First Ride Review: 2019 Sonder Transmitter First Impressions

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Sonder’s popular Transmitter alloy hardtail returns for 2019 with a fresh lick of paint and updated geometry, but how does it ride? We sent Andi to the woods to find out.

Just over a week ago we reported that Sonder had refreshed the popular Sonder Transmitter hardtail to bring the hardcore hooligan up to date and in line with similar models on the market.

2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
The 2019 Transmitter gets 3 new glossy colours.

Visually, the new 2019 Sonder Transmitter looks very similar to the previous frame. They’re both made of aluminium, they share a similar tube set and they both have that signature slim top tube, but actually, there’s lots new here.

2019 sonder transmitter geo
New Sonder Transmitter geometry gets tweaked.

For starters, the updated Sonder Transmitter boasts a geometry tweak here and there to give the alloy hardtail a true 65° head tube angle when fitted with a 150mm travel fork. What Sonder means by ‘true’ is that the head angle is measured when the fork has sagged, making this slightly slacker than the outgoing frame.

2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
The new Transmitter is longer, lower and slacker. The frame still costs £300.

The current formula for bike designers usually follows that if the front end gets slacker the reach should get longer and the seat tube steeper, and that’s exactly the recipe Sonder has followed with the Transmitter. Reach now is up, and ranges from 422mm on a small frame, to 482.5mm on the XL, while the seat tube steepens up to 75°.

2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
Chainstay lengths increase on larger frames for a more balanced ride.

Sonder also redesigned the rear end of the Transmitter so that the chainstay length is size specific, longer for a larger frame, and while they were at it also beefed up the dropouts.

If you’re a numbers nerd or geometry geek you’ll recognise that while these are significant changes, they aren’t all that extreme and should result in a well rounded riding machine rather than something that only rides in one direction.

2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
Each frame gets the same orange decals.
2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
Internal cable routing and glossy paint is new for 2019

The changes aren’t limited to the geometry though, as the new frame also gets internal cable and hose routing for a cleaner look and the new frames are finished in a choice of 3 glossy paint jobs.

Being a hardtail there are only 2 places your rear suspension is coming from: your legs and the rear tyre. To give you as much cushioning as possible, chain and seat stay clearances are good for large volume 2.8in tyres and the frame is designed to run 650b wheels.

2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
We’re always happy to see a threaded BB.
2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
Internal calliper mount keeps the rear brake away from rocks.
2019 sonder transmitter first ride review
Plenty of tyre clearance even with wide tyres.

Other nice frame touches include a threaded bottom bracket shell, Boost hub spacing, an inboard rear brake calliper mount, and ISCG 05 compatible chain guide mounts.

2019 Sonder Transmitter First Ride Impressions



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We hope to get a Sonder Transmitter in for a long-term review soon, but if you have any questions about the bike now let us know in the comments section below.

New 2019 Sonder Transmitter Features

  • Designed for a 150mm travel fork.
  • 65°  true head angle.
  • 75°  seat tube angle.
  • Lower BB height.
  • Longer reach 422-482.5mm.
  • Short offset ready.
  • Internal cable/hose routing.
  • Updated dropouts.
  • 3 new glossy colours: Chilli, Tarmac, Teal
  • Boost spacing.
  • Size-specific chainstay lengths.
  • Size: S, M, L, XL
  • £300 frame only

Review Info

Price:£300 frame only
Tested:by Andi Sykes for 1 day

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