The Whyte G-160 Works is a monster of a bike, its uncompromising super long and slack geometry brings downhill bike confidence and performance to the enduro sector- with the right rider. The Whyte G-160 Works is not a bike for gentle trail rides, it’s for smashing through rocky direct lines and going against the clock. However, at £ 4799 the Works model comes at a hefty cost, we tested the far more affordable £ 2499 Whyte G-160 S to see its animal instincts are equally as feral!
Specification of the Whyte G-160 S
The new 2017 Whyte G-160 S hits an aggressive price point of £ 2499 and comes fitted with a sensible build for the type of rowdy riding it will encounter. The SRAM GX drivetrain and SRAM Descendant crankset provide all the benefits of 1×11 performance in a robust package that will not cost the earth if you send it into a tree. We were very pleased to see a RockShox Reverb Stealth and Guide R brakes, both great performers at this price point. We also like the 160 mm RockShox Yari RC fork with Boost axle, the damping is almost as good as the more expensive Pike and Lyrik and the burly chassis adds confidence to the front end. The rear is controlled by a RockShox Monarch Debonair shock, delivering up 160 mm of linear plush suspension. The 29 mm (internal) wide WTB STs rims are not the lightest but in our testing have proven tough and resilient and open up the supplied WTB tyres well.
A bike with such aggressive intentions needs a suitable cockpit and we were pleased to see a comfortable 780 mm bar and 40 mm stem, perfect for keeping in control when everything starts to get a little wild. For the money it is a good build with little to complain about, ready to head out and shred. At this price point the payoff is always weight and at a portly 14.4 kg the G-160 S not going to hustle the front on climbs, but it ascends steadily enough and prefers having gravity on its side anyway.
The Whyte G-160 S at a glance
Fork: RockShox Yari RC, 27.5”, 160 mm
Rear shock: RockShox Monarch Debonair, RT
Brakes: SRAM GUIDE R
Drivetrain: SRAM GX
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth (125 / 150 mm depending on frame size)
Stem: Whyte Gravity Stem 40 mm
Handlebar: Whyte Custom 780 mm x 15 mm rise
Wheels: WTB STs i29 Rims with TCS
Tyres: WTB Convict TCS Light High Grip 27.5 X 2.5” / WTB Riddler TCS light Fast Rolling 27.5” X 2.4”
Weight: 14.4 kg
Price: £ 2499
Geometry of the Whyte G-160 S
|Head Tube Angle||66°||66°||66°|
|Seat Tube Angle||74.7°||74.5°||74.3°|
|Top Tube||608 mm||637 mm||656 mm|
|Head Tube Length||95 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Seat Tube Length||406 mm||432 mm||457 mm|
|BB Height||341 mm||341 mm||341 mm|
|Chain Stay Length||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm|
|Wheelbase||1182 mm||1212 mm||1232 mm|
|Stack||593 mm||607 mm||616 mm|
|Reach||455 mm||479 mm||495 mm|
Riding the Whyte G-160 S
No sooner do you throw a leg over the low frame do you start to understand its intent, it is a very long bike, the reach of 495 mm (in size Large) is 5 cm longer than the ‘low and long’ Santa Cruz Nomad, but the 425 mm chainstays are shorter – aggressive is the word here! The 66° head angle and wide bars hold a line well over rough ground and the steep 74.3° seat angle provides an efficient pedalling position. The riding position feels spacious and very inside-the-bike over the long frame, with plenty of room to throw your weight around behind the wide bars.
The G-160 is for going fast, riding this bike gently is akin to getting into a Bugatti Veyron and driving round in 1st – pointless! You need to feed it speed for it to sing. Adopting an aggressive attack position and really driving the bike hard rewards with superb poise and confidence, charging through roots and over rocks like a demented bull! The Quad-4 suspension sinks into it travel well, providing massive amounts of grip but care is needed to set the SAG properly as the end stroke feels a little regressive, good for lighter riders but heavy riders more than 80 kg will need to pop some bands into the shock to firm up the spring curve a little (a 10 minute job). The Whyte G-160 S is more stable than poppy, while it’s happy to launch off booters and send drops, its special skill is charging crazy lines and mopping up big hits.
The roomy frame standover allows you to slam the bike into turns making the most of the short and nimble rear end, and the ground skimming bottom bracket finds exceptional grip mid corner. However, there are some compromises that have to be made with such an aggressive race-ready frame. All the properties that make it howl with excitement when at speed make it a little lifeless at a more pedestrian pace and the low bottom bracket does result in more pedal strikes when climbing. Those looking for a complementary trail bike for riding mellower trails would be better served by the excellent T-130 range which will provide far more enjoyment at a slower speed. The Whyte G-160 S is a race bike, a bike park missile or for smashing out hot laps on local downhill trails, the G-160 S is a canon in a gunfight.
The Whyte G-160 S is an uncompromising gravity focussed animal, hitting a price point that will not break the bank. Its extreme geometry is perfect for enduro racing and smashing downhill tracks in the woods. Those looking for a long-legged trail bike will find the long front centre intimidating and hard to manage, but for aggressive riders with the skill to get the G-160 up to speed it will feel like lighting a firework then hanging onto it.
For more information, you can check out the Whyte website.
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Words & Photos: Trev Worsey