An Inside Look at Transition Bike Company

In lieu of Interbike last year, Transition Bikes invited dealers to their place to experience a bit of what they’re all about (and sample some of their great trails in Bellingham). Learn more about Transition inside as we prodded the workers about Transition.

Kyle Young (Owner)

When did Transition start and why was it started?

  • We started in 2001 but officially began selling product in 2003. Basically we were bored in our corporate jobs and spent all our time thinking about mt biking. Kevin came up with the idea of starting a bike company and we just began tinkering with the idea and talking about how it could work. From there it was lots of 2 hour ping-pong sessions ironing out the details…corporate time well spent. ;) Our original motivation for starting Transition Bikes was to provide a super high value product and really connect to our customers from a riders standpoint. We weren’t super impressed at the time with the brands that were out there and felt that there was room for a cool company that really was more about connecting with the riding community rather than just making a profit from them.

What new bikes are you currently working on revising / creating?

  • We’ve got a pretty sick new 29er BottleRocket that we’ve been slaving away on. It’s gonna be the hottest thing on the mountain next year!!! ;)

Why did you move away from model years?

  • We feel that model years restricts us from releasing products when we really want to. Not having model years just lets us react to changing market conditions faster than the big guys. I think we kinda feel like having model years forces a lot of companies to change their gear just for the sake of a new model year rather than really looking at the product and making it better. If we find a way to make a product better or cooler we just do it when it needs to be done rather than waiting to release it until the next model year.

Favorite beer?

  • PBR….or any good bitter

(click to enlarge)

Kevin Menard (Owner)

When did Transition start and why was it started?

  • Both Kyle and I come from families where our dads both owned their own businesses. For us it was in our blood to start our own company. For me it was a matter of personal fulfillment. I enjoyed working at T-Mobile but had no passion for cell phones. I still hate the fact that I have to use one all the time. At the time both Kyle and I were completely consumed with bikes so it was natural that we went into this industry. When we started the company we knew from the get go that we wanted a completely transparent company where the customers knew exactly who was running the company and why. Our number one goal back then and today is connect with our customers through riding. It is why even in our busiest times we still have mandatory rides for all of us at the shop.

What new bikes are you currently working on revising / creating?

  • Can’t say too much but 2009/2010 you will see a ton of new stuff coming from us along with some very unique styles to what we have traditionally done in the past. We are stoked on the direction our product is moving.

Why did you move away from model years?

  • To be honest it is pretty impossible to not have model years but we have done our best to move away from the traditional model that large corporate brands use. People still refer to their bikes as an 06 or 07. Model years actually have a pretty adverse affect to the entire bike market. It creates a constant liquidation process that devalues a brand in our mind and it makes it more expensive for a bike company to operate. I personally think all brands should move away from it and just release new product when it is necessary and makes financial sense to the company, like when you sell out of your old product.

Favorite beer?

  • I am a huge IPA fan with my favorite being from Stone Brewery. For a beer during a ride or after I like the cool refreshing taste of a Pabst Blue Ribbon that quenches my thirst. (Pabst did not pay me to say that).

(click to enlarge)

The Mike Metzger

What is your motivation for working at Transition?

  • My fellow co workers and my bosses make for a great “motivation” to work here. It’s great having a job you love!

(click to enlarge)

Why do you work at transition vs another company?

  • Well McDonalds wasn’t taking applications, the job position for the local Wal-Mart greater was filled, and I don’t know how to do a triple bi-pass heart surgery, so I settled for Transition. Plus they are the only ones who would put up with my crazy antics ;)

What kinds of opportunities do you get with Transition you feel you wouldn’t otherwise?

  • Well lets see here, I believe I have a great answer for this. We work in an industrial area around other shops. We find that when we are outside they tend to watch our antics while on break and I always wonder what they are thinking. For instance, if it’s nice out they catch us taking a lunch break hitting out dirt jumps and pumptrack behind the shop, or if its kind of rainy they see us out on our mini moto bikes shredding in up metal militia style, and the other day it snowed, so they were able to catch us taking turns on my snowmobile rallying it around. Not sure who else gets to do these things, but I guess we are just lucky to have bosses who like having a good time as much as we do.

What is your favorite Transition product?

  • Ummm this is tough, I probably use the TOP the most so I would have to go with that.

(click to enlarge)

What bike do you use the most?

  • I use the TOP and my single speed Blindside the most it’s good to be able to balance it out between the two when I’m getting too much of one or the other

Favorite beer?

  • Depends on my mood, Pabst for partying and riding or a good IPA for more relaxed atmospheres.

Cam Burnes

What is your motivation for working at Transition?

  • Mountain biking and bikes are my Passion. Working in the bike industry is a lifestyle I need. I love my work! I’m motivated and excited to go to work everyday.

