Whyte E-5 Works Long Term Test
E Numbers Are Good For You
By David Clark.
Singletrack Magazine, August 2006.
The E5 Works inherits many of the design principles of the original Whyte PRST-1, drops the eccentricities and adds a chunk of cutting edge technology.
It’s the first production bike that has cracked the thorny problem of making a stiff, light, carbon swingarm that offers a full 5ins of travel.
The E5 shares the same Quad Link suspension set up as the Marin Quake. The combination of the monocoque swing arm and the nifty QR-free ‘big gripper’ dropouts combined with the lightness of the weight means that the handling is nimbly flickable and predictable.
The suspension fittings hidden behind their blingtastic curvy little carbon covers have shown no sign of wear or creakage over the duration of the test and so I predict that the predictability will continue. The shock itself is nicely tucked away to avoid the UK winter’s grinding paste jet wash, although this means that access to the Pro Pedal lever is through a cut out in the swing arm, a fiddly operation for the sausage of finger like me.
One other thing that was entirely predicable was that despite, or should I say because of, the confidence that the E5′s handling gave me to go for maximum speed through the twisties, it would lure me into crashing quicker than ever before. And although my flesh is weak and my ability up against its ability stops, the bike is ever-willing and has emerged with nothing more than a few character scratches on extremities.
The kit handing off the E5′s frame is hard to fault: full SRAM X-O, Maverick SC 32 fork, Thomson stern, Easton EA70 carbon seat post and risers, Hope rear hub and Mono Minis. Gobi Wingflex Ti saddle and an FSA carbon crankset. It is obvious that it has been specced as a rider’s choice rather than an OEM combo deal. It’s kit I would choose myself. The attention to detail of the components even extends to the huge, Whyte-designed seatpost binder.
With 5ins of travel upfront, sure the front wheel is skittish going uphill but it’s easily countered by sitting on the nose of the saddle. And even with weight placed thusly, the traction from the back wheel is truly amazing – the Quad Link system has always provided plenty of terrain tracking grip but the carbon swing arm takes it to another level. Provided that the pedalling action is smooth, riding out of the saddle is no problem at all.
While not exactly being told to go out there and break it, the bike has certainly been ridden hard. It’s been flat out over Peak District baby heads, bounced off lake District and Calderdale gritstone and been given long distance hammering on training rides of up to 10 hours prior to riding SSMM and the mudfest of the 24/12. I reckon I have done close on 800 miles on the E5 – which by anyone’s standards is enough to get to know it pretty well. And it has stood up to it all impeccably.
During that time all I have done is oil the chain and adjust the gear cable by a couple of clicks.
Niggles? Not many: the rear shock Pro Pedal adjuster is hard to get to at the best of times but with a bottle cage fitted it is completely inaccessible. I got used to leaving it in the middle position after a while and didn’t even think about it.
Also I have a nagging doubt about how wise it is to fit full sussers with carbon cranks, but even after some hefty rock whackage, the FSA offering still looks pretty good.
Overall, I’m going to miss it plenty. Some e numbers are good for you after all!Print