Whyte Bikes PRST-1 Full Suspension Bike

4.24/5 (17 Reviews)

Product Description


Aircraft grade aluminium alloy is precision formed and robot welded to produce super-light and exceptionally stiff monocoque components which are T6 heat treated, a complex process which takes over 24 hours, to prepare them for a lifetime's hard use. The headtube, bottom bracket shell, bearing housings and pivot points are then CNC machined to guarantee perfect alignment and assembled with specialist aerospace specification bearings to create a truly state of the art frameset.

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Reviews 1 - 15 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by killerisation a Weekend Warrior from Bath, UK

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2011

Strengths:    The tracking is amazing. I seemed to become a much better rider as soon as i started riding it. I always overtake everyone on the rough stuff. Very intelligently designed - i'm still appreciating it's nuances over a year on.
I reckon they've stopped depreciating too as they're so unique.

Weaknesses:    Rear triangle design collects mud behind the BB.
More prone to chainsuck than most other bikes.
Creaking sound started in the spherical bearing in the fork.
V-long steerer tube means i've banged my knee on the stem a couple of times.
The paint chips easily too as we all know.

Bottom Line:   
This is the Land Rover of mountain bikes: The design is pretty old now but its a timeless classic. Its quite high up, and not quite as light & fast as some newer models, but happily rides over anything* with perfect stability at any speed you like.

*given its an xc bike

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Favorite Trail:   Cwmcarn

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Hardtails only

Bike Setup:   Mostly stock Deore & LX. Fitted Deore hydraulic discs and LX dual-control levers a few months ago - a great upgrade.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ananaela a Cross Country Rider from Santa Cruz, California

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2010

Strengths:    Centrally located pivot attachments for front and rear suspension. High speed steering response. big grippers ;-)

Weaknesses:    disc brake mounts hard to find,

Bottom Line:   
Its the only XC bike to have this central pivot! Its an awesome bike and I wish Whyte would make a comeback with this design... if for any reason... nostalgia. It started the company! the Prst-1 is a rare bike... if you have one, take care of it! This one's going down in the history books.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   lots

Bike Setup:   XTR, XT hubs and cranks, carbon handlebar, mr. Crud's on there too.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by AcuNinja a Cross Country Rider from Denver, CO

Date Reviewed: June 7, 2008

Strengths:    Unbeatable handling, super plush suspension, laser-acurate steering. Funky, unique design, Big Grippers. In my opinion, this bike is a pinnacle of suspension engineering.

Weaknesses:    Product discontinued. Must get parts from UK--have you seen the exchange rates recently???
I bent a fork. On the plus side ATB sales got me a new one very quickly, and cheap too--only $150.

Bottom Line:   
This bike rocks. I'll ride it as long as I can. I'm preparing to upgrade to new, 9-speed XTR, disc brakes, new air shock & a new lightweight wheelset. I'd do that rather than buy any other
I'd buy another used PRST-4 if I can find it, rather than buy a new bike. Someone ought to license this design from Jon Whyte & build it out of carbon fiber. It would be AMAZING!!

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Favorite Trail:   my secret trailsss... like buttaaa

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   MTBR classifieds--Th

Similar Products Used:   Nothing similar out there except, remotely, the old Girvin/Noleen fork, and, rear suspension only, the Marin bikes--Mt.Vision, etc.

Bike Setup:   Full XTR, v-brakes, liteweight XC components all around..around 26 lbs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Richard Sharkey a Cross Country Rider from Weston-super-Mare, england

Date Reviewed: March 13, 2008

Strengths:    Fantastic front end design, tackles large objects that most can't touch, extremely balanced weight, makes jumping confident.
Unprecedented smooth front end motion, no stiction what so ever (to get this on trad forks, you need to spend $1000 on forks alone and maintain well). anyone wearing the warrenteed bearings, should be buying a heavy weight down hill bike.
Although mine weighs 24lb feels more like sub 20lb'er

Weaknesses:    Chain can jam on rear suspension (fixed in PRST4) suspension needs setting up properly, most riders set their suspension so hard they may as well have a fixed frame, The Preston, won't do its job with too much air, I have never gone over the handlebars,

