On the whole, the geometry of mountain bikes (within a given category/style) doesn’t vary too much. But occasionally a manufacturer will push the conventions and the results can go either way. Whyte Bikes are not afraid to take things a bit further than most, with some unique frame geometry, and the 146 S embodies this.
We recently laid eyes on the top-of-the-line ‘Works’ version of this bike at the Thredbo round of the Flow Rollercoaster under the very quick NSW rider, John Odams. It seemed to be working for Jon, and the bike’s striking looks grabbed us right away so we got on the blower to line one up for testing.
What makes the Whyte a little different when compared to other all-mountain bikes of similar travel (146mm rear / 150mm front), is its very long, low and relaxed geometry. The head angle sits at 66-degrees – a full degree slacker than most 150mm-travel bikes – and this drops to an even more relaxed angle once you factor 30% rear suspension sag into the equation. The rear end is quite long too, and the rear-centre distance increases under suspension compression as well. Add in the roomy top tube measurement and the wheel base isn’t far shy of some downhill bikes.
What should this mean? Stability at pace, essentially. Of course you’d expect the flip side to be recalcitrance at slow speeds, but who knows? We know the Quad-Link rear suspension design delivers excellent traction under pedalling, and the complete bike weight of just 12.3kg is mighty impressive, so perhaps the 146 S will out perform our expectations on the climb.
Read more @
Check out this really cool blog about racing Gravity Enduro from Ben Price at our partners Torq.
Gravity Enduro – Ben Price, Torq Performance MTB.
As an elite XC racer, I have always found my strengths to be on the more technically challenging courses, which are often where I produce my best race results and are typically the races I enjoy the most…
This season, the XC National Series, my main focus for the year, finished just short of the Olympics in July, which left the end of the season wide open to get my teeth into some different events, which I wouldn’t normally have the chance to do. After a friend invited me on a trip to compete in the Mega Avalanche in France, an event I had always aspired to, I couldn’t refuse. This combined nicely with a number of the UK Gravity Enduro series rounds local to home, following shortly after the Mega Avalanche. I got on the phone to Whyte and sorted a 146X; a lightweight 150mm suspension travel trail bike which set me up to begin my gravity enduro campaign…
Mega Avalanche, Alpe D’Heuz, French Alps: This world renowned, unique event boasts an incredible format; a mass start enduro downhill race over a 30km course starting on the permanent glacier of Pic Blanc at 3300 metres and finishing at Allemont at 770 metres, a loss of over 2500 metres in height, during which rider’s fitness, technical skills and race head are tested to the limit. The Mega has often been named the true test of the all round bike rider.
Read about the entire race @ http://www.torqfitness.co.uk/news/gravity-enduro
UK Gravity Enduro, Eastridge Forest: A venue which is just a 5 minute ride up the road from my house on some trails I have helped to build. This was my first chance to try the format in the UK and, fresh off the Mega, I was thoroughly looking forward to it. The UK Gravity Enduro format consists of riders being timed over special sections of a loop with untimed transitions, typically the special stages being mini downhill tracks. After a few days practice, I was up to speed and, with the sun shining on race day, I put in the best runs I could. With quite short technical stages I went for a reasonably conservative approach, aiming to trying to ride as smoothly as possible, avoiding making too many mistakes or tiring myself too early in stages. My plan worked well and, apart from a small dab on one stage, I finished 6th in elite and 9th overall – 42seconds off winner Neil Donoughue after just over 14 minutes of racing. I was pretty happy with this result and my first idea of how I could fair on the UK scene.
UK Gravity Enduro, Dyfi Forest: Having raced the Howies Dyfi Enduro on my XC bike a few months previous (where I took 2nd), which the gravity enduro shared many of the stages with, stood me in good stead; a big loop with some long stages suited my XC legs well. The majority of the stages were on wide tracks with a bed of loose slate, cut through the woods by 4×4’s and motor bikes. The style of riding meant that winner on the day came down to the bravest rider with the strongest legs! After a reasonable qualification on Saturday, I went into the Sunday with my conservative riding style, which really didn’t suit the course, a few sustained physical sections helped but, at the end of the day, I finished 10th elite, although slightly disappointingly 27th overall, a good minute off the pace. Despite this, I had a tough but enjoyable weekend and gained the realisation of the importance of properly practicing the course.
Pearce Cycles Enduro, Hopton Woods: This was another event local to home and on trails I had raced previously at the National XC series back in May. The course consisted of two stages which each rider rode twice, with plenty of pedalling in both stages and some good technically challenging terrain – both stages suited me well. Mid Wales/Shropshire has possibly one of the world’s highest concentrations of top level, world cup, downhill racers and the start list for the elite category reflected this with GT Racing Marc Beaumont and CRC Nukeproofs Joe Smith, to name a couple!
