Since Whyte began in 1999, their motto has been “performance by design”. Their core R&D team are based in the Cotswolds, UK, and live, ride, test and design on the same roads and trails that we all ride in the UK, and most importantly, in the same conditions - often worse. Whyte know what it’s like to be wet and cold and trying to operate a seat-post quick release with frozen fingers - that’s why you’ll see that their bikes have bigger levers than anyone else’s. It’s also why you’ll find Crud-Catcher mounts on all of their mountain bikes, after spending too many afternoons picking grit out of their eyes, and it’s why they’ve taken a unique approach to geometry, designed to inspire confidence in all conditions on all different types of terrain.
It’s an approach that has won Whyte a string of magazine tests and industry awards, including the prestigious UK Trail Bike of the Year Award in 2013, as well as the Woman’s Hardtail of the Year, Best Trail Hardtail and highest scoring 29er in 2015.
Whyte 2016 MTB Lineup at Rutland
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Whyte Geometry Much More Than Just Numbers
When we talk about a bicycle’s geometry, we’re talking about the angles and measurements that determine where the rider is positioned between the wheels, and how the bike connects with the ground. It might sound dull, but it’s something Whyte get very excited about, and with good reason: more than the components or the frame material, a bike’s geometry defines the way it rides. They believe their geometry is the best out there and that’s what sets Whyte apart from the competition in every category. Judging by the reviews so far in 2016, they’re right. The Whyte formula has been 16 years in the making: it’s a formula that inspires confidence in beginners and casual cyclists alike, whilst allowing their expert race teams to perform to the absolute limits of their ability. As such, confidence is our ultimate goal when Whyte are designing a bike: whether you’re cruising the city’s pot-holed streets to get to work or competing at the highest level, Whyte want you to feel secure knowing that you’re in charge and not the bike. Whyte achieve this by combining a relaxed head angle (the angle the front fork comes out of the frame) with a longer than average front centre to create a bike that is stable at speed and feels predictable, especially when the terrain gets steeper. To sharpen up the steering response for low-speed precision they spec wide handlebars and short stems. At the back of the bike, they always aim to make the chainstays as short as physically possible to maximise the bike’s agility, making it easier to do everything from popping up kerbs to boosting through the gnarliest trail obstacles. It’s a formula that works in all situations, whatever your ambitions and whatever your level of skill. Simply put, geometry can make or break a bike: with Whyte’s unique approach, they’ve ensured you’ll get maximum enjoyment from every ride.
Materials Selected for Long-term Performance
Whyte make frames from aluminium and carbon fibre, both of which are versatile, high performance materials that are equally at home in the the world’s largest commercial aeroplanes as they are in the manufacture of bicycles. Both materials have their own unique properties, and used correctly can create bikes that have lasting character. Through the combination of engineering know-how, great design and the use of the best grades of carbon fibre and aluminium available, Whyte are able to create everything from the super-stiff structures required for a full-suspension bike, to lively yet comfortable hard-tail frames.
ALUMINIUM CUSTOM TUBING FOR A SUPERIOR RIDE
Whyte’s selection of premium 6061 grade aluminium is perhaps the ultimate refinement of this frame material. The aluminium used has been specially developed to allow for hydro-forming (where hot oil is pumped through the tube at pressure to fine-tune its profile) and welding, and their tubes are custom drawn to our own specifications. That translates into thinner tube butting profiles over the entire length of the tube, and means that for the same strength, stiffness and fatigue characteristics they can engineer a lighter chassis. Whyte hydro-formed aluminium frame designs concentrate on creating the most efficient shapes for the chassis, whilst retaining an elegant overall design profile. Take their seatstays and chainstays for example: they’re internally butted to reduce weight and have extensive shaping and tapering to increase strength and stiffness, whilst generating tyre and mud clearance where it’s needed, and offering tangible comfort benefits in use.
CARBON FIBRE TAILORED FOR A PERFECT RIDE
The performance of any carbon fibre component relies on three things: the quality of the raw material, the integrity of the design, and the precision of the assembly. That’s why at Whyte they take complete control of the design process then work closely with some of the world’s best carbon manufacturers to bring those designs to life. The closeness of that working relationship allows them to develop their own special combinations of filament grades and resin types to give our carbon frames and components a genuine performance advantage that others can’t match, along with reliability you can trust.
