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Whyte is not only branching out into the 29er market for 2012, it’s also entering the strange world of cyclo-cross.

At their launch recently, Whyte showed us the three bike range, and we came away impressed. Typically cyclo-cross bikes are modified road bikes, but with Whyte’s mountain bike roots designer Ian Alexander approached the new bikes with a different approach.

He wanted to create a bike that would suit mountain bikers, and the key design feature is a slacker 69.3° head angle to improve the handling, making them less twitchy and nervous - more stable and akin to mountain bikes than a road bicycle.

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Named the Saxon Cross, Kings Cross and Charing Cross, the three bikes are priced from £799 to £1299. The three models share a 6061 hydroformed frame FSA 386 bottom bracket, a tapered head tube and sculpted chainstays and curving seatstays which offer huge levels of mud clearance, aided further by the removable of a brake bridge.

All cables are routed along the top of the top tube, and each bike is fitted with cable disc brakes.

How do they ride?

Based on our limited test ride we came away impressed. The initial feel is unique, certainly unlike any other cyclo-cross bike we’ve ridden before.

The slacker head angle gives increased stability, and lends itself to really blasting through rocks and over roots with more confidence than a typical cyclo-cross Bike. The handling is spot-on for getting through this sort of stuff.

www.whytebikes.com