British brand Whyte Bikes, whose roots in mountain biking date back to the 1980’s, is coming to America. Whyte Bikes USA will commence consumer direct sales of a variety of mountain and cyclocross bikes starting in mid-October. Top of the marquee are the Saxon Cross Team cyclocross steed ($2100) and T-129 RS 29er trail bike ($3350).
The T-129 RS utilizes an alloy frame that’s dressed with an 120mm Fox 34 fork, Fox Float shock, Shimano 1x XT drivetrain, and RockShox Reverb 125 Stealth dropper post. Wheels are WTB Asym i23 29” rims with a Hope EVO II Boost 12x148mm hub in the rear and an alloy 15x100mm up front. Head angle is 67 degrees. Chainstays are 431mm. Whyte says the bike’s long front center, short chainstays, and slack head tube angle paired with a short stem offers a trail worthy 29er.
The Saxon Cross Team is an alloy frame bog hopper with Easton ARC-24 tubeless wheels, a carbon fork, a SRAM Force 1x drivetrain and SRAM Force hydraulic disc brakes. Whyte says the bike is patterned after modern mountain bike geometry, with a relatively slack head tube angle and shorter stem. The idea is that with the huge improvement in braking performance and modulation delivered by disc brakes, riders will need more ‘trail worthy’ geometry on dirt compatible drop bar bikes. This also helps with general gravel path and light trail riding stability, or when riding with a backpack or any mounted luggage. Also noteworthy is the provision for an internally routed dropper post.
The company’s decision to go consumer direct was made in part because it believes U.S. bike shops are facing increasing pressure from the primary U.S. suppliers to make bigger and more restrictive commitments to floor-space and brand presentation.
Whyte Bikes USA was started by Jason Faircloth a 17-year veteran of the Northern California bicycle industry.
“Bike shops perform a valuable service in the U.S. market,” said Faircloth. “However, when I started talking to friends in the industry about bringing Whyte to the U.S., many said the same thing: Shops don’t need more brands. With that in mind, it was decided that Whyte would test the consumer direct model.”
However, there are provisions in the plan to tie shops into a ‘click and collect’ option for consumers, which will roll out in the Spring of 2016. “The bike shop landscape is changing very quickly at the moment,” added Faircloth. “Not just for bike shops, but retail as a whole is evolving. I’m expecting we will have a lot of push-back from shops at first, and many shops will not want to participate. However, as the retail landscape changes, it’s possible that shop owners’ perspectives will change, too.”
For more information visit www.whyteusa.bike