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First Ride Review – Whyte T-140 RS 29er

With our upcoming MTB socials rides in mind YCW equipped me, Neil (AKA Artificial) with a shiny new demo bike to head out on a shakedown ride aboard the new Whyte T-140 RS 29er to see if it as good as Guy Kesteven say’s it is here.

Whyte delivered the bike on Thursday afternoon, Friday was a bit of a busman’s holiday instead of chilling out at home I came into the shop to build it ready for a pre-planned trip to Hebden Bridge on the Saturday. The bike was assembled, wrapped in RideWrap frame protection, set up tubeless and cheekily upgraded from mechanical GX Eagle shifting to GX AXS. Saddle height set, suspension set up as per the suggestions from Fox and last but not least bolted on a front RRP Proguard as this is northern England in February!

We arrived in Hebden Bridge around 10am to favourable weather and the prospect of a 2 mile climb straight out of the van. Without much fuss and delay we were at the top and feeling happy with how well the bike climbs given that the riding around the Calder Valley are is predominantly either up or down. Moorland singletrack was the first real test of the bikes off road capabilities as we navigated around the humorously named Tom Tittiman hill to the first descent from High Brown Knoll. Picking my way down the rutted moorland had me appreciating the plush comfort of a full suspension bike having spent the last 4 years riding hardtails.

The rest of the morning saw us drop some classic descents for this part of the world including Pecket Well and Blue Pig along with a couple of local handcut trails. The variety of rock, loam and mud gave a fair test of the bike and rider and left me ready for lunch and excited for the afternoon loop. We headed back into Hebden in search of sustenance and of course a brew, the local pie shop providing both whilst we took in the eclectic street entertainers.

The afternoon mission was a visit to the iconic Stoodley Pike which stands proudly above the valley and brought us squarely into a stiff headwind for the majority of the climb and nearly removed our helmets for us as we emerged onto the viewing platform at the top. The long climb took quite a bit out of the legs but was absolutely worth it for the near 45 degree descent that followed with deep ruts, steps and multiple line choices requiring hard concentration and earning us encouragement.

Blasting back round the Pennine Bridleway (PBW) we headed through the locally known ‘Tunnel of Love’ and into the steep woodland above the railway station where loose, loam and rocky are all equally as descriptive of the style of tracks to be found here. Testing the bikes brakes and tyres here found the limit of the grip from the more summer/hardpack orientated Maxxis DHF and Dissector tyres and my energy levels, maybe a switch to something a bit more aggressive should have factored into yesterday’s hasty bike build.

As the afternoon drew to a conclusion we headed back to the vans to stash the bikes, pop on some clean threads and found ourselves in the always good Vocation & Co for post ride refreshment and banter.

So time for some thoughts on the bike, I certainly was impressed at how well it coped with the long climbs and with the rear shock in firm setting it felt eager to gain height, the winding moorland singletrack was also ticked off with little fuss and no pedal strikes which is encouraging in the era of
long/low/slack bikes we now enjoy. Pointing it downwards was grin inducing with my skill/confidence running out long before the bikes capability with the only exception as mentioned above with, the tyres aren’t the best in the loosest/muddy sections of terrain. Oh and the electronic shifting is addictive and worked flawlessly despite maybe having rubbed cheeks with a couple of Calderdale’s rocks.

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