News: Switching It Up with the Ibis Tranny 29

Ibis bikes have announced their new convertible 29er, the Tranny 29, a carbon hardtail with the unique feature of being able to convert between a geared and singlespeed setup without sawing your chainstays in half and then fixing them with duct tape and JB weld.

Note: you can’t repair carbon that way. Ask me how I know.

Without having laid actual hands on a Tranny 29, we can’t say for sure how well their method, called the “slot machine” works, but we can say for sure that the bike looks gorgeous. Here it is in a colorway Ibis calls “Marine Layer,” named after a fling one of the Ibis staff had with a pirate who had a grey beard.

Just kidding. It’s named after California fog.

He was the finest marine layer I ever had.
He was the finest marine layer I ever had.

After a bit of research to uncover the way the Tranny 29 tensions the chain in singlespeed setup, I discovered that the seatstays are hinged at the seatpost area, and the chainstays are able to move back and forth at the bottom bracket. You loosen the lower bolt with your singlespeed setup installed, then push down on the bike. This causes the chainstays to lengthen, tensions your chain, and induces any nearby gray-bearded pirates to become instantly attracted to you.

Lower bolt of the slot machine arrangement
Lower bolt of the slot machine arrangement

As a car guy, I resist the use of the word “tranny.” I think of it as being a mildly derisive term for a transsexual, and I have nothing against them. When I shorten the word “transmission,” I use the non-derisive “trans.” Ibis, of course, are–I’m guessing here–shortening the word “transmission” because the bike’s drive train is able to be changed out, but probably also “transition,” because, well, because it’s able to be changed out. And a little bit of name recognition never hurts.

Nomenclature aside, I know I speak for the rest of the Singletracks team when I say I’d love to get familiar with this Ibis, even though I know I don’t have the fitness to be a geared rider, let alone a singlespeed one. From what I hear around the internet, the Slot Machine conversion feature doubles as a method of breaking down the bike for easy air travel, which is pretty groovy.

It’s enough to make any marine layer want the Tranny 29, but at $1,699 MSRP for frame alone and $4,999 for a 1x XTR build, the single vs. geared option doesn’t come cheap. Then again, options never do.

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