Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB buying advice

Please help a HT man upgrade...

mush182mush182 Posts: 2
edited August 2018 in MTB buying advice
Morning All,

I am after a little bit of advice please, I am currently looking to upgrade my trusty Whyte 529 Hardtail and upgrade to a full-sus so I can start to have a bit more fun on the slopes.

The Whyte has been an awesome bike for me, but it is lacking a few distinct things, I think I would prefer the smaller 27.5 wheel size for a little more agility, and as quick as it is downhill, the brakes often let it down and I have to be on them a lot more than I would like to be.

It's probably fair at this point to explain a little about me, I'm 6ft2, weigh around 15 stone (on a bad day) and really I am only just getting into this sport. I have probably been on no more than 12 full rides out, usually on red routes, as of yet, only tiny sections of black runs. I am a competent climber and have started to feel more confident on larger drop-offs, berms and corners. I know that I am new to the sport, but I am totally hooked and have a huge passion for getting as good as I can get.

So – hopefully that sets the scene about my build and ability…onto the bike chatter…

1. Do I go Enduro or Trail. If I could describe what I 'enjoy' doing now, it is certainly the downhill parts, but I also really enjoy the technical steep climbs and the reward feeling when you have climbed to the top of a mountain with my legs on fire. I am in no way shape or form a speed demon on the way back down, but that is what I want to become, so do I future proof myself and go for the longer travel? I don't want something that is going to be useless up-hill and requires carrying/ski-lifting to the top. My gut tells me to go for a trail bike, but part of me really also wants to be prepared for a potential Enduro event in a year or so after much more time in the saddle.
2. What budget should I be aiming at? I know that is a 'how long is a piece of string' question, but generally speaking there are brackets, I want to future proof, but don't feel I need a race worthy sled when I am still finding my feet so to speak…
3. Based on my size, do I go 27.5 or 29" wheels. I'm 6ft3 with long arms and legs!

The three bikes I am looking at the moment are:

Giant Trance 3 (2018)
£1519 (on sale).
Available to buy from local bike shop.

Fork : Suntour Aion TC, 150mm
Shock : Rockshox Deluxe R, Trunnion Mount
Brakes : Shimano M365 180mm Hydraulic
Shifters : Sjimano Deore 10 speed
Tyres : Maxxis High Roller 11 27.5x2.4" Tubeless

Giant Trance 2 (2018)
£1999 (on sale)
Available to buy from local bike shop.

Fork : Fox 34 Rhythm, 150mm Travel
Shock : Fox Float Performance
Brakes : Shimano SLX 180mm [l][r]
Shifters : Shimano SLX 11 Speed
Tyres : Maxxis High Roller 11 27.5x2.4" Tubeless

Canyon Spectral CF 8.0
Won trail Bike of the year 2018 from MBR

Fork : Rockshox Pike RC 150mm
Shock : Rockshox Deluxe RT
Brakes : SRAM Guide R

Whyte S150 RS (well over budget - but can hold both 29" and 27.5" wheels)

Fork : RockShox Pike RC, 29", 150mm Travel, Fast Black Coating, Tapered Steerer, 110mm X 15mm Boost, Maxle Ultimate
Shock : RockShox Deluxe RT Debonair, Fast Black Coating, Adjustable Rebound and 2 Position Compression
Brakes :SRAM Guide R, 4 Pots, 180mm Rotor
Shifters : SRAM GX EAGLE
Tyres : Maxxis High Roller II TR, 29" X 2.3"

With the amount I am enjoying it, I think I am fairly comfortable with the idea of spending the £2600…. (with the hope that on release of the 2019 models, they may get another 500 knocked off). But I don't want to discount the cheaper ones if they suit my current ability with still lots of room to grow. End of the day there is a £1,000 of difference in price, and I really need some help understanding if it is worth spending that for my current level of ability.

All comments and help appreciated.

Many thanks,


  • eric_draveneric_draven Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2018
    Have you looked at the YT Jeffsy yet,also Wheelbase have £1k off the Whyte t130RS

    also this Trance 2 but a lot better spec than the 3 ... NCE-2-2018
    Edit just noticed you had put one of these down

    Modern trail bikes are very capable machines,and it is quite easy to end up with to much travel and end up being overkill
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    Welcome to the forum and welcome to MTB.

    Glad you are enjoying it and wanting to push the boundaries. I rode HT's for 20+ years and only got my first FS bike last year, so you're way ahead of me in terms of progression.

    It can be a bit difficult to get a bike that suits all occasions. There are of course trail bikes that can climb well and love XC type riding but also descend quite well, but not brilliantly. An Enduro bike is obviously designed for just that, but you may have a slight weight penalty for the XC stuff if you like chugging up hills all day. Loads of bike cross over in that area so it's hard to have a clear divide.

    For me, I'd focus on what you want to ride now. If you decide you like Enduro or even more DH type rding then you'll follow that path and get another bike anyway. You're still learning about MTB and what you really like. It's hard to buy a bike now if the future is unclear.

    The sort of riding you say you currently do, would IMO suit a trail type bike, although the definitions are blurred at the best of times.

    My FS is 140mm travel and can ride local paths/tracks, red routes, BPW, Cymcarn, Afan and the Peaks. I'm not a big jumper or airborne rider but it does drop-offs etc perfectly well. I've never exceeded what I've got and even 120/130 would probable be enough. There was a desire (blame the marketing machine) at one point for everyone to have 150/160mm bikes as `bigger was better`. Some soon found that was too much and there has been a bit of a shift towards 120/130mm bikes as a `best of both `worlds`. This is purely from people I ride with and other forum posts. A lot of them have `downsized` after 6-12 montth with a longer travel bike as they realised they didn't need it. Each to their own though and it's not Gospel.