Bottom Line:   
If you get a chance try it, yes it rides different, try riding it hard at a 10" kirb, it will surprise you
Ensure the front shock has less than 100 psi and the rear less than 130 psi (I have 75 F 110 R) before you judge it
Don't buy it if you like pushing up hill, this is a cross country bike, in todays terms an all mountain bike, not a pure down hill bike

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Favorite Trail:   Rowberrow, Mendips, England

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Marin Mount Vision
Specializes stunt jumper

Bike Setup:   PRST1
Fox Float front and rear shocks
XT throughout except Avid Ti V-Brakes
Monkey lite Carbon handlebar and seat post
Bel-air SDG seat
Cane Creak S2 head set

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Peter St-Amour a Cross Country Rider from London

Date Reviewed: February 1, 2006

Strengths:    Sheer quality of engineering design, incredible medium and high speed handling, comfort, ease of maintenance.

Weaknesses:    Paint applied with an airbrush, frame broke, not made anymore.

Bottom Line:   
Slightly irrelevant review as this design has since been replaced and Jon Whyte seems to have moved onto newer Freeride/all-mountain designs. However as I've had mine for over four years I thought I'd share my findings with anyone who's still got one or thinking of buying second hand.

Someone else has said here that it is like an F1 car, and that's spot on. Truly just pick your line and stick to it and the bike will track on through. It's incredible. The centre of gravity is a high and low speed handling requires concentration but get some speed up - either climbing or descending - and it will go wherever you want it to. Moving back to a telescopic fork and you notice the dive that is absent on the Whyte, plus the increased rigidity of the Plus Fours over conventional designs.

The Big Grippers do what they say and the large rear triangle helps lateral rigidity. What lets the bike down is the quality of the non-Whyte parts. I know Fox bushes are a perishable part, but I didn't expect to get through them quite so quickly. Thankfully Mojo in the UK could not be more helpful or quicker to supply replacement parts. Unlike the the back-up from ATB Sales, which is patchy: they only deal with bike shops and whilst when my original frame cracked after two years they replaced it without question, if you wanted the upgraded bushes they once offered then they don't want to know (and now they charge extra for them on the PRST-4).

The main reason I write this review is that now I come back into market and am looking for something to replace my PRST-1 with, I see nothing of interest. Everything has gone mega-travel (overkill for XC) and seems to have got lighter. For commercial reasons I guess Whyte are unlikely to make something this radical again, and it's a shame as part of the reason I bought one was the uncompromised design. On balance I'm going to spend some money upgrading the PRST-1 and ride it into the ground as even now, five years after its launch, there's nothing to compare to its sheer XC speed.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $3200.00

Similar Products Used:   Marin Mount Vision

Bike Setup:   XC

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave XV a Weekend Warrior from LBC, CA USA

Date Reviewed: November 29, 2005

Strengths:    Great geometry design. No lateral movements in the front suspension. Precise handling. Just a great bike overall and looks awesome. From what ive read the Preston 4 is even better as far as performance goes.

Weaknesses:    no dealers in the USA. Have to order parts in the UK. Not that big of a deal though.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great bike overall. So far Ive had no problems. The frame is solid. If your in the market, buy this bike on ebay. For the price this guy is selling them its a steal.

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Favorite Trail:   El Moro and Palos Verdes

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $750.00

Purchased At:   EBAY

Similar Products Used:   Specialized and Treks

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Bruce Gigalow a Weekend Warrior from Bristol U.K

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2005

Strengths:    Great Looker.
Very good at tracking over rough ground.
Good rear end comfort and it climbs well with minimum bob.

Weaknesses:    Poor front fork arrangement and prone to diving/tucking under when braking on turns. Bearings have been replaced twice :( on the front. Places the rider high off of the ground and better at spped than slow technical riding. Expensive.

Bottom Line:   
I've got used to this bike but it is expensive for the ride that you get and I wouldn't but it again with what I know now. The front is a great idea but modern forks from the likes of Marzocchi and Fox will out perform this fork and give tracking performance nearly as good with no bearing problems. The bearings at the front just get so much stick that they are bound to fail and have twice for me...replaced under warranty no problem but still a weakness. It's a bike with real idiosyncracies and you have to do what the people here have said ride it a lot before you make a decision. Don't believe the rubbish that the bike review magazines tell you.

