Plus Bike Review: Why Cycles – Wayward 29+

Written by David Wildman

The Why Cycles Wayward, a 29+ adventure seeking, trail slaying, all around beautiful looking titanium hardtail mountain bike.

Why Cycles Wayward in the wild of Pisgah National Forest

Introducing “The New Bike Nerds on the Block”

If you haven’t heard of them yet, let us introduce you to Why Cycles. The first words you will read on the Why Cycles website landing page is “The New Bike Nerds on the Block”.
They named the company to represent the reason WHY they are making bikes – its all for the fun and excitement of biking.

Why Cycles artwork and note the cable routing system. Attention to detail!

Here is how they describe the beginning of Why Cycles:
“Why Cycles started in early 2016 in Ogden, UT as the common idea of a group of cycling enthusiasts: Adam Miller, Jason Schiers and Ben Craner. Focused on creating high-end bikes that reflected the joy they found in cycling, the three began dreaming up and sketching out beautiful bikes, discussing better ways to construct them, and finding a way to sell them to customers that allowed everyone to win. Soon after, Adam founded Why Cycles.”

Motivation to Remember Why

Introducing the Wayward

This is how Why Cycles described their Wayward model:
“We designed the Wayward to be the most capable 29+ big-tired bike available. Built with a strong focus on versatility in bikepacking and adventure riding, this bike performs impressively cruising through tight singletrack or loaded up with gear for an epic adventure. The huge tires will give you a newfound sense of confidence when it comes to cornering, and it’ll make technical terrain feel like fresh pavement. At the heart of this machine is a frame with purposeful geometry that makes these big tires shine on any trip, large or small; that’s what we are proud of when it comes to the Wayward.”

Top Tube Artwork

The Wayward comes in two builds (XO Eagle – $5,499 or XX1 Eagle – $6,599). Also standard are Industry Nine I9 hubs laced up to Industry Nine BC 450 Backcountry rims.  Both builds also come with Terrene McFly 29×2.8 tires.

Top Notch Customer Service

Before we get into the review of the bike, I’d like to take a second and mention Why Cycles customer service.  In any other write up about a bike I wouldn’t talk about this, but the guys at Why Cycles knocked it out of the park on customer service!  From the phone calls, to texting them questions, to working out all the details, and finally the delivery of the bike!

Specifications

Why Cycles will also sell you the frame ($2,250) or frame and fork ($2,849).  For this review, I choose to go with the XO Eagle build.

Note the internal cable routing! Wayward comes with Ergon grips, but I switched them out for ESI Chuncky grips – personal preference. No issues with the Ergon grip

 

Once you select the build, you spend some time on the phone discussing options.

For the fork you have a choice of either the RockShox Pike (standard) or DVO Sapphire ($100 extra).
Then you pick out colors for the hubs, spokes, water bottle mount bolts, and seat post clamp color.

Ergon Pro Ti Saddle

They will also let you switch out the stem and handlebars if you prefer a different setup.  The standard option is RaceFace Turbine bars (35x760mm) and RaceFace Turbine R 35 stem.

Why Cycles head badge with view of the RaceFace Turbine stem and handle bars

 

Another standard option on both builds is the RockShox Reverb dropper seatpost.  A must-have and nearly ubiquitous item now in the mountain bike world!

RockShox Reverb Dropper with Hope seat post collar

“Shipped with Love”?

Once the bike is finished, you wait.  It is definitely the worst part, but trust me it wasn’t that bad!  The anticipation and waiting were worth it.
An important note – the Wayward gets shipped to you in an EVOC Pro travel bag (included in the price of the bike)!  Another great customer service detail!  They could ship it in a disposable cardboard box, but they choose to deliver it in style!

First Impressions

To start out the official review of the bike, I had the opportunity to take the bike on its inaugural ride in Salida, Colorado along the Vapor Trail.  I loaded up the bike with JPaks Bags and headed off into the mountains.  While I didn’t weather the elevation change (I come from the southeast and ride in Pisgah, DuPont, and the Upstate of South Carolina), the bike handled the terrain like a beast.
After the first day, I was having a hard time trying to find an issue with the Wayward.  I guess if I had to give it one flaw it was the SRAM XO Eagle front ring.  A 32 tooth ring in the front is nice, but for this route, I wish I had a 30 or even a 28.  Not a knock on the bike, but more of personal preference.  The range of the SRAM XO Eagle 10-50 helped offset the larger 32 front ring.
Notice the sliding dropouts in the photo below? They provide a chain tensioning system for running it singlespeed, whether singlespeeding is your thing or if your drivetrain fails in the middle of nowhere and you need to keep pedaling.

Full view of the SRAM Eagle XO drive train and a shot of the Terrene McFly 29×2.8 mounted on the Industry Nine BC 450 Backcountry Rims

The SRAM Guide R hydraulic brake system with Avid centerline 160mm rotors also performed flawlessly.  I never once questioned my stopping along the trail fully packed.

