Quick Review: KHS Flite 250

KHS Flite 250

For this review I’m doing things a bit different. I’ll start off with my overall experience then go into the mechanics of the bike.

Summary:

This has to be THE Smoothest Bike I’ve commuted with EVER! Yes I’ve said it and I know its a bold statement. But I really do stand behind my claim and say that this bike is a legit commuter bike.

What makes the KHS Flite 250 a smooth riding bike? Could it be that it’s a steel frame, married to a carbon fork and Kenda 700x26c tires? Could it be the curved seat stays or could it be that the geometry is just right, that it makes a harsh ride more pleasant? It’s possible that all those things I mentioned have a synergistic effect on the overall ride.
khs flite 250

Specs:

Frame: CrMo 4130 Double butted 3-main w/carrier bosses
Fork: Carbon w/Alloy steerer
Headset: Cane Creek Aheadset
Rims: Weinmann XTR16 Doublewall w/CNC sidewall
Hubs: Formula alloy QR, Cassette
Tires: Kenda Kontender 700X26C
Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-R440
Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-2200
Shifters: Shimano ST-R221 for Flat Bar
Chain: KMC Z82
Crankset: Alloy Forged 50/34
Bottom Bracket: Sealed cartridge
Cassette: SRAM PG-850 11-28, 8 Speed
Pedals: Resin w/steel cage
Seatpost: Alloy Micro-adjust
Saddle: KHS Road Padded
Handlebar: Alloy Flat Bar, 580mm
Brake Levers: Shimano ST-R221 for Flat Bar
Brakes: Alloy dual pivot
MSRP: $599

lhs flite 250

One of the great things about the Flite 250 was the flat bar configuration. Being a mountain biker, I really like the feel and control I have with flat bars. The Flite 250 had comfy grips; I never felt my back hurt during my rides — and you know what, the saddle was plush too.

Though the front fork doesn’t come with eyelets for fender mounts, the frame is equipped with bosses to allow a rack and fenders to be installed. If you really needed something for the front to act as a fender, a Grunge Board from Planet Bike might be a good accessory.

The flite 250 is equipped with:Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-R440, Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-2200 Shifters: Shimano ST-R221 for Flat Bar. Upon receipt of the bike, Flite was ready to ride. I didn’t have to tune/adjust it before, during or after my rides. In fact, the accuracy of the shifting was like magic!
The 50/34 double cranks were enough for flat land sprints yet forgiving enough to allow me to climb a large hill on my commute. I almost forgot to mention that the braking power on this bike is superb. I’m about 190lbs on a good day, and the bike had no problems stopping me after bombing down a long hill.

Handling on the Flite 250 was quick and nimble. It corners like a cat; it’s a lightweight, yet strong commuter that seems to scream for more when putting some power to the pedals. Don’t let the bike’s humble looks fool you, this baby can rock if you really want to. I can totally see how you could easily do a tour or a century on this bike.

Some things worth mentioning:
Test Bike only weighed 23.4 lbs
Nimble handling, I could easily throw the bike around if I needed to maneuver through some tight spaces.
Flat bar position allows for a comfortable geometry and “heads up” view of the road.
Carbon fork makes a HUGE difference on ride quality.
Never had a flat during testing.
2009 model is a sexy black!
Wonderful commuter bike!

So if you were to ask me what I thought of the bike other than it being super smooth, I’d say it’s a great ride. Definitely worth checking out at your local KHS Dealer. I think you’ll be quite happy with the experience.


24 Comments

  1. Ghost Rider December 15, 2008 5:21 pm 

    You’d really start to hate those flat bars doing a tour or century…one hand position means “ouch” over the long haul.

    For in-town stuff, though, flat bars make good sense…that’s a smooth looking bike, and it’s good to hear that it performs, too!

  2. RL Policar December 15, 2008 5:39 pm 

    I suppose some bar ends may help the hand positioning problem for longer rides.

  3. Ghost Rider December 15, 2008 6:00 pm 

    Indeed…

    I just wish it wasn’t so hard to swap out flat bars for some drops and still use all the other gear.

  4. Dominic Dougherty December 15, 2008 6:03 pm 

    Butterfly bars.

  5. SS:Mtnbiker December 15, 2008 6:33 pm 

    On One Mary’s or clones. =D

    Steve

    Enjoyed the reveiw immensely,BTW =)

  6. Dominic Dougherty December 15, 2008 8:19 pm 

    Those bars exactly!
    My gf rode with them for 600 miles in Oregon and loved them!
    If you can get over the look of them and enjoy the two flat bar positions and the bullhorn/bar end position, they will treat you right.

  7. 2whls3spds December 16, 2008 3:28 am 

    Tiny URL is your friend 😉

    I use the Nashbar trekking bars on my Expedtion bike (still being built up) and love the flexibility of them. Add an adjustable stem to the mix and the number of available positions is almost limitless.

    Aaron

  8. Ghost Rider December 16, 2008 4:10 am 

    Ha ha…thanks Aaron — I always forget about TinyURL.

    Ok, two folks love those bars…I think I will give them a shot.

