Now THAT Was a Bike: Whyte PRST-1

Aug 22, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  
That was a bike Whyte PRST-1

Imagine a time when few people understood the fundamentals of mountain bike suspension (including those who manufactured it) and fewer still understood the metrics that made bicycles handle and steer correctly. Now, if you can, bend your thoughts further. Conceptualize a mountain bike community with minds flexible enough to embrace a bicycle that didn't look anything like a Trek Session - or any other mountain bike, for that matter.

Whyte's PRST-1, with its aluminum monocoque chassis and articulated linkage fork, would be passed off by most of us as a one-off trade-show concept bike. In fact, it enjoyed a successful production run and earned a number of victories in competition along the way. Thousands were sold, but its zenith would be brief.

The design was penned and "prototyped" using Meccano toy parts and rubber bands while engineers Jon Whyte and Adrian Ward were holed up at Taipei's international airport, waiting out a massive typhoon in 1997. Staving off boredom, the pair outlined the three detrimental issues of telescopic forks at the time and challenged each other to come up with a solution. By the time the storm lifted, they had a working proof-of-concept linkage fork - the first steps of a three-year odyssey that would spawn a bicycle brand and challenge the industry to resolve steering issues that would linger on for another 15 years. Whyte Bikes' Ross Patterson tells the story:
That was a bike Whyte PRST-1
Jon Whyte and Adrian Ward built their proof-of-concept fork from a Meccano toy construction kit they purchased at the Taipei airport.

Whyte PRST-1: From Concept to Production
As told by Whyte Bike's Ross Patterson

While stuck at an airport in Taipei during a typhoon that had grounded all flights (circa 1997), mountain bike designers Jon Whyte and Adrian Ward had plenty of time to discuss the shortcomings of the current batch of available front suspension forks. They made a list of what they believed were the three main issues: flex, stiction, and loss of trail under compression. Their discussions led to a concept model made from Meccano and rubber bands, built on a table at the airport. It was a long typhoon.

When they finally did get home, they were hooked on the idea, and serious discussions about how to build a prototype were underway. They’d concluded that a linkage fork design that ran on sealed, full-complement aerospace bearings and paired with a reliable and consistently functioning Fox suspension damper (more commonly seen in the rear suspension), would offer huge gains in function and all-important, long-term performance and reliability. They anticipated a lifetime warranty.

The design and prototype work was carried out by Jon and Adrian, both having considerable Formula-1 experience, and later backed up by Nic Burridge. The prototypes were developed and tested, and they proved to be so much more superior to contemporary telescopic suspension forks that it was hard to resist pushing the button on series production. Those initial forks had virtually no lateral flex, no stiction and even at full compression, no loss of trail.
That was a bike Whyte PRST-1

Whyte Bikes is Born

We offered the design to Marin (as we designed all their suspension bikes at that time), but they decided against it. Without an OE customer, we decided to go it alone, create our own brand and bring it to market. Whyte Bikes was born.

At this point, the enormity of the task of commercializing the bike was laid bare, and an experienced manufacturing engineer, Andy Jeffries, was hired to work with one of the finest Taiwanese factories at that time to understand and manufacture the frames. Unquestionably, the lessons learned at that time by Whyte and our manufacturing partners are still being felt today in what would become a career-defining project for all those involved.

The bike was definitely a ‘form follows function’ design exercise, and the unique aesthetic was quickly compared to ‘Preston’, the mechanical robot dog in the animated films of Wallace and Gromit. The nickname stuck. We abbreviated it to PRST-1 for production.

bigquotes...the unique aesthetic was quickly compared to ‘Preston’, the mechanical robot dog in the animated films of Wallace and Gromit. The nickname stuck.

Unlike many other radical and off-the-wall bikes, both PRST-1 and later PRST-4 were commercially very successful. Over 2,800 PRSTs were sold. Rave reviews and critical success followed, as did multiple race wins and Endurance championships. The development of the concept continued and PRST-1,
That was a bike Whyte PRST-1
with its single-pivot rear suspension was superseded in 2003 by Whyte’s 4-bar linkage Quad-1 design - one of the first short-link virtual pivot style suspensions. Our patent priority date was 1st November, 2001.

