Transition Klunker Beat Down!

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Everyone has pretty much seen the Transition Klunker, its not the newest bike on the market. In fact its actually three years old. Hailed at the “original” DH bike, its easy on the eyes. It taps into your BMX beginnings with the styling. I was fortunate to get the “tonka truck” color way and it immediately turns heads once you pull into the parking lot. Riders gearing up would wander over to me, gander at it, comments like “Are you gonna ride this here today?!?” and “Are you crazy!!??” are answered with a smile and a ‘Yes’.


Quickly lets look at the bike. 4130 Cromoly frame, 26inch wheels with DH casings, simple BMX 3 piece cranks, one gear, solid fork, 31 inch wide BMX styled handlebars. All set! Oh wait, the brakes you ask- no worries- Coaster Brakes! The website says they weigh 32lbs, I’m pretty sure its around 40, but who’s got a scale that weighs bikes, not me! Transition kept the sizing simple- One size! I’m 6’5, 225lbs. It provided plenty of knee room and I felt comfortable on it.


I was dared by Max, owner of Hi5 Bikeshop to ride the Mountain Man Challenge Super D course on this particular bike. I took it as I feel the Klunker is capable of riding anything and that particular line at Sandy Ridge is tough as nails and long. Tough bikes, deserves a tough challenge. I was accompanied by my longtime friend Mark Hibdon as my witness. We left the raining parking lot at 10am.


We began the climb up Rd14 to the kiosk. Woe is me. Low seat and longer than I’m used to cranks with the added gearing choice made it tough on me. I stood up 80% of the climb, walked allot and took numerous breaks as my trusty trail dog Baker explored all the way up to the top. I was sweating pretty hard and pretty excited to get to the kiosk. Exactly one hour later we rested.


After a medicated smoke break and some Honey Stinger Strawberry/Banana Gel (that seemed kinda old) we began collecting our gear for the ride up to the top of Communication Breakdown (see my trail report?!?) as two riders approach the top, we mount up. One says “Holy shit, are you riding that?!?” I respond “Oh Yeah!” Then he too calls me crazy. I guess so as I pedal off to the trailhead.


54o feet of climbing and we are standing on “stoner rock” over looking HWY26 and Sleepy Hollow. As we reach the top- the sun comes out- shining on the bright yellow paint. I notice the seat seems to be slightly loose and I tighten it up. I tell Mark- I’m padding up- I dunno how crazy things are going to get, he agrees. Goggles, elbow pads on- I give a ‘WHOO HOOOO!’ and away we go.


First thing you should realize is pinning down a trail with blasters everywhere you quickly realize the need to calculate braking. I put trust into the Maxxis tires barely skidding into the first berm. The tires controlled the bike and my weight nicely. HERO DIRT ALERT! I expected to skid allot during this ride and to my pleasure I kept it very minimal and only a few times I can recollect did I literally needed to lock it down to negotiate a tight switchback. I had great speed control when needed- but the bike was a beast at nuclear speed on rough trail sections, but always held its line. I began to foresee how much the bike could ultimately handle and scaled it back to a comfort zone, which still allowed lots of trail finesse fun. Optional lines were a blast too.


I brought a spare inner-tube too,with a rich history of pinch flatting at Sandy Ridge and I came prepared. I heard the casings take numerous punches and barked loudly more than three times on me. I would cringe, waiting for the feeling of losing that precious PSI. They held strong all the way down to Quid Pro Flow which is where I give this bike a good jump blast over a double and it clears everything. I giggle in excitement. Looking further ahead than normal was good basic technique to riding this bike so you could plan your braking. I never once hit my crank arms on rocks during the traverses or climbing sections. I did have to stop to wiggle the 31 inch bars thru a couple tree pinches, no big deal.


We arrived to Two Turntables and Microphone and Hibdon was sizing up the rock drop entrance. I get excited too and ask him if he could snap a picture of me doing it on the Klunker. He didn’t hesitate to see my tomfoolery and obliged. I klunked it!


This bike straight brought a smile to my face. If I was climbing trails allot, I would change the gear ratio to accommodate those long epics, but otherwise this ‘shop bike’ is certified badass by me. You can rent it for your adventure and I assure you, you won’t ride it on trails knarlier than what I threw at it. I never crashed, never even had an ‘oh-shit’ moment. Its a must-have for any quiver. I wonder when a ‘Fat’ tire version is coming from the boys up North in Ferndale, Wa. cause at a MSRP of $579 this is a certified ‘Must-have!’


The Tranistion Klunker, it takes a beat down from a 6 foot 5 Sasquatch who doesn’t mind punishing bikes cause WesNile and Max can always fix it. It railed, it ruled and I’m thinking about it right now like a sexy stripper. Get one. You’ll thank me. Tip your servers!


-Mike Estes

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