KHS Yuma 29er review£1,199.99

Straightforward and fast

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KHS has decided to go upmarket for 2011, offering two 29ers; the full-suspension Flagstaff and the hardtail Yuma. The Yuma has the same frame as last year’s budget Tucson, which won Mountain Biking UK’s 29er test a few months back. The Yuma's being pitched against some serious competition and it isn’t quite as compelling a value proposition as the Tucson was. At £600 the Tucson pretty much had the entry-level 29er market to itself, but at £1200 there’s some impressive hardware to choose from. Still, the Yuma puts up a good account of itself and is definitely worth short listing.

Ride & handling: Fast rolling yet agile

You’d be advised to chuck away your sizing preconceptions when you’re looking at the Yuma. We tested the 17in, which packs a top tube length that wouldn’t look out of place on a nominally bigger bike. There’s also a 19in, which is only slightly longer – very tall riders are likely to be out of luck. That aside, the KHS is a pretty sorted bike.

The 80mm RockShox Reba RL fork, combined with steep frame angles, delivers a very fast-handling bike – it’s a bit like the early ’90s all over again, only more stable at speed and less choppy in the rough thanks to the big wheels. If you like tight, twisty trails it’s inspiring, but if you favour more open, steeper stuff you might want to extend the fork to 100mm. The Yuma is in the middle of the weight range of its 29ers peers (12.4kg), but the fast-rolling Kenda Karma tyres and lively handling go some way to mitigating the small weight penalty compared to the lightest.

Frame & equipment: Decent spec for the money

KHS has kept the Yuma frame fairly traditional in style, with predominantly straight – but with a kind of tapered octagonal cross-section – tubes and a conventional straight head tube for a regular 1.125in headset. The top tube has a slight flare at the front end, while the down tube/head tube junction is beefed up by a neatly-executed open-ended gusset. All the cables run under the top tube.

There’s a decent set of components bolted to the frame, with the Reba RL leading the way. It’s a very good fork, with controlled damping, ample stiffness and plenty of adjustment options. Out of the box it’s got 80mm of travel, but a few minutes spent juggling with spacers will give you 100mm – KHS will do the swap for you at point of sale if you like.

Finishing kit is all Truvativ stuff which presents no issues, although we reckon a flat bar would be more appropriate for most riders. Avid’s Elixir 3 brakes are a highlight, a cut above the more common Juicy 3s and with much better feel than the Hayes and Tektro brakes seen elsewhere on some of the Yuma's peers. There’s also a full 3x10 SRAM transmission set-up.

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