Cut Short in its Prime

The end of our PRST project was decided by the successful introduction of the Fox Forx - a 32mm-stanchion, 100mm travel, hydraulically damped fork, that worked really well, was very reliable, and it overcame two of the three main issues that lead us to create PRST-1 in the first place: flex and stiction.

The epilogue of the PRST-1's story was that we had been doing research on the next iteration of the PRST linkage fork. It was a six-bar linkage designed to sustain anti-dive while still maintaining a fully active suspension.

The prototype was remarkable to ride. The amount of dive was tuneable, from pro-dive to anti-dive. Riding a bike with genuine 130% anti-dive was very strange. You could ride down a slope, haul on the just front brake and there was no dive from the front suspension at all. Then if you performed the same thing with just the rear brake, the front suspension would dive. Aesthetically, though, it was even more challenging to look at – but it was even more amazing to ride.

As for finding ways to maintain trail? That’s been a preoccupation of ours for over 20 years now, and it's recently come back into clear focus [industry wide]. We benefit from that now with our current reduced-offset designs, with which you are familiar.
That was a bike Whyte PRST-1
Whyte's PRST-1's linkage fork was lightweight and laterally rigid - and it used a Fox shock, which was the most reliable suspension component produced at that time.

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 93 0
 Preston, created by Wallace?! Ridiculous. Preston was invented by Wendolene's father, Wallace helped foil Preston's evil plan to rustle sheep and then modified him to be more friendly at the end.
  • 10 2
  • 12 116
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 2:26) (Below Threshold)
 One is born every minute,,, twice a minute in england and canada.
  • 19 7
 @fecalmaster: fecal comment Thumbs Down
  • 25 6
 @fecalmaster: you really are a miserable sod. Never a good word said.
  • 10 64
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 5:20) (Below Threshold)
 Ooooo why yoooou!!!!! hohohohaha What a miserable turtle head you are.
  • 16 6
 @cunning-linguist: And he's not even funny nor shocking. Really a low level troll, worth of its name.
  • 13 9
 @fecalmaster: 48 year old basement dweller, do you even know how to ride a bike?
  • 6 6
 How about some cheese!?!
  • 3 9
flag mollow (Aug 22, 2018 at 8:14) (Below Threshold)
 @arrowheadrush: he would most likely leave you in the dust. His trolling game has to be one of the weakest in history tho, I must agree.
  • 14 1
 @gkeele I'm truly ashamed at this error. I'll be implementing new safeguards and approval processes to ensure it never happens again.
  • 8 39
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 9:58) (Below Threshold)
 Your prepubescent instincts match your classic miserable excuse for a sense of humour. Canadians are so sensitive and easily soiled, got to just send a laugh heading in your direction hwah hwah.
  • 4 6
 @macross87: Don't forget the crackers! m m
  • 8 24
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 10:15) (Below Threshold)
 @mollow: Ya I would be out on you guys in about 30 seconds. Sorry for the long wait I was out riding before my director conference call this afternoon.
  • 7 8
 @fecalmaster: I really hope one day I'm as cool as you
  • 7 18
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 10:56) (Below Threshold)
 @mollow: @mollow: No harm in trying little guy.
  • 6 5
 @mollow: Nobody will ever be as cool as he thinks he is...
  • 5 2
 @fecalmaster: These guys are funny. If you have to assume where someone lives he must have really got you flustered. You guys need to put on your big boy pants one of these days.
  • 68 1

Come on PB staff, just buy one second hand for 100$, restore it and then show us how the suspension is working
  • 22 0
 " Those initial forks had virtually no lateral flex, no stiction and even at full compression, no loss of trail."
They also had the ability to destroy the lower spherical bearing quicker than I can destroy a packet of Jaffa Cakes.
  • 23 1
 Funny, how success in the industry is so closely related to aesthetics of a product in the first place, not the quality of it. You may want to convince the world your bike will ride faster and safer than any other, but it simply can't resemble Optimus Prime's p0rn nightmare if you wish to sell it to other people than your friends or family. Big pros to Whyte for such a brave concept.
  • 29 17
 I think that while good looks and make up may successfully mask shortcomings, there is not a single thing in nature that looks weird and is successful. Nearly all apex predators look graceful and efficient. All legendary war machines or super cars look good. You won’t find an ugly duckling i n nature, or humans design hall of fame. Strive for high performance in difficult conditions carves diamonds or at least average uniform adaptations, but rarely weirdos. Weirdos’ function is to justify and describe the norm by the virtue of reference. You may be a weirdo, but it will never win you a popularity contest and popularity contests are a part of our social life and we need basic acceptance of even small group. That’s what molecules do when formed into a complex bipedal biological machine.
  • 28 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I think that your argument is based on reverse causality. Whether something in nature is successful or not is not subjective, but our appreciation of its looks is. I think it is more that we are prone to thinking something successful looks cool than the other way around (this is in the end how famous people drive fashion). That being said, linkage forsk do look odd, but I would be more than happy to give one a try!
  • 8 1

