Whyte expands into the 650b wheel size, and the results are extremely promising
Whyte has embraced 650b for its long-travel trail bikes, and for 2014 two new G150 models get the must-have, in-between wheel size. These are touted under the ‘Gravity Enduro’ label, but you can interpret that as meaning harder or aggressive trail riding. Both bikes have 150mm front and rear travel, RockShox’s latest Pike fork and Reverb Stealth droppers, with the cheaper model (shown here) getting a SRAM 2×10 drivetrain. The 650b wheels promise to carry and hold more speed over rocky or rooty terrain, hook up a lot less on square-edge hits and ultimately feel more stable. Combine this with tweaked geometry, which is based around a long front end and short 420mm chainstays, and you have a bike that feels solid at speed but still manoeuvrable and responsive in the twisty stuff.
It also has a gnarly side, and this is due to the 150mm-travel RockShox Pike fork. The G150 gets the cheaper RC model but that doesn’t devalue the performance in any way; the Pike is truly amazing.
Whyte has specced end-specific WTB tyres with a Vigilante up front and a Wolverine at the rear. The Vigilante is the more aggressive of the two and, thanks to its height, it actually comes closer to a proper halfway size between 26in and 29in (most 650b tyres end up about 27in). It’s heavy at 963g, but it offers greater confidence in rough sections and is more in keeping with that gravity enduro attitude.
The evolved Quad-4 suspension now features a shock-extender to drive the shock from the upper link, changing the suspension characteristics to make the bike feel plush at the beginning of the travel and offer good support in the mid-stroke with no harsh bottom out. However, on my test ride it was difficult to get a handle on the suspension as the G150 tended to skip around under braking and felt a little harsh, so I definitely need more time on the bike to get it set up properly and make the suspension feel balanced. On the flip side, the bike darts up the climbs and rides a lot lighter than its 14kg weight might suggest.
Whyte may be jumping on the gravity enduro bandwagon but the specification, build and switch to 650b wheels make the G150 eminently capable. It’s also great value for a trail bike with a Pike fork and Reverb Stealth seatpost as standard.