  9. Raiyn December 16, 2008 7:32 am 

    Tiny Url is not your friend, proper coding is.

  10. Kevin December 16, 2008 7:46 am 

    I have to ask, as its raining here today and i am drenched even with them…

    can its handle a proper fender? I am going to say no.

  11. RL December 16, 2008 10:47 am 

    Kevin…

    Not sure if you missed this…

    “Though the front fork doesn’t come with eyelets for fender mounts, the frame is equipped with bosses to allow a rack and fenders to be installed. If you really needed something for the front to act as a fender, a Grunge Board from Planet Bike might be a good accessory. “

  12. Ghost Rider December 16, 2008 11:45 am 

    Are the bases of the fork blades rounded? If so, you might be able to squeeze a pair of P-clamps on there and mount a genuine full-coverage fender.

    What about clearances between brake arches and tires, though? The brakes look like dual-pivot sidepulls, and they’re not known for their generous clearances…

  13. tadster December 16, 2008 12:20 pm 

    off topic, but I agree with Raiyn.
    I don’t like tinyurl because I can’t see where I’m going when I hover my mouse over a link (check the status bar).

  14. Ghost Rider December 16, 2008 12:28 pm 

    That’s sort of why I post whole links…they don’t look so good, but there’s no surprise (I don’t like getting “Rick Rolled” from a mystery link).

  15. Scott December 16, 2008 3:28 pm 

    I don’t really mind getting Rick Rolled myself. I actually really enjoy that song. 😉

    That looks like a great bike. Come spring time I’m definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the review.

  16. Mike Myers December 16, 2008 3:54 pm 

    It would make sense that a steel bike with a carbon fork is smooth riding. Of course, a steel bike with a steel fork would be, as well.

    As for the fender issue, it would a simple matter for KHS to spec a carbon fork with fender eyelets. Nashbar sells ’em, and they’re just a Taiwanese or Chinese fork. Probably cost no more to spec that than the one on it now. Things like that just baffle me. They KNEW the frame had eyelets—so why spec a fork without and make mounting fenders more of a hassle?

  17. 2whls3spds December 17, 2008 4:16 am 

    I agree with Raiyn proper coding does help, but tinyurl works for the more technologically challenged. The reason I was picking is because in FF2.?? the link runs across 3 frames 😉 and off the side of my screen :-0

    Aaron

  18. Ghost Rider December 17, 2008 5:01 am 

    Aaron — pick away! Good to remind us of these things (grammatical and layout-wise)…

    I’m with Mike…if they go to the trouble of adding eyelets to the frame, why not spec some on the fork, too?

  19. RL Policar December 17, 2008 9:56 am 

    “I’m with Mike…if they go to the trouble of adding eyelets to the frame, why not spec some on the fork, too?”

    I’m not speaking for KHS, but I would gather that when they spec’d out the Flite bikes, part of the build was to add carbon forks. So I would imagine it was easier and possibly cheaper to stick with one type of fork rather than having to order 2 different forks for their whole line.

    That’s just my guess…

  20. Ghost Rider December 17, 2008 12:11 pm 

    That makes sense…but that doesn’t stop plenty of other companies from specifying multiple forks for their lines.

    I’m guessing oversight, and I’m cool with that — there ARE workarounds, of course.

  21. Evan December 17, 2008 2:10 pm 

    I still think this is an awesome bike. It got some serious consideration from me after the high praise you guys gave it in its first review here a while back, but I wound up getting a Surly Cross-Check.

    To me the cross-check seemed like a better fit for the commuting, long day trips, and potential touring I hoped to do with it.

  22. Mark December 19, 2008 10:17 am 

    Of course it’s smooth. It has a low bottom bracket. When are people going to figure this out? If you want a bike that’s stable, smooth, and easy to ride, it can’t have a high BB. The other things you mention contribute also but it’s the BB height that really does it. Your center of gravity is lower. And as a bonus – your feet reach the ground!

    The cross bikes, mountain bikes, and “hybrids” that are most often recommended for commuting usually have 11″ and 11.5″ BB heights. Likewise “road” (racing) bikes mostly have BB heights appropriate for criteriums. I believe that the preponderance of these high-BB bikes is a big factor in why riders don’t cycle commute. Novices end up with bikes that are optimized for “sport”, not city riding. The high-performance feel of these bikes makes them uncomfortable in the city element and therefore they just don’t ride.

    I realize that experienced riders who already know how to commute can handle and enjoy these “sportier” bikes but non-enthusiasts should be steered away them.

    I set up a Salsa Casseroll (very low BB, steel frame) city bike and I love seeing the looks on friends faces when they ride it. Their reaction is much like yours to the KHS. They’ve never ridden anything like it before, and they love it. I do too.

    I’ve been looking for a lower-priced alternative to the Casseroll to recommend to friends. This KHS looks like a real find. Thanks for pointing it out.

  23. Abattoir worker nsw Aust June 27, 2009 5:01 pm 

    Need a front fender do you?
    Sounds like you could do with some NUTS.
    HARDEN THE FUCK UP, I ride rain hail or shine you bunch of pussy’s

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