New Whyte E160 focused on performance with oh-so-low centre of gravity

British bike brand Whyte’s newest E-160 electric mountain bike has been tweaked and refined as Whyte seeks to hone its focus on lowering its centre of gravity (COG).

The brand claims the changes improve how the bike rides, making it feel closer to a non-assisted bike, while also making battery removal and installation easier.

The 150mm rear-travel emtb range now includes a full 29in-wheel bike and a dedicated mullet setup, where the front is 29in and the rear 27.5in, both available in medium to extra-large sizes. The extra-small and small sizes get 27.5in hoops front and rear, making them a better fit for smaller riders.

Could the E-160 RSX soon be the ebike to beat?
Alex Evans / Our Media

The move from Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor with basic Purion display to the Smart System and redesigned down tube sees an increase in battery capacity, with space for up to a 750Wh unit, plus increased smartphone connectivity.

Prices start at £6,399 for the E-160 S 29er and MX, rising to £7,699 for the mullet-only E-160 RS, and top out at £7,999 for the E-160 RSX, which is sold with 29in wheels only.

2022 Whyte E-160 frame and suspension

The down tube doesn’t have a large cut-out for the battery. This, Whyte claims, improves stiffness.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Whyte’s focus on lowering the E-160’s COG is founded in the belief doing so will “dramatically improv[e] the ride performance by minimising the… negative effects of poor weight distribution in three main areas… pitch, roll and yaw.”

In order to investigate the importance of lowering the bike’s centre of gravity with the aim of improving the way it rides, Whyte used computer-modelling software to cut the bike into portions, giving each section its own COG.

Each section’s centre of gravity is then averaged out to produce the whole bike’s centroid (arithmetic mean position of all points). The aim was to make this as low as possible.

The Bosch motor has been rotated (clockwise in this image) so the battery can fit beneath it, lowering the bike’s centre of gravity.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Along with the anti-clockwise rotation of the motor (when seen from the driveside) – used on all current Whyte full-suspension ebikes, so the battery can be mounted beneath the motor – the brand has managed to lower the battery further for the latest E-160 by relocating the connector from the bottom of the battery to the top.

This, Whyte claims, culminates in a ride “that feels much more like… an ‘acoustic’ bike,” with a planted feel while maintaining the ability to change direction quickly.

Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Whyte is also keen to highlight its down tube’s design that remains intact, without the cut-out used on many other brands’ designs for battery installation or removal.

The “uncompromised” down tube means it retains its torsional stiffness and structural importance.

For the 2022 bike, the down tube has been re-profiled and hydroformed to fit tightly around Bosch’s 750Wh battery, that slides into the down tube using Bosch’s slide-in-rail system.

The new E-160 uses the chunky 1.5in and 1.8in headset standard.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Because the system is modular, owners can swap between 750Wh, 625Wh and 500Wh Power Tube battery sizes without having to buy a whole new bike.

The brand has moved to the 1.5in upper cup and 1.8in lower cup headset standard, while making changes to the internal cable and electric wire routing. The E-160 now uses SRAM’s UDH, too.


The four-bar Horst-link suspension design has around 25 per cent progression.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Although the new E-160 still uses Whyte’s Horst-link four-bar suspension – dubbed Quad-Link 4 Suspension by the brand – found on its other full-suspension bikes, it has worked hard to tune the bike’s shock damper tunes.

Whyte said its in-house enduro racer and engineer Sam Shucksmith helped develop the tune on both Fox and RockShox shocks fitted to the bike, going through many iterations to find the perfect performer.

The E-160 has 150mm of rear-wheel travel and, like its full-suspension stablemates, the overall rate of progression of its travel is around 25 per cent.

2022 Whyte E-160 motor and battery

The charge port sits on top of the motor.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Bosch’s Smart System Performance Line CX motor and 750Wh battery are fitted to the 2022 E-160, although, as mentioned, the frame is compatible with the smaller 625Wh and 500Wh batteries, too.

The motor boasts 85Nm of torque and 250w of assistance, and via Bluetooth connectivity thanks to the Smart System, the motor’s modes can be adjusted in Bosch’s Flow smartphone app.