I put in a couple of good race runs, which were both thoroughly enjoyable and massively physically challenging, getting to the bottom of runs gasping for air and needing a good 5 minute sit down! The pedaling on stage one really allowed me to make up time on the more technically gifted and I eventually rolled in 5th place Elite/Overall, which was just over 2 minutes down on eventual winner Marc Beaumont (GT Racing).
Overall the sheer physicality of the discipline has been a massive surprise, both at events at home and abroad. Sections of pedalling on the courses are relatively short which means, to make them count, you have to dig deep, which has left me pedalling harder, breathing harder and in more pain than I ever would in any elite XC race! Not only do the timed sections of the course take it out of you but the overall fitness required to get enough practice in on a Saturday, and then get round the course on the Sunday, has been a real eye opener. The step up in terms of technical ability also leaves me with plenty to work on; with the discipline attracting plenty of world cup downhill riders, the standard is high!
A big thanks to Whyte for the 146X – the bike and setup have been close to perfection for the UK, offering a perfect balance of ample suspension travel in a lightweight package that is happy to be ridden all day. The geometry has inspired confidence and left me incredibly impressed with what the bike is capable of. In a full week of alpine riding, there was never a time where I felt under biked – a stead that can not only be competitive but an incredible amount of fun! Thanks also to Stans No Tubes for the wheels and Schwalbe for the tyres, this is always a winning combination regardless of the discipline.
Next year will see the launch of the TORQ’s first ever Gravity Team, taking on a full calendar of Gravity Enduro events. Watch this space!
“One bike…every trail”.
“an outstanding ride enhancing rule bender the Whyte 146 is an astonishing bike” – What Mountain Bike
This bike has done everything over the last year, from the Mega to Mountain Mayhem, short fast techy sections of Enduro to all day epics on natural trails.
Never thought I would be a 1 bike kind of guy, but hey I may as well be, because the 146 works is the only bike I reach for! (well MTB anyway! n plus 1 rule)
Check out the entire range with the XI landing soon @ http://www.whytebikes.com/2013/section.php?xSec=46&xPage=1
A genre, redefined. “One bike – Every trail” is a pretty tough design brief, but it is exactly what we have achieved with the 146. We are setting new standards for Trail riding with unrivalled strength-to-weight and unmatched suspension performance. From your favourite descent to your toughest climb the lightweight and supremely agile full carbon fibre chassis will challenge you to constantly push harder and faster. Climb like an XC bike, descend like a downhill bike, the 146 provides confidence-inspiring, trail-taming geometry and genre-redefining performance that will exceed your expectations every time you ride.
“At £2999 the 146 S is Whyte’s entry-level 146 bike but still offers a stunning carbon fibre frame and latest technology.”
Read more and gallery images @
Whyte bike designer, Ian Alexander talks to Singletrack about riding, design ethos and inevitably wheel size.
Watch the video @
Singletrack test the Whyte 146 S…
The Whyte 146 has taken the technical lessons learned from previous generations of Whyte full suspension bikes and designer Ian Alexander has applied some innovative geometry and design, resulting in something that is a really rather handsome looking, aggressively poised trail bike that’s lightweight to boot.
At 26lb, this bike is bloody light and that, combined with the highly torque sensitive Quad Link suspension, means it springs forward at the slightest provocation.
… it’s a rapid and involving ride, big on feedback and character. Trail centre loops will get somehow shorter, your favourite descents will fly by at a new speed and your local woods will shrink in size. You’ll get yourself into all kinds of trouble – and back out of it, too.
Overall: It’s a trail bike with a split personality. It’ll do distance riding with aplomb and encourage you to get carried away on descents. It’ll reward the skilled and flatter fitness with it’s light weight and handling. As you’d expect from British brand Whyte, it’s a bike that excels at the vast majority of UK trail riding
Read more @ http://singletrackworld.com/reviews/whyte-146-s/
The Whyte 146 X pushes the envelope in so many ways from it’s design too geometry, speccing and even price (or should I say value)!
Here MBR take a close look at 1 x 10; the benefits for many riders and why we are the only manufacturer to spec a trail bike with 1 upfront.
MBUK take a 1st look at the 146 X.
“A light, zippy and extremely capable 150mm travel bomber with excellent spec. It’s astonishingly good value too.”
“The clean sweeping lines and stealth finish make the 146 X very desirable.”
“The ride is playful but it feels surprisingly comfortable at speed and through choppy terrain”.
“it’s worth mentioning that the high spec of this bike is worth £4930 alone – that’s not including the carbon fibre frame – so £4999 for the whole bike looks superb value to us…”
Check out all the latest from The London Bike Show, including the Whyte 146 X and Whyte 29 C.
Our latest video featuring the Whyte 146 X testing with Sram at Afan hits the cycling press!
Many thanks to Sram, Whyte test rider Mike Smith, Whyte Bikes Designer Ian Alexander and Videographer Tom Grundy.