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Whyte Wessex review

9 Jan 2019
Verdict:

A keen, great-value bike that rewards your every input and puts a smile on your face

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,250
For 
Great handling for a sportive bike • Ultegra with disc brakes is good value at this price • Tubeless tyres
Against 
Not the most inspiring colour • Cranks could do with an upgrade • Functional seat clamp liable to scratch seatpost

This review first appeared in Issue 51 of BikesEtc magazine

With no professional team giving regular TV airtime to the brand, or even that pro endorsement cachet, it could be easy to overlook Whyte.

But that would be a huge mistake, for this British brand knows better than most what it takes to make a great bike for our roads and the adventure that is any sportive event on these shores.

Hitting the tarmac for the first time, its relatively light weight of 8.6kg is immediately obvious.

In fact, it feels lighter than the scales indicate in the way that it responds to steering adjustments and those initial surges needed to get up and rolling. The first impression is most definitely impressive.

The model we have on test is the second step in the Wessex range, with the One below it, and above it the Di2 and SE, which tops out at £6,750, so it’s clearly a frame that’s capable of big things.

Our bike came with an intriguing mix of components – Shimano’s superb Ultegra R8000 for the shifters, rear mech and hydraulic disc brakes, while the front mech is 105, albeit the latest R7000 version, and the cranks are RS510.

These lower-grade components obviously help keep costs down, which is fair enough but do lose a little something in terms of visual impact.

Fortunately, that all falls away when on the road. The components work well together and the whole is harmonious.

Not that you’ll notice as it’s such a stunning bike to ride. It strikes such a good balance of being positive and direct to inputs without ever falling into sharp or unstable.

With 30mm Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres, we wondered if the Whyte would be at a disadvantage battering along the roads but our conclusion was a definite no.

They rolled well and gave stacks of cornering feel, and being 30mm wide, dealt well with poor road surfaces. They could even tempt you off the tarmac too.

Easton tubeless rims are laced to Whyte’s own-branded hubs that match the bars, stem, saddle and seatpost.

With built-in mudguard mounts, the Wessex can do double duty through the winter should you need it to.  


 

Ratings

Frame: 9/10
Wheels & components: 8/10
Versatility: 8/10
The ride: 9/10 

Verdict: The Wessex was a surprise in the way it combined disc brakes and 30mm tubeless tyres with a frame that is quick-handling and confidence-inspiring. While arguably compromised when the pace really lifts, it’s more than able to keep up before that and at this price we can’t think of better.

Spec

Frame Unidirectional multi monocoque carbon fibre
Groupset Shimano Ultegra R8000
Brakes Shimano Ultegra R8020 hydro disc
Chainset Shimano RS510, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105 5800, 11-32
Bars Whyte Road Compact Wing
Stem Whyte Road -6
Seatpost Whyte Road 20mm offset  
Saddle Whyte Custom Road
Wheels Whyte Alloy hub, Easton AR-21 tubeless rims, Schwalbe G-One Speed 30mm tubeless
Weight 8.6kg (size 56cm)
Contact whyte.bike

 

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