If we did half ratings, the Whyte G-170C Works 29 V2 would score 9.5
The Whyte G-170C Works 29 V2 is the latest in a line of UK-designed gravity enduro bikes that have evolved from 27.5in wheels.
With Whyte at the forefront of the longer, lower, slacker movement, and one of the first brands to ditch front mech provision in favour of a wider pivot stance and extra frame stiffness, the G-series models are progressive bikes regardless of wheel size.
Whyte G-170C Works 29 V2 review
It’s somewhat surprising that the G-170C is only available in two sizes, where the Large tops out at 469mm reach when other brands are pushing into the low 500s. It reflects the fact that the design is a few seasons old, although thankfully the frame geometry and angles are still bang up-to-date.
Another indication of a few grey hairs appearing is that the top tube is taller than most where it meets the seat tube, which, itself, could be steeper to improve seated climbing. So, while many brands are slashing standover heights in response to longer dropper posts, the elevated top tube on the Whyte cramps your style in wild terrain, and also limits the possibility for smaller riders to size up for extra stability or length.
One area with zero question marks though, is the overall quality and frame finish. The carbon chassis is first rate, riding with solidity and stiffness no matter how hard you push it, while the top-quality bearings have proven durable in UK conditions.
Whyte’s four-bar suspension pumps out around 5mm less than the 170mm travel claimed. There’s noticeably less juice to squeeze out than the Specialized Enduro Elite too, but the coil-sprung RockShox Super Deluxe shock happily munches its way through chatter and repeated square-edge hits while saving its appetite for gulping down boulders when needed. And no matter how many times we go back to a coil shock, we’re always stunned by the superior traction they offer over air-sprung models, the extra off-the-top sensitivity bringing a nonchalant, cocksure reaction to whatever terrain gets chucked your way. Granted, lighter riders may not appreciate the weight penalty over an air shock, or having to flick the compression lever to firm things up for climbing, but we’re convinced everyone will appreciate the G-170’s RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 fork, as it delivers peerless suppleness and control.
Whyte’s choice of parts to maximise value are definitely rider-focused. Take the carbon Race Face handlebars and premium Atlas stem, as well as its own-brand 30mm carbon rims laced into proven Hope Pro 4 hubs. There’s more carbon in the top-tier SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain too, and no corners cut with the Code RSC disc brakes, which pack all the adjustment to dial in the perfect lever feel. One component we’d swap out is the Maxxis Aggressor DD tyre; the tougher casing is a smart choice, but it’s not that composed under hard braking, especially in damp UK conditions.
With a bigger negative spring, the 160mm Lyrik Ultimate is the most sensitive suspension fork on the market, and combined with the Super Deluxe coil shock, the Whyte strikes a great balance between isolating the trail and giving you enough feedback for ultimate control. It’s comfortable and smooth, but by no means lifeless.
If you’re getting the impression that the Whyte G-170C is boring, or lacks character, you couldn’t be more wrong. With no sense of sponginess or mid-stroke wallow, it’s feisty and reactive and had us charging unflustered, and with caution thrown to the wind, into off-camber roots, rocks and some properly dicey situations. And it’s probably because Whyte’s bottom bracket sits very low. Sure, the lack of pedal clearance for technical climbing won’t suit everyone, but with rider weight so low, the G-170C literally devours turns. To the extent few bikes on the market can be leant over with such confidence – it’s an addictive trump card that clinched it for the Whyte.
Being branded an enduro bike that also rocks in trail bike terrain is sometimes an insult, but in the Whyte G-170C 29 Works V2’s case it's the ultimate compliment. Considering it’s such a hard-hitting, long-travel rig, the top-level G-170 pedals efficiently and is energetic enough for all-day trail bike duties. And, despite a totally planted suspension feel from the coil shock, it’s also surprisingly nippy, agile and accurate. In fact, it’s only the elevated standover height and lack of sizes that prevent it getting a perfect 10 rating. That said, if the sizing fits the G-170C Works offers great value and true all mountain performance.