The ultimate 29er?

Product Overview

Whyte S-150 C Works

Pros:

  • Great geometry, sizing and suspension. Keen pricing too given that you can still walk into a shop and sit on one.

Cons:

  • No geometry adjustment to for raising the BB height for 27.5 Plus wheels.

Product:

Whyte S-150 C Works first ride

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£5,499.00

The Whyte S-150 C Works looks set to be the new benchmark 29er trail bike. It feels more solid than a YT Jeffsy and more capable a Specialized Stumpjumper.

Whyte S-150 C Works need to know

  • 
29er trail bike with 150mm travel
  • Custom fork offset restores the true head angle and trail measurements while reducing steering flop
  • SCR frame design increased stiffness by completely eliminating the front mech
  • Boost dropouts and ample tyre clearance make the S-150 Plus compatible: Whyte even offers aftermarket wheel sets to make swapping easy
  • 
Sizes limited to M, L and XL but the generous proportions means riders of average height will be fine on a size M
  • Alloy S-150 S kicks off the range at £2,850

whyte s-150 review

Whyte has never shied away from innovation. From the early days with its PRST linkage fork, to being one of the very first brands to completely abandon the front derailleur, it’s always been at the coalface of development and shows no signs of slowing down in its exploration to extract performance gains.

So what does the new S-150 bring to the table? Whyte has been pushing the boundaries of sizing and geometry for years now, so it should come as no surprise that its new 150mm travel 29er is long, low and slack.

whyte s-150 review

Quad 4 suspension with 150mm of rear travel

To put that into perspective, the size L has a 474.4mm reach measurement, the BB is ground huggingly low at 335mm, and the head angle is tilted back to 66 degrees… very similar numbers to the new Scott Genius then, but old news for Whyte.

In line with other brands, Whyte is using Boost dropouts and ample tyre clearance to made the S-150 compatible with 29in and 27.5 Plus wheels. In fact, “S” stands for switchable, and Whyte even has after market 27.5 Plus wheelsets with tyres and rotors fittest to make switching easier. It has missed a trick however, by not having a geometry adjust feature like the flip-chip on the new Scott that changes the BB height to compensate for the slight difference in wheel size.

whyte s-150 review

RockShox PIke with custom 42mm reduced offset

It’s what sets the Whyte S-150 apart that’s more interesting though. While the rest of the bike industry has marched on blindly increasing fork offset with every jump in wheel size, Whyte is one of a handful of brands to stop and ask why. As such, the new the S-150 gets a shorter 42mm offset fork. And while I could quite easily turn this first ride into a mind-numbing dissertation on steering geometry, instead I rode the S-150 with the more common 51mm offset RockShox Pike back-to-back with Whyte’s 42mm offset to see if it offers any real world advantages.

The most apparent benefit of the shorter offset is that the steering feels less floppy at slower speeds, especially when climbing. Which probably has more to do with bringing the centre of mass of the steering assembly closer to the steering axis that any difference the offset makes to the trail measurement.

whyte s-150 review

Single-ring specific frame gives stiffness gains

Point the bike downhill however and the benefits aren’t not so cut and dried. Swapping from the 51mm offset to Whyte’s custom 42mm fork made the bike feel slight smaller forcing me into more hunkered position on the bike, even though the cockpit and frame size remained unchanged.

The trails we were riding at the launch were bone dry and there was plenty of traction to be had, so I can’t comment on how the reduced offset fork handles in the wet. That said, I know from experience that it could be in the wet where the shorter offset has the greatest advantage as it stops the front wheel from tucking under so rapidly in loose, wet turns.

Fork offset is set be the latest topic for debate but it’s not the real story here, because we could absolutely rip on either offset and that simply because the S-150 is such an accomplished bike. It was super easy to get a good ballpark suspension set up and combined with the generous sizing and dialled geometry we were up to speed in the blink of an eye.

Whyte’s Quad 4 suspension brings the poppy playful nature of the T-130 to a longer travel 29er platform and it’s a heady mix of speed, fun and outright rowdyness. The Whyte S-150 C Works feels more solid than the YT Jeffsy and more capable than the Specialized Stumpjumper so it looks set to be the new benchmark 29er trail bike.

whyte s-150 review

Whyte S-150 C Works: the ultimate 29er?

Details

Frame:Monocoque Carbon/aluminium rear 150mm travel
Shock:RockShox Deluxe RT3 Debonair
Fork:RockShox Pike RCT3, 150mm travel
Wheels:Hope Pro 4 hubs, Whyte 30mm Carbon rims, Maxxis High Roller II/ Crossmark II 29x2.3/2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM XX1 Eagle 34t chainset, XX1 Eagle r mech and shifter
Brakes:SRAM Guide RSC 200/180mm
Components:Race Face SIX C 800mm bar, Whyte Gravity 40mm stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm post, Whyte Custom Team saddle
Sizes:M, L, XL
Size ridden:M
Rider height:5ft 11in
Head angle:66°
Seat angle:74.7°
BB height:335mm
Chain stay:435mm
Front centre:777mm
Wheelbase:1,212mm
Reach:485.5mm
Top tube:421mm
Contact:whyte.bike