Words Hannah Bussey | Photos Roo Fowler
We seem to be talking a lot about aluminium lately. Last month we tried and tested three aluminium bikes from brands well known for supplying pro teams, albeit with bikes from a bit further up their food chain.
With all three scoring above 90 per cent in the overall rating — it appears that even though aluminium is often considered an entry level material, it still can produce the basis of a bike we really like. So when the Whistle alloy bike arrived in the office, I was keen to get out for a spin and see if it was on par with our other recent exploits.
We already gave Whistle a bit of an introduction when we tested the top-end carbon Crow back in November. The Win is aimed at women ready to dabble on a road bike for the first time. I’m interested to see how the bikes will compare.
The Win frame is a lightweight alloy. It’s constructed using a method that enables weight to be saved by reducing the amount of material in areas of low stress and beefing it up where the alloy tubes meet each other (known as triple butting). This means that bike tubes are slightly oversized, but surprisingly, it’s still significantly more dainty looking than other frames that use the same process.
So to the road. Whistle’s goal of producing a comfortable bike is apparent. Where Matt found the carbon Crow a bit too solid, the Win surprisingly absorbs a lot of lumps and bumps. I suspect the carbon/alloy forks (alloy steerer tube with carbon legs) help in limiting road feedback.
On the whole, taking the bike for a spin round the pot-holey lanes of Surrey certainly did leave me feeling less assaulted than usual, making this ideal for newcomers in the prevention of sore derrières.
It’s predictable in its handling once you’ve used to its softer feel, and the compact chainrings are perfect for helping to tackle hills at a gentler pace. The Shimano Sora shifters aren’t ergonomically suited to everyone, but they do their job exceedingly well and, along with the other Sora finishing kit, should certainly stand the test of time.
I wonder, should Whistle have gone with Sora brakes? The Radius ones seem to be either on or off, keeping you on your toes at junctions and corners where brake feathering is sometimes preferable.
This bike is all about participation and not competition; and as long as you’re happy to go with the flow, and not set super speedy times — then it’s a Win (sorry couldn’t help the pun).
Whistle Win: Spec
Weight 10.02kg (22.09lb)
Frame sizes 45, 47.5cm
Colour Pink and white
Fork Whistle carbon fork with alloy steerer
Gears Shimano Sora nine-speed
Saddle Selle Royale Vitesse
Tyres Schwalbe Blizzard Black Tyres
Whistle Modoc £549-599
If pink isn’t for you or the £729.99 price tag is a tad too high, then have a look at Whistle’s Modoc. It’s a bit lower specced and not exactly the same geometry as the Win, but would be an option for those who prefer a less ‘look at me’ bike and vice versa. If you are male, not pink adverse, and the sizing of the Win fits, the only woman-specific aspect is the saddle — swap this and anyone is good to go!