Whyte’s T-130RS was our Trail Bike of the Year winner last year, but a disappointing Fox suspension ‘upgrade’ means it’s not the T-130 model I’d opt for now.
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It’s still the same excellent 130mm-travel alloy frame with relatively slack 67-degree head angle and huge 467mm reach on my large sample. It’s single-ring-specific and Boost width, too, which means Whyte can shorten the symmetrical chainstays to 420mm. That gives it great responsiveness without undermining the inherent stability of the front end.
An internal ‘Intergrip’ seat clamp, lifetime-warrantied suspension bearings and a Hope Pro 4 rear hub mean a long life even in the worst conditions, while Whyte’s 50mm stem and a 760mm wide bar are spot on. Wider 29mm internal rims should also give better rough terrain roll over. The result is a bike that feels poised, purposeful and ready to rip.
However, extra wheel mass, wider tyre footprint and an overall weight of nearly 14kg make it hard to get going despite the oversize 30mm axle on the RaceFace Turbine crank. My sample also suffered from severe cable drag that made the Shimano XT gears feel stiff and inaccurate despite a stiffness-boosting direct mount rear mech.
The Performance grade Fox 34 fork and Float rear shock are the real killer, though, feeling insensitive over small stuff, spiking over fast hits and blowing through the mid-stroke easily.
Adding volume spacers and dropping pressure in both fork and shock, and lowering tyre pressure perilously low given the lightweight carcass, helps but it still struggles to keep speed over the rocky sections that it used to accelerate through.
The good news is the £2,550 T-130S has a cleaner-feeling SRAM GX transmission, super-stout RockShox Yari fork, better-damped Monarch rear shock and the same wider tyre and wheelset, making that our T-130 pick.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.