Whyte Wessex gets dedicated single ring version for 2018

No front mech hanger on the Wessex One model

Whyte is a name more associated with mountain than road bikes. But it’s always had a stable of alloy winter road bikes and is increasing its range of carbon road machines too.

We’ve previously reviewed the top spec SRAM Red eTap HRD equipped Whyte Wessex SE. At £6750, it comes with 28mm Schwalbe S-One tyres, that come out at an ultra-wide 30mm on the Zipp 303 Firecrest tubeless-ready wheels. You also get disc brakes and provision for mudguards and we liked its year-round usability.

For 2018, Whyte is also introducing the £2199 Wessex One. Equipped with SRAM Apex 1 gearing, the carbon frame is single ring only. Single ring road bikes are rare, although the technology is becoming ubiquitous in cyclocross and gravel bikes. Usually there’ll be a two ring option as well, and the single ring variant will have the front mech mounts and cable routing for the front mech.

No provision for a front mech on the Wessex One

But the Wessex One is unusual in having neither a front mech hanger nor a frame port for another cable. Ian Alexander, Whyte’s chief designer, says that he sees this as the way to go for riding in UK conditions. Without the need to cater for a pro team, he says that Whyte is free to choose the best spec for most amateur riders.

The Wessex One has a 44 tooth chainset on a threaded bottom bracket, coupled to an ultra-wide range 10-42 cassette.

Alexander points out that the single ring groupset has just as much range as a conventional double ring, without the extra weight and complication of a front mech. Although you only get 11 gear ratios with single ring, a double ring setup only provides 13 unique ratios, once overlaps between the large ring and small ring gears are taken into account.

Alexander says that Whyte has never made a bike with rim brakes. The Wessex One uses SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes and thru-axle hubs for all-weather stopping.

As with the other Wessex models, you also get wider tyres – in this case WTB Exposure 30mm tubeless-ready on WTB Asym tubeless rims with brass nippled stainless steel spokes – and fittings for mudguards.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.