Wil takes us on board for the first ride with the 2019 Whyte S-120 test bike
As part of our ongoing foray into the new-school 29er trail bike world, we recently got our hands on a 2019 Whyte S-120 C RS. With 29in wheels and 120mm of travel at both ends, the S-120 slots right into the short-travel trail bike category. Here it sits alongside fellow contemporaries like the Specialized Stumpjumper ST, the Merida One-Twenty, and Giant Trance 29. As you’ll see though, this one doesn’t exactly follow the status quo.
Shortly after pulling the S-120 out of its cardboard box and getting it built up in the workshop, I took the new test bike out to one of my local test loops. I clipped on a couple of GoPros, plugged in a lapel mic, and hit the record buttons to take you along for the first ride;
120mm Travel Meets Big Bike Geometry
Now if you’ve already read my first look story on the S-120, you’ll know that this particular trail bike stands out for its radical geometry.
How radical? Try a 65.5° head angle, a reduced-offset fork, and a healthy 456mm reach measurement for our medium test bike. That’s all paired to 780mm wide bars, a 40mm stem, and a generous 160mm stroke dropper post. Those are numbers to rival some brands’ enduro bikes.
The model I’m currently testing is the S-120 C RS, which sits right in the middle of the three model range. Right now, Whyte is only offering the S-120 with a carbon/alloy frameset. The mainframe uses a lightweight monocoque carbon fibre construction, and the rear being made up of hydroformed and welded alloy tubes.
Whyte S-120 Features
- Lightweight full suspension 29er trail bike
- Monocoque carbon mainframe
- Welded alloy Symmetrical SCR back end
- Quad Link 4 suspension design
- 120mm travel front & rear
- Designed for 44mm fork offset
- 65.5° head angle
- 75° effective seat tube angle
- 430mm chainstay length
- Reach: 432mm (S), 456mm (M), 480mm (L), 504mm (XL)
- Max tyre clearance: 29×2.3in
- 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell w/ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- Hidden Intergrip seat clamp system
- Claimed frame weight: 2780g (Medium size, including rear shock & hardware)
- Price range: £3,100 – £5,250 / $6,500 – $9,400 AUD
Testing So Far
Following that first ride, I’ve been riding the S-120 quite a bit these last few weeks. I’m pretty happy with settings and the build kit so far, though I have changed out the stock grips for some thinner profile Renthal Ultra Tacky grips.
And while the Maxxis Forekaster/Crossmark combo proved to be plenty quick on hardpack trails, I soon realised I’d need more capable rubber to back up this bike’s penchant for speed.
I got my hands on some much burlier Maxxis Minion tyres – there’s a DHR II on the front, and a DHF on the rear. Both are 2.3in wide and feature EXO sidewalls and 3C triple compound rubber.
Whyte states an ‘official’ maximum tyre width of 2.3in for the back of the S-120. However, with the fresh Minion combo I’ve recently fitted, there appears to be loads of room on either side of the tyre both up at the seatstays, and down at the chainstays.
I also dropped out all the pressure from the rear shock to check clearance between the rear tyre and the back of the seat tube at full compression – there’s loads. I’ll see if I can get my hands on a 2.4-2.5in wide tyre to see just how big you can go.
Now for those who are interested in the on the 2019 Whyte S-120 C RS and are looking for more info, then make sure you check out the detailed first look story here.
Got any questions for me about the bike? Pop them into the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer them for you either here, or in the upcoming review!
2019 Whyte S-120 C RS Specifications
- Frame // Monocoque Carbon Fibre Mainframe & Alloy Rear, 120mm Travel
- Fork // Fox 34 Float Rhythm, Performance Series, GRIP Damper, 44mm Offset, 120mm Travel
- Shock // Fox Float DPS, Performance Series, 210x50mm
- Hubs // Whyte Alloy, Double Sealed Bearing, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Rims // Race Face AR-27 Offset, 27mm Internal Width, Tubeless Ready, 32h
- Tyres // Maxxis EXO 60tpi Forekaster 2.35in Front & Crossmark II 2.25in Rear
- Crankset // SRAM Stylo 7K, 34t X-Sync 2 Chainring
- Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
- Shifters // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle, 10-50t, 12-Speed
- Brakes // SRAM Guide RS, 180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
- Stem // Whyte Gravity, 40mm Length
- Bars // Whyte 6061 Alloy, 15mm Rise, 780mm Wide
- Grips // Whyte Lock-On
- Seatpost // Bike Yoke Revive, 160mm Travel
- Saddle // Whyte
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes Available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Confirmed Weight // 13.35kg / 29.37 lbs
- RRP // £3,499 / $6,500 AUD
Want to check out some of the other trail bikes we’ve been reviewing? Here are some handy links for you to read at your heart’s content;