Strengths: 2009 KHS XC Team. Great spec for the money. 25.5lb stock (medium frame) with Eggbeater Ti pedals, climbs like a goat, nimble, handles like a dream, tons of fun to ride. Great XC Bike.
Weaknesses: Aesthetics. First, not the sexiest paint job, if you care about that kind of thing more than how the bike rides. Second, cable rub in several places after one long ride.
This review is from my first ride on the bike, a 4 hour trek through (and up, and down) the Copeland Forest in Ontario. A spectacular cross country bike.
Only caveat is probably more related to fit, or my simply not being used to the geometry. I did feel on technical XC descents that it was not exactly confidence inspiring, but that is mostly because my weight was more forward than I would have liked. This is an issue that most likely could be addressed with minor adjustments to the stem/bars/saddle height & position, though for the riding I do I probably wouldn't bother - it felt great both climbing, and when descending. On my first ride, despite the 4" of travel, this felt like a tight, fast, hardtail race bike. Did I say it climbs well? It climbs very, very well. As for the downhill feel, a few adjustments could soften that up quite easily if you want a more leisurely ride. It is, however, a a cross country race bike.
In terms of components, everything is top drawer, except for the great but utilitarian XT wheels. However, at the price this bike is going for, if you want full bling, throwing in another $1,000 for a really nice set of wheels and you will have a top-end bike with top-end components for less than other comparable bikes that come with XT throughout.
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Instinct / Element, Specialized FSR Comp, Yeti ASR
Bike Setup: Stock 2009: Rock Shox SID Race fork (100mm), FSA headset, Rock Shox Monarch 4.2 rear shock (100mm), SRAM XO Trigger Shifters & Rear Derailleur, XT Front Derailleur, Hayes Stroker Carbon 6"/160mm brakes, Truvativ Noir Carbon Cranks, Truvative Noir riser bars, XT wheels, Kenda Nevegal tires, Q2 Carbon seatpost, WTB saddle, Eggbeater Ti pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
from Canberra, ACT, Australia
Date Reviewed: April 29, 2009
Strengths: Solid components, geometry, great company with reasonable prices.
Weaknesses: no true lockout on rear shock
Im a fairly large guy at 6 foot 3, 200 pounds, no giant by any means. There were no XL frames left in the country, so I bit the bullet and got an L frame, based on the geometries online. It tuned out pretty well. I have the length fairly much maxxed out, so a XL frame might have been better for more adjustability. Other than that the bike handles very nicely, pretty true through corners, tried and tested rear geometry does what I want. Had some issues with the rear shock after purchase, but after receiving a new one, tweaking the pressures, it is pretty nice. Having a remote adjuster would be lovely.
Being a fairly large guy I always have issues with the front fork. I will continue to play with pressures and adjust depending on my riding style and course.
All round a solid bike and a great company to support it. Man I love XTR shiz.
Similar Products Used: A hard tail Avanti Hammer 2005.
Bike Setup: Large frame
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Ynez
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2009
Strengths: Great suspension, cartridge bearings on pivots, stiff, affordable, great customer service, true XC geometry, good climber, can be built for racing or more aggro trail riding
Weaknesses: Rear shock
Great bike, really like Horst Link design, and works better than the Specialized FSR models (the rear derailleur doesn't slap the chainstay like most FSR's, also, it helps to use a Sram rear derr.).
I recommend upgrading the rear shock. The one that came with my bike, a Cane Creek Cloud 9, didn't work with the bike. To get the most out of the bike/frame its works best with a shock that has lockout. W/o the lockout the bike while skip gears or drop the chain when climbing in the samllest gear on the steepest inclines.
Also, KHS has a great customer support team, a great grass roots racer support program. The make and sell products that work really well, at great prices, w/o all the marketing BS
Bike Setup: Fox RP23 rear shock, Reba Team 100 mm front fork, Avid BB7's, American Classic wheelset, Race Face cranks, Sram X9 driveline,
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2008
Strengths: you can build it light, very responsive, XTR parts, handling
Weaknesses: hangers are made light.. but better than a RD
Alright, this is a follow up like i had promised. i did 19 xc races, 2 endurance races, and 1 24hr race. i had spent a lot of time getting to know this bike and how it handles. all i got out of it was 100%. i had not one problem with anything this season. but that also comes to being well taken care of. for me racing it i did all types of courses. i really like how the bike seems to all just flow together smoothing. its my first fully rig ive owned. so when i was getting into the chance i was like ahhh? ive always been a hardtail hold out. but i got my bike 23.5lbs and when it came to tech sections i was amazed on how much speed i could carry though with out punching it like a h.t.. i fell in love with that. but i had to get used to the fact of while the rear shock is fully active you cant stand up for more power and speed. just raise rmps abd keep seated and its like youve just pressed the gad. i loved the bike so much im racing if again this year without a blink! hope this helps out with your needs riders!
