While some of the bikes in this group test can be considered XC bikes with big intentions, there’s no hiding the enduro DNA of the Whyte S-120C. With 120 mm travel, it might seem like just another short-travel bike. However, like a shaved lion in a room full of cheetahs, it’s a very different beast indeed.

For an overview about the test field click her: The Best Short-Travel Trail Bike – 6 Mountain Bikes in Test

Whyte S-120C RS | 120/120 mm | 13.9 kg | € 4,299

The RS model denomination has always represented Whyte’s no-frills, no-nonsense, enthusiasts choice when it comes to specification and the S-120C RS is no exception. Everything is picked for functional performance. The suspension, like most bikes in this group test, consists of the lighter 120 mm Fox Float Performance Step-Cast 34 fork with a GRIP damper, combined with a Fox Float DPS Performance shock. The carbon front triangle is mated to an aluminium rear-end which is 1x drivetrain specific. A highlight of the RS spec is the new 12-speed M8100 Shimano XT drivetrain with a 10-51 t cassette. The new four-piston M8120 XT brakes are capable of a tenacious grasp on the 180/180 mm rotors. One interesting addition is the new Bike Yoke Divine dropper post with 160 mm travel (125 mm on the size Small). The cockpit screams enduro with own brand 780 mm bars and a stubby 40 mm stem. The Race Face AR-27 wheels are shod with a Maxxis Forekaster 29×2.35” tire on the front and a Maxxis Ardent 29×2.25” Race on the rear.

The Whyte S-120C really shows how potent a 120 mm travel bike can be. We never felt underbiked.

Helmet Bell Sixer MIPS Fasthouse | Jersey POC Essential Enduro ¾ Light | Shorts POC Essential Enduro | Gloves POC Resistance Enduro | Knee pads POC VPD System Lite

The Whyte S-120C RS in detail

Fork Fox Float Performance 34 Step-Cast 120 mm
Shock Fox Float DPS Performance 120 mm
Brakes Shimano XT M8120 4 Pot 180/180
Drivetrain Shimano XT M8100
Seatpost Bike Yoke Devine 160 mm
Stem Whyte Gravity Stem 40 mm
Handlebar Whyte 6061 Alloy 780 mm
Wheels Raceface AR-27
Tires Maxxis Forekaster 3C Max Speed / Maxxis Ardent Race EXO 2.35″ / 2.25″

Aggressive geometry
The Whyte S-120C features very aggressive geometry. The 65.6° head angle is considerably slacker than all the others in this group test.
Under tension
The Whyte S-120C encourages you to drift and slap the rear end into turns. We had to re-tension the rear wheel several times.
Progressive suspension
Whyte have worked hard on their rear suspension kinematics. We like the latest evolution, which is progressive and supportive, suiting the short-travel rocket ethos.
All the range
The 10-51 t cassette of the new Shimano M8100 XT drivetrain provides more than enough range to dispatch even the steepest hills
XT M8100 12 Speed
The new M8100 XT 12 speed groupset functions beautifully with a light and tactile shift. We love the silent hub too
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 406.4 mm 431.8 mm 457.2 mm 482.6 mm
Top tube 592 mm 612 mm 640 mm 669 mm
Head tube 112 mm 125 mm 140 mm 150 mm
Head angle 65.6° 65.6° 65.6° 65.6°
Seat angle 75° 75° 75° 75°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB-Drop 34 mm 34 mm 34 mm 34 mm
Wheelbase 1103 mm 1132 mm 1159 mm 1186 mm
Reach 432 mm 456 mm 480 mm 504 mm
Stack 604 mm 616 mm 627 mm 639 mm

The Whyte S-120C RS on the trail

Just looking at the geometry it’s clear that the Whyte S-120C RS is a bike targeted at high-speed fun and that’s exactly what it delivers. The long and slack geometry provides huge stability, offset by the pop of the progressive suspension. It’s fast. Really fast. Too fast for the Maxxis Forekaster tire which lacks bite at the front in hard-charging corners. However, we loved the Shimano M8100 drivetrain. Flying silently down the hill with no noise from the freehub is awesome, especially as the rest of the bike is so silent. The modern geometry inspires huge confidence in the bike’s capability and for most testers, it was the fastest bike downhill when the trails got rough. So much so, that the S-120C would not be out of place in a 160 mm enduro bike group test. It encourages you to push hard on rough terrain – too hard perhaps as we spent a lot of time re-tensioning the rear wheel.

Tuning tip
We would fit a 3C EXO Maxxis Minion DHF tire on the front to provide a little more bite in wet or loose conditions.

This confidence and competence comes at a cost – at 13.9 kg the S-120C RS is less of a mile-munching flyweight and more a short-legged, big-attitude bike, struggling to keep up with the rest of the group when gravity is not on its side. That’s not to say it’s a bad climber, but on long gradients the Whyte S-120C encourages you to sit and spin rather than sprint. It’s an excellent one-bike solution if you don’t need huge travel. Compared to it’s bigger sibling, the excellent S-150, which actually weighs a similar amount, on most traills the S-120C is more fun, staying high in its travel and extracting every morsel of speed from the terrain. It’s the sort of bike that makes every trail a race stage, even if it is just dropping your mates or setting personal bests.


While it’s not explosive uphill, as soon as you start pumping through flowing trails, railing berms and connecting gaps, the Whyte S-120C RS is a blast. The S-120C channels raw enduro DNA and makes an ideal one-bike solution for those who don’t want to hold back on the descents.


  • makes every trail fun
  • geometry makes it more capable


  • front tire lacks bite
  • not much lighter than an enduro bike

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

S-120C RS

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 13,9 kg
Travel (f/r): 120/120 mm
Wheel Size: 29"
Price: € 4,299

Intended Use

XC 8
Trail 9
Enduro 10
Downhill 11

The test field

For an overview about the test field click her: The Best Short-Travel Trail Bike – 6 Mountain Bikes in Test

All bikes in test: Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 | Merida ONE TWENTY 8000 | Specialized Epic Expert Evo | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 | Yeti SB100 C GX

This article is from ENDURO issue #040

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