Whyte Dorset review

Classy commuter built for bad weather

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£999.00 RRP

Our review

The Dorset is a thoroughly sorted all-weather, all-surface machine
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Whyte has a great reputation for its no-nonsense approach to mountain bikes, and for the last three years it’s been in the drop bar business too.

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  • Highs: Cartridge bearing hubs and other details are tailored for commuting in mixed weather; excellent handling
  • Lows:  The rear brake on our model was somewhat stiff, and the bar might be wider than roadies want
  • Buy If: You want a fast commuter or all-seasons bike with UK-friendly features

The Dorset shares its hydroformed alloy frame with the rest of Whyte’s RD-7 commuter range, sporting a gracefully tapering top tube, fat down tube, internal cabling and a slim 27.2mm seatpost. The seatstays bulge out to give ’cross clearances and you can see daylight through the large cutouts in the industrial looking dropouts, which are threaded for two sets of rack/mudguard bolts. A matching carbon-legged fork has a 1 1/8-1 1/2 in tapered aluminium steerer and mudguard eyelets.

The Dorset's geometry is very much of the road…
The dorset’s geometry is very much of the road…:
Robert Smith

The Dorset’s geometry is very much of the road…

Although the front end is higher than that of a race bike, courtesy of the ’cross fork, its geometry is very much of the road, as are the slick 28mm Maxxis tyres. The only striking deviation from this is the wide and flared bar; it offers good low-speed handling and increases confidence on rough ground, but takes away slightly from an otherwise speedy persona.

Regardless, the Dorset is no slouch and it delights on fast, winding roads. Its skinny tyres don’t offer much cushioning, yet the frame does a creditable job of absorbing bumps. We’d want something with more width and tread for prolonged off-road jaunts, but canal paths or dry, packed dirt are perfectly manageable with the stock rubber and it leaves lots of room for full mudguards, a commuting essential.

The Dorset comes with Shimano Tiagra 10-speed components, an FSA Omega 50/34 chainset and wide 11-30 cassette. The Promax brakes’ performance is about par for mechanical calipers in this bracket: the rear brake feels a little stiff, a downside of the weather-resistant full-length outer, but the power is there when you need it.

Security skewers come as standard – don’t forget the key in case you puncture!
Security skewers come as standard – don’t forget the key in case you puncture!:
Robert Smith

Security skewers come as standard – don’t forget the key in case you puncture!

Where the Whyte impresses most is in the details. The Dorset, fairly unusually, features cartridge bearing hubs – a boon to the everyday rider who doesn’t adhere strictly to a regular maintenance schedule – and they’re built into sensible 28/32-spoke wheels with brass nipples that won’t corrode and fail in damp climates. It also comes stock with security skewers instead of quick releases, which ease the terror of locking the bike outside – although woe betide anyone who forgets the key and then punctures out in the sticks.

The attention to detail is evident in the bike’s aesthetics too, with green highlights standing out from the sombre, classy frameset. There’s even a green Union Jack nestled in the seat clamp, which might or might not be some sort of treason…

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The Dorset is a fine looking machine that’s perfectly suited to high speed commuting or winter training. It’s intelligently specced and the frameset is good enough to warrant upgrades.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Dorset (14)
Brand Whyte

Available Sizes 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm
Saddle Whyte
Wheelbase (cm) 101
Top Tube (cm) 54
Standover Height (cm) 77
Seat Tube (cm) 49
Chainstays (cm) 42.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28
Weight (lb) 22.09
Year 2014
Wheelset Alexrims on Whyte sealed disc hubs, 32 spokes front & rear
Weight (kg) 10.02
Stem Whyte Oversized 10cm
Shifters Shimano Tiagra 4600 10-speed
Seatpost Whyte 20mm layback 27.2mm
Seat Angle 74
Rear Wheel Weight 2090
Bottom Bracket FSA Omega External
Rear Tyre Maxxis Detonator 28mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra 4600, short cage
Headset Type FSA Integrated tapered 1 1/8-1½in
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar Whyte Oversized wing Bar, 42cm at top, 46cm at bottom
Front Wheel Weight 1500
Front Tyre Maxxis Detonator 28mm
Front Derailleur band-on
Frame Material 6061 hydroformed T6 aluminium
Fork Straight Bladed Carbon, alloy steerer, 1 1/8-1½in
Cranks FSA Omega External 50/34 172.5mm
Chain Shimano
Cassette Shimano Tiagra 4600 11-30
Brakes Promax Render Cable Disc
Frame size tested 52cm