KHS’s entry-level bike has a pleasingly neutral ride and a very good spec for the price, with a carbon fork and seatpost, and a decent set of wheels. It would make a great machine for fitness riding, training and commuting.
Frame: No lightweight, but it’s great to see a carbon fork at this price. No room for mudguards, but it does have rear rack mounts (7/10)
Handling: Neither twitchy nor ponderous, the KHS’s neutral handling is perfect for less experienced riders and spot-on for training duties (8/10)
Equipment: Dependable Shimano 2300 paired with a Truvativ chainset and wide-ranging 11-30T cassette. Good to see a 27.2mm carbon seatpost (7/10)
Wheels: Quasar’s Q2s are decent performers majoring on strength. The 26mm Kenda Kontender tyres are a good width for comfort but their hard compound made slippery surfaces a challenge (7/10)
KHS have managed to spec a carbon ﬁbre fork on the Flite 300, and it isn’t the only carbon on display either – the carbon seatpost is a good call on an aluminium frame that might otherwise offer a slightly harsh ride.
The 6061 aluminium frame is neat and tidy, boasting the large welds typical of Taiwanese-made frames. Shimano’s 2300 groupset provides the shifters, derailleurs and cassette, the brakes are from Tektro and there’s an oversized bar and stem combination. All performed without complaint.
There’s little room to ﬁt mudguards, but there are eyelets for a rear rack. It’s also nice to see a pip on the seatstay to hang the chain when the rear wheel’s out. There is a chance of some slight toe overlap, so if that’s an issue for you, check it out before buying.
The ride is pleasingly neutral, with stable handling and no sign of twitchiness. There is a danger with an aluminium frame that the ride can be unforgiving, but the Flite’s compact frame was comfortable even over long rides, aided by the carbon fork and seatpost.
While the bar and stem are quite basic aluminium components, they’re strong and stiff enough and you always feel in control, even on descents. Thanks to its overall weight of 9.8kg (21.7lb, without pedals) the Flite is never going to climb like a gazelle, but the gearing is low enough that there are no excuses when the going gets tough.
It comes with a compact 50/34 chainset and a widely spaced 11-30 cassette. This provides a 27-123in gear range. The 27in low gear should get most riders up anything this side of Everest, while the 123in top should prove high enough for even the strongest riders.
A compact chainset has the advantage of being lighter than a triple. It’s also easier to maintain a good chain line and keeps the ‘Q factor’ down (the distance between pedal faces) for more comfortable, more efﬁcient pedalling. The downside of the double setup – especially combined with ‘only’ eight speeds – is the quite large jumps you get between gears, especially shifting to the largest sprockets.
Inevitably there are going to be compromises producing a bike at this price, and typically it’s the wheels and tyres where costs are cut, but KHS have actually managed to spec a pretty decent set of hoops for the money. True, they score more on strength than weight, but they should be easy to look after and there was no sign of ﬂex while sprinting.
We weren’t so convinced by the tyres. Newer road riders are likely to appreciate the extra comfort and protection that the 26mm Kenda Kontender tyres offer compared with 23mm equivalents, but the hard compound proved slippery on tricky wintry surfaces – on one occasion the rear tyre losing grip entirely on a leaf-strewn hill. These would be the first – but possibly the only – upgrades we’d consider making.
KHS flite 300: khs flite 300 www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk