Whyte T-129 RS – Staff review
The T-129 series from Whyte is their 120mm travel 29er trail bike and having owned mine for 6 months now we thought it was time for a quick staff review. First of all a little more about the bike before I go on to how it rides.
There are two models within the range, the T-129 S and T-129 RS. Both models as discussed earlier run on 29” wheels with 120mm of travel front and rear. Both run Shimano 1X11 gearing and Shimano brakes with Fox suspension 34 Forks and Float DPS shocks doing the bouncy bit! They also come with arguably the best dropper post in the market, the much loved Rockshox reverb. Wheels are tubeless ready with Maxxis tyres so setting up tubeless is hassle free, of course something we can help you out with.
In terms of innovation and trends, there really is little to choose between them, on specification the RS benefits from slightly better quality Shimano and Fox parts (in relation to shifting, braking and damping). What this translates to is a smoother lighter gear change action from the shifter, the Shimano XT brakes on the RS model will be sharper and have better modulation than the entry level stoppers on the S, and the Fox 34 Fork on the RS has Fox suspensions’ Grip Damper which will offer better small bump sensitivity and mid stroke support. Something to note though, fork and shock on both models can be tuned with volume spacers so in terms of customisation there is nothing to choose.
T-129 RS spec
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
Full spec and geometry info can be found at http://www.whyte.bike/trail-suspension-29er
I have owned my Whyte T-129 RS for around 6 months now and have been blown away by the bikes performance. If you simply look at suspension numbers arguably 120mm of travel is a little undergunned for aggressive trail/enduro riding however I have raced the bike in the yorkshire dales at The Ardrock enduro (a great event by the way) and also a days uplift riding at Bikepark Wales with the rest of the Finch Cycles team. It handled the terrain with ease at the bikepark even helping me down a few of the black runs and my times at the enduro race were quicker than the previous year.
Having said all this 90% of my riding is around the North Downs and The Surrey Hills which, if you are reading this will know, have a fair amount of climbing which the T-129 just does with ease. A simple flick on the shocks climb switch and it performs like an xc bike.
Back to the descending, which is what it’s all about right!? The bike is truly confidence inspiring on the descents, with the big wheels and slack 67 degree head angle rarely do if find myself getting out of shape. The reach numbers for me feel just right as well, which in part is why I’m loving the bike so much at the moment (I’ll speak more about sizing shortly). I had to play around with volume spacers in both the shock and the fork but now I’ve found the sweet spot traction and damping from The Fox suspension parts compliment the bike well. The short chainstays at 430.9 mm are very short for 29” wheels which gives the bike great manoeuvrability and ‘flickability’ which add to the fun factor. The bike comes alive when ridden fast over flowing terrain urging you to go faster, grip almost feels unlimited.
One of the main reasons for choosing the Whyte was that at 6’2” I feel that the XL bike is spot in terms of size and geometry. I would probably be happy on the Large too however I like running a short stem so the XL just gives me that extra little bit of reach, and a longer wheelbase which aids stability at speed. Sizing is very important to make sure you have room on the bike but are also weighting the bike correctly when climbing and descending so we urge you try a couple of sizes if you are on the cusp.
|5’6″ – 5’10”||5’10” – 6’2″||6’2″ – 6’5″|
|168 – 178 cm||178 – 188 cm||188 – 196 cm|
Enduro mountain bike magazine wrap up their review of the bike as follows, which I think sums it up just about right, and they’ve got some great pics of the bike too;
‘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’.
My conclusions are that if you are looking for a fast, fun agile 29er that climbs well and descends even better then look no further. In my opinion it really is the perfect Surrey Hills bike, and if you are sceptical of the big wheels I say give them a try, you might just like them!