If you read any of my earlier blogs about the Whyte Bikes S-150CRS you’ll probably remember my initial apprehension about moving from up from the T-130CRS (and I do mean up in every sense of the word!) to wagon wheels and being more than a little concerned about the sheer size of the thing.
My initial thoughts were akin to mounting a horse rather than slinging a leg over a bike and it turns out that was pretty close to the truth but in a different way. It’s actually more to do with what type of horse.
I could waffle on for hours, stringing you along, pretending that I still wasn’t really sure about the bike but the truth is, this bike rocks! I’ve never had a bike that is so much fun to ride and copes with everything you can throw at it. Whether I was riding epic loops up on the North York Moors, coaching beginners in Dalby Forest or getting a little bit sendy on the jumps and drops, the S-150 just keeps begging for more. I can see why some of the Whyte racing team have won Enduro events on it. It’s a thoroughbred (remember that horse reference above??) in every sense of the word. I’ll resist the urge to talk about having a strong, capable beast between your legs. Or maybe I wont.
Whilst it copes with super steep techy climbs (you can find the video of Indian Steps on Vimeo here) and for a big wheeler, copes admirably on tight twisty switchbacks, it’s when you get it up to speed that this bike really comes alive. It just floats over everything, flattening out rocky and rooty sections (I should have said gnarly trails- dude) like something with much more travel. Bad line choice just doesn’t seem to happen and if you’re not already an MTB god, it’ll make you start to feel like one.
I thought rather than just repeating lots of what I said in my last update on the bike though, I’d add in a bit about what the bike has been like to live with. Were there any niggles? Did I, would I, change anything?
First off, because I tend to sell the bikes on after each season, I like to keep them pretty much stock in terms of parts. I’ve always been a fan of SDG saddles though as they just fit me. Having been on Bel-Air Ti saddles for years though I went with a Circuit and I have to say that my arse didn’t thank me for it. I think it’s actually made out of oak. Saddle opinions (and you know what they say about opinions) are pretty emotive so I’ll leave it there for now. Oh I changed the grips too, for some yellow ones to match the bike decals. I’m such a tart.
One thing I would consider changing is the wheels but (and it’s a big but) whilst the stock wheels feel a bit sluggish and a bit on the heavy side, they are pretty much bomb proof. Well I say bomb proof, that is unless you hit a rock garden at speed without checking your tyre pressures at the start of the ride. Slapped wrist for the experienced guide, coach and cytech trained bike mechanic* who set it up. It mostly came out with a bit of persuasion. Once they’re up to speed though that weight is a bonus with that rotating momentum helping the bike roll over and through pretty much everything. So if you’re an Enduro bro (what’s the female equivalent or are we all bros like we’re all actors?) and you worship at the altar of gravity than you’ll get along just fine with them.
For me though, I think a lighter set would have suited me better for all round riding. I say lighter when I mean carbon. Yes, a carbon wheel set would have been perfect for me on this bike and made so much difference to my life as a coach and a guide. Just in case you can’t tell that’s just a blatant attempt at justifying some bling. I’m just not sure whether I’m trying to justify it to myself or the Chief Financial Officer.
The bike did develop a couple of creaks. The first was solved by a quick strip and reagrease of the headset. The headset isn’t the best but if the bike was dripping with Hope or Chris King then people would be complaining about the price. The second took a while and turned out to be the main lower pivot bearing. Again a quick strip and regrease sorted it.
Though I’ve never been a fan of High Rollers I thought I’d give it another go and I was pretty sure the Minion SS would be pants on slippy techy climbs or off piste (if I ever decided to actually ride off piste that is *cough*) but both turned out to a bit of a surprise to be honest Maybe it’s the bit of extra grip you get from those big wheels. I wasn’t so impressed that I’d spec the same again but they weren’t as bad as I thought so I kept them on.
The reverb developed a tiny bit of play but worked flawlessly. Maybe I’ve been lucky with two so far that have been fine. I’ve read lots of different ‘opinions’ about them in general though.
Everything else has been fine. I got used to having a cassette the size of a dustbin lid (yeah I know they’re square now, I’m just showing my age) and the gears never skipped a beat. I’ve heard people moan about Guide brakes but for me, they’re spot on. Good power and modulation with one finger braking so I can’t ask for anything more.
So I think that’s about it. Just so you know, I wrote this instead of going for a ride on the road bike. I may not feel any fitter now but my backside and lower back ache just the same.
Disclosure: I get a good deal from Whyte bikes as I ride for a living but I buy the bikes and could get deals from other brands. I choose Whyte because I like the bikes and they’re a great company. I’m under no obligation to say only nice things and hopefully you can tell that I try to give an honest account of things.
Message me or comment if you’re considering a Whyte and have any questions.
So, what comes next? What bike will I be riding for business and for fun in 2019? Even as a bit of a blogging amateur, I know enough to keep the audience waiting for more, so sorry folks, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that bit of excitement. I hope you’ll cope in the mean time.
Right. Road ride (I don’t have an MTB remember) or beer, road ride or beer, road ride or beer…..