Why do you work at transition vs another company?

  • Kevin and Kyle are my good friends! We hang out together outside of work. I would choose to ride Transition even if I didn’t work for the company because it’s a cool brand. So there!

(click to enlarge)

What kinds of opportunities do you get with Transition you feel you wouldn’t otherwise?

  • I’m able to give Kyle and Kevin my input, relay our customers input and they listen. I’m instilled with a since of ownership working here that motivates me. Oh, and Women love it when they find out you work for Transition because we listened and brought them the Syren.

What is your favorite Transition product?

  • How do you answer that one! It’s all good. Okay then it’s the Trans AM. I say that because if there was only one bike I could own then that would be the one. Trust me I’ve thought about this a lot.

What bike do you use the most?

  • Tough question! I would say the Blindside. I get to ride all of them though

Favorite beer?

  • Kevin brews some amazing beer but if it needs to be something most beer drinkers can get then it’s Bridgeport IPA. Anything IPA is my first choice because I like the hoppy flavor.

(click to enlarge)

Sam Burkhardt

What is your motivation for working at Transition?

  • Relaxed work atmosphere, awesome town to live in and bosses that can ride as hard as anyone else I know.

Why do you work at Transition vs another company?

  • Kyle pulled up to my house in a van that said “free candy” on the side. Oh, and Kevin promised me a pony… but I still haven’t gotten it.

(click to enlarge)

What kinds of opportunities do you get with Transition you feel you wouldn’t otherwise?

  • Working with a group that is made up entirely of good friends, and riding with those same friends. I am sure most everyone in the bike industry gets to ride for work… but my first day on the job was an epic day at Whistler! How sweet is that?

What is your favorite Transition product?

  • Hmmm… tough call… either my trusty TransAM or my big bad Blindside.

(click to enlarge)

What bike do you use the most?

  • My beat up yellow 1972 Schwinn “Heavy Duti” cruiser around town… but for Transition bikes I ride my Blindside the most.

Favorite beer?

  • Any kind of IPA, but if I had to pick probably Deschutes Inversion IPA.

Carl Buchanan

What is your motivation for working at Transition?

  • Working for a company that supports your riding is pretty much the best case scenario for any rider! But being able to take my experience and directly contribute to the improvement and development of the parts I myself ride is a very cool and rewarding experience.

Why do you work at Transition vs another company?

  • I don’t really think there’s another company quite like Transition out there, so working with a company that so actively encourages your own riding as well as the progression of riding in general, really makes it something you want to be a part of. That and you can’t beat getting to hang out with friends all day!

What kinds of opportunities do you get with Transition you feel you wouldn’t otherwise?

  • Having a direct impact on the direction and development a product takes is something I don’t think you get when working for an everyday “stereotypical” company. That and it’s not every company that lets you go ride the jumps as soon as you show up in the morning!

What is your favorite Transition product?

  • The new TOP and our new wheels are both on par. Both have been refined down and become very sleek and clean. I’m a big fan of them both!

What bike do you use the most?

  • Definitely the TOP gets the most abuse… You’re far more likely to see me riding the local jumps than down the local big scary mountain.

(click to enlarge)

Favorite beer?

  • Is Mike’s Hard Lemonade a beer? Because that’s about as close as I get to drinking beer, I usually stick to Scotch.

If you ever visit Transition, there’s a few things you need to do before you leave.

  • Achieve Wizard Status (Any of the Transition guys can explain the details)
  • Ride their dirt jumps / pump track in the back of their warehouse

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

  • Ride the trails in the area with the locals.

view from the top of Galbraith (click to enlarge)

taking a breather after a long climb (click to enlarge)

  • Sample some of the fine beer establishments in Bellingham (make sure you know your way back home from the bar in case some of the Transition guys dip out early).
  • Cross the border and hit up Whistler.

Transition showed a few of their new bikes they were working on including the TransAm, and the Bank.  Refinements were also discussed that they’ve now made to the Blindside, Double, TOP, and BottleRocket.

TransAm proto (click to enlarge)

TransAm proto (click to enlarge)

They discussed some changes to the DirtBag as well and a new DH bike they’re working on so be on the lookout for them.

Bank proto (click to enlarge)

Bank proto (click to enlarge)

We also got a hold of one of their TransAm frames as well and you can follow along about it in our projects section.

(click to visit the Projects section)

Transition Bikes is a company that clearly loves everything about biking.  After visiting them it’s clear how they get the motivation for the bikes they build.  Each bike fits well with a given type of riding / trail they do.  They’ve always got the door open to speak so feel free to ask them anything!

[Transition Dealer Days Gallery] [Transition Bike Company Website]

Related Articles:

TAGS: