Whyte’s latest trail bike is a do-it-all ripper. It’s a 150mm-travel, plus-compatible 29er that can take on virtually any trail with aplomb.
A tried-and-true Horst Link design delivers the S-150’s 150mm of rear wheel travel. The suspension is slightly progressive all the way through the stroke. Whyte says it’ll work well with a coil shock, but the leverage curve complements the stock air shock too. The layout offers decent pedalling efficiency without too much pedal feedback.
On the two S-150C models, a carbon front triangle is mated to an aluminium back end. There’s room for a full-size water bottle and clearance for 27.5x2.8in plus tyres.
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Whyte S-150C Works kit
The Works is the top-end model, with SRAM’s XX1 Eagle 12-speed gearing (though you don’t get the bling gold cassette). RockShox provides the solid suspension units and long-travel, size-specific Reverb dropper post.
You also get Whyte’s own 30mm carbon 29er rims, laced to Hope hubs and shod with skinny Maxxis tyres.
Whyte specs 170mm crank arms — as opposed to the usual 175mm — on all sizes to reduce the chance of pedal strikes due to the super-low 335mm bottom bracket height.
Whyte also uses a short custom fork offset of 42mm to increase the trail figure (how far the contact patch of the front tyre sits behind the steering axis) and calm the steering, making the bike handle as if it’s even slacker than it is.
Whyte S-150C Works ride
The first thing I noticed riding the S-150C is how well it corners. I immediately felt comfortable carving turns and exploring the limits of grip, thanks to the low bottom bracket, short fork offset and impressive chassis stiffness.
The bottom bracket height makes it feel fighter-jet nimble when banking from left to right, while the weight balance and composed geometry make for predictable, confident cornering.
In rougher sections the S-150 keeps its composure well. The reach is pretty roomy (459mm on the medium, 490mm on our XL) and the head angle is moderately slack, at 66 degrees, but the low bottom bracket and shorter fork offset help here too, calming down the handling and helping the bike remain confident and fast.
Because the linkage builds in firmness throughout the suspension stroke, small-bump sensitivity is excellent, but there’s plenty of support deeper in the travel to hold you up in corners or when pumping and jumping. This means traction over trail chatter is excellent, yet the rear end still swallows big hits without blowing through its travel. The Pike fork is a good match up front, offering impressive sensitivity and support.
While the suspension does bob a little when pedalling hard, it doesn’t noticeably sap energy on trail centre-type terrain, and it’s easy to toggle the shock’s ‘climb’ switch on if you want maximum sprightliness. The Works model is nice and light so it climbs fast, but a steeper seat angle would make tricky ascents easier.
Thanks to its fast-rolling tyres and stiffness under power, the S-150 feels eager and fun on mellower terrain. It responds well to hopping and pumping, building and maintaining speed remarkably well.
Despite having 150mm of travel, it never felt like too much bike. At the same time, the confidence-inspiring geometry and supple suspension make for an immensely capable rough terrain tamer.
I fitted a higher-rise bar and a shorter stem (40mm) to make it even more authoritative on steep descents. You could also fit beefier tyres, and even a coil shock, to turn it into a true enduro weapon, but the S-150 rarely felt out of its depth in stock form.
A 650b+ wheelset with 2.8in tyres will be available separately from Whyte. This adds extra grip and even better rough-terrain speed sustain, and drops the bottom bracket below 330mm. The result is an even more agile feel in corners, though you have to be careful of pedal strikes.