Scanning tunneling microscopes don't look like eyes, but if you want to get a look at the molecules you reference, my money is on the STM.
  • 2 25
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 4:23) (Below Threshold)
 If you ride this bike backwards it makes a ton of sense. Four bar in the front and single pivot rear not so sure if you're mentally fit for society.
  • 4 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 22, 2018 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 @R-M-R: that’s funny, how about you browse the very same site for everpresent fallacy where an individual finds something attractive solely because it looks unnatural. You know, hipsters, ever heard of them? I will even explain you why it is so, it is called mutation. Biological life develops through mutations. There is probably no other place on Earth and consequently within millions if not billions of light years, like the human realm where information mutates at such fast rate. There would be no mutations without hipster reflex. Do you notice how your post is a double edged sword? Like most abstract concepts.

What you fail to see is that you are looking at a mutation that did not withstand the adaptation and competition with mutation of existing species, read: telescopic fork. You have evidence in front of your eyes, that a particular design was proven lesser.

This design is an evidently less efficient way of solving steering and suspension of a bicycle. A swingarm works well in one direction, if you add steering you immediately run into stiffness problem. That is because unlike car chassis, you have no width to play with. Car swingarms are often as wide as they are long. Which provides good chassis for the steering of the wheels. On a bicycle, the situaion is reversed. Steering provides chassis for suspension. Even if this design is successfuly utilized on a motorcycle, the potential proponent of utilizing it on a bicycle Is highly possibly unaware that widths on a motorbike are bigger since motorcyclists don’t need clearance for pedaling (with all biomechanics involved) and weight coming from amount of construction material is not an issue either.

The value of this design presents itself in providing physical evidence that telescopic fork design is superior design adressing steering and suspension of a bicycle.

  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: ... and telescopic forks make it waaay easier to manafacture bikes by putting a good base standard to deal with.
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Discussing taste is always going to be difficult. I don't agree but I won't bother to argue either.

As for a swingarm for steering, I don't agree with you that it is bound to lack stiffness. Both front and rear wheels are subject to lateral forces when cornering and there are quite few mountainbike designs out there where the rear wheel is connected to the front triangle through a linkage. A decade ago I recall seeing bikes from Marin and Whyte with their "Quad" suspension where the entire linkage reaches up to the front of the front triangle. Apparently it worked. Lateral forces on the wheel aren't that much higher for the front wheel. I've never looked into the steering moment transmitted through the headset but I doubt it is much compared to everything else. I think I push and pull more down onto the handlebars than that I apply a considerably moment around the steerer. If there were something to be skeptical about, it were the relatively long (axle to crown) single crown forks into a 100mm headtube we're seeing nowadays. But we've seen all that work out fine. Long linkages in the rear, long forks in the front. I see no reason to assume a long linkage in the front shouldn't work.
  • 2 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 22, 2018 at 6:31) (Below Threshold)
 @vinay: we can be quite clear about the fact that this kind of design isn't used in any sport at performance level. Just because touring motorcycles use it (read Fatbikes) or pseudo street motorcycles use it (read plus 120FS bikes) doesn't mean it would take Enduro, MX or MotoGP (read Enduro, DH). One cannot speak of side and twisting forces until he exposes his machine to them and 80% of population is simply unable to do that, at least in a non-crashing scenario. The moment you fly at speed between berms, land sideways, pedantic world of cool concepts stops being so applicable. And most people making those things have never experienced this level of riding, like most people shouting "telescopic fork is an outdated design!", who by the way would never buy it, they just signal God knows what. Like most proponents of gearbox for bicycles.

Yeah BMW has this on some of their motos, Harley Davidsons use it, it's just that none of these are doing flying laps at Monza or Annaheim SX course. Not even training laps, and if you did, you'd get punched in the face as soon as you stop in the paddock.
  • 8 0
 @WAKIdesigns: When 'weirdo' things are successful and slaughter at contests, the regulatory guys rush to dismiss and forbid. Just like Formula 1 and other motorsports.
  • 4 4
 @StFred: oh yeah, it's just that you don't see how many weirdos never made it out of the workshop, whereas in MTB quite many weirdos are out running free waiting to be screwed by a hipster who found no other way to raise his game than wear or ride something weird. Joe Graney wrote extensively on how many prototypes they rejected and it is easy to believe him, since SC is a big company, but when a small company comes out with a weirdo, you can be quite sure they count on weirdos to buy it. The law of attraction. Then when a big boy pushes out a weirdo with full marketing campaign to back it up, people call it, marketing bullsht, a trend that will pass. But when a small company does it, ooooh mhy ghawd so awake as fuk.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: good point man, also consider Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio in regards to asthetics and function in nature and man made design.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Just because it isn't used in any sport at performance level doesn't mean it wouldn't work. Back in the days apparently this Whyte design was around, you had the German:A. Kilo forks and you could argue that the USE S.U.B. forks were some kind of linkage forks too. I've got to look up what happened to USE exactly (there as an article in Cranked sometime ago, apparently the man continued with Exposure lights) but I do recall seeing those on some 4X bikes back in the days. Seemed to deal just fine with sideways loads. Rear shocks have also become lighter, more common, advanced and reliable over time so this makes it a more attractive option to use for bike companies than it was back in the days.

I'm not buying into the idea that "it is not being used there and there, so it is probably not good to be used here either." I'd rather see those from try and fail than not try at all. Though obviously I'd most rather see them succeed. I appreciate to see ideas and inspiration go between disciplines, but only in the positive sense. And it goes the other way around too. Sometimes it simply doesn't work. So they don't have a linkage fork in motocross. USD forks are common there. Yet in recent years we've seen so many companies experiment with USD forks for regular bicycles and it simply doesn't materialize. X-Fusion was supposed to have one, Fox experimented with it too, the RockShox fork is limited to XC (and getting less common at the top level). Even DVO seems to have gone back to "regular" lowers for their latest DH fork. I'm not saying that USD forks are bad. I'm just saying that motocross and bicycle riding are apparently so different that something that has proven to be the way to go in MX apparently isn't such a good idea on bicycles.

Either way, the new Structure bike will be released this fall. People (and testers from magazines in particular) will get it and ride it hard. Let's wait for that. If it fails miserably you can come back here and tell me "I told you so". If it holds up and performs as intended, let's pretend we didn't have this conversation, ok? Until then, it is undecided.
  • 1 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 22, 2018 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 @vinay: it highly won't fail miserably because it is amazing what you can get away with when just riding along. Like not having a front brake on your bike, running half of the spokes. But expecting it to become anything close to a norm is a lunacy. It's just another thing, like Platypus. Some things concerned it makes perfect sense, All things concerned it makes less sense than the telescopic fork. As if Lefty wasn't pushing the edge already. The test you are describing will never happen, some journos will take it, ride it and say, "oh interesting", and we will all move on. Listen, I rode a 26" SS DJ bike with no front brake in the woods last weekend... i was still faster both up and down than a couple of blokes I rode by, should they all remove their front brakes? Because you can get away with such shit, in MTB there will always be room for what ifs, weirdos and straight forward marketing scams like 12speed Eagle. Always. But there is little room for inconvenience and this design is simply inconvenient.
  • 3 0
 Chris Froome's peddling style is pretty successful@WAKIdesigns:
  • 2 5
 @Lugers: where do we fit Chris Froome into this? But if you ask me about pedalling styles I like Joris Daudet more. Puts out way more Watts than Froome and jumps million times better than him. But if you are into being fastest on the fireroad climb then yeah, you chose the right role model Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I think I’m a weirdo and didn’t know it.
I love CR500’s, 2 stroke 3 wheelers, lefty forks, and all other mechanical oddities.
  • 1 0
 @garygrimm: 3 wheelers, the horror's
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Pretty sassy looking whip but my ass hurts just looking at it. Are those pegs on there?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: ever heard of the round goby? Extremely successful invasive fish that takes ugliness to new extremes
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Just look at the skeletons of all of those prime predators. All will employ linkage suspension design, front and rear.
  • 10 0
 More things to consider...
-Aside from the competition of that time…
We also have to consider the following.
-Do we judge this design as a bike or only as a fork? (Because the bike may handle poorly by other factors, like a high bottom bracket or a short wheelbase…)
-if we were able to tune the frame by today standards, would we have a better design overall? (A longer front end, short rear. etc.)
-What if we were able to add this fork, or even better an updated version of it, on a successful rear suspension system of our times?
You see?
Haters will hang from the overall performance of this bike, forgetting to compare it with the bikes of that era. They will also blame the fork for poor performance, forgetting that the bike does affect the handling in more than one way…
Also. This bike was not designed for DH! At least I, haven’t seen a dedicated DH version, even by the standards of that time, so we have to place this design within the boundaries of the style of ridding it was supposed to work. Otherwise is like comparing a long wheelbase DH bike of today with an ultra-light XC race bike, into climbing a long steep trail!
All these, strange to today’s kids, designs are products of the thought of people who loved what they did. They dared to experiment and their experience and knowledge have find its way to the bikes we ride today, one way or another…
  • 7 0
 Amen! We (Structure) are often asked why we're reintroducing a linkage front when it's failed before. As you said, linkage designs - Whyte, Girvin, Amp, etc. - had their flaws, but were often better than the competition at the time.

We're grateful for the innovators who came before us and we've learned from the mistakes of the past, such as designing around an incomplete list of a kinematic variables, fragile pivots, and proprietary parts.

Given the same R&D as telescoping forks, linkage designs could be incredible. Current front suspension is good, but could be so much better, and linkages are the only way to create a step-change in front end performance. Now it's just a matter of realizing the potential while avoiding the (greater number of) potential problems. We're giving it our best shot!
  • 2 0
 @Structure-Ryan: One must come to an conclusion, that there is not much left to be developed in telies. Aside from super-materials which are not result of mountainbike industry, or ever changing geometry changes. The only part that can see some proper development in short term are dampers. Everything else in telescopic fork is a finished product. Finished.

Linkage forks can bring a real revolution in industry where some manufacturers would offer their ready-to-use linkage units while some bicycle frame designers will create their own suspension platforms. Wild 90's can come even stronger.
  • 1 0
 @fluider: There will always be improvements, even in the most refined products, but you're right that telescoping forks have reached the point of low-single-digit percentage improvements in weight, stiffness, friction, and damper performance.

Even if we ignore what a linkage can do for dynamic geometry, a linkage can reduce friction by 95% at maximum braking load. That alone makes it worth pursuing - and the benefits to brake dive, trail, and front-centre length are even bigger prizes.

Someone will eventually come up with a front linkage that's superior in every way (except perhaps price). We hope it's us. Time will tell.
  • 3 0
Yes, I totally agree (and I am following the evolution of your design). Your remark implies what’s happening with my design too! (PCT/GR 99/00031 WO 12376, EC classification B62K19/34,B62K25/28C, EP 1024994 or got to can see a number of bike manufacturers using floating BB suspension systems, just like my patented design, many years after my patent has expired. Just a number of manufacturers and the result is so interesting, many different approaches, more than I could have thought of…
  • 1 0
 @uncajohn: Interesting design. Have you pursued it any further?
  • 1 0
 @Structure-Ryan: I love that you're trying something different but the level of acceptance of telescopic designs in the motorbike world seems to me to prove that alternatives are going to struggle to convince the MTB public otherwise. I also find brake dive to nearly be a non issue on a 29" with lots of BB drop.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: people with a slight amount of logic can easily tell that motorcycles and bicycles are two different sports and therefore need different technologies. Maybe if your riding a 400pound motorcycle with a 200 pound rider a telescopic fork won't work that well but does that mean its not gonna work on a 28 lbs bicycle? Nope
  • 1 0
 @mollow: Yep I get difference in masses and associated sliding friction etc but if tolerances are optimal (which might not always be the case) a telescopic fork is hard to beat.
  • 2 0
Unfortunately no.
The patent process was really promising (after all the Greek patent office is part of the European patent office…).
At the same time I was patenting GT bicycles in USA were registering their I-Drive design (although with a significant delay compared with my). So despite the high interest on my design, by various companies, the possibility to be “entangled” into a legal battle with the (then) mighty GT was a no-no.
Right now I am not covering the patent anymore. The annual expenses got proportionally too high for me. So basically now it is a free design…
Funny detail, only 2 manufacturers ignored my mail:
The Greek IDEAL bikes. They didn’t even bother to answer to my mail (despite the fact that at the same time I had a regular mail contact with some of the mythical names of the mountain bike scene… Imagine Cannondale answered within 24 hours!).
The other (back then) bike manufacturer colossus was Raleigh Bikes. They answered that a design of this kind would NEVER work properly…! (Tell that to GT I-Drive and all the clones of my system up to today…)
Bad timing and the infamous Greek economic recession killed this project. I do have an evolved design in 2 versions (a gearbox one and a conventional transmission one, getting rid of the chain growth problem) in paper. Some of the parts already bought… It is a matter of time to build a new one, just for fun!

By the way, the prototype works wonderfully.
  • 9 0
 RC knows something... remember when we had articles on high idler pulleys, raised chainstays, floating rear ends (not sure on the name - like the old marins) and a few months later something new comes out on the same principle.
What is coming?
  • 5 0
 The frenchies are coming up with a really cool linkage fork with carbon leaf spring, and if I remember correctly a few brands were working on frames with integrated front linkage suspensions last spring or something. So ye some stuff are coming, questions is, which one is currently in PB offices !
  • 4 0
 It’s coming, in fact I think it’s here already just not full production.
  • 4 0
 This is coming:
  • 8 0
 I remember taking a PRST-1 demo bike round the Black at Glentress in maybe 2000-2001, and it blew my mind! It was a lot of fun at the time!
  • 1 0
 Alisdair still has his
  • 5 0
 Cool article, thanks Richard.

Makes me wonder - are we pretty much set on the "perfect" bike design at this point? (fork, couple of triangles, VPP/Horst etc to link them) Or is there scope for someone try to fix the thing that ain't broke with a radical new design? Not just Polygon Naild or something - I mean some crazy shit like this Whyte.
  • 7 3
 I test rode this bike also and went through the spherical bearing after 3 hours. Admittedly I broke everything at the time. I opted for an Orange Patriot with Pace RC37's and Hope C2's and reverse Xtr rear mech. All great ideas and each to their own were absolute game changers. Suffice it to say I still have everything in a shed. Including 5 Orange Swing arms, don't know how many stations and boxes full of Shimano mechs and snapped bb' s. Back then everything broke, my roommate was on a Trek VRX which developed play in the linkages as quickly as Trump comes out with the next rubbish. I wish I had bought the Whyte, but she was ugly.
  • 2 3
 Pic or it didn't happen
  • 4 0
 We can only judge a design by competition!
At that era, this design was a better solution that the current telescopic forks. By comparing it with today’s standards it is quite unfair.
Imagine the evolution of this line of design, if it had the attention of the industry that telescopic forks had (and still enjoy)…
  • 2 0
 Really good point and bimmer didn't let go of the idea with their motos and for touring I am told they are sublime.
  • 4 0
 this bike was so ahead of its time. Back when it was introduced the racer population (then the most important buyers) thought the Whyte was too heavy and too busy looking. It took at least 15 years for that to change. Now additional weight is fine as long as performance is great.
  • 7 0
 This article needs a GIF showing the suspension path
  • 3 14
flag aljoburr (Aug 22, 2018 at 1:05) (Below Threshold)
 Just work it out for your self, or do you expect it done for you, really not that hard if you were to think about it?
  • 7 0
 @nwmlarge: And whilst you're at it write articles for yourself, really not that hard if you were to think about it?

@aljoburr Not the end of the world without but I think it would be a nice addition, personally.
  • 1 11
flag aljoburr (Aug 22, 2018 at 1:56) (Below Threshold)
 @Diabeast: Got skill too do it just not interested?
  • 2 0
It doesn't require skill to make a GIF the GIF maker programs do it for you.
It does however require a series of images or a video from which to make the GIF.

In the absence of a video, images or a bike from which to create my own GIF I have requested one, not a huge ask.

In the past bikes on review have had suspension path GIFs made, often of fairly mundane typical suspension lay outs, not one of such a unique nature as this one.

What upset you so much about this comment?
  • 1 1
 @nwmlarge: I think It was the under lying reasons why linkage forks dont exist in the mainstream?
  • 1 0
 I demo'd one and very nearly bought one. Looked amazingly futuristic at the time and the suspension was great on the flat stuff but felt wrong going DH and round corners. Very High BB didn't help. USE also had a linkage fork around that time which looked a bit like Teminators arm.
  • 3 0
 An amazing piece of innovation at the time. If only this would have been developed over the last 20 years and who knows where we might be now.
  • 2 1
 Dive, Dive, DIVE! I know 3 people who broke their collarbones from how badly that front end dropped under braking forces. It would dive under the smallest braking bumps - so dangerous! Over the bars on the smallest drops...
  • 2 0
 Hi dan23dan23,

Although I don't have the CAD files, I've done three simulations with excellent agreement between them.

Yes, the PRST did dive, and not only due to brake dive. The braking was well over 100% pro-dive at the start of the stroke (compared to about 30% pro-dive for telescoping forks) and rose to around 100% anti-dive at bottom-out.

The second part of the problem was the leverage curve. Most modern bikes are about 10% to 50% progressive, meaning the spring rate becomes increasingly stiff (due to the linkage, not the shock) by that amount as it compresses. The PRST leverage curve was inverted: it became softer by about as much as a highly progressive bike becomes stiffer. No wonder it used every millimeter of its travel on every impact! It certainly was plush, though.
  • 1 0
 i loved my PRST-4. Once fox forx came on the scene I moved on. The climbing characteristics of the PRST were astounding.. it was a real goat over rough ground. The jumping characteristics were also astounding... but in a very very wrong way... ( we didn't do too much of that in those days...)
  • 1 0
 "Aesthetically, though, it was even more challenging to look at – but it was even more amazing to ride."
This is, and always will be a sticking point to improved designs; does it look good. Ultimately, myself included, I want to ride something that just looks like a bike should look.
For some reason, telescopic forks just look right, as do round headlights on cars, and car wheels with 5 or more spokes.
  • 1 0
 You will be amazed to discover how many capable designs were not commercially successful because of their looks.
At our days, it seems that anything that does not look like a session (or have 3 water bottle mounts), has to be destroyed. This is quite unfair. Just give the chance to those designs to evolve, mechanically AND aesthetically.
To support my position I will also add this:
For those (especially spoiled brats) who were not there, when our sport started, when the first suspension systems fought their way to the norm (and fought really hard), just do that following 3:
1) First run a search on the magazines of the early mountain bike era. You will be amazed to discover that there was a very negative stance over suspension forks and even more over full suspension bikes! If the frame was consisted by wider tubes than the (back then) norm, it was an abomination, it had to be killed with fire…
The first suspension fork companies had to fight their way against all these “experts” ho were judging looks by their… roadie tastes!
The same people now, at the same places (as… experts) are defending the same aspects that were rejected by their expertise back then… (WOW).
2) Then. Take a minute and check the early suspension era on mountain bikes. All the much known label products started with problems. Early Marzocchis were dripping oil everywhere! (The joke was that you may find were a Marzocchi went by following the oil drips!!!). Rock Socks were exploding their suspension leg ups (made from plastic), and had to deal with temperamental elastomer units. Manitou had to deal with their own problems and so on….
All those, dependable now, products had a rough start with lots of problems and lots of rejections from the, so called back then, exerts…
The same principle applies on all the aspects of modern mountain bikes! Check the chaos or the early geometry issues. If you check carefully, you may find here and there voices telling that the long (and very acceptable back then – always by the “experts”) stems are not the way to go! Some people (I am one of them) were ridding longer bikes in order to use a very short (and hard to locate) stem! Make sure to check how gradually the stems got shorter and shorter, because of... what?
3) Now take a minute (or as long as you need) and compare the time and effort it took (and the money) to perfect the telescopic fork of today. How many companies, aftermarket manufacturers, versions of products, models, etc., to reach today’s standards. And how those standards, even the aesthetic ones, changed along!
IMAGINE now, if the same effort was directed towards the link forks! How many, different and refined designs we would have now to choose from.
I’ve seen that many people compare the Whyte bike with today’s bikes, in order to ban it! But if you want to be honest you have to place this product among the competition of that era. You cannot blame this wonderful fork by the frame’s geo!
  • 1 0
 I wonder why that dropped chainstay didn't catch on. Maybe it's patented? I had actually thought of that design a couple of years before this bike came along (and only found out about it much later), and produced some sketches of it. Aesthetics does seem to be a crucial factor in the mtb industry, in which more conventional looking designs are favoured for giving the impression of being proven and reliable. Even if there are no front derailleurs anymore to get in the way of things, which would have been one of the motivations for this design, I think it still offers an optimal weight-stiffness-strength relationship, and it's also not especially difficult to build. It could well be the ultimate rear triangle design concept, if it wasn't for the historically significant "looking weird" part.
  • 3 0
 I love this series and RC is my favorite guy on PB BUT where's video with suspension? Come on RC!
  • 1 1
 The only thing missing is a Girvin Flex Stem and a Hite-Rite dropper post.......and maybe a Tioga disc wheel in the rear.....and some kooka cranx........and some shimano air lines shifters with combo shifter/brake levers......and very large bar ends......and magura hydraulic Vee-Brakes.......and maybe a rasta colored rock ring......and nothing would be complete without a set of Smoke Dart tire combo.
  • 1 0
 "Imagine a time when few people understood the fundamentals of mountain bike suspension (including those who manufactured it)"

That time is now, and it's worse than it ever was.
  • 7 3
 Whyte? Wong.
  • 6 4
 Jon, Ross, Adrian;

If you're reading, thank you. We hope we can pick up where you left off.
  • 6 13
flag fecalmaster (Aug 22, 2018 at 4:27) (Below Threshold)
 Your design has alot in common with theirs. Both gave me horrible gonorrhea the minute I saw them.
  • 8 4
 @fecalmaster: I'm afraid that's not covered by our lifetime warranty, but please inquire about our crash replacement policy and we'll set you up with a replacement "unit" as quickly as possible.
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 @Structure-Ryan: I have to read the fine print next time.
  • 5 3
 @Structure-Ryan: Bike looks sick. Best of luck.
  • 3 1
 @cbro7092: Thank you! I hope you get to try one for yourself! You could ask your favourite shop to contact us about acquiring a demo.
  • 3 0
 i come to the comments to see fecalmaster get down voted
  • 2 0
 that was a what now? are you sure? does not look like one to me. some kind of robot dog that got nicer later maybe.
  • 1 0
 Is it UCI legal? Where is the slo-mo video of it on the MSA WC DH course? Bring it
  • 2 0
 If I won the lottery
  • 1 0
 Rode Bromley Bikes demo, hated it and bought a Marin Attack trail, Psylo forks , bolt through axle, the first I believe ?
  • 1 0
 When the only tool you have is a 1997 Fox rear shock, every bike begins to resemble a rear suspension.
  • 2 1
 This is what happens when Megatron had a date with your old bike
  • 2 2
 always wonder why those hideous creations are referred to as "That Was A Bike", as if modern bikes are somehow... less bikes
  • 1 0
 These old bikes scare me...
  • 1 0
 Room for two water bottles!
  • 1 0
 Imagine having to install two Push coil overs, adios paycheck!
  • 1 0
 Sorry guys but what are aerospace bearings?
  • 1 0
 I do like the that the frame has a built in bash gaurd?
  • 1 0
 Born in a Taipei airport, What a way to come into the world.
  • 2 2
 I wanted one of these SO hard!
  • 5 4
 If you want it hard, forget about suspension
  • 3 6
 I would need a stand up comedian narrating while you ride this downhil.
  • 4 1
 @fecalmaster: I could imagine the Benny Hill intro song playing while this bike is being ridden.
  • 2 0
 @bartb: That would really make my day. Let me see any video of this contaption please.
  • 3 4
 It's the very idea itself that kills it. A single fork for life just doesn't cut it.
  • 1 0
 Looks flexy
  • 1 1
 dat head angle though
  • 1 2
 looks like it wants to chop my balls off
  • 2 4
 Whyte in this case is not right.
  • 1 0
 Super racist
  • 1 0
 @ermoldaker: Chill out jeez....
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