Transition Throttle Review

Editors note: From the pages of issue 203 we take a look at the Transition Throttle. Review bikes our like our children and we try not to pick favorites but everyone on staff who saddled up on the Throttle had the same response ‘Dang this thing is fun!’  If you enjoy this review and others like it consider a subscription for top-notch reviews and a whole lot more. You can subscribe here.

Tester: Scott Williams
Age: 31
Height: 5’10”
Weight: Holiday lbs.
Inseam: 32”
Price: $3,700
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
Online: transitionbikes.com

Reach: 17.7”
Stack: 24.5”
Top Tube: 24.7”
Head Tube: 66°
Seat Tube: 74°
BB Height: 12.4”
Chainstays: 16.5”
Weight: 26.5 lbs.

Tale of the tape

The Transition Throttle is fairly straightforward for what one would expect from an aggressive hardtail in this day and age, especially one born in the Pacific Northwest. The Throttle is accented by long, low and slack (read: current) geometry and 27.5-inch wheels that can fit most 2.6-inch tires. A run-of-the-mill GX build kit is neither earth-shattering nor does it have you desiring immediate upgrades. It’s no surprise the Transition Throttle received the sleeper award in this issue’s hardtail roundup.

Transition has a long history offering well-received hardtails all the way back to when 26-inch wheels were the cream of the crop. For 2017, the company set out to create the ultimate hardtail, one that combines the playfulness of a dirt jumper and the stability of an aggressive trail bike. To achieve the desired ride quality of a brawler hardtail, the company uses carbon fiber in lieu of the typical aluminum to help fine-tune the ride characteristics.

A successful brawler is able to stand in the ring absorbing considerable amounts of punishment. To meet these rugged demands, Sam Burkhardt, product manager, says that the Throttle is, “laid up to meet the same test standards as a 160 mm travel enduro-type bike, so the frame is more than stout enough for anything you would want to do on a hardtail.”  And, if your shred-i-ness does happen to exceed that threshold, Transition offers lifetime crash replacement for its frames on top of a 3-year warranty program.

In the ring

Unlike most brawlers, the Throttle’s ability to absorb punishment is not its only asset. The Throttle is well-balanced and light on its feet. With a little gumption on the pedals and a slight flick of the wrist, the Throttle accelerates like a featherweight through tight and twisty singletrack. Even up short, rooted, pitchy 20 percent grades, the Throttle remained firmly planted with a climbing prowess that even some cross-country bikes can’t match. Getting into the depths of the hows and whys would require a trigonometry textbook, or just trust the engineers at Transition know a thing or two about how a bike should ride.

The Throttle is a totally rad bike to ride, and I honestly can’t quite put my finger on why. Everyone who rode it came away feeling there is something magic about this bike. It’s an astonishingly maneuverable bike that prefers to be pointed down, but it’s ability to go up matches that of a more cross-country-esque 29er hardtail with a 120mm fork. If you’re into aggressive hardtails and have a playful riding style, I would not let the 27.5 wheel size steer you away; the Throttle can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Take the carbon Honzo 29er I reviewed in issue #198; the Transition Throttle feels just as stable on the descents but far more efficient on the climbs. However, if you’re stuck on the 29er wheel size, Transition has the 29-inch Vanquish carbon hardtail as well.  

Pro

  • Threaded BSA bottom bracket for the win
  • Lightweight carbon frame
  • Grin-inspiring geometry

Con

  • Expensive/no aluminum frame option.
  • No Shimano build kit.
  • Not enough cons to get to three