Quad 4 Suspension – Take the Rough with the Smooth
When Whyte set out to design bikes around the 29er and 650b wheel sizes, they quickly realised they needed a suspension system that was different to anything they’d ever produced before. With their design and development squarely focussed on the unique environment that is UK trail riding, they knew weather-proof reliability - a hereditary feature of our Quad-Link systems - was key, and there would be no compromising on frame geometry. With that in mind, they went back to the drawing board. It didn’t take long to realise that with bigger wheels and full-suspension systems, the suspension kinematics, architectural layout of the frame, and the frame’s geometry needed to be designed in unison, with each small change having a knock-on effect elsewhere in the chain. Keeping the rear of the bike as compact and stiff as possible with the same dynamic ride of a 26in bike meant minimising the distance between the rear wheel and bottom bracket centres - a difficult task on a bigger wheeled bike but a cornerstone of the Whyte experience. After much head scratching and late night computer modelling, Quad 4 was born, and it changed the game, with Mountain Biking Australia proclaiming it had “pioneered a new era of progressive genre defining 29er full suspension bikes.”
Single Chain Ring Specific – Less is More
Let’s be clear, Whyte’s Single Chain Ring (SCR) specific system isn’t just about the chainring - they’ve removed the ability to fit a front mech and completely re-engineered the frame - with outstanding results. By deliberately designing these bikes with a single ring system, Whyte have been able to broaden the main pivot, a significant improvement, as it increases stiffness and bearing life and has meant we can use symmetrical chainstays (SCS), another Whyte innovation that further increases stiffness and better resists the twisting loads that occur under pedalling. On the trail that translates to improved cornering confidence, better suspension performance, greater accuracy and less maintenance. All the SCR specific bikes use 1 x 11-speed drivetrains which pair a single ring with a wide ratio cassette. In Whyte’s experience over three years of testing, this set-up provides a sufficiently broad range of gears for experienced riders to comfortably climb most hills in the UK, and the performance advantages - lighter weight and the ability to create a SCR specific frame - are unarguable. When they released the original T-129 they helped shape the market, creating the shortest chainstays of any production fullsuspension 29er, with our SCR specific frames, they’re taking things to the next level, all over again. You’ll find SCR specific models across the T129, T-130 and G-160 ranges.
Intergrip Internal Seat Post Clamp
The invention of reliable dropper seatposts has changed the way we ride - no longer do we find ourselves clumsily wrestling a quick release with frozen fingers at the top of a descent to drop our saddles out of harm’s way, a simple push of a button or lever is all that’s required. With their widespread acceptance, it became clear to Whyte that the days of the humble quick release (or even the seatpost collar) were numbered, so they created Intergrip, a proprietary internal seat post clamping system featured on all their Suspension bikes and selected Hardtail and CX frames. Not only does it look neater, but with no split in the tube to allow for clamping, tolerances can be much tighter and water kept out of the frame for longer, no matter how British the conditions.
GETTA GRIP ADJUSTABLE SEAT POST CLAMP
Getta Grip has been developed from scratch to improve the way a seatpost is held in the frame. Traditional clamps need to bend the frame to grip the seat post and often bind after long periods of use, as the frame can no longer “remember” its original shape. The Patented Getta Grip system takes a whole new approach using a pad that fits through a window in the frame - ideal for UK conditions as there is no open slot to let in mud and water. Because the Getta Grip seat clamp only has to hold the seatpost rather than bend the frame, less force is required to operate it. The clamping force is spread more evenly making it ideal for carbon posts and has been officially approved by Easton for use with all their seatposts.
Whyte Racing Teams
Racing has always been an important part of the Whyte story, but it’s unlikely you’ll find their riders on the top step of a World Cup podium any time soon. Anyone can throw their jersey on the fastest new athletic wonderkind and watch them win races, but Whyte prefer to do things a little differently. When they recruit athletes they’re looking for ambassadors first, racers second: the sort of riders who love riding their bikes, with or without a number board attached to their handlebars, and who are able to give the most valuable kind of real-world feedback on our prototype designs.
That’s why you see riders like elite XC racer Luke Smith, or ultra endurance hard man Steve Heading riding Whyte bikes: they are intelligent, race winning athletes who ride more than anyone you’re likely to have ever met, and who actively work with Whyte engineers to help perfect their designs. In mountain biking, the rise of the Gravity Enduro race format has been astounding, and Whyte is leading the charge with one of the best bikes on the circuit in the G-150. This type of racing is widely regarded as the closest thing to what most of us actually do when we ride our mountain bikes - socialise on the climbs, race down the descents.
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