Whyte T-130RS review£3,000.00

Last year’s Trail Bike of the Year winner gets disappointing Fox suspension

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Whyte’s T-130RS was our Trail Bike of the Year winner last year, but a disappointing Fox suspension ‘upgrade’ means it’s not the T-130 model I’d opt for now.

It’s still the same excellent 130mm-travel alloy frame with relatively slack 67-degree head angle and huge 467mm reach on my large sample. It’s single-ring-specific and Boost width, too, which means Whyte can shorten the symmetrical chainstays to 420mm. That gives it great responsiveness without undermining the inherent stability of the front end.

An internal ‘Intergrip’ seat clamp, lifetime-warrantied suspension bearings and a Hope Pro 4 rear hub mean a long life even in the worst conditions, while Whyte’s 50mm stem and a 760mm wide bar are spot on. Wider 29mm internal rims should also give better rough terrain roll over. The result is a bike that feels poised, purposeful and ready to rip.

RaceFace Turbine 30t 30mm axle chainset
RaceFace Turbine 30t 30mm axle chainset

However, extra wheel mass, wider tyre footprint and an overall weight of nearly 14kg make it hard to get going despite the oversize 30mm axle on the RaceFace Turbine crank. My sample also suffered from severe cable drag that made the Shimano XT gears feel stiff and inaccurate despite a stiffness-boosting direct mount rear mech.

The Performance grade Fox 34 fork and Float rear shock are the real killer, though, feeling insensitive over small stuff, spiking over fast hits and blowing through the mid-stroke easily.

Shimano XT 180/160mm brakes
Shimano XT 180/160mm brakes

Adding volume spacers and dropping pressure in both fork and shock, and lowering tyre pressure perilously low given the lightweight carcass, helps but it still struggles to keep speed over the rocky sections that it used to accelerate through.

The good news is the £2,550 T-130S has a cleaner-feeling SRAM GX transmission, super-stout RockShox Yari fork, better-damped Monarch rear shock and the same wider tyre and wheelset, making that our T-130 pick.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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