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Alexander talks inspirations, 29ers and evolving a bike around UK terrain

In The Saddle: Ian Alexander, designer at Whyte Bikes

What bikes do you own and where’s your favourite place to ride?
I suppose I don’t really own bikes in the conventional sense. I have a fleeting and transient relationship with about half a dozen bikes at any one time depending on what we’re developing. They very often change from day-to-day depending on set-up and parts we’re testing until we settle on a particular set-up and then they can stay built for a while, until we’re onto the next thing.
A favourite place to ride MTB’s is anywhere fast with great flow. I’m not so much into really slow and technical terrain.

Tell us about the Whyte line for this year and any design features unique to the brand:
We’ve pushed into a new area with the 146X for 2012. It’s a very focused UK evolved trail bike with pretty much the complete spec anyone could want. It’s been a massive success for us.
Our 29er concept has shown great promise in alloy and carbon, again evolving from a UK perspective instead of the more common USA origins of the 29er platform.
The Whyte cyclocross bikes have also been amazingly well received, and that’s really an extension of the Urban and Cross Trail lines Whyte has branched into with massive growth. We’ll be at the London Bike Show in January with the complete line.

Can interested dealers test ride the line – if so, how and where can they do so?
Yes, we believe there is no other realistic way to understand the Whyte philosophy than to get onto the bikes. It goes for dealers, as well as customers, so we have Neil Halcrow out with the Whyte demo truck doing a great job riding with the public and training our IBD partners all year, it’s really key to the brand.

Anything exciting/fresh in the pipeline for 2013?
Plenty. We’re continuing to push really hard into new areas and keep developing and evolving our current frames and P&A. Sat in my computer’s 2013 Folder are 19 separate Whyte projects we’ve been on all year, a lot of which will see the shops.

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