Whyte T-130RS review

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

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £3,000.00 RRP | AUD $5,500.00 | USD $3,799.00

Our review

Fantastic UK proof, awesome geometry rolling chassis but tyres and suspension blunt the vibe
Buy if, You're after a trail bike with modern geometry, and don't mind possibly swapping the suspension out in the future
Pros: Trail tough, extensively UK-proofed, Boost frameset with excellent geometry; spot-on cockpit, wide rims and high durability parts pick
Cons: Fox fork and shock create harsh, speed killing but unsupportive suspension; tyres are floppy at the low pressures the suspension demands
Skip to view product specifications

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.

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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
Russell Burton

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
Russell Burton

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.

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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.

Trail Bike Of The Year contender, the Whyte T-130 RS

Product Specifications

Product

Name T-130RS
Brand Whyte

Brakes Shimano XT 180/160mm
Cranks RaceFace Turbine 30t 30mm axle
Fork Fox Float Performance 34 GRIP 130mm
Frame Material 6061 alloy Boost
Front Tyre WTB Vigilante High Grip/Light 27.5x2.3in
Head Angle 67
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Rear Shock Fox Float DPS Performance 130mm
Rear Tyre WTB Trail Boss Light/Fast 27.5x2.4in
Seat Angle 73.3
Shifters Shimano XT
Weight (kg) 13.9
Wheelset WTB i29 rims on Whyte front and Hope Pro 4 rear Boost hubs
Frame size tested L