Move Electric rating: four-and-a-half stars out of five
What does it cost? £6750
What is it?The Whyte E-160 RS is a full suspension electric mountain bike with pure thrill in mind. It’s the more premium of the two E-160 options, with Fox suspension front and rear and a Crankbrothers dropper post to name a few exciting parts, it’s got plenty on offer and at a competitive price.
What is it like? Let me begin by stating the obvious – this is one hell of a machine. It's British design at its finest, paired with a subtle 'Matt Moss' colourway which adds to the aesthetic. It's rugged and looks like it belongs on a wild moor or in the depths of a forest, so that's where I rode it, in some of Yorkshire and Lancashire's finest, with exciting results.
That being said, I didn’t unleash the full potential of this bike. I am familiar with Whyte bikes and know how the non-electric rough equivalent rides, but the size I tested was too large and thus the performance suffered. After the second lap of Gisburn Forest I did begin to feel more in tune with the bike and by no means was it horrendously difficult to ride, but I feel like I missed out on a little bit of agility and control having to wield a larger frame than I'm used to.
Nonetheless, I can hands down say this is the most confidence-inspiring, exciting electric bike I've tested yet. The combination of the intuitive Bosch mid-drive Performance Line motor and my uttermost trust in the bike provided some of the best trail riding I've done in years.
Naturally, I'm by no means a professional. I'm quite happy spending most of the day on a blue or red line, but I found myself hitting features and technical ascents that I would normally avoid. Instead of ducking out when things got a bit techy, I found myself thinking, ‘just push on a little bit more and see how far you can get’.
I was also able to go much further than I'd be able to on a non-electric bike. Partially, I imagine this is psychological, and that I lack faith (or power) in my legs on my unassisted mountain bike, but the E-160 RS just continues to perform reliably with every power stroke.
The Bosch system offers four assistance levels, but E-MTB is where this bike really comes to life. It's dynamic which means it reacts to the level of torque going through the sensors and thus provides as much power as you need in any given situation (up to 250W of course). I found this to be helpful in a variety of circumstances, from riding steadily along a fire road with a non-assisted bike buddy to putting the hammer down on a technical ascent where sometimes raw power and speed are my answer to reaching the top (I’m sure mountain bike instructors everywhere are wincing).