Whistle are an Italian company you might not have heard of before. When this £2,500 carbon framed hardtail came on the radar we were excited – cross-country bikes have been expanding into more and more interesting territory. Unfortunately the Huron didn’t provide the sprightly, rocketship ride characteristics that a bike at this price should provide.
Ride & handling: Average in performance
The medium sized bike we tested measured in at 18.5in and boasted a 605mm top tube, which is pretty lengthy for even an out-and-out cross-country race bike. The long top tube, coupled with the 100mm stem and steep head angle, resulted in dicey handling when the trails got steeper and more technical.
The long reach to the bars also made forward and backward weight-shifts difﬁcult, and had us fearing the worst several times, in situations such as riding small drops into corners. Thankfully, the low 12.5in bottom bracket height helped to bolster the Huron’s cornering ability.
As you'd expect with a carbon frame, trail vibration was greatly reduced. Lateral stiffness wasn’t as good as we’d expect though – there was a surprising amount of ﬂex from the bottom bracket area. The BB30 system may be stiff, but that’s no use if the frame around it isn’t up to scratch.
All-up weight of 26lb (with pedals) isn’t too far away from where the Huron should be, but the bike felt like it was held back a bit on the climbs and we were left disappointed when we wanted to change pace quickly.
Frame & equipment: Not great value
The frame is a lugged carbon ﬁbre construction, with bulky joins and sections of carbon showing through the very ‘Euro’ paintjob. The press-ﬁt BB30 bottom bracket is a modern touch but other features are decidedly more old-school, including an IS rear disc brake mount and a straight 1.125in head tube that gives the bike a 71-degree head angle.
Considering the high price of the Huron, we found the spec list somewhat disappointing. Although the kit all works well enough, we feel you should expect a bit more in exchange for £2,500. The RockShox Recon fork has 100mm (3.9in) of travel and a bar-mounted lockout. It stayed controlled through everything we could throw at it but the same fork can be found on alloy bikes that cost around £1,000.
Mavic’s Crossride wheels keep the bike rolling nicely, and the drivetrain is a 3x10 setup with an FSA V-Drive BB30 chainset, Shimano SLX shifters and front mech, and Deore XT rear mech. The 620mm ﬂat alloy bar paired with the 100mm stem adds to that racer stretch and feel but the grips are a low point of the spec. The Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.1 tyres are a great choice though.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.