I got to ride the pink bike again at the weekend. That’s the Whyte T-130 SX full-suspension, hot pink, extra small mountain bike sitting in the window at Quest Adventure for anyone who might have noticed it when passing on one of these dreary autumnal days. But for me who likes the simple life, it’s the pink bike (or magenta, according to Whyte’s online bike spec).
I’ve never been one for gadgets and hi-tech anything on a bike, if I had stronger legs a singlespeed would be my bike of choice, my reasoning being the less fancy bits of whatever, the less there is to go wrong. The pink bike is full-suspension, the internet tells me it has 130mm of travel, with three adjustment options on the rear shock (I’m sure there is a technical name for this but in my mind it is classified as up, down and along settings), it has a dropper seatpost, and 650b wheels. The colour bothered me when I first rode this bike last month (although it isn’t a female-specific bike so Whyte can’t be accused of shrinking it and pinking it), apparently the hot pink (magenta) is part of an enduro trend for bikes in neon and eye popping bright colours. The muddy mountain biker part of me says ‘ick’. The girly part of me squeals ‘OMG, I love it!’. The dropper seatpost is something I’ve never experienced before so for me that was definitely a highlight, I expected that I wouldn’t really need it on the kind of trails I usually ride up on the Downs and that it wouldn’t feel secure. I did a bit of a practice round the block; so simple to use and definitely felt secure hearing it click back into place when you want to sit down again. Up on the Downs I used it on a lovely bit of singletrack down from Cissbury Ring and was genuinely surprised at how much freer and easier I felt standing on the bike without the saddle in the way. Who knew? Having a handlebar mounted switch for the dropper was nice too as when I put it down on a descent where it wasn’t really needed, it was quick to put it back up without having to move too far from the grips.
Definitely the bike was hyped up for me before I took it out for a test ride, I’m pretty sure JP told me it would make me feel invincible. So obviously when I rode it I was expecting it to be a great ride and maybe that expectation, twinned with dry trails on a nice sunny day, coloured my opinion. But, I genuinely loved riding the pink bike. It didn’t feel squishy going uphill (this is what has put me off full suspension bikes in the past) and going downhill was just super good fun. My current bike has 100mm of travel, so maybe the extra 30mm made the difference or maybe it was the invincibility feeling but on the pink bike I rode trails at speeds that would usually make me feel sketchy, with so much more confidence. I did fall off once, so not quite invincible! The 650b wheels were also a revelation to me, my usual bike has 26” wheels and I love how it feels kind of nippy and that there is room to move your body around when you’re riding it; my other bike is a 29er and it’s done me well, I’ve ridden for 200 miles straight on it so I wouldn’t say it’s not comfortable, but it’s definitely not nippy. The standover height is kind of uncomfortable, a mounting block would make getting on and off a lot smoother, and the saddle is always in the way (although obviously now I am converted to the dropper seatpost idea that problem is easily solved). 650b wheels seem like a happy medium for a short person, the pink bike is definitely nippy, plenty of room to move.
Personally I’m not convinced that all these different wheel sizes isn’t just some kind of
marketing ploy to sell more bikes (n+1 being the mantra of many a bike aficionado). I used to be convinced that my 29er was faster than the 26 but Strava tells me otherwise so maybe it’s all just in my head. Regardless of the wheel size debate (of which I definitely do not know the ins and outs), the wheels are round, they fit very nicely on the lovely pink frame, and I set some Strava QOMs while out riding so suffice to say, they do the job. The pink bike isn’t women’s-specific but personally, as a 5ft 3” girl, I found the geometry pretty perfect. In that the bike fit me, everything was in the right place, and I didn’t think about it all when I was riding.
This weekend I got to ride the pink bike again, conditions not quite so perfect. Driving rain needling our faces, glorious South Downs mud splattering in our eyes, and the wind….. I wanted to go and ride down some stuff to see if the bike would compensate for my lack of descending skills, but it wasn’t to be. The bike stood up to the conditions well though, riding over wet roots was still stressful but at least I didn’t hit the deck like I did riding my other bike earlier in the week, and I found the bike very responsive to my last minute panics (where did that bush come from?!). What else to say? Well it was super easy to clean and was back, in all its magenta glory, in pride of place in the shop window in no time! So, all in all, I love the pink bike and am definitely putting it on my Christmas list.
Grace, along with Tara, leads our women’s mountain bike rides and she has done some fairly serious and epic endurance events. Thanks for the review. The Whyte T-130 SX is extra small and is our demo should you want to have a go yourself. Just call the shop.