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Favorite Trail:   Forest of Dean

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Similar Products Used:   Marin, Specialized. Turner.

Bike Setup:   Stock.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by John Dowager a Weekend Warrior from U.K

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2005

Strengths:    Distinguished looking design with the rear advantages of the Marin and with precise, point & shoot steering.

Weaknesses:    The front suspension bushes have been replaced twice and the J pattern of front end dive under hard braking on steep descents is something very difficult to get used to. Expensive.

Bottom Line:   
I got this as a very expensive 30th Birthday present. I haven't quite had it for 3 years but I've had a few nasty spills over the front end as a result of the strage quirks of the suspension. In short and because of the cost of the bike I have stuck with it but last month I sold it and bought a Marin Mount Vision which just rides better for me. As someone has said....test ride this bike several times carefully before you commit yourself and do it on rocky terrain.

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Favorite Trail:   The Marin N.Wales.

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Bike Setup:   As stock.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Chris James a Weekend Warrior from Manchester, UK

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2003

Strengths:    - Unique front suspension system gives unrivalled control and handling when off-road
- The excess metal under the bottom bracket shell makes a useful, if expensive, chainwheel guard!
- Big grippers are strong and align the wheel to near perfectness

Weaknesses:    - Rattles like a bag of bones; doesn't feel very solid
- Doesn't jump very well
- Handlebars too narrow (PRST-4 they are wider)
- No lockout facility on suspension (both PSRT-1 and PRST-4)
- Water bottle bosses are weak and break away easily after continued use (I use these for light battery). The bosses on the top tube don't leave you very much crotch clearance.
- Needs a front mud catcher to stop the headset from seizing up - this adds to the rattling
- Front suspension can be annoying on the roads as it bobs like a maniac when you have the rebound set up nicely for off-road. Similar problems when braking hard but you kind of get used to it.
- Front suspension rebound adjustment is hard to get to and can't be done on the fly.
- Rear suspension is nothing to shout home about
- V-Brake bosses on forks and frame are 9mm so you can't have those lovely X-lite plugs which only come in 8mm and 10mm sizes.
- Bushings on suspension don't seem to last long
- Chain slap has taken most of the paint off the swingarm
- Cable guides too small to accomodate disc brake hosing
- Hard to clean in places, especially inside the gussets on the Plus Fours

Bottom Line:   
The bottom line is make sure you demo this bike before you buy it. Not everyone likes the way it handles although most agree it offers the rider unparalleled control when off-road. The only problem I have with this bike is the noise it makes with the chain slap/cable slap and more especially when your bushings are on their way out which tends to be quite frequently. I would recommend this bike to people who have already had their first mountain bike and are now looking for something a bit different.

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Favorite Trail:   Cwm Carn, South Wales

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $3700.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Doctor

Similar Products Used:   Nothing is quite similar to this bike!

Bike Setup:   XT kit, Hope Minis

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Luke T a Cross Country Rider from Laketown, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2002

Strengths:    Super stiff design laterally, Super-precise handling, constant suspension trail, unique design, ingenious & unique dropout system (the "Big Grippers") Hands down the fastest off-road bicycle I've ever ridden, and probably the fastest, most nimble ATB ever produced. Scary fast--feels like an F1 car on dirt.

Weaknesses:    Narrow swingarm, making fitting an wide (2.3 or larger) tire difficult.
Paint is a bit soft.
Front suspension linkage arms are sharp. (I use a few short pieces of pipe insulation to cover them to save my knees.)
Requires a longer than normal period to get used to the way it handles..
Increased speed, cornering, climbing & braking cause this bike to EAT tires like an F1 car.

