Transition Bikes Covert26 3  2013 Mountain Bike Review

Transition Bikes Covert26 3 2013

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Transition Bikes 93,401

At A Glance

We’ve always had a bit of a love affair for this bike in the office; it’s taken us down the Mega Avalanche in the past and been a bike that has featured as a long-term test rig too. This year the Covert has had a bit of a makeover in terms of the pivot placements in the suspension set up and also the geometry has changed slightly too. We were keen to see what the guys in the States had done to the new bike and how these changes would affect the ride.

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Tech Heads

There are a few different versions of the Covert these days, in the aluminium framed model there are 3 different build kits, 3 being the lowest spec, which we have here and 1 being the top end model in the range. They are all based around the same frame design and platform. There is also a carbon version which is identical in terms of geometry and suspension design, but looks a little different due to the tubing of the carbon frame. In addition there is also a Covert29, which runs a 29er wheelset and is arguably a very different bike to the 26, so we won’t go into details on that one here.

The frame is made from 6061 heat-treated custom hydroformed aluminium and offers 160mm of rear travel, an increase from the 150mm offered on the previous bike. There are removable drop outs so the frame should be future proof but it is set to the new standard of 142mm x 12mm, ISCG 05 tabs and a direct mount front derailleur tab finish things off.

Suspension on the Covert26 3 is looked after by a Rock Shox Lyrik R Solo Air up front and a Fox Float CTD Adjust Kashima takes care of the rear end. The rear shock stroke has increased by .5 of an inch for 2013.

Revelation 28 wheels are shod in Hans Dampf 2.35 Performance tyres from Schwalbe, 20mm front axle and 142x12mm rear.

Drive train is a mix of SRAM X5 shifters and X7 front and rear derailleurs with an SRAM X5 2x10 38/24t crankset with integrated bash ring. And a SRAM PG1030 10 speed cassette at the back

Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic disc brakes look after the stopping and there are Avid 180mm rotors front and rear.

A Truvativ AKA 60mm stem holds the Kore Durox 740mmx35mm bars securely in place and the Transition Park n Ride AM saddle is secured with a Stylo T20 DC Seatpost, 31.6mm x 400mm

Transition Covert26 Medium

Seat tube 457mm
Effective top tube 581mm
Head tube 125mm
Chain stay 430mm
Wheel base 1135mm
BB Drop -4.4mm
Head angle 66.9°
Seat angle 73.6°
Reach 409mm

Weight w/o pedals 31.4lbs

On the Trail

It’s always easier when you sling your leg over a familiar machine, you already know how it should be riding and you’re just tuning in to the subtle changes that the designers have conjured up for the year. What I wasn’t expecting was just how drastic the changes would feel on the Covert26. In the past we have said this bike is a do it all machine, as happy nailing the Megavalanche as it is cruising round your local XC loop.

We have always been impressed with its DH prowess, and with the right shock set up and pro pedal well and truly engaged it would pedal up a hill OK too. However,the new pivot set up and the CTD shock have made a real difference. The Covert finally has the climbing ability of a mountain goat loaded with amphetamines. Get it on a road climb, like the 3,000 foot one we did in Italy and put the shock in Climb mode and it’s got no bob whatsoever, sits high up in its travel and just goes.

Even with the shock in descend mode the bob is kept to a minimum and you just feel that there is a real air of efficiency around the Covert now. The geometry changes of note are the shorter chainstays, slightly slacker head angle and the higher bottom bracket. All of these factors combine, as you might guess, to help make the covert an absolute blast down the hills.

While the bottom bracket has come up slightly, the linkage has moved down lower, hence the bolt on front mech. This means the centre of gravity has remained in about the same place. The shorter chainstays however give the bike an even more playful nature in the corners.

The negatives, compared to last years Covert 3, is that the spec on the brakes and forks is lower, the fork isn’t a two-step and so you need to really concentrate when it gets steep. The Avid Elixir 3’s did their job reasonably well but lacked a little “feel” and the drivetrain isn’t going to excite too many riders out there. However the lower price for this build is surely going to appeal as it’s great value. If you are on a budget it is a fantastic bike, if you have a little more to spend perhaps go for the build kit 1 or 2 options.

In a world where everyone is talking about 27.5, but many people still own 26 inch wheeled bikes, the Covert is a very capable machine. Riding it in the Alps, our local trails, Cumbria and Scotland we have never felt outdone by any of the terrain we have shown it. And the energy left inside us at the top of the climbs is a welcome bonus too.


I didn’t think one of my favourite bikes could get any better, but the new Covert is simply sublime to ride, fantastic going up, and excellent going down. I’ve got a trip to the Alps coming up, and I’m sorely tempted to take the Covert26 rather than the DH rig! I wouldn’t be averse to pedalling it up the mountains either, if you want a fast agile and very capable Enduro bike, the Covert26 fits the bill nicely.

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This review was in Issue 24 of IMB.

For more information visit Transition Bikes


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By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

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