Bike Setup: 07 medium frame, 08 XTR, Sid World Cup, Stans NoTubes Wheelset, Kenda Karma DTC(w/sealant), and Bontrager XXX bar and seatpost
from Dahlonega Ga US
Date Reviewed: December 13, 2007
Strengths: Stiff, Very smooth over rough areas, easily tune able shock, fairly light too
Weaknesses: Not super exciting paint, don't get the SRAM gruppo
The bike is fun, not a full on XC racer-but you can use it as such, or a full on all mountain bike. Compared to the Scalpel which seemed to not have enough travel the KHS had plenty. The Trek felt like it was almost too stiff.
The only problem was with the SRAM group that came on the bike. I like SRAM over Shimano so we figured the other bike would come with X.O. It came with X.9 and some X.7 stuff. So I had to change everything over.
If you like SRAM get the Shimano and just keep the parts that are better than SRAM. Like the cassette, crank, brake, etc.
If you are a racer on a tight budget or any racer needing a softail then you should at least check it out.
Bike Setup: Full SRAM X.O with XTR brakes and custom Cane Creek/Stan's wheels
from Stone Mtn
Date Reviewed: October 31, 2007
Strengths: Handling, stability, single track'ing. full compliment of cartridge bearing on all pivots.
Weaknesses: not very exciting paint. Some frames still come with V-brake ? mounts, what's that? I kept my seat stay portions from 2006 and put on 2007 frame so it wouldn't have those things sticking out.
Superb! I thought this would be just another generic Tawian bike, but was very wrong. This is a solid racer workhorse, light, stiff. It took no time to get used to and blew my previous bike away. It carves. Climbs excellent, the Sram shock does well eliminating bob. As a pro, I could ride most any bike I wanted to, but came back to KHS the 2nd and 3rd year!
Favorite Trail: secret trails no one can know about
Duration Product Used: More than 3 years
Similar Products Used: Trak Fuel 100, Marin full sus, Litespeed Tsali
Bike Setup: totally tricked out. Reba, custon wheels with no-tubes ztr's, xtr/sram, Thomson, Kenda tred.
from SE Michigan
Date Reviewed: October 30, 2007
Strengths: Active full suspension in a light XC package.
Weaknesses: Saddle, but you know how that goes.
Excellent bike. I've been able to use it for the full racing season and it's helped me secure 2nd in my class. It's a relatively light bike, weighs just under 26 lbs, which was about the same as my C-dale hard tail it replaces.
The XTR is great. It shifts smoothly and quickly. I especially like the thumb push for rear shifting up and down gears. The brakes are fabulous.
The bike climbs great and descends like mad. I am truly the only limiting factor on the bike and I like it like that. I want to know that if I mess up, it's my fault. Just like anything with a plethora of adjustments, make sure you find the set-up for you. Once this happens, it's very smooth and reassuring. It tracks and turns confidently and where you want it to, even through rock gardens.
To sum up, this bike is every bit as confidence inspiring as other high end bikes. However, it's slightly less expensive and is every bit as competitive. You will lose nothing to the other bikes on this one. 5 flaming chilies from me!
Similar Products Used: C-dale HT; demo'd a bunch of other FSers from the usual suspects.
Bike Setup: Full factory XTR with Hopes laced to Mavic 717s, Sella Italia saddle, and flat CF bar.
a Cross Country Rider
from Chicago, IL, USA
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2007
Strengths: superlight frame, high end components
Weaknesses: none so far
I ride for my team at school and purchased the bike through the club. This is my first KHS bike and it first surprised me because when I received it from KHS the bike was a frame with all the components separate. After assembling it, I have ridden it about 12 times since getting it three weeks ago. I have ridden on forest singletrack at Kickapoo in Illinois and also have multiple rides on it in the desert/rocky area of South Mountain Arizona, and tomorrow will be riding out in Flagstaff. I have well over a hundred miles on the bike already and am looking forward to many more. I decided to opt for the Shimano version and have been very happy with that decision. The '07 XTR stuff is insanely awesome. The brakes are smooth and powerful with one finger, the shifting is butter smooth but split second fast, and the new chainrings seem to be holding up against the rocks pretty well. The only thing that takes a little getting used to is the two step upshifting (harder gears). At first this is annoying but now its awesome because after a climb to a good descent you can quickly get to speed. I have not yet raced the bike but once I do I will be sure to do another review. So far this bike is much faster than my giant vt and is similar in speed to the Kona Hei Hei. The Reba race works great. I have it setup for a pretty plush travel and it works super smooth. The MC3.3 on the rear works phenomenal with it's three settings: locked, gate, and open. I ride mostly with the gate and it works awesome and is easily adjusted. I'll ride with the open setting with rocky downhills or nasty rocky uphill. The bike is a great cross country bike with 4" of travel. Overall the bike is a great value as compared to other bikes and doesn't lack in any areas. The suspension geometry works smooth and efficient. I would highly recommend this bike!