Bottom Line:   
The designer of this bike is a genius. He should be knighted. His F1 suspension expertise is evident from the first ride. The bike pedals & climbs better than just about every other suspension out there. The suspension is laterally very stiff, and turns with lazer precision. After getting used to the unique, very light feel of the front end, riding this thing feels telepathic. Literally pick the EXACT line you want, and it goes there as if guided by a laser. It's sick. My riding buddies think it must be cheating, and I've never been more comfortable during or after a 35+ mile epic singletrack ride in the Colorado Rockies.
It's very, very confidence inspiring. I've gone so much faster that my tire wear has noticably increased. Makes sense--the bike flexes less than most, so all the forces make it down to the ground, instead of being lost as flex and slop in the frame/suspension.
The result is a feeling like no other. NOTHING tracks the ground like this bike. Nothing feels this connected, this brilliant.
The bike has four inches of travel, but runs alot of sag. Using the sag-0-meter that it came with to set up the air shocks sets it up perfectly, then just play a bit with the rebound and damping to custom tune the ride.
It really doesn't to read about this bike justice, you must ride one to understand. Every other bike feels primitive by comparison, and as a veteran shop employee, I've thrashed some of the industry's latest and greatest.
Plus it's a great value. At only $1500 from the US distributor, you get the integrated system for less than many high end frames cost, saving you the cost of a fork and a nice headset.
Get one, and go really freakin' fast in comfort and style.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Monarch Crest

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   US distributor (electra bikes)

Similar Products Used:   Trek Fuel 100, Specialized S-Works FSR, Specialized Enduro, Santa Cruz Superlight, Ibis Silk Ti, Rocky Mtn. Element...name it I've wridden, and probably thrashed it.

Bike Setup:   Fox Float R out back and Fox Vanilla Float up front, Full XTR, Nuke Proof hubs, Sun O-degree Light rims, Easton CT2 carbon stem & post, Specialized S-works Ti saddle, Hutchinson Python & Mosquito and of course Stan's notubes.com tubeless setup.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Andy a Cross Country Rider from NH

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2002

Strengths:    Unbelievably smooth especailly at high speeds. Front end stays where it was planted when hitting drops. Incrediably stiff when riding with recommended sag. Powers up hills with little power loss seen in other softtails I've tried.

Weaknesses:    paint sucks but its only paint-Swing arm can hit hard when riding over logs etc. Protects chain ring but caused me to superman over handle bars a couple times.

Bottom Line:   
Incredible bike. Not another like it anywhere. Superior ride and stiffness. Durability could be question. I have not had any problems and hope not to have any as I don't think I could part with this ride after only only being on it for about a month. Great for XC don't think I would bring it downhill.

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Favorite Trail:   Anything fast

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   RF Next LP ISIS Crank set, RF XS BB, Hope Minis, Sram 9.0SL front and rear and shorty shifters, King Hubs on Dave's Dream Wheels.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by TIM FLEET a Cross Country Rider from LANCASHIRE ENGLAND

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2002

Strengths:    Suspension is the best-absorbs just about every rock or rut you hit. Shimano XTR drive train is very slick and up to now, reliable. Looks the part. Excellent climber and fast XC bike.
Hope M4 brakes are excellent but noisy.

Weaknesses:    Forks or plus fours, whichever you prefer. Original Fork snapped after a couple of weeks of easy XC riding, Whyte put this down to a manufacturing fault. New fork bent very easily after a minor fall-I weigh in at 210lbs but a bike costing $4000 should be able to cope.
Hope M4 brakes VERY VERY noisy. Paint is very soft, bottom bracket area seems to catch every stone I ride over.
Lockout shock on rear loses pressure.
Standard tyres are best binned.
Mavic 319 Rims buckled after only a couple of weeks.
Weaknesses have shown this is not a serious down hill bike. Handles best at speed, not very agile at slow speeds on technical trails-I ride the biggest frame and it is a BIG bike-choose frame size carefully.
I was told this bike was practically indistructable, I have to disagree, should have FRAGILE stamped on the frame.

Bottom Line:   
Am i being a bit harsh? well, I have spent a LOT of money on a bike suppost to be indistructable and indistructable it is not. The bike will shorlty be returned to the dealers to have the front fork replaced-if i'm billed for this, this review will be modified appropriately!
If your sub 200lbs and stick to relatively unchallenging trails and have an excess of money, then this could be the bike for you. If you ride hard on bad terrain-well, give it a go and see what you think, but be careful!
It's worth mentioning again that the suspension is absolutely fantastic.
Customer support so far has been excellent.
I'm reasonably happy with the bike and hope that the faults/problems i've experienced so far do not surface again, in which case I would recommend the bike for general XC use.
I'll keep you posted.

