whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Received: The Raucous Whyte Gisburn

Right now, the cyclocross bike is in the biggest state of flux since its inception. What was a specific type of bike previously governed by very strict rules is now beginning to evolve and adapt to the times. Components are changing, with the introduction of UCI-approved disc brakes warranting new frames, new forks and new wheels.

Geometry is also evolving fast, as seen with bikes such as Cannondale’s latest Super-X race bike. No longer are riders forced to contend with overly aggressive road-style riding positions and cantilever brakes, and as such, the growing capability of modern CX bikes is seeing the way people ride them grow too.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

The Gisburn certainly has some ‘stance’ about it.

A bike we previewed back in July, the 2017 Whyte Gisburn is a terrific example of this modern progression. It’s a new-school cyclocross bike that packs in slack geometry inspired by its mountain bike brethren, along with a wide-range 1×11 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and thru-axles.

The riding position is broad and stable, with huge 500mm wide drop bars and a short stem mirroring the latest setups on Whyte’s hardtail mountain bikes. It also features 37c wide rubber and masses of tyre clearance, making it thoroughly non-UCI approved. But rather than build a bike bound by strict UCI laws for racing, Whyte decided to set off on their own path to see just how fun and capable they could make the Gisburn.

With that in mind, we have just received a Whyte Gisburn longterm test bike to put it through its paces over this coming winter season. And as a mountain biker with minimal experience on cyclocross bikes, I stuck my hand up to be the primary candidate for testing Whyte’s new-school approach with the Gisburn. Lets have a closer look at some of the detail that’s gone into this colourful and intriguing, genre-bending machine.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Whyte list the Gisburn as part of their Gravel / Adventure G-X series, but the scope of this colourful machine is broad.

Our G-X bikes are versatility defined. On road, off road or both in the same ride, our uniquely capable, effortlessly comfortable yet efficiently fast Friston and Gisburn bikes set a new standard for any-ride all-rounders. In fact we’ve pushed the off road boundaries of drop bar bikes so far we’ve had to make our own components such as a 500mm wide bar and 15mm through-axle carbon fork to keep up. That’s because our MTB inspired, relaxed head angle, stretched top tube geometry and even a dropper post as standard on the Gisburn will keep you in control way beyond what most 700c bikes can cope with.” – Whyte Bikes

  • Frame: 6061 Hydroformed T6 Alloy w/142x12mm Dropouts
  • Fork: Straigh Blade Carbon w/Alloy Tapered Steerer Tube & QR15 Thru-Axle
  • Wheels: WTB Asym i23 TCS Rims w/Sealed Bearing Alloy Disc Hubs
  • Tyres: WTB Riddler 700x37c TCS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Force CX-1 1×11
  • Brakes: SRAM Force Hydraulic Disc w/160mm Rotors
  • Cockpit: Whyte Gravel 48cm Bars & 70mm Alloy Stem
  • Seatpost: KS Speed UP w/100mm Drop
  • RRP: £1899
whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

The Speed Up Post from KS features 100mm of infinitely adjustable travel and a simple lever activated design.

Ok, so the first thing that caught my eye about the Gisburn was the dropper seatpost. Labelled as a ‘Speed Up’ model by KS, the Gisburn’s dropper post is activated by a small lever located underneath the nose of the saddle. Get your Michael Jackson impersonation on with a one-handed crotch grab…

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Fully dropped, with the saddle well out of harms way for rocking the descents.

…and the post can be lowered instantly by up to 100mm. Without a remote like you’d normally have on a mountain bike, the lever-activated dropper post isn’t likely something you’ll be using for every corner and every single undulation on the trail. Instead, it looks like a more useful tool for using once or twice on a cyclcross racecourse (non-UCI approved of course), or just for long downhill sections where getting the saddle out of the way makes descending that much easier to negotiate. Either way, I’m very keen to see how this goes off-road.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

The Inter Grip system clamps the seat post from the inside of the frame for a super-clean look.

Underneath the dropper seatpost is an interesting arrangement for keeping the post secure in the frame. Rather than use a traditional split down the back of the seat tube with an external collar clamping down on the seat post, Whyte has employed their ‘Inter Grip’ system, which uses an internal wedge to clamp the seat post.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

British by design, British by nature. The Gisburn has some neat details to ward off the usual suspects from riding in our wonderful climate.

With no split in the frame, there’s no open window for mud and water to migrate inside the frame. To help further shield the Gisburn’s insides, Whyte has added a rubber condom to the top of the seat tube that provides an extra barrier against contamination.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Curves in all the right places.

The Gisburn frame and fork have been designed with masses of tyre and mud clearance in mind. Shapely S-bend seat stays curve around the tyres, with a bridge-less design that gives the back end a little more ‘spring’ for riding rougher tracks and roads.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Wanna go wider? The Gisburn will fit up to 40c tyres in the back end.

The Gisburn comes stock with WTB rubber that is listed at 37c wide. However, there’s room to fit up to 40c tyres in the back end if you so choose. Also of interest is that Whyte claim the Gisburn can take 27.5in mountain bike wheels as well, though I’m not exactly sure how wide you’ll be able to go. Stay tuned on that one, as I’ll be testing plenty of tyre theory on the Gisburn longterm test bike…

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Plenty o’ clearance up front too!

As for the front end, there’s loads of clearance in the Whyte Carbon fork. We’ll have to try out some wider options to see how big we can go, but at least 40c should be possible.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

WTB supplies both the tyres and rims for the Whyte Gisburn.

As for the tyres themselves, the WTB Riddler tread pattern definitely looks more ‘gravel’ than ‘muddy CX’. But with sufficient volume and WTB’s grippy dual rubber compound, it should be a nice and versatile option for a mix of commuting, bridle path exploring and trail riding.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Tubeless compatible outta the box.