This latest generation also features Tour+ mode. This functions similarly to eMTB mode, where increased rider inputs make the motor provide more assistance.

SRAM Code RSC brakes take care of slowing down the E-160.
Alex Evans / Our Media

However, none of the E-160 bikes are fitted with a Bosch display. Instead, an LED controller – with battery and mode indicator – is fitted to the left-hand side of the handlebars. A Bosch Smart System display can be added as an aftermarket upgrade, however.

2022 Whyte E-160 geometry

The E-160 is enduro-race ready.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Bike geometry across manufacturers seems to be converging on what is becoming a universally agreed sweet spot, where bikes with those perfect figures tend to ride well.

The 2022 E-160 doesn’t buck the trend, its figures looking spot-on for a trail/enduro ebike.

Headline numbers include a 64.2-degree head tube angle (low setting), 75.3-degree actual seat tube angle, 446mm chainstays and a 483mm reach figure for the size large.

Whyte E-160 29in wheel geometry

Whyte E-160 MX/mullet wheel geometry

Whyte E-160 27.5in wheel geometry

The range features a wide gamut of sizes, from extra-small to extra-large. The XS and S bikes run 27.5in wheels front and rear, while the medium to extra-large bikes can be fitted with either 29in wheels front and rear, or a mullet or MX setup.

The Link has high and low positions. This adjusts geometry, and can be used so a rider can swap between 29in and 27.5in rear wheels.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Like its other full-suspension bikes, it’s fitted with the Link – a small flip chip in the shock yoke that switches between high and low positions. Whyte says the link slackens the bike out by 0.6 degrees and lowers the bottom bracket by 8mm.

The link’s secondary function is to allow the frame to accommodate a 27.5in rear wheel, transforming it into a mullet bike. All E-160s, whether they’re sold as a mullet or 29in-wheeled bike, can be changed to the other wheel configuration without any additional purchases.

2022 Whyte E-160 models, specifications and prices

In the 2022 E-160 range are three models, with the base E-160 S model retailing for £6,399 in both 29in and MX wheel configurations, along with a full 27.5in-wheeled bike for the smaller sizes.

This is fitted with a RockShox ZEB fork and Super Deluxe Select R rear shock. Braking is taken care of by TRP’s Trail Evo, while Shimano’s ebike-specific XT M8130 Linkglide drivetrain features.

The bike’s finishing kit – including dropper, saddle, bar, stem and grips – is Whyte-branded.

Sitting in the middle of the line-up is the E-160 RS, available with a mullet-wheel setup or full 27.5in for the extra-small and small sizes.

This model retails for £7,699, and is specced with a Fox 38 Performance fork and Float Performance DPS rear shock.

Drivetrain duties are taken care of by SRAM GX Eagle AXS (like the RSX model), and it’s fitted with WTB HRZ i30 rims laced to unbranded hubs. Elsewhere, there’s a Crankbrothers Highline 3 dropper post and a mix of Whyte and branded kit. SRAM Code R brakes provide the stopping power.

Headlining the range is the E-160 RSX, costing £7,999, but available only with 29in wheels.

It’s available in orange or black, where the colours of the logos and main frame are flipped.
Alex Evans / Our Media

This comes with Fox Float 38 Performance Elite forks with 160mm of travel and a Float X Performance Elite rear shock. Elsewhere, it has a SRAM GX Eagle AXS drivetrain and a Crankbrothers Highline 3 dropper post.

In the UK market, it’s fitted with Hope’s Fortus 30 wheels, while other territories get DT Swiss’ HX 1700s. The wheels are wrapped in Maxxis rubber, with an Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ front tyre and a Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown at the rear.

Stopping is done by SRAM’s Code RSC brakes with a 220mm front rotor and a 200mm rear.

