We really liked the 2015 Whyte T-129 Works, it’s aggressive geometry and easy to exploit performance made it a superb 120 mm 29er. However, the tight rear tyre clearance meant that we could not fit an aggressive tyre. The new 2017 Whyte T-129 RS now boasts increased clearance so we were super excited to hit the trails and test it out.
Specification of the Whyte T-129 RS
The new 2017 Whyte T-129 RS retails for £2950 and comes fitted with a solid build kit for hard riding. We were pleased to see a reliable Shimano XT M8000 11 speed drivetrain with 30T RaceFace Turbine chainset and 11-46 cassette, and delighted to see a Hope PRO4 rear hub which is a very robust and easy to service performer. Whyte still offer a lifetime warranty on their bearings, making them popular in the UK. The Fox Float Performance fork’s GRIP damper is a welcome addition at this price point, well matched to the Fox Float DPS shock, with 3 position adjustment. The 27 mm wide RaceFace ARC-27 rims open up the tyres well, giving them a great profile, but the jury is still out on the Maxxis Tomahawk 3C Maxx Terra 29” x 2.35” front tyre which grips well in the dry but can be a little unpredictable in the wet. The “ready-to-hit-the-trails” build continues with a wide 760 mm bar (780 mm on size XL) and 40 mm stem (50 mm on the XL), a combo that gets a big thumbs up from us. At 13.8 kg, the 6061 T6 aluminium bike is not the lightest, but the 67-degree head angle opens up the versatility of the bike.
Fork: FOX 34 Float Performance 29 110×15
Rear shock: FOX Float DPS Performance
Brakes: Shimano XT M8000
Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8000
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth (150 – 170 mm depending on frame size)
Stem: Whyte Gravity Stem 40 mm
Handlebar: Whyte Custom 760 mm x 15 mm rise
Wheels: RaceFace ARC-27 with Hope PRO4 Rear Hub
Tyres: Maxxis Tomahawk TR 3C Maxx Terra 2.35 / Maxxis Crossmark II EXO 2.25
Weight: 13.8 kg
Geometry of the Whyte T-129 RS
|Head Tube Angle||67°||67°||67°|
|Seat Tube Angle||74.0°||73.8°||73.6°|
|Top Tube||613.4 mm||633.1 mm||652.8 mm|
|Head Tube Length||100 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Seat Tube Length||431.8 mm||457.2 mm||482.6 mm|
|BB Height||335.0 mm||335.0 mm||335.0 mm|
|Chain Stay Length||430.9 mm||430.9 mm||430.9 mm|
|Wheelbase||1176.1 mm||1196.1 mm||1216.1 mm|
|Stack||597 mm||607 mm||616 mm|
|Reach||455 mm||471 mm||487 mm|
Riding the Whyte T-129 RS
Hitting the trails the Whyte T-129 RS shows that it has lost none of it’s potent performance both up and down, it’s no plush hang-on-and-plow bike though, it’s a racy thoroughbred. The 46 mm offset of the Fox Float Performance 34 fork keep the steering inputs razor sharp and the taught and efficient suspension does just enough to smooth out the ride without wallowing or bogging down. Through corners the tight chainstays and fork offset give a surprising amount of liveliness, allowing you to rail hard or flick the back out without that ‘locked in’ feel that plagues some 29ers – the T-129 changes direction like a rabbit being chased by a hound. The Whyte T-129 RS is most at home chasing KOM’s on flow trails where it’s agility and rolling speed allow it to hold frightening speed, (a few new doubles were found). Through bigger rock gardens and on very steep terrain the firm and progressive suspension starts to feel a little rowdy, but an aggressive rider will still find it intoxicating fun in terrain where it has no place being. We would love to see Whyte work on a slightly slacker, longer travel version – now that would be a thing!
For an average rider, the Whyte T-129 is a fun and confidence inspiring bike that will unlock new found speed on flowing terrain – more advanced riders will find the nimbleness and playfulness of the T-129 RS simply electric, rewarding with blistering speed and raw excitement.
For more information you can check out the Whyte website.
Words & Photos: Trev Worsey