After working for ATB Sales for eleven years Jon Whyte has left to set up his own design consultancy business, Jon Whyte Innovations. He has a non-compete clause in his severance deal with ATB Sales so cannot design anything to do with bicycles until March next year.
ATB Sales describe Whyte as the ‘father of the full-suspension mountain bike’. His FRS system was used by Marin in 1996. Whyte came from the world of Formula One. As a senior suspension designer on the Benetton team he helped F1 driver Michael Schumacher to the first of his world championships.
Whyte’s first FRS design for Marin helped team rider Paul Lasenby win the 1996 National Championships, the first XC win for a full-suspension bike. Whyte’s latest suspension design, Quad Link II, is on the current Marin MTBs as seen on this short YouTube movie from Eurobike.
Whyte also also designed the Mezzo folding bike and a range of UK-specific, high end mountain bikes that carry his name.
Ross Patterson, ATB’s sales and marketing director, said: “We have enjoyed working with such a consummate professional for all this time. It is a fond farewell to Jon after a fantastic partnership but it is important to point out that his legacy continues with the ATB design team at our UK R&D facility and there are exciting developments ahead.”
Ian Alexander, Whyte’s assistant at the ATB design facility in Gloucestershire, takes over from Whyte.
“Ian has a unique new style that is poised to set the MTB world alight all over again and it gives the industry a clear insight into great things to come from the ATB design team,” said Patterson.
ATB Sales retains the right to use the Whyte name on bikes.
Patterson said: “All the lessons learned, the technology and technical development and all the patents granted remain with our design team at ATB Sales.”
“Doing my own thing gives me the option to work when I want to work, going off to bike events when I want to. Time is a precious commodity and I want to spend it more wisely in the future, controlling my own destiny. I also want to stay fresh. You can’t afford to get stale when you’re in the innovations business.”