A quality aluminium road bike from Whyte, with nice spec and some good features. It rolls well and is stable but is no lightweight
Locking wheel nuts
By Paul Norman
Whyte is better known for its mountain bikes than its road range, but nevertheless it has quite a stable of dropped bar road bikes, starting with the £799 Somerset. The Suffolk 105 is top of its aluminium offerings and comes with hydraulic disc brakes.
Whyte’s alloy frame comes with a longish wheelbase of over one metre. Frame angles are quite steep though at 73 degrees, so it’s not quite the stable cruiser which you might expect. All cables and hoses are routed internally, including the front brake hose which disappears into the fork crown.
It looks neat, although the cables running into the down tube bow outwards quite a lot and I found that they rubbed against my legs when I was out of the saddle.
The Suffolk 105 comes with 105 11-speed shifting with a broad range offered by the 11-32 cassette coupled to the 50/34 compact FSA Gossamer Pro chainset, so you’ve got the crawler gears necessary to tackle steeper hills.
It also benefits from Shimano’s BR-785 hydraulic disc brakes. They’re effective although the lever hoods are quite wide, so they might be a bit uncomfortable for those with smaller hands. Fortunately, Whyte’s own-brand alloy bars have a flattened top profile to make up for this.
The wheelset is Whyte own brand, with sealed bearings for low maintenance and quite deep rims for an all-rounder. At 32mm they give the bike quite a sporting look. They also come with locking quick releases which need a special Whyte pentagonal key to unlock. It’s a nice touch which means that you’re unlikely to come back to your bike and find that a wheel has gone missing.
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The Suffolk feels lively enough that you can hum along nicely on back lanes on a longer ride and it can cope well with the stop-go of urban traffic. Its 28mm tyres grip well and provide extra comfort over broken road surfaces. They’re also a bonus when descending, giving some additional confidence, while the hydraulic brakes have good modulation as well as outright stopping power.
You can feel the bike’s overall weight once the road heads up though and I found I was making full use of that wide gear range. If you’re happy to sit in and spin, you will get to the top soon enough; it’s just that you can feel the effort involved more than with a lighter bike.
At £1300, the Suffolk is right on the money, with a quality spec and finish. There are some nice touches too, such as the orange highlights and reflective logos on the wheel rims.
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