As with all of Whyte’s UK-designed bikes, the S-150 isn’t exactly run of the mill when it comes to its geometry. That’s because Whyte isn’t afraid of pushing the limits and experimenting with different ideas.
- The Whyte S-150 S is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2018. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
Whyte S-150 S frame
The S-150 is designed to use a fork with a shorter offset (42mm rather than the usual 51mm offset found elsewhere). The idea is to help calm the steering by increasing the trail figure (the distance the contact patch of the front tyre sits behind the steering axis) without dulling nimbleness when it matters.
Working alongside that shorter offset to boost stability further is the slack 65.3-degree head angle, 435mm chainstays, a 1212mm wheelbase and a ground-huggingly low 333mm bottom bracket — which is why it specs 170mm cranks to limit strikes. And if you were looking for a bike that’d take a front mech, you better look elsewhere as the S-150 is designed for a single chainring only.
Whyte S-150 S kit
Whyte is one of the first brands to jump on the new Guide T brakes. These use the four-piston Guide calipers as opposed to the two-piston Level calipers currently adorning many bikes with similar intentions around this price.
While they don’t feel massively different in terms of lever feel, the Guide Ts are more potent when tackling bigger descents — something my hands can vouch for.
The other real highlight here is SRAM’s GX Eagle 1×12 transmission, which gives you a massive gear range, though mine didn’t behave entirely.
Whyte S-150 S ride impressions
After just a few hundred metres of trail, my chain derailed from the lower jockey wheel in the rear mech, twisting the cage and rendering it unfixable.
This issue is something SRAM has a fix for (a revised lower jockey wheel is now being used) and with a new mech fitted, I had no more transmission issues throughout the rest of the test period.
On another SRAM-related note, I also had to replace the Revelation fork. The original fork, even with the rebound adjuster fully open, felt a little slow and sluggish.
After replacing the fork for a new Revelation, I noted a jump in comfort and performance. The Revelation’s Motion Control damper still isn’t quite as comfortable as the Charger 2 damper used on the Pike or in fact the Yari, which uses the same damper as the Revelation though still feels better at tackling successive hits.
I added a single volume spacer to the Deluxe shock after a couple of bottom outs too many which seemed to do the trick when tackling big landings and drops. Even then though, when pushing hard, the back end didn’t feel quite as supportive or composed when battering through root spreads or successive braking bumps as others, feeling like it’d use its travel up a little too quickly at times.
This may have felt slightly exaggerated due to the imbalance caused by adding additional fork pressure to gain more support up front though, inevitably pushing my weight back further on the bike. Despite this and the fact it is, after all, a trail bike, the S-150 S isn’t afraid of going incredibly quickly, even if it isn’t quite as plush or as comfy as some of the competition. It’s worth spending some time to dull the cable rattle too as it can be quite noticeable on really rough trails.
Time to focus back on the positives, of which the S-150 has many. Possibly the biggest though is how the S-150 carves a corner. The low bottom bracket and well-centred, aggressive riding position certainly come into their own as you sling the bike through technical switchbacks but it’s in the high speed, chattery turns where the S-150 really stands out.
Under power, there’s a bit of suspension bob but the shocks low speed compression lever is easy to reach and helps to make things that bit more efficient when tackling long climbs. Open things up on flatter trails and, providing it’s not too muddy, you’ll certainly appreciate the fast rolling rear tyre. Here, the S-150’s speed carrying credentials come to the fore, where pace is well preserved.
Overall then, the foundations of a seriously capable machine are there, even if I’d prefer a touch more support in the rear suspension and a more deeply treaded rear tyre.
- BikeRadar would like to thank Life Cycle Adventures, Sanremo Bike Resort, MET Helmets, Bluegrass Eagle Protection, Mercedes Benz and Brittany Ferries for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.
If you’re in the market for a new enduro bike, long travel trail bike or all-mountain bike, check out our reviews of those we’ve thoroughly tried and tested.
|Available Sizes||S M L XL|
|Seatpost||RockShox Reverb Stealth, 150mm|
|Top Tube (in)||24.43|
|Standover Height (in)||32.13|
|Seat Tube (in)||17|
|Bottom Bracket Height (in)||12.99|
|Brake Levers||SRAM Level TL, MMX Matchmaker|
|Wheelset||Alloy hubs with double sealed cartridge bearings on WTB STp i29 rims|
|Stem||Whyte Gravity, 40mm|
|Shifters||SRAM GX Eagle MMX Clamp, 12 Speed|
|Brakes||SRAM Guide T (180mm rotors)|
|Saddle||Whyte Custom dual density|
|Rear Tyre||Maxxis Crossmark II Dual EXO TR 29x2.25in|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Deluxe RT DebonAir|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM GX Eagle, 12 Speed|
|Handlebar||Whyte custom, 760mm|
|Grips/Tape||Whyte Lock-on V Grip|
|Front Tyre||Maxxis High Roller II 3C EXO TR 29x2.3in|
|Frame Material||6061 T6 aluminium with 150mm (5.9in) of travel|
|Fork||RockShox Revelation RC with 150mm of travel|
|Chain||SRAM GX Eagle, 12 Speed|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-1275 Eagle, 10-50, 12 Speed|
|Frame size tested||M|