First Impressions: KHS XCT 535

Main Mountain Biking Products

The KHS XCT535 has arrived at the MtnBikeRiders HQ and the review process has been initiated.

khs xct 535

The XCT 535 is KHS’ line up in the world of XC/Trail bikes. The MSRP for this bike is $1599 and its equipped with some choice componentry, great geometry and outstanding performance.

Here’s the tale of the tape (specs):

New Trail Design AL6061, 4-bar Horst bearing linkage 5.5″ Travel
Rear Shock Rock Shox Bar 2.1, air w/rebound adjust
Fork Marzocchi MX Lo, 120mm, variable compression lockout
Headset Tioga ZST2,Threadless,zero Stack
Rims WTB Speed Disc doublewall, w/eyelets
Hubs Front: Alloy disc, Rear: Shimano disc, QR
Tires John Thomac Nevegal 26×2.1
Spokes 14G black, 32°
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow
Shifters Shimano Deore
Chain KMCZ9000
Crankset FSA Moto MegaExo 2-piece, 44/32/22
Bottom Bracket FSA MegaExo outboard catridge bearing
Cassette Shimano HG50 11-34 9-Speed
Pedals Wellgo M919 clipless
Seatpost Alloy Micro-adjust
Saddle WTB Silverado
Handlebar FSA XC-280B, 31.8, Alloy, 40mm rise
Stem FSA Alloy
Grips WTB Weirwolf
Brake Levers Avid FR5
Brakes Avid BB5 cable disc, 7″ front/6″ rear
Color Flat Brown-Gray
Frame Size S, M, L

The first thing I noticed on this bike was the sweet horst link suspension. I’ve ridden many Specialized bikes equipped with this magic suspension setup and I was always impressed with it. Knowing this, I knew the XCT 535 would be very responsive on the trail.

Licensed by Specialized.

Our test bike weighed in around 30.5lbs…that’s a bit lighter than some trail bikes we’ve tested. The Ibex Ignition is at 33lbs, my Giant Warp is at 34lbs, the Woodstock 707 came in around 33lbs.

I’ll get down to the nitty gritty about what I thought about the KHS XCT 535 on its maiden voyage. The bike is super plush. It handles really well on technical sections, climbs ok…but the fork has a lock out so that helps. Shifting was like butter…that’s a good thing! Oh man, the XT rear derailleur combined with the Deore shifters makes this bike easy to deal with. It never mis shifted or jumped gears while I was riding it.
khs xct 535

The XCT 535 really shows its true colors on descents. The John Thomac Nevegal 26×2.1 tires gripped the trail as if it they were claws. I’ve mentioned this already, but the bike really is super plush. The suspension responds really well to what the trail dishes and not once did I feel insecure of the bike’s integrity. I had a great time on it today.

But I’ll be doing more test rides on it to get a better feel on how this bike handles various terrains. In fact tomorrow we’ll be riding a trail that is going to allow me to ride the bike harder.

RL Policar

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

4 thoughts on “First Impressions: KHS XCT 535

  1. sounds good, I have been looking at these.
    what happens after you test this (and other bikes)? In your stable or give back?

  2. Aaron,

    I just finished riding Santiago Oaks(very technical trail) and I was VERY pleased on how it performed.

    Our relationship with KHS Bicycles requires us to return it and once we do, we usually pick up another bike to review…its pretty sweet if you ask me!

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