For years the KHS brand has embodied the concepts of value and choice when it comes to shopping for a bike. Case in point, there are no fewer than 17 models flying the Flite moniker in KHS’ line of road bikes, encompassing a variety of frame materials, build options and price points. Also, KHS was one of the first bike brands to spec the latest electronic drivetrain from Shimano, the Ultegra Di2; KHS, therefore, certainly has something for everyone. With a $5100 retail sticker, the Flite 950 is designed to be a value-laden road bike for the rider who wants the latest in shifting technology for a (relatively) small amount of cash.
The ease of electronic shifting and some comfortable positioning had us eating up the longer rides.
The Flite 950’s monocoque carbon fiber frame is paired with a carbon fiber fork that has an aluminum steerer tube. Like some other manufacturers, KHS uses a sizing scale that’s more in line with picking out a set of bib shorts than calling out traditional frame-size numbers. Our Medium test bike had a 54.5cm sloping top tube (54cm effective). The frame features a 165mm-tall, 1 1/8 to 1 1/2-inch tapered headtube. This is about 10mm taller than the similarly priced race bikes that the Flite 950 will go toe to toe with on the showroom floor. Combined with a sloping top tube, the result is a relatively low stand over height with a more upright hand position that emphasizes comfort over an aggressive stature. All who laid eyes on the 950 became quick fans of the dark-green and- black color combination, which gives the bike a more exclusive look among its many competitors.
The Flite 950 feaures Tektro R540 brakes, but for $5100, we would prefer a set of brakes with more stopping power. Mavic Ksyrium aluminum wheels and Kenda Kadence Pro clincher tires round out the low cost build.
Without a doubt, the standout component features are the Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters and derailleurs. But in order to keep the retail price as low as possible, KHS opted for some less expensive bits to round out the drivetrain. The crankset is FSA’s mid-range Energy model with 53/39 chainrings, while the cassette is a low-end (11-25) Shimano Tiagra unit. In addition to the crankset, FSA also provides the Flite 950 with a Wing Pro Compact aluminum handlebar, while the remaining cockpit components are KHS’ own, including an aluminum stem, a 31.6-diameter carbon seatpost, and the company’s Sport-model saddle featuring chromoly rails and minimal padding. Tektro’s R540 brakes are tasked with stopping a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elite aluminum wheels, which are wrapped in size 23c Kenda Kadence Pro tires.
In an effort to keep the Flite 950's overall price as low as possible, KHS spec'd FSA's Energy's crankset with standard gearing to work with Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters and derailleurs
The Flite 950’s frameset is the same featured on a few other Flite builds, and it’s a solid offering from KHS. At no point in our testing did any one aspect of the Flite 950’s performance draw undue attention. Most significantly, it’s a bike that is comfortable and enjoyable enough to ride all day, every day. Although the 950 doesn’t offer what we’d call a plush ride, the small diameter, shapely seatstays and carbon layup help give the KHS a vertically compliant ride capable of handling rough roads. It’s stiff enough at the bottom bracket and through the chainstays to help keep you with the fast group ride, but it doesn’t have the snappy feel of an all-out race bike. Its headtube is tall, and the front end on the whole is reasonably stiff enough to make the Flite 950 a good, all-around descender. An Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain is a great complement to the Flite 950,providing crisp, reliable shifting to a solid, do-it-all bike. As with Shimano’s stalwart Dura-Ace Di2 gruppo, the best aspect of electronic shifting is the front derailleur, which can upshift under heavy loads and consistently yield an ideal chain line thanks to its auto-trim feature. To offset the high-cost electric drivetrain, the Flite 950 customer will have to compromise when it comes to the parts spec as a whole. Normally, a bike in the $5100 range would have higher-end components throughout. The one area in particular where you should never compromise are the brakes. The Tektro R540 brakes get the job done, but we’d prefer a set of stoppers with a bit more power and modulation for our five grand.
The low price, light weight bike couldn't keep us off of it; powering up the hills.
So far, there are only a handful of manufacturers offering bikes spec’d with Ultegra Di2 that hits near the $5000 price point. With the Flite 950, KHS is offering a bike that will perform well in any scenario, while featuring the modern convenience and prestige of electronic shifting. If you’re in the market for the absolute latest in high-end drivetrain gadgetry and you want a solid all around ride quality to go along with it, the Flite 950 looks like one of the best deals in town.
• Great deal on Ultegra Di2
• Comfortable ride for everyday use
• Could use a brake upgrade
Weight: 17.5 pounds
Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), M/L, L, XL
For more info: KHS Bicycles