I’ve been riding an Ibex Trophy Comp x7 for the last 10 years and I’m contemplating a new bike. Here are the specs on my bike now: https://www.mtbr.com/product/bikes/x…y-comp-x7.html
I’m trying to decide between the Whyte 801 or the Salsa Timberjack NX1. I can get both for a similar price. I’ve done a lot of reading about the TJ and know of its stock weaknesses. Not a lot out there on the Whyte. I won’t have much to do any upgrading on these bikes
I can’t speak specifically to the Whyte 801, but have purchased a Whyte T-130. Generally speaking, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Whyte’s builds. Very solid and high quality feel. The design (geo, etc.), at least for the full suspension T-130, it dead on good. As for customer service, I had a great experience. As you probably already know, they are U.K. based, and are sold in the U.S. through the Sliprock Tap and Wheel bike shop right next to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, CA (Marin County). And yes, they serve food and beer there. Pre sales was very personal and friendly, and post sales immediate and thorough. They went though some dimensions with me to determine stem height and spacing, and you have the option of tubes or tubeless setup. No shipping costs, and no tax if you’re not in California. It took three days to receive my bike from California to Texas, including a train derailment delay. If by chance you need warranty service, you have the option of taking the bike to an LBS, and they’ll reimburse you. Just coordinate that with them. Or, of course, you could ship it to the shop in CA. I have yet to require any warranty service (since last July). They have a 30 day ride it, try it, return if you don’t like it, policy.
As a guy who has been riding 29+ bikes for years now, I think that you can’t go wrong with a 29+ hardtail. The Timberjack comes with 29×2.6 tires on i29 (i=inner width) rims. With the tall and wide 29+ tires this bike will roll over anything. However, the rims aren’t so wide that you can’t run narrower tires. In fact, you could mount up some 700x45mm tires on this bike and go gravel riding. The bike has clearance for 29×2.8 tires. The Timberjack is a very versatile bike. Salsa has dealerships all over the U.S. but Whyte is not a common brand in the U.S. I know you were looking at 27.5 bikes but I think you will like 29+ better. There’s a reason that nearly all XC Race hardtails come as 29er’s. The 29+ hardtail is the closest you will get to a full-suspension bike without having rear suspension. At least take the 29+ Timberjack for a test ride.
Agreed on going with plus sized tires on a hardtail. I switched to 27.5+ last year and am riding more aggressively than my skinny dual suspension. 27.5 with 2.25 tires on the Whyte is going to be very conservative and limited. At least consider going to 29 if going with tires that thin. Otherwise go fatter on the 27.5 tires. My suggestion would be the salsa. You could also check out the Santa Cruz Chameleon. Similar bike I’ve had great times with.
Just started riding about two months ago and I went with a Salsa Timberjack SLX (27.5+) and I absolutely love it! Bike feels incredibly well built and has handled anything I have thrown at it so far. Still a beginner rider and only had the bike for two months, but I’ve been pushing my luck on it and its been flawless! Highly recommend the Salsa!