Just in: Whyte Dorset

£999 disc-equipped rugged road bike looks ideal for commuting, touring and winter training

by David Arthur   September 19, 2013  

Whyte introduced a new range of disc-braked aluminium road bikes to their 2014 range, and this is the mid-level £999 Dorset. With its disc brakes, oversized alloy frame and mounts for rack and mudguards, it looks the ideal commuting bike. It has way more potential though. In a way it's a rugged road bike that looks ideal for winter training, mixed terrain riding or even touring. Versatility is the Dorset’s middle name. Well, you know what I mean.

Disc brakes may be dividing opinion on performance road bikes, but they certainly offer many advantages on workhorse commuter bikes. The extra power and modulation are welcome features, they keep on working in the wet and even if the wheel isn’t perfectly straight.

Whyte have built a smart looking frame constructed from 6061 hydro-formed T6 aluminium, with a custom-drawn and multi-butted tubeset. It’s the same frame used throughout the range. The head tube is tapered (1 1/8in bearing up top, 1 1/2in at the bottom) to stiffen up the front end. A straight blade carbon fork with tapered steerer tube props up the front end.

All cables are routed internally and there are full-length outer cables running through the frame, which should help maintain shift quality. The gear cables are exposed where they pop out of the down tube,however, and does place them in the line of front wheel spray. We'll be keeping an eye on this during testing. There are rubberized grommets at each entry point for extra sealing.

To ensure there is space to easily mount a rear rack, the disc brake has been mounted inboard, sitting neatly inside the dropouts. The frame will take mudguards and Whyte have even designed their own specifically for the bike. They’re available separately and cost £29.99.

You want a bit of comfort on the commute and big volume 28mm Maxxis Detonator tyres provide that. They should also be fast enough for the most rapid commuters with good durability to go the distance. We reckon you could easily fit a set of treaded cyclocross semi-slick tyres if you wanted to take to the canal towpath or bridleways to mix up your commute a little.

With disc brakes fitted to this bike, Whyte have opted for disc-specific Alex Black Dragon 24 semi-deep section rims, laced via 28/32 spokes to Whyte branded hubs with double sealed cartridge bearings. Reflective decals boosting visibility - a nice touch. There’s locking skewers at each end, which should hopefully prove a deterrent to any potential bike thief eyeing up your bike.

It’s a well specified bike for the money, with a Shimano Tiagra groupset and FSA Omega compact chainset. While the top-end model gets hydraulic disc brakes, the Dorset makes do with Pro Max CX mechanical disc brakes, with 160mm rotors on both wheels.

The bike is finished with Whyte branded handlebars - compact so easy to reach - stem, seatpost and saddle. It’s all fine looking stuff, and the saddle looks like being the sort of shape that should prove comfortable. We hope so anyway, and we'll soon find out for sure.

Check them out at www.whytebikes.com

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Just about sneaks into cycle2work territory. I quite like it. Not convinced why they bothered with internal cabling though if it's a half-baked job.

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [168 posts]
19th September 2013 - 15:06

5 Likes

Looks like the perfect 2nd bike to me. Can you get a frameset?

posted by robthehungrymonkey [39 posts]
19th September 2013 - 15:07

8 Likes

Could this also be used for cycle cross? Confused

posted by charlton marc [3 posts]
19th September 2013 - 15:57

3 Likes

What's the point of internal routing if the cables come out in the middle? Odd.

Worth a look though.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [860 posts]
19th September 2013 - 20:52

7 Likes

charlton marc wrote:
Could this also be used for cycle cross? Confused

Yes, change the tyres and it would be just fine

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1545 posts]
19th September 2013 - 21:29

2 Likes

Plenty of better spec'd bikes for the same ££££££££

posted by joebee9870 [57 posts]
19th September 2013 - 22:16

8 Likes

joebee9870 wrote:
Plenty of better spec'd bikes for the same ££££££££

Like?

posted by bendertherobot [284 posts]
19th September 2013 - 22:23

8 Likes

Looks good although does seem utterly to defeat the point of full length outer cables and internal routing when the cables pop out at one of the dirtiest areas of the bike!

posted by jellysticks [80 posts]
19th September 2013 - 22:36

3 Likes

bendertherobot wrote:
joebee9870 wrote:
Plenty of better spec'd bikes for the same ££££££££

Like?


Boardman Team CX? Apex gears, discs, alu frame and carbon fork.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [860 posts]
20th September 2013 - 8:47

10 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
bendertherobot wrote:
joebee9870 wrote:
Plenty of better spec'd bikes for the same ££££££££

Like?


Boardman Team CX? Apex gears, discs, alu frame and carbon fork.

Compared to the Dorset with its Tiagra gears, discs, alu frame and carbon fork?

Mind, if I bought the Dorset I'd feel quite confident I wouldn't have to reject it because the frame had been so poorly welded that the rear disc would never ever work properly. Like I did when I bought the Boardman CX.

Besides the Boardman is a CX and the Dorset is a road bike. There won't be much difference of course. We could also argue about Apex which I would say is better, that's why I run it on my Croix.

But the Boardman is not necessarily better specced. And I don't think there are many, if any, that are. The Canyon Inflite might be, but will be a few hundred quid more. Again, a crosser. You can build a Kinesis for £999.

posted by bendertherobot [284 posts]
20th September 2013 - 10:49

2 Likes

Oh, and as an onwer of a Whyte 729 I would say that their wheels (they source rims and go handbuilt) are very good indeed.

And, as an owner of a Croix De Fer, I'd say the Suffolk, at £1199, with HyDR brakes looks just about perfect as a winter bike. Or even a bike full stop.

posted by bendertherobot [284 posts]
20th September 2013 - 10:55

8 Likes