    Of the bikes you have listed, as you say. there is a big price differential. I can't really comment on the specific bikes but anything over £2k will have better components. The forks are a bit part of it as the other bits can be swapped out if needed quite easily and at lower cost. Personally, anything at SLX level upwards should work fine. You can get XT if you want (or SRAM equivalent). I have Shimano (XT & SLX) and SRAM (GX) on HT and FS respectively. Both work perfectly well.

    I have ridden a Whyte T-130 and it's a great bike. Feels the same as my 140mm. Really good all-rounder. My FS is a Norco Sight 1 and has been tweaked by previous owner. Weighs just under 13kg (about 29lbs), which is pretty good. That menas it climbs well, loves single track and quite happy belting down DH (only limited by lack of rider skill). I really don't think you need more unless you really want it.

    Buying a bike now is hard work. So many options. For me, work out what you'll be doing for the next 12m. Buy a bike that suits that and see where it takes you. Wierdly, my FS has given me a greater appreciation for my HT and they are both equally enjoyable in their respective environments. I still get a buzz from the HT on fast singletrack, hitting the right lines and being really smooth. If you can transition that onto a FS you'll have a blast.

    Also remember that the FS bike won't make you a `better` rider. A FS is more forgiving and won't punish you like a HT, but you still need to point it in the right direction and ride it. Part of me wants to say `keep riding the HT` to build your skills and experience. I'm an old git and a big fan of cutting your teeth on a HT. It allows me to get the most out of my FS as well.

    There are loads of bikes to choose from. A discounted 2018 bike will get you more bang for your buck. You do need to try some though as our favourites may not suit you. You bike needs to fit you most importantly.

    As for wheel size, I do prefer a smaller wheel for XC type riding, although I'm still on 26" so what do I know. I've tried 29" for the type of riding I do, and didn't get on with it. It does excel in the right environment though.

    I don't think your height should influence wheel size.

    Plenty of other people will throw a few ideas at you. You'll be spoilt for choice!
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,438
    I have a Whyte T130 and it is a brilliant bike. It is a proper trail bike and rides like it has more travel than the 130 it comes with (and I mean that in a good way). I have ridden FS bikes with travel from 100 to 165 and the Whyte I have is the best all rounder I've come across. I would take it to the Peaks and Bike Park Wales without hesitation.

    After years of bikes with 140-150 travel, I bought a YT Capra with 165. Its a great bike, absolutely great, but as Billy Cool said above, it is not for what I ride mostly. After I bought it, I decided to sell my 140 travel FS and get a lighter 120-130. I test rode the Whyte T130 and I was sold! (it was not lighter than the 140 I had before, but what a ride!) It is such a well performing bike that if I had come across the Whyte earlier, maybe I wouldn't have bought the Capra! (which is now for sale).

    You have been happy with your Whyte HT so far, you have a regard for Whyte bikes, so get yourself a T130 (many variants) and be happy! :D
  • joebristoljoebristol Posts: 327
    Of the bikes you’ve suggested I’d skip the trance 3 - the brakes aren’t great. Not sure on the fork either.

    You need to decide whether to go more trail or more Enduro. The categories are quite blurred in the middle.

    £2500 will get you a great bike - although direct buy vs bike shop brands give you a variety of spec. Most bike shop brands will be on a Yari or Fox 34 around that price - but with YT / Canyon you might just be on the edge of forks like the pike and lyric.

    I’d get out and test some Enduro vs trail bikes somewhere good with a mix of terrain, then line up your short list.

    For example I did 50k of trail centre stuff a few Saturdays ago - a lap of Cwm Rheadr as a warm up, then combined the black and red routes at Brechfa. I did that on my Bird Aeris 145LT (170f/160r travel) and it was fine. The day before we were uplifting at Black Mountain Cycle Centre and the day after was a lighter 14k Penyhadd lap at Afan. The bike didn’t miss a beat and I wouldn’t have ridden much different as it just made all the decents amazing.

    However, my mate enjoys the uphills and he was riding a Kona Process 134 which was a good compromise. 140f/134r travel - it definitely climbs a little better on he long draggy stuff and does ok on the downs (although he’s much better than me uphill anyway).

    We swapped bikes for 3 runs at BMCC and he had to admit mine was more fun / faster / more capable for trust kind of riding - but he found it a bit harder work on the little bit of peddalling uphill he tried on it.

    So enduro bikes are fashionable, but they’re not for everyone. Hence recommending you get yourself some demos.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    Definitely get to some demos. I had my heart set on a Bird, specifically the Aeris 145. Bigger travel, 'Enduro', just seemed like anything less would seem like a downgrade.

    I rode the 145 and the 120 and the 120 felt so much better for 99.9% of the riding I'd do. That being Surry Hills, Swinley QECP, then it could still happily handle BPW and more. It's 100% a trail bike, but that's what I ride.

    So, I guess I'm saying don't get sucked into the enduro hype, thinking it's what you need. Buy a bike for what you ride the most. My personal experience is 120mm-140mm of travel is optimal for the 'all round' bike.

    Bike wise I would always start with the likes of Bird, Cotic, Airdrop and Sonder. British direct sales with great customer service.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
Sign In or Register to comment.