Whyte S-150 S
The S-150 is designed to use a fork with a reduced offset (42mm) – the idea being to calm the steering without dulling the bike’s nimbleness. Working alongside that to boost stability further are a slack 65.3-degree head angle, 435mm chainstays, a long 1,212mm wheelbase and a groundhuggingly low 333mm BB – which is why Whyte spec 170mm crank arms, to limit pedal strikes. With those angles and a generous reach (458.5mm on the medium), the S-150 feels surefooted and commanding from the outset.
While it’s still fun to throw around at slower speeds, it’s when the pace picks up that the geometry shines, particularly in high-speed, chattery turns, where there’s a calmness through the bar that really helps when you’re trying to hold a line. It carries speed well on flatter sections of trail and, providing it’s not too muddy for the shallow-treaded rear tyre, will claw its way up pretty much any climb you point it at. Here, you’ll appreciate the wide gear range, courtesy of a SRAM GX Eagle transmission. We killed the rear mech early on but since replacing it have had no other problems.
Throw the S-150 into something really rough and it doesn’t feel as smooth or forgiving as some of the other big-wheelers on test, with a back end that’s not quite as composed or supportive and uses up its travel a little too eagerly at times. Adding a volume spacer to the shock helped with endstroke progression on bigger hits.
Because the S-150 is more of a long-travel trail bike than an enduro racer, Whyte have used a Rockshox Revelation fork up front instead of the burlier but heavier Yari. Our original fork felt a little slow and sluggish but the replacement worked a lot better and its sturdy chassis helped keep steering precise. The Rev doesn’t deal with successive high-speed hits quite as comfortably as the more expensive, Charger Damper-equipped Pike, though, and needs more air in it to keep it propped up on steeper trails, which means a little more chatter through the bar. Fortunately, the four-piston SRAM Guide T brakes (a mid-season upgrade from the Level Ts that originally came on the S-150) boost power on long descents, helping to keep your hands that bit fresher.
While the S-150 S isn’t as refined as it could be, it’s not afraid of going seriously fast, though the ride isn’t quite as smooth or comfortable as that of some of the other bikes here.