Whyte's updated T129 promises an aggressive riding attitude bundled into a short travel package but does it deliver?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Whyte T-129 RS


Whyte T129 RS (2017) review


Price as reviewed:

best full suspension mountain bike

Trail Bike of the Year in association with Alpinestars

We’ve tested Whyte T129 a couple of times in its various guises over the last few years and it’s also spent a season getting battered in our longtermer test fleet.

This year, the T-129 range consists of two models — the ‘S’ for £2,450 and the ‘RS’ tested here. Both use the same single ring specific, SCR aluminium frame, but with different priced build kits and suspension components.

Watch now: Trail Bike of the Year 2017

Whyte T129 RS

For £3K, the spec on the Whyte T-129 RS is good quality, but the key difference between it and the other bikes in the 29er category is the frame material — they’re carbon, the T-129 RS is alloy.

Usually this would negatively impact the overall weight, but check the spec table and you’ll see the Whyte T-129 RS is nearly a 1kg lighter than the Specialized Stumpjumper.

With around 20mm less travel front and rear, you could argue the Whyte T-129 is the odd one out in the travel stakes too, but take a couple of measurements and you’ll see it has a slacker head angle, shorter chainstays, longer wheelbase and greater reach than the Cube, Specialized and YT.

So while the lack of travel does indicate that it’s not as capable, it actually has the most up-to-date geometry, which is why we’ve included it in this test.


With less travel and 110mm Boost hub spacing, the Fox 34 Float on the Whyte T-129 RS is noticeably stiffer than the more expensive Factory 34 we included in our group test last month.

There’s not a lot of adjustment with the fork though — the Grip damper only has compression, lockout and rebound — and it also felt a touch harsh on bigger, square-edge hits.

To be fair to Fox though, we were running the fork pretty firm to make it more balanced with the rear suspension.

In fact, the T-129 has always felt a little lacklustre on the rear, and the Fox Float DPS Performance shock on the RS version has not helped matters.

It felt overdamped, which didn’t seem to be the case when we tested it previously with a RockShox damper.


Although the bigger 29er wheels and long/low geometry add stability on faster rougher trails, we’d like to see a slightly wider handlebar than the 760mm fitted for more controlled steering.

We’d also like more rise too, due to the head tube on the Whyte being so short.

While we’re at it, we’d also beef up the grip diameter, because the stock grips don’t offer much in the way of comfort, and we’d definitely lose the plastic end caps too — one of them deformed in a crash, creating a sharp edge that dug into our palms when riding.

Whyte runs a Maxxis tyre combo on the T-129 RS — a Tomahawk on the front and a Crossmark II on the rear.

Neither tyre was particularly good in sticky conditions — the Tomahawk has sharp, deep side knobs but the centre tread is very shallow and didn’t offer enough straight-line stability on wet trails.

Yes the Crossmark II rolls fast, but it also steps out too readily on slippery off-camber trails.


It’s ironic that the Whyte T-129 RS is the oldest design here, but it has the most up-to-date geometry.

The shape is excellent and, with the firm suspension, it’s an efficient climber and mile muncher.It doesn’t sport the plush, playful feel of the Stumpy, or the responsiveness of the Jeffsy though.

In an attempt to remedy that, we spent a lot of time playing around with the shock settings, experimenting with different amounts of sag and alternating between one and zero clicks of rebound.

Even then, the Whyte T-129 RS didn’t feel as supple or active as we remember.On steeper descents the low front end also comes into play, pushing rider weight too far forward.

To counter this we ended up running the fork firmer, but even with it propped up we never felt as committed on the descents as we did on the other three bikes.

To get the most from the Whyte T-129 RS we reckon you have to back off on the steep stuff and then get your kicks elsewhere.

whyte t129


The Whyte T-129 RS really comes into its own on smooth, flowing trails where it has a turn of speed only bettered by the YT Jeffsy. It's much less convincing on rough trails, though. With only 120mm of travel, there’s not a lot in reserve when you encounter a steep rocky chute. Factor in the way the low front end pitches you forward, and the distinct lack of braking traction from the tyres, and it quickly escalates into a white-knuckle ride. Increasing the fork travel would definitely improve the bike’s ability, but given the T-129’s age, we suspect Whyte has something new up its sleeve… T-149 anyone?


Frame:6061 T6 aluminium, 120mm travel
Shock:Fox Float DPS Performance
Fork:Fox 34 Float Performance Grip, 120mm travel
Wheels:Alloy front/ Hope Pro 4 rear hubs, Race Face ARC-27 rims, Maxxis Tomahawk/ Crossmark II 29x2.3/2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:Race Face Turbine Cinch 30t chainset, Shimano XT r-mech and shifter
Brakes:Shimano XT 180/160mm rotors
Components:Whyte custom alloy 760mm bar, Gravity 40mm stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm dropper post, Whyte DD saddle
Sizes:M, L, XL
Weight:13.86kg (30.55lb)
Size tested:L
Head angle:67deg
Seat angle:73.8deg
Bottom bracket:330mm
Front centre:780mm