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2019 Whyte T-130 SR Bike Review

Words by Ellie Park

on 15/01/2019 16:57:00

2019 Whyte T-130 SR Bike Review

by Ellie Park

Here we have Whyte Bikes GB entry level full-suspension mountain bike, the T-130 SR. Although this is the “entry level” model I have ridden this exact bike on trails ranging from trail centre cross country blues to Innerleithen downhill tracks, So don’t be fooled this bike is more than capable and is an ideal all rounder.
whyte thumbnail pic
This SR is one of the cheaper full suspension mountain bikes out there coming in at £2,299.99 making this bike a great deal as it still has some great components despite the low price, including; Fox Performance suspension forks (140mm of travel) and Fox Float DPS shock (130mm of travel), 11spd Shimano SLX shift kit, Maxxis tubeless ready tyres, dropper seatpost and TRP Slate T4 Brakes. The frame is Aluminium which does make the bike a little on the heavy side at 14.9kg however the top model in the T130 range comes in at 13kg so really its not too much of a difference considering its almost £3000 more expensive and besides, due to the playful geometry I haven't really noticed the weight.
Dropper and Chainset
Since the bike is the cheapest in the T-130 range it does come with Whyte’s own branded Chain-set and dropper post, however to my surprise they have not given me any issues. Personally I think the chainset is remarkably stiff, in fairness though I am 5ft 1…so some bigger riders might disagree – although it is a little heavier than your typical Sram or Shimano Chainsets but to be honest I have not really noticed the difference. Again the dropper seat post exceeded my low expectations. Its internally routed so it looks good and I have ridden it all through winter and not had any problems - Unfortunately it is not hydraulic though, but that’s just me being a bike snob as the dropper is a great budget option that is not lacking in performance.
Brakes and Suspension
The Slate T4 brakes are getting rave reviews everywhere but in fairness I didn’t think they were perfect. Don’t get me wrong they are exceptionally powerful and they have not squealed once unlike every other set of Shimano brakes I have ever had. Although I don’t like the leaver shape itself as it is very long therefore the leaver has to be very far away from the the handlebar grip to allow for single finger braking. Due to my tiny hands this means that I cannot reach the gear leaver and the brake leaver at the same time. Now I know you might be thinking why don’t I just swap my shifter and break leaver clamp round? because the shifter is I-Spec B which means that it attaches directly to the brake leaver making your handle bar look a lot cleaner but unfortunately you don’t get as much adjustment than a normal shifter. As well as the leaver shape I found that the T4 brakes had very little modulation which is not ideal on steep muddy/loose terrain.
The Fox Performance Suspension not only makes the bike descend like a dream but it also climbs like a hardtail! This bike is the best full sus I have had for climbing, it has just enough travel for epic downhills without compromising on the ups. The Fox CTD (Climb,Trail,Descend) feature on the fork as well as the shock allows you to lock out completely for those brutal climbs but then at the flick of a switch its back in descent mode again and ready to shred the downhills. The trail feature really makes this bike versatile as it allows you to ride more undulating cross country style trails with enough suspension for the technical features without compromising too much pedalling efficiency on the hills. What more could you ask for?
Tyres and Rear Triangle
Further improving this bikes versatility is the all new geometry for 2019. The bike has an exceptionally short back end for non-stop fun and flow on the tight twisty trails as well as a long and low front triangle with a super slack head angle making it capable and firmly planted on the steep and scary enduro trails.
The bike comes with 27.5 wheels which some people might say is a draw back with everyone now slowly moving to 29” wheels but when you’re a short rider 29” is just not feasible and also in my opinion I think 29” definitely roll faster but on technical terrain I feel it ruins the handling making it very slow to turn and hard to manoeuvre. The bike comes with the perfect sweet spot I believe with 27.5 wheels with mega wide 2.6 inch tyres making the bike 27.5 plus. Not only does this make the bike roll faster but it also adds a little bit more suspension due to the extra volume in the tyres which also allows you to ride lower pressures providing more grip. Which if you’re like me and do most if your riding in Scotland, that extra grip is most certainly needed. Oh and did I mention its tubeless!
muddy t130
The only let down was the tyre choice, the bike comes stock with a Maxxis high roller II on the front and a Maxxis Rekon on the rear which is fine for dry dusty trails or riding hard pack at trail centre's but as soon as winter came I swapped the high roller onto the rear and put a Maxxis minion DHF in a 2.6 onto the front as the stock set up really did not cut it in the rain and mud. For a British brand I thought this choice was quite poor but that is purely due to the type of riding I like to do, I mostly ride natural trails which are 99% of the time wet and muddy and I rarely ride hard pack machine made trails, so in fairness it depends on the type of riding you like to do.
dunoon t130
In conclusion the Whyte Bikes T-130 SR is exceptional value for money as it is very rare to get such a high level of components such as a dropper seatpost and tubeless wheels and tyres in this price range. Further this bike is a great all rounder and is bang up to date with the latest geometry and technology. However the only draw back in my opinion was the TRP brakes, I have recently changed these to a set of Shimano XT M8020 brakes because personally I prefer the feel of these brakes and they are a lot more powerful which suits my riding style a lot better. Although the XT’s have started to squeal which is something that the Slate T4 brakes never did which was by far my favourite feature about the TRP’s. I would highly recommend this bike to a rider who is in the market for their first full suspension mountain bike or simply enjoys to ride a wide variety of trails.

Check out the bike on our website through the link below, you know you want to!