The Smuggler is a bike that I have had the opportunity to ride a few times now and felt compelled to voice my thoughts on since my time with this ride has been so positive. Transition is a company that has caught my attention for sometime now. With a proven horst link suspension design that they call “Giddy Up Link Suspension”, well thought out details in geometry, cable routing and build kits, the Smuggler ranks high on my list of favorite 2016’s.
- Transition Smuggler 1 w/ Rock Shox Debonair RT3 rear shock and 115mm of rear travel
- 2016 Fox 34 130mm, Sram XX1, Race Face Next SL crankset, Enve M60 Forty wheelset
- Size medium 17.1″ chain stays. 67.5 headtube, 44.6″ wheelbase, effective toptube 23.2″
The Ride: When I first think about how the Smuggler rides; I think fun, playful, versatile and great all around suspension action. The fun part mostly comes from the geometry and proves that 29ers can be designed to be playful. With 115mm of rear travel, it pedals with the best full-suspension XC race bikes, but with a slack 67.5 degree headtube, shortish chainstays and long wheelbase, it was ready to party on all the rough and technical trails I threw its way while riding in Moab.
Suspension action both from and rear feel great thanks to the Giddy Up suspension and Rock Shox Debonair out back paired with the great new Fox 34 up front. The rear end feels plusher than its 115mm of travel suggests yet never needed the flip of a lever on the rear shock to eliminate any unwanted movement.
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Observations: With clean lines, well thought out cable routing and safety orange color the Smuggler is a bike that stands out in the crowd and appeals to the eye.
Its also one of those bikes that could definitely work for me as a one bike quiver with just the right mix of travel and geometry to be both fast and fun no matter the conditions that most trails throw its way.
My only complaint really is that the frame being alloy is slightly heavier than I prefer with a frame weight of 7.3lbs. No big deal really. That weight is good for an alloy frame, but with most carbon frames in the sub 6lb range, you have to be careful with your parts build if you want to keep the complete bike weight down.
Who does this bike suit? The Smuggler is a great bike in the hands of someone who wants a playful machine to tackle a wide range of trails from steep, rocky and technical to fast and flowy. Want to do an occasional xc, enduro or endurance race? No problem, this bike gives confidence in the tech, pedals extremely well AND is definitely a blast to ride!