Bike Setup: stock Shimano '07 setup but with Crossmax XL's with WTB Weirwolves
a Weekend Warrior
from Christchurch, New Zealand
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2007
Strengths: One of the lightest cross country bikes around, top quality components, awesome frame, etc etc etc etc. significantly beter value than other products that I looked at.
Weaknesses: none that I can think of. I have needed to replace the rear shock as it started squeaking but it came under replacement and was done in a day.
This bike spanks on any other bike for the price that i have seen. The 07 bike is now way more expensive as its dripping in XTR gear, but considering the price hike I am not sure its worth it. Having said that, its still better value than similar priced Specialised gear.
The reason I bought it was I had found the limits on my Hardtail but I was still unconfident going downhill and across technical terrain. So I wanted something that can still climb with very little wasted energy and improve on technical riding and downhill. This bike has done that. After a couple of weeks I was improving no end and now I still have a long way to go to find this bikes limits (I am a bit of a nana sometimes).
This bike should be bought by somebody who likes to climb but wants better technical riding or somebody who is a semi competitive cross country racer. I am sure the pros wouldn't consider this bike, but they would go for carbon fibre frame or something else ridiculously priced.
If you have a hard tail and have been contemplating moving onto a softail or want to improve technically I definately recommend them and especially this bike. I actually find that climbing is easier with a softail. Because when when you hit a bump or rock with a hardtail your bike stops for a second and then you have to push your bike over the rock. Whereas a softail will ride easily over it without stopping or slowing (and we all know that this sport is all about momentum).
Also the brakes are good enough to only use one finger which gives you 3 fingers to grip the bars with so you have more control over the bike on technical stuff.
Anyway this bike rocks! highly recommend it and love it to bits. Good on you KHS and Bike HQ!
Similar Products Used: Only hard tails (Kona Hahana which just doesn't compare). I was interested and demo Specialised Stumpjumper, but with the quality of the components on this bike I would have had to spend over $3000 to find a similar specialised epic or stumpjumper
Bike Setup: Stock standard 06 model,Juicy Avid 7 6" brakes, Sram X0 shifters and rear derailer, Shimano XT front derailer, Carbon fibre handle bar and carbon fibre coated stem, rockshock Team Reba front shock, and MC3.3r rear shock, lock out control from the handle bars (for both front and rear suspension).
from Weedville, Pa
Date Reviewed: February 16, 2007
Strengths: khs frames, rock shox, shimano xtr, light weight, adjustable, very sweet
Weaknesses: i didnt give a khs fullsuspension a try because im coming from a strong hardtail belief
okay, im not going to say i bought this bike to take care of it without riding it to its fulliest. i dont want to miss lead people on here about my style and why i went for this rig. im a semi-pro/pro xc "racer".. so this review is comming from a rider that needs great gear for great demands.
i went for this bike due to its name and rep i have learned. last season i raced on the khs alite team hardtail. i had many overall pro wins. the bike was used in 2 24hr races and still is amazing looking. i was thrilled with being able for my sponsor to let me use them again. the groupset with 07 xtr is so amazing. i am comming from the 06 xo and i loved it! the rear shox is so adjustable and fits my style great. the sid world cup is more of my choice bc of most of my area is climbs. the sid is the choice over the reba. i rode on the reba and its a amazing fork too! im just more with the sid. the bike has been ridden for 2 rides and about 10 hrs total. i was ify when buying a fully bc im a serious hardtail fan. the suspension added to the rough stuff to make my handling even faster. climbing was unreal! my real end sticks to the earth and doesnt hop around like some c-dales ive ridden. the bike is about 23.75 lbs! my khs hardtial is 22.3 lbs! khs makes some nice rides. im waiting for the snow to melt so i can stop road/ trainer riding and hit some serious trails and races in april. i will post a future blog of updates. happy trails all!