British bike brand Whyte tends to have its finger on the pulse of what the UK cyclist needs, and it's no surprise that its disc-equipped drop bar bikes have become extremely popular over the years.
The Suffolk 105 pictured here is the most expensive of a six model aluminium range (there’s one carbon model right at the top), and the £1,299 gets you Shimano’s latest 105 11-speed mechanical groupset with the Japanese company's brand new hydraulic disc brakes.
It’s the sort of bike that can happily be turned to daily commuting, weekend club rides, Audax or even touring duties. The frame is fully equipped with eyelets for fitting mudguards and racks - our test bike has come fitted with Whyte’s very own full-length mudguards.
The Suffolk shares the same frame as the £999 Dorset road.cc tested a couple of years ago, so it’s a platform we’re familiar with. The extra £300 over that bike gets you an upgrade from Tiagra to 105, with the brand new ST-505 mechanical shift/hydraulic brake levers, connected to BR-785 brake calipers with 160mm rotors.
We’re familiar with the 785 disc brake calipers, but the ST-505 brake levers are very new. They’re Shimano’s most affordable hydraulic brake lever but while they work very much like Ultegra and Dura-Ace, they have a very different lever shape. If we’re honest, we’re not sure what the reason is, but maybe it’ll become clear when we ride the bike.
The only deviation from the Shimano equipment is the FSA Gossamer Pro Evo-386 chainset. It’s a compact 50-34 and combines with a wide-range 11-32t cassette, so you can laugh in the face of hills.
Whyte has used a lot of own-brand components. Wheels are 32mm deep aluminium rims, with reflective decals, laced to alloy hubs with 28 spokes in the front wheel, 32 in the rear wheel. The wheels are made to be sturdy and strong and handle potholes.
The frame and fork accommodate wide tyres. There’s ample space around the Maxxis Rouler 28mm tyres fitted to this bike. Showing the durability intentions of the Suffolk, the tyres have puncture protection to ward off flats.
The Whyte logo is also found on the aluminium handlebar, stem, seatpost and saddle. It’s all good looking kit.
The frame is made from 6061 hydro-formed T6 aluminium frame with custom-drawn and multi-butted tubing. The head tube is tapered (with a 1 1/8in bearing up top, 1 1/2in at the bottom) to stiffen up the front end. The rear disc is mounted inboard on the chainstay so there’s plenty of space to fit a rack.
The bike pictured is a 54cm and weighs 10.3kg (22.70lb). Full review coming soon. More at http://whyte.bike/
If you're wondering what the Suffolk's rivals are, the Cannondale Synapse Disc Adventure immediately springs to mind. It's of a similar price, has an aluminium frame and comes specced with mudguards
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.