Lowdown: Whyte Saxon Cross Team
Thanks to the advent of disc brakes and tubeless tires, cyclocross bikes are now more capable and comfortable than ever before. This added capability and comfort has also given rise to a new genre of cycling - gravel grinding. While a gravel-specific bike shares almost the same geometry as an "American-style" cyclocross race bike - lower bottom bracket and a slightly slacker head tube angle - gravel bikes differ in that they offer more clearance for tires as wide as 40mm.
But U.K.-based Whyte Bikes has a different idea of what an ideal cyclocross/gravel grinder bike should be, as demonstrated by the Saxon Cross Team. Although Whyte is a household name across the pond, they've been a virtual unknown in the U.S. until last fall when they officially launched their consumer-direct sales model. Featuring a slack 70-degree head tube angle, longer top tube, low bottom bracket height and super short chainstays, the Saxon Cross Team shares more geometry measurements in common with a hardtail mountain bike than a cyclocross bike. Although the numbers look appealing for trail duty, let's see if the numbers actually translate on the trail.