The Whyte E-180 RS V3 is self-shuttling gravity enduro machine with 170mm travel out back, paired with a 180mm fork and the Bosch system
The beating heart of the Whyte E-180 RS V3 is a Bosch Gen 4 CX motor with 4 power modes and a 625Wh battery with quick charge function. There’s also full Factory-level Fox Suspension with massively tuneable Float X2 shock and a burly 38 Grip2 fork. The aluminium frame comes with an offset eyelet in the shock yoke to offer multiple geometry settings.
As Whyte’s longest-travel e-bike, the E-180 is optimised to handle the toughest terrain as capably as any of the enduro-ready best electric mountain bikes. That’s not to say it’s entirely downhill-focussed, but it doesn’t take long with the powerful Gen 4 Bosch motor to rack up enough trails to realise this machine is most at home hammering down steep tracks before powering back up for another hot lap.
Self-shuttling enduro bike, then? You bet. The full aluminium-frame has a massive downtube ro house the 625Wh battery, while the E-180’s modern enduro geometry means a sub-64° head angle and roomy reach that stretches to 505mm on the XL size. And, typically for the UK brand, the BB is really super low slung, at 335mm and is paired to (short for an e-bike) 444mm chainstays.
To get the weight of the 625Wh battery to sit as low as possible, Whyte cleverly rotates the latest Bosch drive unit upwards, so the battery sits in front of the motor, rather than on top of it. This simple sleight of hand combined with 27.5in wheels is what retains the bike’s manoeuvrability and dynamic handling. Basically, in much the same way a bobsleigh, racing car (or even downhillers who’ve experimented strapping weights to frames) lower the centre of mass and improve handling, having the hefty Bosch PowerTube positioned closer to the ground optimises the E-180 turning and ensures that it’s every but a nimble as much as it is a pure bump muncher.
The flagship E-180 RS has top-drawer Fox Factory suspension bolted into a chunky chassis. Whyte’s knack for fitting bling parts that also function well is evident throughout, including a perfect Maxxis Assegai tyre spec; the Maxx Terra rubber delivering good traction without immediately getting ripped to shreds by accelerated e-bike use. The casings are on point too, the lighter reinforced EXO+ up front and the tougher DoubleDown casing on the rear. Both are set up tubeless on tough 32-hole WTB HTZ wheels with asymmetric spoke alignment to help balance spoke tension. WTB’s hefty rims weigh the best part of 700g each, but remained true and ding-free, despite the abuse you can dish out on a 180mm travel e-bike that’s this capable.
With SRAM X01 12-speed gears and powerful Code brakes in the best RSC guise with smoother lever bearings and maximum adjustment, the drivetrain and brakes on the E-180 are equally sorted. The oversized 220mm front rotor has serious power – useful on a 25kg e-bike, although it does seem to out-gun the rear, which makes it feel imbalanced at times. In fact, I think these mis-matched rotor set ups might work better the other way round. A smooth Crank Brothers dropper has a very ergonomic remote and enough drop for an e-bike, plus there’s a well-shaped Race Face bar and stem too, so, even at over seven grand, the kit adorning the E-180 represents decent value when compared to other shop-bought brands.
In terms of the assistance, I reckon Bosch set the benchmark for power and range. You can hammer uphill faster and rack up considerably more climbs than on EP8 equipped bikes with similar battery capacities. Any downsides? Yes, the oversized display is still a bit of a dog’s dinner and plonks excess plastic on the bar. Whyte’s slide-inside battery design is also a pain to remove for off-bike charging because a load of cables and gubbins inside the downtube snag. So anyone without a garage packing a plug socket will likely find this annoying, especially with a muddy rig to contend with. Whyte only needs to look to Specialized for the solution though, as the Turbo Levo bikes have the easiest intube battery removal.
How the Whyte E-180 RS V3 rides
The payback for potential battery charging carnage is an immediate sense of how well-balanced the E-180 rides. With the weight of the battery lower and further back towards the motor the bikes have a low center of gravity while retaining ample ground clearance. Obviously, with a huge chunk of travel and super-fluid Fox suspension, it isn’t 100% optimised for spinning along flatter singletrack or mellow trail centre blues and reds, but when you do lean it into a turn, the bike tips in effortlessly and switches from side to side at an impressive rate. In other words it is responsive and easy to steer and turn.
And, despite having all of that travel on tap, the ultra-plush E-180 is surprisingly adept at climbing. A fairly upright seat angle keeps your weight forward and the front wheel down, and the powerful motor pairs well with the sunken BB (that hovers just above the potential crank strike limit), to keep your weight low without undue tipping on mega-steep ascents.
Conquering near impossible steeps is a really fun aspect of e-biking, but let’s not mince words: you’re hauling the extra mass and travel around on the Whyte E-180 for one purpose and that’s to crush the descents. In terms of suspension, Whyte has made that easy by nailing the balance of the E-180. You can absolutely haul down proper DH-level terrain with both wheels tracking superbly, while retaining enough support and progression to push and pump the terrain. The accurate tracking and a stuck-to-the-ground feel provides crazy levels of grip and smash-factor, generating such momentum you’ll be glad of that 220mm front rotor.
And while rear end on the Whyte E-180 felt great from the off, after a few wet rides, winding a fraction more low-speed rebound off the X2 shock upped performance further by opening up the shock to move more freely, adding extra pop and liveliness and even more dynamism to the way the smaller 27.5in wheels really slice through turns.
There are few negatives here, other than being so hefty and capable it demands strength to hold onto and manhandle; especially once those heavy wheels really get trucking. Another consideration is while 27.5in tyres seem to offer better braking tracking and bite compared to how some heavy 29er e-bikes surf and skip over the top of beaten out terrain, I’d still prefer a bigger wheel up front as 27.5in just feels a bit more nervous and more ready to tuck under compared to the 29in hoops I ride all the time. So if this was my own bike, I’d like to try a mullet set up, assuming money was no object as a new 29in Fox 38 Factory fork sure ain’t cheap.
Ultimately the Whyte E-180 may seem marginally less agile and versatile than some lighter enduro e-bikes, but with a near perfect spec, superb suspension and all the power for smashing through the rough stuff, few long-travel e-bikes can hold a candle to Whyte’s top-tier E-180 for sheer hammer-ability.