If we’re honest with ourselves, and it’s only healthy that we are, it won’t be long before any ‘cross bike over $500 comes standard with disc brakes. I give it four years, tops.
While celebrating their 10 year anniversary, Whyte Bikes’ introduction to cyclocross certainly bears that out. All those prototype test miles must’ve paid off. Whyte’s entering the ‘cross game with three models, all spec’d with rotors and not so much as a mounting point for cantilevers.
Of the three, the Saxon Cross (above) is the racer. It gets the latest standards, including the new BB386EVO bottom bracket standard developed through FSA, BH and Wilier. It has a tapered headtube (1.125″ to 1.5″), slack 69.3º head angle on all four sizes, triple butted 6061 top- and downtubes and hydroformed rear stays. The cables all run full length housing along the top of the top tube, held in place by bolt-on bosses. On the underside of the downtube, they placed bosses to mount a mud catcher, and there are two water bottle mounts in the usual places.
The chainstays are set ultrawide with an S-bend shape to exaggerate the massive clearance around the tire. There’s no brake bridge to catch mud or debris, either. Disc brakes are post mount with a brace between the stays where it counts. The slot at the top of the seat tube for the clamp faces forward, as it does on all Whyte bicycles, to keep mud spray from getting in there.
With a retail of just £1,299, the bike has a claimed weight around 22lbs built up with FSA cockpit parts and Gossamer Pro Cross (36/46) cranks, SRAM Apex with Rival rear derailleur, Tektro top-mount inline brake levers and Alex rims laced up to Whyte’s own double sealed hubs.
The Kings Cross (above) and Charing Cross (below) get a slightly more stretched out geometry and, while completely raceable, are aimed more at the commuter crowd. Both bikes share the butted tubes in the front triangle and S-shaped seatstays, but they connect above the rear tire in a wishbone design. There’s still massive amounts of real estate between the alloy and the rubber, though.
At £799 for the Kings Cross and £999 for the Charing Cross, both bikes qualify for tax free purchase under the UK’s Bike to Work Scheme.
All three models use mechanical disc brakes for obvious reasons, and the Kings and Charing bikes use lower-mid level Shimano drivetrains to hit price points, and they’ll come stock with fatter slick tires for urban riding and bolt-on axles rather than quick release, making them a little more theft proof. The Kings Cross is all alloy, including the fork, and the Charing gets a carbon fork. Both forks have mounts for racks or fenders, adding to their city service design.
Here’s hoping they can get a distributor Stateside!