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If you thought 29ers were for fast and easy trails, think again. We review the Whyte 529 and see how some relaxed trail geometry has taken bigger wheels onto harder trails.

Best for...
Taking the 29 wheel size onto the steep stuff
Overall Score
A very trail capable 29er at a reasonable entry price
You would likely want to replace the fork for burly activities

If you have aspirations for your hardtail mountain bike to take more than just moderate cross country trails, a quick look at the very capable Whyte range could produce just what you are after.

The super-slack 66.5 degree head angle and long wheelbase on this 529 combines with the rangey 29 inch wheels to produce a bike that is very confident on steep and technical ground, gripping like an octopus over all manner of terrain. This confidence inspiring control is helped along by a long wheelbase and little touches like internal cable routing for a dropper post - another essential accessory that can open up more technical riding.

To keep the price as sharp as £950 of course there have been a few compromises. The groupset is Shimano Deore which, while cheap, isn't a bad performer by any means. The same could be said of the SR Suntour Raidon 32 fork which, while adequate, could be improved upon with a burlier model more suited to harder technical terrain.

But then that is the key to the 529 and the reason it is a great buy for new riders - it is a very capable frame that warrants an upgrading of the bargain basement components as you wear them out or your riding progresses. The basics are right, and at the right price for entry level riders to get their foot in the door.

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