Bike test: Whyte Glencoe gravel bike

Whyte’s Glencoe gravel bike does much more than gravel
Whyte’s £1,300 all-roads bike is capable of much more than mere gravel, as Cycle magazine technical editor Richard Hallett found out

Like most gravel brakes, Whyte’s Glencoe has the expected 1× transmission, disc brakes and fat tyres, in this case smooth treaded. Yet this road-plus bike offers something a little different.

Steering is…distinctive. The very long top tube (for the frame size) is paired with a low-offset fork, creating a bike with lots of trail and less weight than usual on the front wheel. To some extent, the effect of this on steering is masked by the gargantuan 500mm-wide handlebar, which provides plenty of leverage.

The overall result is very light steering and impressive agility off road, especially downhill on the brakes, at the cost of some uncertainty over ultimate front wheel grip when cornering on tarmac.

Otherwise, riding impressions are dominated by the 46mm wide top tube and the hydroformed aluminium frame’s immense rigidity. The beefy aluminium fork backs this up; the unyielding ride is only partially alleviated by 650×47B tyres (confusingly labelled 47C) when inflated to 40/50psi front/rear for road riding.

Build quality is impressive, with meaty frame welds, substantial thru-axle rear ends, and neat detailing. Wheels are sturdy, featuring WTB tubeless rims, J-bend spokes and unflashy hubs, complete with thru-axles needing an Allen key for operation.

TRP’s HyRd brakes have a mechanical cable operating the hydraulic calliper via an integral lever arm. The callipers bite on 160mm disc brake rotors to give impressively sensitive, progressive and fade-free braking, while allowing the use of SRAM Apex mechanical dual control levers.

Shifting on the 1× system is accurate if slightly less than crisp and gives a decent range, although 28" may not be quite low enough off road with the load permitted by the rear rack mounts.


At over 11kg (54cm size), the Glencoe is no lightweight but it is a well-designed and well-equipped all-roads machine with serious off-road ability. Think of it as a rigid mountain bike with a drop bar and mudguards.

Other options

Ribble CGR alloy 105 £1,399

Shimano 105-equipped aluminium alloy-framed gravel bike riding on Mavic disc wheels and 700×40 tyres.

Cannondale Topstone AL 105 £1,500

Aluminium frame and full-carbon fork with regulation gravel spec, including 700×37 tyres.

First published in Cycle magazine, April/May 2020 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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Tech spec

Whyte Glencoe

Price: £1,299

Sizes: 50, 52, 54 (tested), 56, 58cm

Weight: 11.5 kg

Frame & fork: TIG-welded 6061 T6 aluminium alloy frame with fittings for mudguards, rear rack, two bottles. Whyte 6061 aluminium alloy fork with tapered steerer

Wheels: 47-584 WTB Horizon tyres, WTB ST i23 rims, aluminium alloy hubs with 12mm thru-axles, 32×3 pg spokes

Transmission: SRAM Apex 1 rear mech and dual control levers, SRAM 11-speed chain and 11-42 cassette, Whyte crankset, Direct Mount 44t chainring, Shimano SM-BB52 Hollowtech II BB. 11 ratios 28-107".

Braking: TRP HyRd cable-actuated hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors

Steering & seating: Whyte Gravel 500mm handlebar. Whyte 8cm×7º stem, FSA No. 42 headset, Whyte 6061 aluminium alloy 30.9mm seatpost

Equipment: Curana mudguards