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Favorite Trail:   Pennines

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Mike Cookson Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Specialized FSR Elite - weighed a ton but was indistructable.

Bike Setup:   PRST-1 Superbike with:
Hope M4 Brakes, Full Shimano XTR. Front* & rear Fox RL shocks.
*Front shock was removed by Whyte after Fork failed as it had not been factory tested, now fitted with Fox R shock.
Monkeylite 26" bar with carbon fibre bar ends.
New tyres-any are better than the standard tyres fitted.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by robert gregory a Weekend Warrior from hull, east yorkshire, england

Date Reviewed: May 1, 2002

Strengths:    everything about the ride, customer service, head turning looks (its like a road acident you dont want to look but you can't help it!!)

Weaknesses:    not the most durable bike (i have had two new front forks after they cracked on me, one new main frame that cracked by the rear shock mount, one new swing arm after noticing that it was out of alignment!) i weigh 210lbs so i am no feather weight but i think it should last longer than 6 months.

Bottom Line:   
one of the best bikes i have used but far to unreliable i am in the process of trying to get my money back. if you dont weigh that much get a light bike dont bother with the whyte if you are heavy like me dont bother because it will break, i love the bike but i can not put up with having it in the shop to replace a frame component every month!

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Favorite Trail:   dalby forest black run in the dry

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1800.00

Purchased At:   Fretown sports

Similar Products Used:   trek 8000sl cannondale F800, santacruz superlight, orange sub 5, cannondale raven,

Bike Setup:   midelburn rs7, xtr group set, easton carbon bars seat post, hope bulb mavic f519,

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Kent a Weekend Warrior from Huntington Beach

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2002

Strengths:    Climbing

Weaknesses:    Cornering and braking.

Bottom Line:   
Climbs well. Front end dives while braking into corners. I couldn't control the bike well on technical singletrack, but only rode for two hours. Center of gravity is high on this bike. Also, the frames' design places the swingarm three inches below the bottom bracket, which makes clearance low for rocks and roots. Unusual design. Eye catcher. In my opinion, put on some fenders/rack and ride it to work.

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Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale

Bike Setup:   XT everything with v brakes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alfaseeh Maricar a Weekend Warrior from Singapore

Date Reviewed: December 15, 2001

Strengths:    Superb rigidity, control and great climber! Shock absorbtion is AMAZING!!!

Weaknesses:    Poor paintwork (but who cares? Gives you freedom to thrash the bugger!) Mud collector... Lures too many people (Every Whyte riders' pleasurable 'burden')!!!

Bottom Line:   
Simply the best bike on the trail!!! Although not the lightest full sus (I guess so), it rides damn light as the weight of the bike is in the centre of the body. Climbing and traction is great... The bike is a bit high so you have to get used to it, especially for cornering dangerously... The front shocks design works AMAZINGLY well! Absorbtion is so smooth and the front end feels like your are on power steering! At high speeds the baby is a dream! The drop-outs are really convinient, can't wait to put on disc brakes! The paint job is very simple and quite poor, but this allows me to thrash the bike freely, not like on my Klein, cried every time I had a scratch! Maintanence is suprisingly simple, just oiling will do... Dirt gets in the way, but the water hose does the job! Very strong bike! So far has survived my stupid crashes!!! All in all you will love this bike! Great off-roader and on road full sus! Even a hard tail rider would like this full sus as bobbing is almost zilch if you got your gears right! If you got the money, then choose non other than this bike!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Mandai Tracks

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   TEF Bikers Junction

Similar Products Used:   Wheeler, Speacialized, GT, Klein..

Bike Setup:   XTR drivetrain, Deore brakeset and Deore Crank (sucks!), Thomson Elite seatpost, WTB SST Ti saddle, Mavic X517 w/ XT hubs and Panaracer FireXC Pros with Grip Shifts and the whoe bike floats on two FOX Float Rs...

Reviews 1 - 15 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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