazy amount of speed. I overshot a jump I've hit quite a few times due to this, and it was a pretty wild ride after. If it wasn't for the wheelbase and head angle of the Sentinel, it may have been a bad ending to the first outing. As the trail continued I got used to how the bike cornered, and I could tell I was riding something that I was going to really get along with. However, there were a few changes I needed to make first.

    Changes
    The first thing I changed were the TRP brakes. The bike came with 180mm rotors and there was straight up not enough power for my liking. They were changed for a set of Sram Code rsc with 200mm rotors on it, which I have liked better for my application.
    As far as the shock pressure, transition is pretty far off the mark with their sag recommendations for my preference. They want 18-20mm, so I started at 19mm and it bottomed violently multiple times on my normal trails, also also felt like it got hung up in the rough sections. I went up 20 psi in the shock and it made the rear of bike hold up in the turns and stay on top of the bumps better than the previous setting. My sag is now 16-17mm. After these changes, I've never had such a stable ride from a bike, not to mention it helped the climbing performance too.

    Impressions After a Few Weeks
    This bike brings the most fun I've ever had on a bicycle. The turning is very intuitive once you adapt to the quicker feeling from the shorter fork offset. This bike can hit any line you chose, inside or out. I have ridden trails with awkward tight switchbacks and others with 25mph wide open corners. While not the ideal choice for super tight and awkward trails, the bike really held its own in them. The main limiting factor in these areas is skill, the bike was absolutely not holding me back. As long as you're willing to set up, lean in and commit the Sentinel will get you though it.
    On faster trails this bike really holds its own. I believe that head angle and fork offset really fights the deflection you normally get in fast rocky corners and allows a more consistent amount of positive front-end feedback. I have never hit corners before, like I have on this bike. During hard braking, there isn't any noticeable fore/aft deflection. I have found the Lyrik to be the least stiff fork of its competition, however it does not have that feel in this head angle/ offset configuration. The straight-line stability is the best I've ever experienced. This should be expected with the Sentinel being a beast at 34 pounds, with a 64-degree head angle, very long wheelbase, and the stiffest frame I have ever ridden.
    The rear suspension performance is very good, not just for the 140mm travel bracket, but for any bike in the enduro/trail category. It's not as plush as the Ohlins Enduro 29 but it's close. The Sentinel is also significantly plusher than the Santa Cruz Hightower LT and Yeti SB 5.5. Stand up sprinting the bike is surprising, not quite as good as the Hightower or the SB 5.5, but close enough and much more efficient than the Enduro 29.

    Final thoughts
    I ride with some people that could beat me downhill on a hard tail. I ride with some people I could beat downhill on a hard tail. No bike will take you from zero to hero, and no bike will take you from hero to zero. That being said you need to ride what you enjoy, and what inspires you to ride. This is the most fun I've had on a bike in a long time and I can't quite put my finger on exactly what exact attribute is causing that, but it doesn't really matter. So I'm going to keep riding it, because it's fun!

  2. #2
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    That is one excellent review, thank you.
    Were you on the aluminum version?
    Any thought to how a 3ish lb lighter sentinel would climb?
    How about slow techy type stuff?
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    That is one excellent review, thank you.
    Were you on the aluminum version?
    Any thought to how a 3ish lb lighter sentinel would climb?
    How about slow techy type stuff?
    Yes I am riding the aluminum version. You'll definitely feel the weight difference on the carbon version. I haven't ridden one yet but you will for sure feel that much of a drop in weight. The bike handled technical switchbacks fine. It's not going to be as good as something with a shorter wheelbase but that's going to be the same story as any of the longer wheelbase bikes. With length comes stability. The reduced offset definitely helps but there is just no getting around the wheelbase of these new generation 29ers in switchbacks.

  4. #4
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    Did you try out an XL too or just go straight for a large?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    Did you try out an XL too or just go straight for a large?
    Large. It's a big bike.

  6. #6
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    Reason I ask is I'm 183cm tall and ride a L Knolly Endorphin, and while the reach on the SBG bikes in L is 10mm longer than the Endo the ETT is considerably shorter (622mm vs 637mm). With the 40mm stem they suggest vs the 50mm I run now, I feel like the seated position might be too cramped on one of the large Trannys.

  7. #7
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    i'm super eager to demo this bike somehow. i've demo'd quite a few bikes recently and I like the spec enduro 29 the most. a lot of the numbers between the enduro and sentinel seem similar. would you say it's safe to assume if you like and feel good on the enduro, it would be the same for the sentinel? probably a dumb question but just curious

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    Reason I ask is I'm 183cm tall and ride a L Knolly Endorphin, and while the reach on the SBG bikes in L is 10mm longer than the Endo the ETT is considerably shorter (622mm vs 637mm). With the 40mm stem they suggest vs the 50mm I run now, I feel like the seated position might be too cramped on one of the large Trannys.
    If you're on the cusp of a size it's always going to come down to preference and the intended use of the bike. I have never been comfortable running stems that stick out further than the fork axle, for me it reduces front end feel and causes a nervous front end in general. I'd go with an XL if you're concerned with the reach measurement being too short. You could always run a 30-35mm stem to reduce the reach on an XL.

  9. #9
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    It's somewhat similar to the enduro 29. FSR suspension platform is shared by both bikes. I spent the better part of a year on a coil e29 and the sentinel is less plush and provides more feedback in its ride. I think it's a good thing. For me the e29 really smoothed things out and made the trail feel a bit muted. The feedback in the turns is not as good on the e29. I read a few of the reviews on the sentinel and I don't think that the bike really "gets better traction" than standard offset bikes, I think the sentinel just does a better job at telegraphing the level of traction you have in the front end while cornering. They are both great bikes.

  10. #10
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    Could you comment more on slow techy climbing? Those climbs where you are battling roots and rock ledges.
    Also can you comment on similarities/ differences to the Wreckoning?

    Cheers!
    "Mi amor Nuevo Miércoles!"

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    Could you comment more on slow techy climbing? Those climbs where you are battling roots and rock ledges.
    Also can you comment on similarities/ differences to the Wreckoning?

    Cheers!
    I don't do a whole lot of awkward climbs but In my experience fsr is pretty good if not the best for technical climbing.
    The wreckoning I never really gelled with the reach/ stack on it. It felt short and the bars felt high. I run a pretty low front end normally. The evil was the most efficient climber without a doubt and the suspension performance was very good also. I didn't get enough time on it to give more feedback than that. My good friend has a wreckoning and he came off an enduro 29. He sold his enduro after 2-3 rides on the evil.

  12. #12
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    So 235psi was your final pressure in the shock? Any spacers? What LSC setting?

  13. #13
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    Yes 235 psi. Stock spacer. Low speed I run from full open to 3 clicks in from full open depending on the trail. I don't run much low speed I feel it chokes off the shock and doesn't track as well.

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