Transition Bandit 27.5 (1)

It looks like a Bandit, it smells like a Bandit, but it’s not a Bandit. Get up close and you won’t notice anything different until your eyes glance down at the tires. The difference between 26” and 27.5” wheelsize is subtle but the burly tires are clearly emblazoned 650B.

We spoke at length with Lars Stenburg about his cleverly camouflaged test mule and personal setup. Drop past the break for the details.

Lars Bandit 27.5 Cockpit

Over the course of his career as a professional cyclist, Lars has raced BMX, DH, Dual Slalom, Super D, and probably the occasional Klunker. Recently he began to dedicate a significant portion of his race calendar to Enduro events, which frequently feature brutal timed downhill sections that can push the limits of what is capable on a trail bike.

In response to the overall ruggedness of the terrain, various athletes have converted to larger frames and shorter stems. For example, last year, 5’10 Lars rode a medium Covert (a 6″ all mountain bike) with an angle set headset to slacken the bike by 1.5 degrees. The more relaxed geometry increased the bikes stability when things got rowdy during timed descents.

For 2013, Lars has transitioned to a larger frame, a shorter stem, and a wider bar. The difference in reach is minimal but the size large frame offers the advantage of a slightly longer wheelbase. Is this setup for everyone? Probably not. It’s best suited for an advanced rider because it demands a skilled bike handler to compensate for the lack of weight over the front end when climbing and cornering.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (15)


XTR components and Fox Doss remote round out the handelbar components. Lars is currently testing these thin new Anvil grips, which should be available later this summer.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (16)


This prototype test mule was developed specifically to test out the 27.5 wheelsize. During the testing process, they’ve learned several things that will help them develop their new platform. The regular Transition Bandit is a 130mm (5.1″) trail bike with Lars is running a larger fork on this platform because the test mule wasn’t slack enough with the larger wheels for his riding style.

While his front squish looked like a run of the mill Fox Float, the two flashy RAD (racing applications development) stickers told a different story.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (13)

The conditions at the first stop on the National Enduro Tour in Hood River Enduro changed hourly. On some runs riders were greeted with perfectly tacky berms, only to be confronted by greasy snot around the next bend. An aggressive tire with tall side knobs and low PSI, was the only line of defense.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (11)Anvil grips weren’t the only thing Lars was testing this weekend. Interested in learning more about Transitions new in-house component group? Check out all the details here.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (10)Some unique cable routing was en force on the Bandito. The line on the rear XTR brake was a little too short to run normally but a few zip ties and some clever cabling saved the day.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (5)In back, a Float X shock provided the squish….and an element of Tetris. We noticed that clearance between the new Float X shock and waterbottles can be a tight on some frames.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (2)

Transition Bandit 27.5 (4)Shimano showcased this modular chain retention device last year at Sea Otter. Since then, it’s become available in Europe and is now appearing state side on pro bikes. The lower guide is spring mounted and will tuck up on impact.

Transition Bandit 27.5 Clearance

Transition Bandit 27.5 (7)

Transition is based in the Pacific Northwest, where the rain don’t stop. The huge clearance on this prototype easily handled all the mud these chunky Schwalbe tires could devour.

Transition Bandit 27.5 (14)

Transition Bandit 27.5 (3)

So is the Bandit a sign of things to come? Yes and no. Mr. Lars N Bars was pretty adamant that this bike was a complete one-off but told us that Transition is working on an altogether new platform for the tweener wheels.


  1. I’m looking at that front chainring and thinking… I don’t know what I’m thinking but something about the teeth looks different, dare I say XX1 like?

  2. SL,
    the chainring only looks like that because half the teeth have some wear. it happens on a single ring bike with an even number of teeth.

  3. wow. 27.5″. What an amazing bike! Did you know you can fit 650B wheels with tires to most 26″ frames. Why is that? Because the 26in wheel diameter is 673mm= 26.5″. It is a fact that the difference between 650B and 26in is half an inch in height or 12.5 mm. That made so much difference.

  4. @MTB Riding – Really? Have you ever ridden a 650B bike? Doubtful. Head on back to the Pinkbike comments where you belong.

  5. @MTB Riding

    Sir, I’m sorry to tell you that you are wrong.
    The ETRTO measurements for the three wheelsizes are 559 (26″), 584 (650B) and 622 (29″).

    MB Action did some measurements with different wheels and tires for their April issue. And guess what? Their findings were:
    1. 26″ wheels have the right name for their size.
    2. 650B measured way closer to 27 than to 27.5 inch – so 27 would be the correct name.
    3. 29″ wheels measured in at an average of 28.48 inches – so in fact it’s 28.5inch wheels.

    Be it ETRTO or MB Action: Both efforts show that 650B is closer to 26 than to 29 inch. It’s a 40%-60% increase from size to size.

  6. “Mr. Lars N Bars was pretty adamant that this bike was a complete one-off but told us that Transition is working on an altogether new platform for the tweener wheels.”

    Well I guess Mr Lars N Bars was wrong (or full of it), since I just got confirmation, when trying to order a Bandit26 at my local bike shop, that they will be discontinued in that wheel size and will be replaced starting this fall (2013) by a Bandit 27 (27.5, 650B ‘tweener or whatever name you want to give to that wheel size). This is not info from my local store….we were on the phone with Transition head office trying to order one when they advised us of this. We were both surprised. Perhaps they changed their minds about the 26in wheel as a reaction to Giant’s recent announcement…

What do you think?