2022 Whyte E-160 RSX 29er

  • Frame: 6061-T6 alloy, 150mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance Elite
  • Fork: Fox Float 38 Performance Elite, 160mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS
  • Wheels/tyres: Hope Fortus 30 on Hope Pro 4 hubs / Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT TR 29×2.5in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown WT TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 220mm front, 200mm rear rotors
  • Bar/stem/grips: Whyte Custom 6061 Alloy 800mm / Whyte Enduro Stem 35mm / Whyte lock-on Enduro
  • Seatpost/saddle: Crankbrothers Highline 3 / Fizik Terra Aidon
  • Price: £7,999

2022 Whyte E-160 RS MX

  • Frame: 6061-T6 alloy, 150mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float Performance DPS
  • Fork: Fox Float 38 Performance, 160mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS
  • Wheels/tyres: WTB HTZ i30 TCS 2.0 on Alloy hubs / Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT TR 29×2.5in/27.5×2.5in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown WT TR 27.5×2.4in (r)
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R 220mm front, 200mm rear rotors
  • Bar/stem/grips: Whyte Custom 6061 Alloy 800mm / Whyte Enduro Stem 35mm / Whyte lock-on Enduro
  • Seatpost/saddle: Crankbrothers Highline 3 / Fizik Terra Aidon
  • Price: £6,399

2022 Whyte E-160 S MX or 29er

  • Frame: 6061-T6 alloy, 150mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select R
  • Fork: RockShox ZEB, 160mm travel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT M8130 Linkglide
  • Wheels/tyres: WTB HTZ i30 TCS 2.0 on Alloy hubs / Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT TR 29×2.5in/27.5×2.5in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown WT TR 27.5×2.4in (r)
  • Brakes: TRP Trail Evo 220mm front, 200mm rear rotors
  • Bar/stem/grips: Whyte Custom 6061 Alloy 800mm / Whyte Enduro Stem 35mm / Whyte lock-on Enduro
  • Seatpost/saddle: Whyte Adjust / Whyte Custom
  • Price: £7,699

2022 Whyte E-160 RSX 29er ride impressions

Whyte has worked hard to lower the bike’s centre of gravity to improve its handling.
Alex Evans / Our Media

I was lucky enough to ride the Whyte E-160 RSX 29er on my local test loop, taking in some of the best off-piste trails at the Glentress trail centre in Scotland’s Tweed Valley. Although I only managed a single 1,190m ascent/descent, 25km distance ride, I was able to get some good initial impressions of the bike.

The E-160 felt very similar to the E-180 RS I reviewed in BikeRadar’s Bike of the Year test, but with the increased control and grip afforded by the larger 29in wheels.

This meant it felt super-smooth on particularly rough, choppy terrain with the improved roll-over of big hoops, increasing how fast it could be ridden before control was reduced.

This made it addictive to ride quickly, where the Float X’s rear shock felt as though it was doing a great job of improving grip and ironing out the worst of the bumps. In fact, this was the best-feeling Float X I’ve ridden, where the weight and speed of an electric bike wasn’t able to overwhelm the damper’s performance.

Furthermore, the front-to-back balance – with the relatively long 446mm chainstays and 823mm front centre creating a 1,269mm wheelbase – gave a very intuitive ride from the get-go.

It was easy to hop on the E-160 and ride fast and confidently. The low-slung weight, suspension performance, spot-on geometry and spec list – that included the impeccable MaxxGrip Assegai front tyre with EXO+ casing and DoubleDown DHR II MaxxTerra at the rear – worked perfectly together.

The bottom bracket felt a touch on the low side. This was great for cornering confidence, but I did encounter a few pedal strikes.

On the climbs, I felt as though the seat tube angle could have been steeper, but this wasn’t a big issue compared to some bikes.

With Bosch’s Smart System 750Wh Power Tube battery fitted to Mondraker’s Level R, it feels as if it drains its power quicker than the 625Wh battery fitted to a basic Performance Line CX motor. More investigation is required here, however.

The proof of the Whyte’s performance was, however, in the pudding.

Although this evidence should be taken with a pinch of salt, I managed to beat all my current personal records on my test loop during the single ride I spent on the 2022 E-160 RSX. Make of that what you will, but it at least suggests Whyte’s latest ebike is an impressive bit of kit.

#Whyte #E160 #focused #performance #ohsolow #centre #gravity

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