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.

Boasting 120 mm of travel, 29" wheels and a taut and aggressive frame, the T-129 RS is an excellent trail bike.
Boasting 120 mm of travel, 29″ wheels and a taut and aggressive frame, the T-129 RS is an excellent trail bike.

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
Price: £2950

The compact 430.9 mm chainstays and 46 mm fork offset give great agility.
The compact 430.9 mm chainstays and 46 mm fork offset result in great agility.
The suspension action is taut, feedback rich and efficient - just enough to smooth out the ride.
The suspension action is taut, feedback rich and efficient – just enough to smooth out the ride.
Wide 760 mm bars and a 40 mm stem get a thumbs up from the test team.
Wide 760 mm bars and a 40 mm stem get a thumbs up from the test team.
Clearance has been increased to allow fitment of more aggressive tyres if needed.
Clearance has been increased to allow fitting of more aggressive tyres if needed.
The single ring specific design ensures Whyte can build a wider, stiffer main pivot.
The single ring specific design ensures Whyte can build a wider, stiffer main pivot.
The new GRIP damper is a breath of fresh air in the affordable fork sector.
The new GRIP damper is a breath of fresh air in the affordable fork sector.

Geometry of the Whyte T-129 RS

Size M L XL
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!

The Whyte T-129 RS charges hard on flowing terrain, the taut suspension gets better the faster you go.
The Whyte T-129 RS charges hard on flowing terrain, the taut suspension gets better the faster you go.
On steep trails the aggressive geometry keeps everything under control.
On steep trails the aggressive geometry keeps everything under control.
KOM's on flowing trails are the hunting ground of the Whyte T-129 RS
KOM’s on flowing trails are the hunting ground of the Whyte T-129 RS

Conclusion

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.

If you want to crack on, the T-129 is up for it.
If you want to crack on, the Whyte T-129 is up for it.

Words & Photos: Trev Worsey