Whyte T-160 is a brand new addition to their trail bike range. Available in two models; entry-level T-160 S at £2,800 and top-end RS version we have here
Launched earlier this year the new Whyte T-160 RS builds on the success of the popular T-140 platform but gets 29in wheels and more travel. And like all of Whyte’s best full suspension mountain bikes made from alloy, the T-160 uses a full hydroformed aluminium frameset with nice touches like smooth welds round the head tube, internal cable routing and rubber armour on the chainstay and underneath the down tube.
Whyte T-160 RS V1 review
Whyte has maximised standover height on the frame where the Bike Yoke Revive post has 160mm drop to offer a great range of adjustment. There’s also a neat internal bolt that replaces the traditional seat collar and a rubber cover where the seatpost enters the frame to keep out dirt.
Whyte geometry is always cutting edge, and interestingly the reach, head angle and BB height are virtually identical to the Specialized Stumpy Evo. The T-160 isn’t as independently adjustable as the Stumpy Evo but you can still tweak the angles and BB height using the bike’s Shape It Link which runs an offset shock insert. It’s a bit of a long- winded process making the adjustment, but we suspect once you’ve lowered it, you won’t be going back.
Whyte named the T-160 RS after the fork travel, as the frame has 150mm. The RockShox Lyrik Select+ is almost identical to the top-end Lyrik Ultimate, apart from the Charger 2.1 RC damper, which lacks the independent high-speed compression adjustment. We spent a long time playing around with the settings (in this test and when we did the First Ride) but could never get it to feel spot on. We think this is due to the high-speed compression being pre-set in the mid position on the Charger 2.1 RC damper, which results in increased feedback and vibration through our hands in choppy terrain.
We also played around with the rear suspension and ended up running around 25% sag on the RockShox Super Deluxe Select + RT, which made the bike pedal better. It also makes it more responsive, and because it doesn’t ramp up like the Focus, you can still use the full 150mm travel.
It seems like Whyte has blown the budget on the German-made Bike Yoke Revive dropper post. It’s a great dropper with 160mm of smooth adjustment and it even has a little lever on the top allowing it to be reset on-the-fly. That said, Whyte could have easily fitted a cheaper post and upgraded the fork without anyone noticing. Actually, that’s not true, as we suspect you’d feel the benefits of a better fork.
Whyte’s in-house cockpit is functional, but we’d consider fitting a longer stem than the stock 35mm, just to push our weight forward and make it easier to load the front end. Whyte has fitted powerful Code disc brakes and a solid SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, but given how hard you can ride the T-160, we’d like to see a chain device anchored to the ISCG tabs on the BB shell.
That harshness we felt in the fork is only a minor quibble because the T-160 RS is an absolute ripper. It feels totally planted and you don’t have to do any sort of risk assessment before launching into a load of nasty stuff. It definitely feels like a bigger travel bike than either the Focus or Nukeproof and, as such, doesn’t quite have the same poise through tight turns. Once the trail opens up, however, you can you can almost straight-line everything as there are no short-comings in the geometry. In fact, the T-160 RS is such an easy bike to ride fast because the handling is so neutral. Compared to the Specialized, there’s a little bit more suspension movement when climbing, but for a bike that weighs just over 15kg it’s certainly no slouch on the climbs. The faster rolling Dissector rear tyre has a good turn of speed and, even though the High Roller II on the front looks old school, it still has really good cornering grip.
This test was always going to be a close call between the Whyte T-160 RS and the Specialized Stumpy EVO. Not least because they have such similar geometry and suspension. Yes, the Stumpy is available in more sizes, gets a full carbon frame and has a better fork, but the Whyte is £400 cheaper and has better components. But even if you could take the £400 price difference and reinvest it in a fork upgrade on the Whyte we’re convinced that the Specialized would have the advantage. The T-160 RS is still a superb trail bike, it’s just out-classed by the Stumpy EVO.