The tyres are also tubeless compatible, and our test bike came setup as such out of the box. Being WTB branded, the tyres and rims feature the TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) design, which makes them easy to run with liquid sealant inside so you can ditch the inner tubes.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

All the mod-cons: 15mm thru-axle and flat-mount disc brake.

Further mountain bike touches on the Whyte Gisburn include the front and rear thru-axles. The Carbon fork up front features a 100x15mm QR axle to lock down the straight-blade carbon legs, along with a flat-mount disc brake to tuck the calliper in nice and neatly.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Super tidy rear dropouts tuck the tiny hydraulic calliper inside the chainstay for a very clean look.

The design is mirrored for the rear dropouts, which elect for a 142x12mm thru-axle and a tidy flat-mount rear disc brake calliper that sits inside the rear triangle. Also of note are the necessary eyelets for fitting pannier racks and mudguards to the Gisburn.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

More British sensibility on the Gisburn, with a threaded bottom bracket shell that should please many home mechanics and privateer racers.

Despite the modern-ness elsewhere, Whyte has stuck with an English threaded bottom bracket shell on the Gisburn, with external BB cups threading into the frame for easy installation and removal. SRAM has supplied its carbon-armed Force cranks for the Gisburn, but with a standard 24mm GXP spindle rather than the BB30 system used on some other bikes.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Minimliast styling on the 1×11 drivetrain.

A SRAM 1×11 drivetrain takes care of shifting duties, and keeps the Gisburn frameset looking very clean indeed. Without any provision for a front derailleur, the Gisburn makes its intentions clear from the outset, and I like that.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

A massive 11-42t cassette aims to provide sufficient range to warrant skipping the front derailleur. Is there enough low range though?

Will the 11-42t cassette provide enough range though? That’s a very good question indeed, and one my knees are interested to find the answer to. Out of the box the Gisburn is equipped with a 38t chainring, so there is scope to go smaller if need be.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

A single paddle controls both up and down shifts for the Force CX-1 rear derailleur.

With SRAM hydraulic disc brake callipers, you need SRAM levers on the other end of the hoses. Sleek carbon lever blades aboard the Force CX-1 brake hoods, with only the right hand unit featuring a shift paddle.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Is 48cm big enough for ya??

Echoing the cockpit setup on the hardtail range, Whyte’s Gisburn is equipped with massive 48cm wide drop bars and a stubby little 70mm stem, all in the name of increasing descending stability.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

The short stem certainly looks dainty, but how will it affect the handling on the Gisburn?

The stem measures up at 70mm on our 52cm test bike. However, the 54cm size comes with an 80mm stem, and the 56 & 58cm frame sizes come with a 90mm stem length.

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Now you see the cables…now you don’t!

Keeping the frame lines clean, the Gisburn runs internal cable routing, with rubber ports along the downtube capturing the rear derailleur cable and the rear hydraulic hose. The fork also uses internal routing for the front brake, with SRAM Connectamajig’s allowing for easy dismantling of the hoses when it comes time to pack the bike for travel.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-20-13-35

whyte gisburn cyclocross bike adventure sram force 1x11 hydraulic disc brake thru axle tubeless wtb dropper post 37c

Will Whyte’s geometry curveball work as intended with the new Gisburn?

The Gisburn is most certainly an interesting bike on paper, and it’s even more intriguing in the flesh. I am very keen to see how it handles on the trail, and I’ll also be using it for a mixture of commuting and cyclocross racing to see how the unique geometry and frame features cope with everyday demands. Stay tuned…

Whyte.bike

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. steveh1uk says:

    What is this bike like on tarmac ?

  2. Thanks for the question @steveh1uk!

    I’ve recently published a review on the Gisburn here; http://grit.cx/reviews/2017/02/review-2017-whyte-gisburn

    In answer to your question, the Gisburn is superb on tarmac, and those Riddler tyres do well with multiple surface types, including on sealed roads. I’ve recently set the bike up with skinnier 34c WTB Exposure tyres and some lighter wheels, and once I’ve got some solid ride time, I’ll be posting a follow-up review.

    Let me know if you’ve got any other questions in the meantime, and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!

    Cheers,

    Wil

  3. steveh1uk says:

    Your reviews on the Gisburn are fab. I am left with the thought of either saving up for the Friston or saving up a bit longer for the Gisburn. Any thoughts in that direction (I will probably do a 75% road / 25 % trial split). I can see this being my main bike with my mtb and road bike for group rides

  4. Thank you for the feedback! And great question regarding Friston vs Gisburn.

    That’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as there’s a significant saving going to the Friston. The main differences with the Gisburn are that it comes with the dropper seat post and lighter weight SRAM Force components.

    The SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain is very slick indeed, but if you’re not super bothered about weight, then the Friston still features the same frame & fork, the same WTB tubeless compatible wheelset, the same geometry, the same handlebar setup, hydraulic disc brakes and a 1×11 drivetrain.

    As such, I think it’s darn good value for £1599. And you could always put that £400 saving aside to put into some lighter wheels/tyres for dedicated road riding, and perhaps a carbon upgrade for the seat post and handlebar to drop a little more weight.

    Either way, it’s pretty hard to go wrong!

  5. steveh1uk says:

    I noticed that you mentioned mudguards. I need them for my commute (which can include a cheeky bit of off road). I have thought of using MTB mudguards – what sort of mudguards did you use?

  6. I’ve only been able to use a set of Mucky Nutz mudguards on the bike so far @steveh1uk.
    They’ve been light, easy to install and surprisingly effective;

    https://muckynutz.com/mudguards/gut_fender
    https://muckynutz.com/mudguards/butt_fender

Leave a Reply