Review – Whyte Carbon RS T-130

Built to handle the UK’s toughest conditions

Established in 1999, Whyte has continually pushed the innovation of mountain bikes, starting with its radically designed PRST-1, which helped put the company on the map back in the early 2000s. If you don’t remember that bike, we strongly suggest you take a few minutes to run a Google search on it now. Don’t worry; we’ll wait. Today, Whyte designs and tests its mountain bikes to handle the gnarliest conditions the UK has to offer. A day in the mud is rarely an issue for Whyte’s testers and engineers. We reached out to Whyte and asked the company to send us a versatile, do-it-all trail bike. The 5-inch-travel T-130 Carbon RS was the bike they delivered to meet our demand.

WHO IS IT MADE FOR?

The T-130C RS is made for riders who don’t need big wheels or long-travel suspension to get themselves down the mountain. Whyte’s goal for the T-130 was to offer a trail bike that could keep up with the burliest enduro rigs while retaining the ability to climb like a cross-country machine. A tall order, but with modern geometry, 130mm of travel and 27.5-inch wheels, the T-130 looks to be up for the challenge.

WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?

Whyte constructed the T-130C RS with a carbon front triangle and an alloy rear triangle. Weatherproofing was a main concern considering Whyte’s local trail conditions, so an integrated seatpost clamp was used to help prevent mud and debris from getting inside the frame. Furthermore, Whyte carefully engineered the internal cable ports to make them as waterproof as possible. The T-130 features Whyte’s Quad-4 link suspension and has a modern geometry with a long front center, short chainstays and a low bottom bracket height. The T-130 was designed with Boost hub spacing and features frame protection near the bottom bracket area.

WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?

The T-130C RS features quality components designed to deliver great performance. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain paired with a 34-tooth chainring offers a wide range of gearing for climbing while still having enough top end for pedaling fast descents. Uneven surfaces were made smooth thanks to the RockShox Pike RC fork and a Monarch Debonair RT shock. A Reverb Stealth comes spec’d on the T-130 and ranges in travel from 125mm to 170mm, depending on frame size. A pair of Race Face AR-30 wheels provided the Maxxis tires with a nice shape, and SRAM Guide RS brakes helped keep our test riders in control.

HOW DOES IT PERFORM?

Setting sag: Whyte suggests that riders set their rear shock with 25- to 30-percent sag. We opted for 25 percent due to the bike’s short travel and plush suspension. Up front, we set our Pike to 20-percent sag and gave our compression lever a few clicks to prevent the fork from diving in the corners or bottoming out during jumps and drops. During our first few rides, we made minor changes to the recommended rebound settings until we felt comfortable on our local trails.

Moving out: Whyte designed the T-130 with an aggressive enduro bike feel in a short-travel trail bike package. While the T-130 doesn’t boast an overly aggressive head tube angle, it does feature super-short chainstays, along with a long-travel dropper, compact cockpit and a long front center. Our test riders immediately felt comfortable sitting on this trail bike.

Climbing: Whyte’s Quad-4 link suspension offers a plush feel that provides traction during technical climbs. During smooth climbs, our testers often found themselves reaching for the shock’s compression lever to receive a bit more support. The front end felt planted during steep climbs, and the 67-degree head tube angle made slow-speed maneuvers easy to pull off. A 34-tooth chainring might sound big, but with the huge Eagle 50-tooth cassette out back, our testers had no issues powering up the steepest climbs.

Cornering: The T-130 C RS was designed to provide a quick and agile feel that allows riders to toss the bike around the trails with ease. The Maxxis High Roller II up front held traction well and further enhanced our confidence when diving into turns. The Crossmark II in the rear, on the other hand, liked to slide around the trails. Many of our testers took advantage of this setup, but riders looking for a bike that feels like it corners on rails may want to opt for a more aggressive rear tire. Our RockShox suspension supported our riders well, and a few clicks of compression to our fork prevented it from diving when charging hard through corners.

Descending: On the descents, the T-130 C RS encouraged riders to develop a playful style. Short chainstays, 27.5-inch wheels and 5 inches of travel contribute to the T-130’s go-have- fun attitude. Gnarly and technical terrain will test the limits of the T-130, but this bike is up for the challenge. Our test riders wouldn’t grab the T-130 for an enduro race, but they all agreed that this bike could be a great weapon for everyday trail riders looking for a solid, do-it-all bike.

TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?

Modern trail bikes are becoming better equipped every year, and the T-130 is a fine example. Riders may want to make small changes, such as swapping out the rear tire for something more aggressive, but at the end of the day, this bike rips just the way it is. Some of our more aggressive test riders opted for an extra volume reducer in the fork for a little more ramp at the end of the stroke.

BUYING ADVICE

The mountain bike market is filled with great trail bikes; however, Whyte’s local testing grounds help set its bikes apart from the rest. The T-130 C RS is a fun and playful trail bike that balances climbing and descending performance well. The T-130’s ability to be ridden in the harshest conditions sets it apart from other bikes in its category. Riders looking for a rugged bike that can take on the elements will find that Whyte’s T-130 isn’t afraid to get dirty. We recommend this bike to riders who want to have the most fun possible in the nastiest conditions.

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