Suspension Doubts

One thing I did question before the inaugural ride was the RockShox Pike 100 mm fork.

Front view showcasing the handle bar, brakes, shifters, and RockShox Pike 100mm fork.

Was this going to be enough fork for bikepacking and shredding the trails?  After a month of riding, both Colorado and the mountains of the southeast, I can say that I haven’t had an issue.  Sure it’s not an enduro set up, but the plus size tires and the fork sure make you feel as if it’s performing like it.  The added benefit to this fork is the options to lock it out, pedal, and trail.  For the most part, I leave it in the pedal setting.   

The Terrene McFly’s we’re great on trail and along the gravel roads.  The 29×2.8’s helped absorb the roots and rocks of the trail while the center bead gave it a smooth roll on the gravel roads.

Front wheel with Terrene McFly 29×2.8 tires and Industry Nine I9’s.

Bikepacking Benefits

JPaks top tube laced attachment

 

The Ti frame handled the weight of the packs while also still performing flawlessly along the singletrack.

JPaks MidFrame with lace and bolt on system. Open side (left) has a half pocket for misc. items – 1 large pocket with 3 smaller pockets inside

Note: the internal routing of the cables helped to mount the packs.
A small thing, but for those who bikepack this is a big detail.
Packs cause rub which eventually rubs through cabling.

JPaks MidFrame inside pocket system. Large enough to hold a 2L bladder.

3 smaller pockets to keep misc. items organized (velcro closure is not standard). There is a velcro system that separates the MidFrame bag to allow top or bottom access to items.

The packs I run are JPaksMidframe and RukSak (waterbottle handlebar bags) run $450.  Pricing on these depends on color and material, and specifications.  Take some time to look over the JPak site and see all options available.  If you dream it up, Joe can make a pack for your bike!

JPaks RukSak w/new one hand open and close system.

Personal Preferences Aside

We concluded the trip with a short ride along the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass.  A chance to get the packs off the bike and see how it performs on the trail.  I won’t lie… it took some getting use to.  Again, not a knock on the bike but personal preference.  After a few miles, I worked out all my issues and finally me, and the bike were in sync.  Point this bike downward and it flies.  Nimble and strong are two words that come to mind.

Why Cycles – Wayward bottom view – Threaded bottom bracket, water bottle holder attachment, and a view of the artwork

 

The Terrene plus size tires soak up the trial while the lightness and strength of the Ti frame helped navigate the trail.  As much as everyone loves going downhill, we eventually had to go back up what we came down.  You may not be the first to the top (because you’re riding on plus size tires) but you won’t be complaining about trying to roll over rocks and roots.  Again, the lightness of the Ti frame and the tires help you crawl like a mountain goat.

Titanium Meets 29+

What’s that age-old saying?  “Don’t knock till you try it.”  That what I usually tell people when they see the 29+ tires.  One lap on a 29+ and people are hooked.  I follow up with, “If you’re not getting paid to ride a bike you should enjoy the ride.”  That’s what a 29+ provides!

Titanium and 29+

The added benefit of Ti provides the weight savings along with added longevity of the bike.  Your parts will need to be replaced long before the frame.  Another customer service item I want to note about Why Cycles.  All frames come with a lifetime warranty.  Not one year or a few months like the big box brands.  Why Cycles stands by what they build.

View from the top of the beautifully welded, threaded bottom bracket

Lasting Impressions

I’ve been on the Wayward for over a month now.  Ridden Colorado, North Carolina (Pisgah and DuPont) and my home trails of Paris Mountain in South Carolina.  The bike is a head turner.
People are constantly stopping me and asking about it.  Maybe it’s the pink I9’s I choose, but either way, it gets them to stop, and I get to share with them about Why Cycles.  One spin on the bike and people are hooked.  They look at the Wayward and back at their bike, and you know the wheels are turning… “I think it’s time to replace my bike!”
For more about the Why Cycles, the packs I use for bikepacking from JPaks (see pictures for more on these amazing packs), or about me, follow the links below!
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3 Comments

  • Joe Strickland Posted November 1, 2017 8:28 pm

    Great looking frame, Loving the curves.

  • Michael Posted November 5, 2017 7:45 am

    Nice review and beautiful bike. I’ve been peeping at Why’s site for a little while nice looking rigs. I’m curious to know what was it you had to get used to? Judging from the geo it seems fairly standard (very Krampusesque)

    • Nick Janssen Posted November 6, 2017 7:13 am

      Thanks Michael!
      No issues with the Geo. Coming from a Trek Stache where my issue with the frame hitting my calfs when standing and climbing or descending the Wayward was a nice change. This might not be an issue for everyone. I have beefy calfs! Haha! The only change I made was the stem and handlebars. These were optional changes you can make when ordering your bike. I opted to go with the standard setup before making the change. I went to a 65mm stem and an 800mm bars. I like a little stretch and a wider stance for trail. For bikepacking the standard setup is comfortable and lends to adding barends.
      -David Wildman

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