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Just in: Whyte Suffolk 105, £1,299 road/commuter bike with 105 hydraulic disc brakes

Disc-equipped road and commuter bike with Shimano 105 looks to offer a durable and versatile ride

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. 

Whyte Suffolk 105 - head tube badge.jpg

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. 

Whyte Suffolk 105 - head tube.jpg

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. 

- Review: Whyte Dorset

Whyte Suffolk 105 - fork cable route.jpg

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.

Whyte Suffolk 105 - bars.jpg

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.

Whyte Suffolk 105 - rear dropout.jpg

- Buyer's guide: 2016 sportive and endurance road bikes

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 Suffolk 105 - drive train.jpg

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.

Whyte Suffolk 105 - rear guard.jpg

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.

Whyte Suffolk 105 - rear guard detail.jpg

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.

Whyte Suffolk 105 - stem 2.jpg

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 worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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9 comments

Avatar
Redx | 8 years ago
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I've had a Dorset for getting on for two years now. I'd echo the comments about the Whyte mudguards being too short, particularly to protect the cables where they come out of the down tube. Whilst they were a bit fiddly to fit I did like the fact you could adjust their position with the need for any tools. It meant if they got knocked out off place for any reason they were easy to adjust. However SKS guards are now fitted to it...

I really like the fit, maybe because of my mountainbiking background, but I am looking for another frame as the largest tyre I can get in the back with a mudguard fitted is a 28 and I'd like something a bit wider.....

Avatar
kie7077 | 8 years ago
0 likes

A lot has gone wrong with my Whyte, the hydrolics failed on the rear brake, screw holder for bottle cage failed/came loose, might be able to araldite it back in, screws on rear disc seized, can't fit a calliper brake because the hole to fit a caliper brake is too far out.

Avatar
EddyBerckx | 8 years ago
0 likes

I considered this 18 months or so ago (previous version) but I passed in favour of a Rose dx cross 3000. For the same money I got a full ultegra groupset with hydraulic discs with the components (sizing and so on) specced for me...and bought some proper mudguards that are not totally, utter pants. Plus it's considerably lighter (8.3 kg according to the UCI approved bathroom scales method with schwalbe ones 28mm and no pedals)

 

The White looks not a bad bike though, a friend was pleased with his if you don't wanna go the mail order route.

 

Avatar
olic | 8 years ago
0 likes

I've had this bike for over a year now (2015 model) and I don't think I'd recommend it - I was quite happy with it at first but really not impressed with it after having it over a year.

First the sizing is.. odd. Handlebars feel far too wide for me on the 54 model and 175mm cranks seem too big as well. According to their website this should be on the smaller size for my height but it certainly doesn't feel like it. The geometry doesn't really feel like a road bike to me at all to be honest. I've ended up switching out no end of components and I expect I'll eventually end up switching out the frame and being on a totally new bike by the time I'm finished!

I also had a nightmare with the TRP Hy/Rd disc brakes on the 2015 model - mostly I suspect due to poor fit by the shop I bought it from in the first place.

Finally, the mudguards - awful. I actually binned the rear one yesterday after one of the rear stays popped out and one of the parts flew off during my ride in to work. They are incredibly fiddly to fit - the instructions recommend using a professional mechanic but i doubt they'll find it any easier, I found no matter what you do they end up all over the place. I bought them thinking they were designed to fit the bike so should be a good bet only to discover that they were more expensive than some SKS guards and also a worse fit!

Avatar
Chris James | 8 years ago
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The front one MIGHT be long enough to stop lumps of mud hitting you in the eye cyclocross style, and is certainly enough to minimise crud into the bottom race of the headset, but that's about it.

Avatar
srchar | 8 years ago
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That front mudguard is too short to provide any protection to the rider's feet or to the chain/chainset/BB.  The rear mudguard is too short to prevent spray from the rear wheel covering the faces of those riding behind you.  They are therefore utterly pointless.

Avatar
bendertherobot replied to srchar | 8 years ago
1 like
srchar wrote:

That front mudguard is too short to provide any protection to the rider's feet or to the chain/chainset/BB.  The rear mudguard is too short to prevent spray from the rear wheel covering the faces of those riding behind you.  They are therefore utterly pointless.

 

Come now, don't be silly. They may not be ideal in those two scenarios. For solo riding the rear is no issue at all, and clearly better for your back than having none. It's true that they may not be the best fronts for foot protection, but most other areas will derive some protection.

Avatar
Chris James | 8 years ago
0 likes

'Full length' seems an optimistic description of the mudguards.

Avatar
bendertherobot | 8 years ago
3 likes

"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."

What you really meant was:

 

"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, I mean, the others are no lookers, neither are SRAM ones, but these? I mean, did they deliberately design them uglier to distinguish them from the expensive ones"

 

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