British-based brand Whyte is known for making great value for money bikes and the Whyte Dean V2 is no exception. A versatile bike that rides brilliantly and looks great, it’s an ideal choice for anyone looking for a versatile ride for gravel ride, bike packing, touring and general bike-based adventuring.
The Dean V2 comes in at a very reasonable price, and while it’s at the low- to mid-end of the market in cost, there’s very little compromise in the build. It looks and rides like a pricier bike and has plenty of well-thought-out features.
This bike will certainly be appearing in our list of the best gravel bikes for some time to come. I've been trying one out for the last month or so and this is my verdict.
Whyte Dean 2: price and availability
In the UK, this versatile gravel bike is just £1,399 which really is cheap, given the quality you're getting. It doesn't appear to be on sale anywhere outside the UK but to give you an idea of the value involved that is equivalent to just $1,900 or AU$2,640.
Whyte Dean V2 gravel bike: frame and spec
At the heart of the Whyte Dean V2 is a hydroformed T6 aluminium alloy frame and fork with tapered head tube. Cables are routed internally through the frame for a clean look and to keep them out of the way of luggage, and there are attachment points everywhere, so you can load up with bags, racks and pop full mudguards on too.
This drivetrain is made up of a combination of Shimano’s gravel-specific GRX groupset, comprising derailleurs and shifters, with a SunRace cassette and Whyte chainset with forged cranks. The gear system is a 2x10spd with 30/46t and 11-36t cassette, and this provides ample gears for both spinning up long climbs while bogged down with touring bags and higher speed adventures on the flat.
Brakes are one area where it’s best not to compromise, especially when it comes to gravel and touring bikes, so it’s good to see Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors. They provide plenty of powerful stopping power, with a smooth action that allows you to shave off a little speed here and there when needed, and help give the bike a confident and controlled feeling. They aren’t as subtle or modulated as pricier brakes but are more than up to the job.
Wheels are Whyte RG-7 alloys and are tubeless ready, while tyres are Schwalbe G-ONE BITE in 700x40c. These aren’t just nice and fat; as the name suggests they have a good tread which offers traction in wet and muddy conditions, and relatively little drag on tarmac. If you’re planning predominantly tarmac-based riding you may want to swap them out for something slicker, but for versatile riding, winter riding and for gravel adventures, you’ll feel the benefit of that bite.
The cockpit is based around a Controltech alloy gravel/road specific handlebar with a compact drop. Handlebar width and stem length is all size specific, which means each rider gets the optimal fit for comfort and performance.
Finally, looks aren’t everything, but the Whyte Dean V2 does look good. A forest green paint job plus tan sidewall tyres give it a pleasingly classic look; add a bar bag for extra gravel coolness points.
Whyte Dean V2: performance
Sturdy, stable and confident, I found the the Whyte Dean V2 to be an ideal bike for exploring, whether that’s for shorter distances and technical descents or longer multi-day adventures. The frame geometry puts you in a comfortable and more upright position that feels comfortable after hours in the saddle, with the roughness of gravel roads smoothed out by compliance built into the frame with thinner seatstays and seat-tube design that allows some vibration-absorbing damping.
A long wheelbase gives the bike a really secure feeling on descents which really comes into its own on steep downhills or when laden down with bags. The second key part of the descending confidence is reliable brakes, and the hydraulic disc brakes on the Dean V2 are powerful enough to keep everything nicely controlled.
The gear range is wide enough to suit every conceivable use for this bike. On the low end the gears allow you to spin up long climbs while still having enough on the top end to put down a fun amount of speed. It’s not as fast and nippy as a road bike or some of the more race-focussed gravel bikes out there, but if you don’t mind that compromise then this is an excellent choice for off-road exploring.
Whyte Dean V2: verdict
The price, spec and performance elevate the Whyte Dean V2 into a bike that should be on consideration list for anyone researching a gravel bike or commuter bike purchase. It feels comfortable and confident off- and on-road, and on gravel trails and even pot-hole riddled country roads. Combined with the upright body position and you’ve got a bike that’s equally well suited to a pannier-laden commute to work as it is to a multi-day lightweight bike-packing adventure.
It is on the heavy side, but that’s par for the course on a bike at this price point and the gear range more than compensates for shifting that extra weight up hills. You may also want to swap out the saddle but that’s often the case with stock saddles; some people get on fine, others don’t, since saddle preferences are a very personal thing.
All in all, the Whyte Dean V2 is an excellent budget gravel bike that punches above its weight and is a blast to ride.