Tuesday night is roadie night – a murderous HIT session. But with the trails so good and the weather mild I was drawn into the night by my working buddies. I had arrived at work with road racing kit but soon looked the part in Endura MTR baggies and Scott Stego helmet in fact the only real roadie give away were my mitts. Rule one NEVER mountain bike with mitts. Knuckles bashed and slashed climbing Mount Carvey and laying on my back I wondered when the trail minders will realise that most of the handle bars now are way over 700mm.
I have just come back from a week in Chamonix (walking) and met Kitch (ex MBR) who lives out there and we talked bike and trail. That conversation meant I was desperate to get back to try our new demo Whyte T-130 RS. The T-130 was slack, it is now positively laid back. This does need speed to come into its own but that is exactly what the bike encourages. I had a strange sense of karma as I hurtled down the track but felt that I had all the time in the world. This did catch me out a few times as I was rather under powered only having an Exposure Strada (my road light) and Joystick to light the way. They would have been fine going slower.
The bike begged to be thrashed through the berms and over the jumps but it was only
being ridden by me. I did start to get used to it and my confidence increased and I am sure that given daylight or my new Gemini lights I’ll do better. In the right hands this bike can do anything. I know that this isn’t the most exciting bit but the T-130 can virtually climb trees.
It’s the first trail bike that I have ridden that has felt low at the front, in fact 37mm lower than my racing Scott 900 SL but that is 50mm longer and altogether a different beast. I like the Whyte position for climbing and enjoyed being over the front wheel for the descents. The Reverb dropper does ensure that you maximise on the fun time. I am so used to riding the technical stuff with my bum in the air that I often feel that I have wasted a good downhill section.
I set the bike up with 30% sag front and rear but came back thinking that the Pikes should have been softer. There’s a lot of playing around with this bike to come on both the set up and, more importantly, the rider. Does anyone fancy a trip to Wales?
As for the spec the Shimano XT brakes and Shimano 1 x 11 with a Race Face Turbine crank worked perfectly. We all agree that Shimano is King, but they keep getting pushed by Sram and, dare I say it, the new XT shifter is much punchier and more positive than before…… a bit more like Sram. Nice.
On the ride we did some of the regulars but riding with an ex downhiller meant walking, pushing, straining and even grunting up some steep ascents when we could have been spinning up a nice climb. Tim was on his Whyte G-160 Works so his excuse was that it doesn’t climb. Try telling that to the Whyte Enduro Racing Team!
A full review will be published soon.