Transition has always been a well-respected brand here at Dirt HQ, with numerous hits in the Dirt 100 over the years. The Smuggler and smaller wheeled stable mate the Patrol have both won us over.

There’s new thinking for 2018 from Transition’s design team though. With ‘long, low and slack’ having now become a standard mantra, Transition has added some more depth to this way of thinking. Along with Whyte (on its S-150 29er for example), a reduced off set crown is fitted to tune the handling and dynamics further still. It’s a ‘fine tune of a fine tune’ and shows real attention to detail, with these brands pushing design further and not taking the easy way out.

"It's a 'fine tune of a fine tune' and shows real attention to detail"

This bike is all new for 2018 and is the harder hitting 29” wheel bike in Transition’s range, sitting above the 115mm travel Smuggler. The Sentinel was launched with an aluminium frame (with a carbon framed version teased soon after), has 140mm of rear wheel travel and is designed with a 160mm fork with a reduced offset of 44mm. The classic Transition frame silhouette is here again, with robust bearings and space for a water bottle - even with the very low standover height. The ‘Giddy Up ’ suspension platform remains, with the four bar linkage driving a trunnion mounted Fox shock. It’s all robust and proven stuff.

Detail gallery:

‘The Sentinel was designed for 29er skeptics. A bike so capable, playful and fun that even the most staunch 29er naysayer will instantly convert’ – these are Transitions words on this new big wheeler and the brand’s ‘Speed Balanced Geometry’ is suggested to be a key player here.

"A balanced riding position, great traction and isn’t a handful in the tight stuff."

We’ve only ridden the aluminium Sentinel but we’ve come away impressed. It has a balanced riding position, great traction and isn’t a handful in the tight stuff. ‘The Sentinel really benefits from being ridden hard, the faster this bike is pushed the more you get from it’ were notes from our tester Ieuan after reviewing this bike. You won’t get the best from it by just cruising along, it’s just not what this bike (and this brand) is about. Give it some stick, hit some testing terrain and you’ll see what a modern 29” wheel trail bike is capable of…

PRICE: Bikes from £2999.95