We popped along to the 2024 Whyte Bikes launch a few weeks ago, and there was plenty of new stuff to see. Predominantly it was mountain bikes, including the new e-Lyte which uses the lightweight Bosch SX motor system, but there was also a brand new urban e-bike.
Whyte has had urban bikes in the range for a long time – and currently you can still get a Whyte Coniston from House of Fraser at less than half price, but the new RHeO that was launched at the event is the company’s first foray into hub motors, and using a new system that we’ve not seen on any other bikes.
The RHeO range is actually three bikes. The RHeO 1 (£999) is a standard bike, so we’ll skip that one and head to the RHeO 2 (£1,999), which is available in step-through and diamond frames with a KMC Kynamic 250W hub motor system. The top-of-the-range RHeO 3 (£2,299) is effectively the same bike, but with the addition of a dropper seatpost, commute-friendly mudguards and a rear rack.
So what’s the new motor system? Well, if you are familiar with KMC then you’re probably familiar with their bicycle chains, although they do also make a bunch of other components too. The Kynamic motor is a new departure for them, though. It’s a 36V, 250W hub motor that generates 45Nm of torque, and it’s powered by a 252Wh battery situated in the downtube. There will also be a bottle-style range extender battery to add capacity for longer rides.
KMC has designed the system from the ground up, so it has its own dedicated display with four information screens. One of the plus points of the system is its serviceability: the freehub body is easily replaceable, and the whole motor system is a cassette inside the wheel hub, which can be removed and replaced without having to rebuild the wheel if there are any issues. Not that Whyte is expecting many. We chatted to chief designer Ian Alexander at the launch, and he’s put thousands of miles into the system on his home roads around the Cotswolds without any problems. Whyte is offering a three-year warranty on the motor system on the RHeO bikes.
The motor system is built into a hydoformed 6061 alloy frame with a matching alloy fork. Step-through frames are available in XS, S and M sizes and the diamond frame goes from S to XL.
The 700c wheelset has WTB rims and the bikes use 45mm Maxxis Reaver tyres which should be comfy about town and also capable of mixing in some trails if that’s what you fancy.
The transmission is 9-speed Shimano Cues, with a single 40-tooth chainring and an 11-46T cassette for a big range of gears. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are responsible for stopping you.
The bar and stem is a single-piece unit, which looks neat but seems a bit of an odd choice on a bike like this as it limits your options for adjusting the fit without pulling the whole thing off.
The headset has a front entry port for cables, which run fully internally, making the bike look nice and neat. One nice touch on the RHeO 3 is the dropper seatpost, which allows you to lower the saddle on the diamond frame bike to get your feet flat on the floor when you stop. On the step-through frame it’s probably overkill, but you get it anyway.
Integrated lighting is included on both bikes. On the RHeO 2 the rear light is saddle mounted, and on the RHeO3 it’s built into the rear rack and has an auto-brake function which senses when you’re slowing and brightens the beam.
And what’s the bike like to ride? Well, we haven’t had a chance to sling a leg over one yet – the bikes at the launch weren’t rideable, sadly – so we’ll have to reserve judgement on the new bike and the new motor system until we can get a production bike in for review. We’re working on that, so watch this space.