Whyte Bikes S-150CRS. Part Deux: Either I’m growing or it’s starting to shrink on me!
Disclosure. We’re a MTB holidays, guiding, skills coaching and servicing business so after almost 12 years in business we have lots of industry relationships and trade accounts. Nothing I review is free though (unless stated) so I make business decisions and spend business money on kit which usually has to be based on head, not heart.
Disclosure Part Two. I’m new to this blogging malarkey so bear with me while I find my feet. It’s all honest, real world stuff though so hopefully you’ll like what you read and if you don’t you’ll either tell me or move onto something slightly more interesting.
After just over a year on the ‘best bike in the world’ (to steal a phrase from Guy Kesteven), I decided to sell my T-130CRS and have a change on the S-150CRS. This is my ongoing account of how it’s going so far..
If you read my last review you’ll know I wasn’t at all sure at first. Going for a bike with more of an Enduro slant and bigger wheels felt like a giant leap, in every way possible.
After a few weeks on the bike, I can share a bit more about how I’m getting on, but, although I love riding in snow and have had an amazing Whyte Christmas, I’m still waiting for those illusive fast dry trails to really get to grips with it, literally.
I’ve fitted an SDG Circuit carbon saddle and some Race Face Love Handle grips, both paid for with hard earned cash (trade account) and transferred from the T-130. I’m also trying out the Mucky Nutz Full Face Fender and their Butt Fender. I’m a huge fan of these simple and original fenders and have bought them for all my bikes for the past few years. The folks at Mucky Nutz sent me these through as a thanks for my continued custom and social media coverage. I’ll post a review of the Full Face Fender soon though as it’s the first time I’ve tried it. I also fitted a Bentley Components Dirt Flap, if you’re local, you’ll probably already have one, if you’re not then you should try one and save your seat post. It works fine with the Butt Fender too!
So, despite buying the biggest bike in the world* (*not officially verified), I haven’t had a single altitude induced nose bleed or even needed a riding buddy to give me a leg up. In fact, the more I ride it the more it’s starting to kind of shrink on me (see what I did there?). It no longer feels like I’m climbing on the back of a shire horse. It feels a bit more like climbing tentatively aboard a powerful handsome thoroughbred.
I’m still finding there’s way more grip from that rear tyre than should be physically possible in the snow and mud, which must be more to do with the larger wheel size and wider rim rather than the central tread pattern, if you can call it that (I reckon it will be FAST in the dry though!). I also previously mentioned that it corners well, eerily so on the tight stuff and there’s still no hint of folding in or wrestling it round, which must be testament to that custom fork offset as I haven’t ridden another 29er that feels like it. That said, I’m no pro bike tester, I haven’t ridden hundreds of bikes but I have ridden bikes hundreds of times and I do know that so far this big wheeler makes tight turns feel easy, whether they’re uphill switchbacks or steep techy off-piste down hill around trees on wet squirmy loam. That means two big ticks from me as I love that type of slower really tight technical riding and feeling in control.
My next comment isn’t what you’ll want to hear if you’re considering buying this bike but it feels, well, errm, how can I say it……. slow!
Perception of speed can be deceptive though, as anybody who’s been on one of our skills courses will know. We do a lot of work on how to lower perception of speed to build confidence and allow you to process quicker. I think it’s a mix of the wagon wheels rolling the rough stuff better and 150mm of travel soaking up the hits which makes it ‘feel’ slow. The T-130 felt involving with lots of trail feedback letting you know what’s going on and how near the edge you are. So far the 150 is just ‘smooth’ which makes me think I haven’t pushed it hard enough yet. Time will tell, but, the few technical sections and drops I’ve managed to hit at speed, even covered in snow or ice, are making me grin like a loon at the thought of what’s to come.
On the climbs, it still ‘feels’ like the big wheels are harder to keep rolling which is to be expected, right? Then there are those shorter cranks making it just that little bit harder to crank that power? Yet, on rocky technical climbs, it doesn’t care if you get the line wrong, it just begs you to go faster and try harder. On the easier climbs, when I look back, I’m still opening the gaps on my riding buddies, maybe even a little more than usual.
That’s not meant to sound like a brag, there are certainly faster and fitter riders than me up the hills but it’s the only gauge I’ve got at the moment. Once I get some dry conditions, I can sell my soul to the devil again and check my private Strava times.
Hopefully you’re starting to realise it’s a bike that’s taking a bit of getting used to but it’s starting to feel like it’s all going to be worth it…
Stay tuned and please feel free to share with anybody you think will be interested in my musings.
Oh and I’ll post some words about my new and very blue Madison DTE winter kit soon.
Over and out.
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