When we tested the Whyte G-170 RS 27.5 model, we were left in no doubt as to its hard-hitting hitting credentials, but did it fit as a pure speed-freaks race bike? Whyte has now shut that question down with their new €6299 (£5250) G-170 Works 29er, and at the same time fired a warning shot over the bows of the direct-sales superbrands.
The Whyte G-170 Works 29er in detail
Fork RockShox Lyrik RC2, 29″ 160 mm 42 mm offset
Rear shock RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Coil 170 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle, 12 Speed
Crankset SRAM X01 Carbon Eagle 32T DUB
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 150 mm
Stem Race Face Turbine 32 mm
Handlebar Race Face NEXT R, 10mm Rise 800 mm
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF WT 2.5″/Maxxis Aggressor WT 2.5″
Wheelset Whyte 30 mm Carbon Hookless on Hope Pro 4
Weight 15.4 Kg Large
Price €6299 (£5250)
When it comes to bike development, Whyte has always employed an F1 style approach, working closely with their race team and supporting much of the UK enduro race scene. It comes as no surprise then that most of their design team are not only skilled engineers but also happy to hustle for the tops steps of the elite podiums. The new Whyte G-170 Works 29er is a direct result of this racer led development program, bringing the ground-covering speed of 29” wheels to their big-hit G-170 platform to produce a bike that is an outstanding podium hunter.
The gauntlet has been well and truly slapped down. Whyte has always worked hard to stand in competition to the direct-sales superbrands when it comes to value for money, and the specification of the G-170 Works 29er model is less of an argumentatively raised finger and more a solid punch to the nose. Starting with the all-important suspension, we think there is no better fork on the market than the RockShox Lyrik RC2 160 mm fork with 42 mm offset, backed up by a custom tuned RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RCT which has more than enough muscle to handle the biggest hits. SRAM Code RSC brakes are a perfect match for a race-ready bike, combined with 200 mm rotors front and back they are plucked directly from any racers wishlist. With a full SRAM X01 Eagle group with a carbon 170 mm crankset, 32T chainring and new DUB BB, SRAM really is at the top of their game at the moment and Whyte is taking full advantage.
Whyte specs their own 30 mm carbon hookless rims, with 28 spokes laced to reliable Hope Pro 4 Boost hubs for easy servicing. The build is finished with a RockShox Reverb Stealth 150 mm dropper post and Race Face Next cockpit with 800 mm carbon bars and a stubby 32 mm stem. Hell, it even has awesome tyres, with a Maxxis Minion DHF WT 2.5 EXO 3C on the front and a Maxxis Aggressor WT 2.5 DD for the rear, you could roll this bike out of the box and direct to the top step of an EWS. “Chapeau Whyte, Chapeau”.
“The bike works through rock gardens with disregard for big square edged hits, 29-inch wheels and 170 mm travel certainly give a lot of potential for stupid lines.”
|Seat tube||406 mm||431 mm||457 mm|
|Top tube||585 mm||604 mm||629 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|Chainstay||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm|
|BB Height||349 mm||349 mm||349 mm|
|Wheelbase||1205 mm||1225 mm||1250 mm|
|Reach||433 mm||449 mm||469 mm|
|Stack||624 mm||634 mm||642 mm|
The geometry of the Whyte G-170 Works 29er is very similar to the 27.5” version. The head angle is a little slacker at 64.3° (compared to the 27.5 versions 65°). The 349 mm BB height is 19 mm higher than the 27.5” model’s 330 mm, which feels lower than the numbers would suggest. Chainstays have grown to 435 mm, but are still considered short. The 642 stack (L) is almost identical to the 27.5” (637 mm) but the reach is a little shorter at 469 mm, but the sizing still feels very spacious, and our 1.8-1.9 m tall testers felt very comfortable on the trails.
Riding the Whyte G-170 Works 29er
Hitting the trails, anyone who buys a bike like this for its climbing ability really does not get what the bike is about, however, the Whyte G-170 Works 29er climbs better than it has any right too. Anti-squat feels good with the big Eagle 50T engaged and the suspension remains very calm on long climbs, even with the compression damping wide open and the climb switch off. The supple coil suspension feels very active and tracks the ground well in short uphill punches. We did find we were most comfortable on steep climbs with the seat pushed right forward on the rails, suggesting that the 75° seat angle could be a degree or two steeper, a situation that is more pronounced with long-legged testers, but overall, the burly bike impressed with its spirited climbing ability, perfect for winch and plummeting.
On the descents, the big-hit machine starts to flex its muscles, feeling very at home at speeds that should carry a health warning. Whyte has left its linear leverage curves in the past and the G-170 has a very progressive kinematic proving a perfect match to the RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock. The leverage curve adds significant support near the end of the travel, making hucks and gas-to-flat overshoots totally bottomless. Through the turns the 29er model cannot match the crazy low BB slash’n’burn cornering of the 27.5” model, instead, it rewards smoother, drawn-out lines. If you’re a 50:01 wannabe, the smaller wheels will be more rewarding, but for everyone else, the 29er is faster, real fast! As soon as the trail opens up you start hauling in the seconds on your mates. While we don’t think short offset forks are the magic bullet, the 42 mm RockShox Lyrik RC2 certainly contributes to very composed and stable steering. As a race bike, the 29er makes a lot more sense to us, combined with the progressive coil suspension and lashings of travel, the bike chews through the roughest terrain with ease, speeding up transitions and demolishing root beds and rock gardens. The big Super Deluxe coil barely breaks into a sweat on full-bore EWS terrain and the neutral and composed handling make high-speed progress effortless, freeing up concentration to push harder and take better lines.
As mentioned previously, when we reviewed the Whyte G-170 RS 27.5 we were left in a quandary. Whyte has another bike in their portfolio, the awesome S-150 29er. The bigger wheels of the S-150 meant it could go toe-to-toe with the big 27.5” G-170 on most terrain while being more versatile for all-around riding. The new G-170 Works 29er model clears up any blurred lines confusion. Whyte makes no bones about who the G-170 Works 29 is for, it’s for the privateer or professional enduro racer, as such, it’s not compromised by having to be an all-rounder. While the G-170 Works 29er pedals uphill better than expected, with huge travel reserves it’s a bike for taking chances, pushing harder to save milliseconds and riding on the limit. Most riders will find the S-150 a much more engaging companion on most trials, but for riders who stray between the tapes frequently or who love bike park gaps, the G-170 Works 29er is the bike they have been waiting for, a total weapon.
The Whyte G-170 Works 29er is an outstanding bike, a thoroughbred racer in both intent and execution it’s a bike for stealing podiums. While too much for general trail riding, if you have the skills and gnarly enough trails, it rewards with eye-watering speed and total composure. Most impressive it how it goes toe-to-toe with the best of the direct-sales brands when it comes to value too.
Uphill | Downhill | Stability | Agility
| Value For Money
– Extremely stable and fast
– Outstanding specification
For more info head to: Whyte Bikes
Words & Photos: Trev Worsey