The Transition Relay 2023 – an e-MTB that's not an e-MTB?

Transition Relay electric mountain bike
(Image credit: Transition)

Transition is launching its super lightweight electric mountain bike – the Relay. The Washington state based bike brand say that the Relay will challenge to be one of the best electric mountain bikes, offering a versatile lightweight, long-travel, modular mountain bike package. Although it's only February, it claims the Relay could just be one of the most exciting best mountain bikes to launch in 2023.

Transition also says the Relay is 'the mountain biker's e-MTB', and is packed with features to back up such a confident claim, we delved deeper to find out more.

Cockpit of the Relay e-mtb

(Image credit: Transition)

The weigh in

With most electric mountain bikes weighing in (with battery) at 50-80lbs/22-36kg, and can make them off putting to beginners, less playful out on the trails, difficult to transport and for lighter riders just generally a problem. 

The Relay weighs in at a claimed 42.5lb/19.27kg with the battery and 37.5lb/17.01kg without it. Every Relay is purpose-built with some of the best mountain bike components, built for hard riding and Transition states it's one of the lightest, heavy-hitting e-MTBs on the market.

Close up view of the Transition Relay e-MTB

(Image credit: Transition)

Two mountain bikes in one?

The Relay is full of modularity and can be ridden with the battery installed and powered, or removed, transforming it into a more regular mountain bike. The tool-free battery door allows you to rapidly remove and reinstall the battery giving you versatility and plenty of options. So for uplift days, riding in areas that do not allow e-MTBs or even depending on what group of friends you're riding with, the choice is there, to quickly remove the battery should you fancy.

More versatility comes with the shock flip-chip to allow for a mullet wheeled setup adjusting the geometry to compensate for a 27.5-inch or 29-inch rear wheel. The Relay can be run at 160mm or 170mm travel front and rear, and riders can choose the bike with twin 29-inch wheels and 160mm travel for a more lightweight, trail bike feel, or a heavy-hitting 170mm travel and mixed wheels.

Close up view of the Transition Relay e-MTB

(Image credit: Transition)

Battery and motor spec

The 430Wh battery weighs just 4.85lb/2.2kg and is easily removable via the tool-free battery door underneath the downtube. The battery is charged off the bike, which is a bonus for riders like me that have limited bike storage and charging facilities.

The lightweight 60Nm Fazua Ride60 drive unit weighs in at just 4.3lb/1.96kg. Transition says the minimal drag and power-to-weight ratio will provide the magic when not riding with power and unlike traditional eMTBs, you're not hugely weight penalized when pushing beyond the motor assistance. The 430Wh battery, 60Nm torque, 250Wh continuous power, 450Wh peak power, and overall bike weight are said to work harmoniously together to deliver the best e-MTB experience.

Display and controls

Transition Relay LED top tube display

The sleek display on the top tube consists of five LED lights (Image credit: Transition)

The Relay has a claimed simple ring controller that adjusts between power assistance modes. Pushing it up increases the power level, pushing it down decreases it, and pushing inward will activate walk mode. Holding the controller up for two seconds from any assistance mode will activate a boost mode, giving you peak system power output for roughly ten seconds.

The sleek display on the top tube consists of five led lights to give you an indication of power mode and battery life. The Relay has three power modes designated by different LED colors. Breeze mode (Green) is very functional in many situations, River mode (Blue) is preset to match the amount of energy you are delivering to the pedals and Rocket mode (Pink) provides maximum power to help you tackle steeper climbs and challenging terrain, it will reduce your range but packs quite a punch.

The Fazua Ride60 app on Transition Relay e-mtb

The Fazua Ride60 app looks slick and allows for full customization (Image credit: Transition)

The Fazua Ride60 app pairs with the Relay via Bluetooth and the app looks slick allowing full customization to rider settings in all assistance modes. With Max Power and Support Relation, you can set the maximum mechanical power output and torque in each mode. Support Relation allows you to adjust how much assistance you are given in relation to how much force you apply to the pedals.

Ramp Up allows you to adjust how responsive the system delivers the assistance in each mode. Whether you're an experienced rider looking for the most responsive and powerful setup or someone who values more distance out of your rides, the app provides a comprehensive choice of adjustments to tune your ride to suit each individual.

Transition Relay pricing and availability

The Transition Relay is available now in North American markets and UK distributor Windwave says late April availability for the UK and Europe. The Relay comes in six build specs starting with the two alloy framed models and a further four carbon framed versions – all available in the usual Transition wide selection of sizing of XS to XXL.

Pricing starts on the Relay Alloy NX at $6,799 / CA$9,199 / £6999 to the top spec Relay Carbon XX at $12,499 / CA$16,999 / £12,599

We will have a first ride review on the Transition Relay very soon, meanwhile for more information, head to transitionbikes.com.

Transition Relay Carbon XX spec

Transition Relay e-MTB

(Image credit: Transition)
  • Frame: Relay Carbon 160mm
  • Motor: Fazua Ride 60
  • Fork: Fox Float 36 Grip 2 Factory 160mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS LV EVOL 
  • Seatpost: OneUp Dropper Post internal 120-210mm
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX AXS
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 200mm F/R
  • Wheels: Crankbrothers Synthesis Enduro Carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai and Maxiss Aggressor 
  • Color: TR Blue / Oxide Grey
  • Included: Fazua Charger, SRAM AXS Battery Charger, Tubeless Valves and Sealant
  • Size: XS-XXL
  • Price: $12,499 USD / CA$16,999 / £12,599
Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm