pkuyeti RichardCunningham's article
Jan 17, 2019 at 19:11Jan 17, 2019
Field Test: 3 Full Suspension Mountain Bikes Under $3000
Bought a Whyte G170 S (size medium) in last June, and rode it in Virginia, Colorado and now took it back to China (Seemed that I was the first G170 owner in the U.S. and now the first and only one in China). Had many great bikes before, including SC, Ibis and Yeti (and still have the SB 5.5), but still feel that G170 is the one that impressed me the most for the following reasons. 1. Well designed forward geometry paired with fine tuned suspension. It is a horst-link like Specialized FSR, and it rides pretty similar to (and even better than) a FSR bike, even with the stock Yari fork and the deluxe inline shock. The suspensions just feel so balanced and easy to tune. Just put around 30% sag front and rear and I could feel myself perfect in the center of the bike all the time, which means both the front and the rear wheel would have ample grip, contributing to the neutral and calm handling of the bike. Now I upgraded the fork to a Lyrik RC2 and the shock to a DVO, and the balanced feel still maintained well. Thanks to the reasonably-progressive leverage curve, no volume space needed to be added into the rear shock (and you can put on a coil if you want). Therefore, the rear always feel natural and lively without harsh bottoming-outs. 2. It goes with 29er wheels. Yes! It does. Whyte designed their bikes around 27.5*3.0 tires (as their geometry chart shows the numbers with 275*3.0 tires), and therefore, these bikes whould work with 27.5 / 27.5+ and 29 wheels (even without the flip chip). I put on 29 wheels with 170mm travel /42mm offset fork in the front last September. Based on my own measurement, the HTA is about 63.9, the BB height is about 443mm, the CS is about 433mm and the reach is about 443mm (7mm shorter compared with the 27.5 wheeled version); all these numbers are within reasonable range. The 27.5 wheeled version feels more like a free-ride/ park bike due to its super low BB, which worked really well in those Colorado bike parks and EWS tracks, but not a long-legged trail bike because of the numerous pedal strikes brought by the super-low BB. However, with some reasonably light 29er wheels, the bike can handle technical climbs now, which makes it more versatile (without sacrificing any bit of downhill performance) and become a long-legged trail bike for someone living in an area with steep and chunky trails (like me). The coolest thing is, with 170mm travels front and real, it should be the longest-travel trail/endure bike for now. (BTW, Whyte is officially selling carbon G170 bikes with 29er wheels and 160 mm forks now. ) 3. It works in wet and muddy conditions. This bike comes from U.K., which means it is expected to work well in wet and mud, and it actually does. Even with very short chainstay, it still provides generous room for mud clearance (even with 275*3.0 or 29*2.4 tires), thanks to the curved (and frankly, really ugly) seat tube. Still remembered a ride in Crested Butte, Colorado last August on the famous Trail 403 (or 401? I), I caught in a thunder storm with serveral Yetis, SCs and Evils, and all those bikes are totally stuck with mud due to the lack of tire clearance or linkage design, and I am the only guy in the group who can roll down the hill. I admit that lots of people do not ride in the rain and this might not be a consideration, but we might be caught in the rain and mud sometimes that this is the time when those British bikes really shines. 4. Price, at least the U.S. market price. Frankly speaking, nowadays, thanks to the development of technology, there is no more bad bikes from those main stream brands; and most bikes feel pretty similar and perform closely to each other (I do not deny some bikes, like Yetis, Evils or those Polygons with R3ACT suspension are unique), especially those horst-link (four-bar link) bikes. Therefore, sometimes, price and build are the only factor. This bike has a similar build as those entry level alloy enduro bikes from more famous brands, e.g. Specialized Enduro Comp or Giant Reign 2 or SC Nomad AL D or Canyon Torque AL or Commoncal Meta AM Ride, which are about $300 - $800 more expensive than the G170s (and Giant and Nomad does have 29er versions). YT Capra AL does seem to be as valuable as G170 S, as long as you can really get one (at least I couldn't, and that's why I got the Whyte). Thefore, it is a reasonably good deal, considering the performance and versatility of the bike all together. In all, G170 S is a good gravity focused bike with great value to save you some budget with ample potential to be more versatile and extremely capable if in felt in love with it and put some money to upgrade. It is ugly, and heavy, and the top tube is a bit tall (though I don't feel it as a problem at all even if I am only 5'7"), and does not take a real water bottle in the front triangle if you put a piggyback shock (the Carbon G170 has more room for water bottle thanks to a curved down tube), but it is a plain and simple workhorse that is always ready to take some hard beats. For those who are kind of interested in this bike, I am glad to share more of my personal feeling of it.