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Whyte model year 2015 road and cyclo-cross bikes – first look

Disc brakes across the board a new new RRD 'thoroughbred race bike' range for Cotswold brand


Finally, as far as we’re concerned, Whyte’s 2015 cyclo-cross range is made up of two bikes: the Saxon Cross (£1,499) and the Saxon Cross Team (£1,999).

“Our ‘cross bikes are made from a mountain bike perspective,” says Alexander, continuing a knobbly tyred-influence which runs through the entire Whyte range. That influence, as far as the ‘cross frame is concerned, means slacker than usual headtube angles, short stems and long front centres (the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the front hub).

The Saxon Cross Team sits at the top of Whyte’s cyclo-cross range at £1,999

“I don’t think road bike design translates very well to off-road geometry, so this bike has more of a contemporary mountain bike geometry: all the sizes have the same head angle and they get progressively longer, so there’s no compromise like there can be in road bike geometry.”

The mountain biking influence can also be clearly seen in the selection of components on the Saxon Cross Team, which uses SRAM’s new single-chainring, 11-speed Force CX1 groupset (including hydraulic disc brakes) – a direct descendent of the SRAM XX1 mountain bike group – which pairs a 38t chainring with an 11-32t cassette.

SRAM’s new CX1 cyclo-cross groupset pairs a 38t chainring with an 11-32t cassette

The regular Saxon Cross, meanwhile, is a 10-speed setup, using SRAM SB700 hydraulic disc brakes and a mix of SRAM and FSA drivetrain components. Most interesting is Whyte’s selection of a SRAM X-9 clutch-style, mountain bike rear derailleur. Alexander says: “It deals with the chain better and you can put different cassettes on, up to 11-36t,” which is what Whyte have specced, combined with a 46-36t chainset.

Both bikes also have tubeless-ready wheels (WTB with the Saxon Cross and Easton with the Saxon Cross Team) – another technology born in the mountain world and now common place, while ever-so-slowly gaining momentum with road riders – and Alexander believes cyclo-cross bikes are a useful testing ground for manufacturers looking to experiment with MTB tech which could make its way on to road bikes.

Cyclo-cross bikes bridge the gap between the road and mountain bikes worlds, says Whyte’s Ian Alexander

“In a short period of time, perhaps five years, ‘cross bikes have gone from cantilever brakes, without tubeless wheels and the rest of it, to something that’s actually got a whole load of technology,” he says. “Everybody – from Shimano to SRAM, WTB, Easton and all of these brands – is in there, playing with stuff which ultimately is pretty experimental in terms of what might happen in the road market.”

For more information on cyclo-cross bikes, take a look at our cyclo-cross buyer’s guide.

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Website: Whyte

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