KHS Bicycles, The Biggest Little Bicycle Company in the World

Last Friday, Moe and I headed down to Rancho Dominguez to the headquarters of KHS Bicycles to conduct an interview/company profile.

KHS Bicycles Hall of Fame.

Just to give you an idea who KHS Bicycles is, here’s their bio:

“KHS Bicycles Inc. was founded in 1974 as an American-based company distributing the KHS brand of bicycles. Its mission is to design, manufacture and distribute moderately priced and high quality bicycles and accessories. Since that time KHS has grown into a brand respected for quality, value, and integrity with distribution in more than 30 countries around the world.
KHS Bicycles Inc. manufactures full lines of mountain, road and touring bicycles as well as comfort tandems and cruisers. In addition, KHS Bicycles Inc. markets BMX, freestyle and dirt jumping bicycles to the juvenile and youth markets under the brand name Free Agent. KHS also markets its own brand of parts and accessories under the Power Tools label.�

We met up with the two of our buddies, Vince Rodarte and Vince Calvillo. Rodarte gave us the tour of the office and introduced us to the inside sales team, credit department, purchasing as well as research and development.

KHS Purchasing Officers, Greg O’Connell and Avery Genosi.

As we walked the halls, he introduced us to a very charming and humble woman named Susan Hsieh. She sat in a nice large office but claimed to be the KHS Bicycles “house keeper.� Actually, Susan is the Office Manager and the wife of Wen Hsieh, President.

Susan explained that most of the employees have been working at KHS for over 10 years. In fact one of them just received an award for being with the company for over 20 years. As Susan gave us stories about other employees of the company, I got the impression from the tone of her voice that KHS isn’t just a bicycle company. But it’s more of a family and Susan plays the role of the nurturing mother. Susan was a bit camera shy; otherwise we would have gotten a picture of her.

Bicycle Product Manager, Dennis Kishiyama working on the 2008 KHS Line Up.

We then went upstairs to meet Wen Hsieh, President and Dennis Kishiyama, Bicycle Product Manager. Both were busy planning out the 2008 line up. But they were kind enough to take some time out to chat with us for a few minutes. I was able to ask Wen and Dennis some questions about coming out with a full suspension 29er bike. Wen explained that they have one in development and are refining it.

Moe with the Solo One.
KHS solo 0ne 29er

I also asked about an All Mountain 29er bike with over 4 inches of travel. Both Wen and Dennis explained that to come out with an AM 29er, the bike would have a longer chain stay which would affect the geometry and the overall riding experience of the bike. Then I asked what Wen’s thoughts were on 29er’s hitting the Freeride scene. He responded that he highly doubts seeing such a movement towards that realm. Dennis also explained that 29er wheels will have more chances of failing under such stress when performing large drops.

KHS Tucson 27 speed 29er.
KHS tucson 29er

While we were there, Wen showed me one of their spin bikes and boasted how this spin bike was the best out there. He demonstrated its superior qualities by mounting it and riding it with one leg. Mind you, Wen is an older gentleman but he is full of energy and to see him on this spin bike, it was just the coolest thing!

KHS warehouse.

After we chatted with Wen and Dennis, Rodarte handed us off to Vince Calvillo, Operations Manager. From there Calvillo took us on a tour of the facility. Little did we know how huge the KHS warehouse is? Most people don’t realize that KHS Bicycles is a very large distributor for many of the name brands that you see out there. While we were on our tour, I noticed such brands like Shimano, Marzocchi, Hoss MTB and many others.

Moe with the KHS AM 2000.

RL with the Tucson 29er.
khs tucson 29er

Calvillo took us to a section of the warehouse where they store all of their bikes. This place is so big! The pictures we took do not justify how large this area was. Some of the bikes were stacked as high as the ceiling. Then we walked more and saw aisles and aisles of bike parts and accessories. Just imagine the KHS Bicycles warehouse to be as big as a Costco warehouse, but its filled with everything you can think of that is related to bicycles! If I were to die now and go to bicycle heaven, then God would send me to the KHS Bicycles warehouse.

Tons of bikes…

Probably thousands in the whole warehouse!

Not only is Calvillo the Operations Manager, but he also is the company liaison for any event that KHS Bicycles sponsors. For example, KHS sponsored the Solvang Prelude and the City of Angels Ride. Calvillo would load up the KHS truck with the latest and greatest bikes in their line up and set up a booth the allow visitors to touch, ride and experience a KHS Bicycle of their choice. Calvillo knows his bikes! If you were to ever see him at a show, and you asked him a question about the frame, parts, year…anything you can think of, Calvillo will have an answer for you.

By the time we were finishing up our visit at KHS Bicycles, I felt like I really learned a lot about a little, big bicycle company. The KHS staff were all friendly and they seem to all like their jobs. We ended our visit by having Vince Calvillo hand us a brand new AM2000 frame to do a build up on the site for a future date.

Vince Calvillo, Operations Manager, hands RL Policar the new AM 2000 frame.

In no specific order, the KHS Inside Sales Staff: Jeff Tice, Jeff Niedbalski, Jay McLaughlin, Michael Brandt, Tracy Neff and Vince Rodarte (KHS Hat).

I’d like to thank all the folks of KHS Bicycles for allowing us to come and visit. We really appreciated everyone’s hospitality as well as the great info we received just by talking to everyone there.

Check out the rest of the photos from KHS HERE.

Here’s a video of Moe, RL and Henry Hsieh, Robix Fitness Manager on the Fullerton Loop.

Click here to read Moe’s article at www.thebikegeek.com

Click here to read Moe’s article in spanish at www.ciclistafanatico.com

RL Policar

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).

https://www.mtnbikeriders.com