Staff Ride Review : Whyte Glencoe 2018

Words by Harry Archer

on 23/04/2018 10:54:00

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Review By Alex Dickens, Assistant Store Manager, Rutland Cycling Grafham Water

When Whyte first announced their new 2018 range, there was one bike that particularly caught my attention with how different it was from the rest of Whyte's offering. The Glencoe bridged the gap between Whyte's Wessex, the brands flagship road bike and their bespoke gravel bikes with the Friston and Gisburn. The bike also features mudguard eyelets and mounts for racks and even a downtube mudguard, increasing its go-anywhere credentials and making it a viable commuter bike.

The Glencoe is one of only a handful of bikes currently on the market running WTB's 'Road Plus' 650b tyres as standard, with the rest of the market being taken up by bikes from boutique and expensive brands, making the Glencoe a reasonable and affordable option for someone looking for something more unique.

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Equipment

Coming from using Shimano shifting, I found the SRAM Apex drivetrain very easy to get on with. It's doubletap shifting style works flawlessly and is shifts perfectly after over 400 miles in all types of weather conditions. The 44T chainring coupled with the 11-speed 11-42 cassette on the back gives you a massive range of gears, perfectly adequate for long steep climbs and sprints and descents without the overlap of a more traditional 2x setup. I did find that while on the road the gaps between the ratios are quite dramatic but you'll get used to this after a while and learn to keep it in a certain gear before changing.

Braking is handled by the TRP Hydrex disc brakes, a cable-operated hydraulic disc brake. These work flawlessly and gave me incredible amount of control and confidence when descending. Compared with fully hydraulic setups these are low maintenance with lots of stopping power, even when fully loaded with luggage.

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The frame aesthetically looks good, with smoothed welds and a stealthy grey and gold paintjob. The bike is finished off with Whyte branded components including Whyte's 50cm handlebars, unique to the Glencoe. Whyte have also designed a set of matt black 650b mudguards to round off its all-road all-weather capabilities, currently in production.

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Wheels/Tyres

The biggest talking point when it comes to the bike is the tyre choice. Never have I ever had so many questions directed at a bike before than the Glencoe (What is that bike?). WTB perfectly combine speed and comfort with their 650b x 47mm tyres with the Horizon. I was initially sceptical when it was reported that the Horizon's had a rolling resistance of a 700x30mm tyre, but after my first ride the tyres removed any doubt I previously. Comparing my standard Strava routes I noticed no difference in average speeds between a traditional 700c road bike and the Glencoe. Once the tyres are up to around 45psi they work their magic on the road, gliding you effortlessly over the imperfections and potholes in the road. Drop that tyre pressure down to 38psi and head off-road and the bike continues to impress. The wheels come pre-taped ready for sealant and valves and are incredibly easy to convert over to tubeless.

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Riding my bike down the Peddars Way in Norfolk, I found that the tyres worked well in gravel, bridleways, farm tracks and sand. For winter riding you could ride the Byway, a more 'off-road' on-road tyre from WTB with slightly more aggressive sideknobs but with the same smooth central tread, or choose the huge variety in the cross country style 650b tyres, as the bike would allow for them, although the clearances on the rear are quite tight, so you would have to opt for something less aggressive to fit. WTB also finish off the rims with there i23 rims laced onto Whyte's own branded hubs. These 32h wheels are strong and roll well. If you have a set of 700c wheels the bike does accept them, but why would you?

Geometry

The bike rides incredibly well, and is definitely a progressive take on the endurance and gravel bike geometry sets this bike apart from the rest. Featuring slacker angles, a longer frame and a slacker fork means you get a great fast and responsive bike. The bike is comfortable for long distances and also is stiff and responsive when you crank up the power, although I did find the Whyte branded chainset noisy when going for lung-busting sprints. Sizing of the Glencoe comes up pretty well with other bikes of similar sizes from other manufacturers. One of the aspects of the Glencoe I couldn't get on with was the whopping 50cm handlebars that come as standard on all sizes. I found that it made the bike handle slowly on and off road. After swapping the bars to a more traditional set of 42cm handlebars (albeit with a slight flair) and a longer stem I found I was able to attack descents on the road and control the bike off-road better.

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Overall - Jack-of-all-trades?

To say I love the Glencoe is an understatement. After much deliberation on what to buy and how to downside my fleet due to space constraints I really feel like the Glencoe is perfect for what I need. It has huge versatility, from commuting to work, fully loaded for weekend adventures or blasting through the country lanes the bike does each task so well and efficiently.

Whyte Glencoe 2018

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The Whyte Glencoe 2018 has been designed to give the rider huge levels of comfort and security on all road surfaces and tracks, offering a wide range of gears with a SRAM 1x11 speed drivetrain, giving you the ability to both apply speed when required as well as give you a gear low enough to climb the tough hills, while also reducing the extra complication of a front derailleur giving you more reliability when commuting. TRP hydraulic disc brakes give you the confidence in the ability to stop the bike quickly should you need to. The Glencoe really does offer a confident cyclist, hassle free controlled riding to use this bike as a commuting or fitness bike.

  • Frame - 6061 T6 Hydroformed Aluminium Frame
  • Fork - Straight Bladed Alloy Front Fork
  • Drivetrain - SRAM Apex 1 1x11 Speed
  • Brakes - TRP Hydraulic Disc

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