Don’t bogart that BIKE my friend, pass it over to me…

Technically he wasn’t bogarting it. But I thought the word was funny, the song is even better!

But I’m happy to announce that I’ll be getting an opportunity to test ride/race the Airborne TAKA DH Bike. Team Racer, Art Aguilar has proven that you can get on the podium with the Taka. I’m hoping that at the next DH race that I’ll be able to get closer to that highly coveted platform…

Perhaps I can get some crazy air like Art did with the Taka…one can only dream…IMG_5496

KHS XCT 555-The Best Bang for the Buck

I’ve been testing the XCT 555 for a few months with an intention of using this bike for EVERY type of riding that I do.
khs xct 555
Originally I asked KHS Bicycles for a frame, but when the big cheeses told me they had a complete bike, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride it.

khs xct 555

Before I go on with the details of how this bike performs, let’s talk about the meat and veggies of this ride. Below are the specs…and if you notice, this bike doesn’t skimp on quality components.

Specs:

Cost: $2299
Frame AL6061 4-bar Horst bearing linkage, 5.5″ Travel
Rear Shock Rock Shox Monarch 3.1, Solo Air, ext rebound adjust and floodgate dial
Fork Marzocchi 44 TST2 140mm w/15mm drop outs, air preload, TST2, Lock Out, Compression & rebound adjust
Headset Cane Creek ZST2 Threadless, Zero stack
Rims WTB Speed Disc doublewall, w/eyelets
Hubs Front: Alloy disc, Rear: Shimano disc, QR
Tires WTB Wolverine 26X2.2, folding, 60TPI
Spokes 14G black, 32°
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur SRAM X-9
Shifters SRAM X-7 Trigger
Chain KMCZ9000 w/Missing Link
Crankset Truvativ Firex 3.1, 44/32/22, Alloy CNC Outer ring
Bottom Bracket Truvativ GXP outboard cartridge bearing
Cassette SRAM PG-950 11-34 9-Speed
Pedals Shimano PD-M505 clipless (not included with my test model)
Seatpost Q2 Light alloy
Saddle WTB Silverado
Handlebar Truvativ XR, 31.8, Butted, 20mm rise
Stem Truvativ Team
Grips WTB Weirwolf
Brake Levers Hayes Stroker Ryde
Brakes Hayes Stroker Ryde, 7″ front/6″ rear
Color Afterburner Gray
Frame Size S, M, L


Photos courtesy of JS3 Images

khs xct 555
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get movin’ on the ride details of this bike. If you’ve been keeping up with MtnBikeRiders.com, you’ve seen multiple articles, talking about the KHS XCT 555. One of the things I wanted to really find out was to see how versatile this bike was. KHS Bicycles designed their XCT line with the consumer in mind. They wanted a bike that someone could use for all their mountain biking needs. The intended customer for this bike would be a person that rides XC, fast single track, and even the occasional butt hole puckering gnarly and technical trails.

Photos courtesy of JS3 Images
khs xct 555
With that in mind, my heart was focused on seeing if the intent of this bike could be fulfilled. One thing I am certain about the XCT 555, it is SUPER durable and after many…many crashes with it, the wheels are true, the bike still shifts like butter and it still shines as if was new.

Photos courtesy of JS3 Images

Let’s talk about the XC side of this bike. I weighed the the XCT 555 and it came in around 27lbs. Not bad, but it also isn’t anorexic. For XC riding this bike is light enough, but if you’re a weight weenie, it may not make it on your list of light bikes. For the weight that it is, the bike isn’t sluggish. It responds well, super quick, very nimble and can climb like a billy goat. I’ve taken this bike through various trails in Southern California and I gotta tell you this bike knows XC riding like a favorite uncle.

Since we’re done talking about XC, let’s get into the real fun stuff…Downhill. Yes I said downhill. Believe it or not, but the XCT 555 makes an EXCELLENT downhill bike. Trust me on this…in fact, the KHS Factory Team often use the XCT 555 on certain downhill courses when racing…its true, I’ve seen them! Anyhow, I’ve taken the 555 to Fontana many times and I LOVE how this bike handles. I can pedal up the hill, then lower my saddle and bomb down just as fast…or faster than some guys with 8″ travel DH bikes. Oh and get this…the bike LOVES it when you take it through technical courses. The Horst Link in the rear makes for some awesome riding. The Rock Shox Monarch is buttery smooth and it has never failed on me. The Marzocchi 44 TST2 140mm fork does a great job in soaking up rock gardens, drops and single track. I almost forgot to mention that the XCT 555 comes with a 13.1″ bottom bracket clearance, which is great when needing to clear a rock garden or a log on the trail.

I know what you’re thinking…”The KHS XCT 555 only has 5.5″ of travel, how can you take that thing downhilling?” Well to answer that question, I just do and guess what… you can and its SUPER FUN! There’s nothing like riding a short travel, DH bike…I feel that you get more control and response from a little bike than you would on a big bike.

On one of the downhill shuttle runs we did, we drove to Top of the World in Orange County and dropped into Telonics. This trail is super steep and very fast. Parts of the single track is carved out like a chute. This was the first real time that I was able to test the Hayes Stroker Ryde, with the 7″ rotor in the front and 6″ rear. In previous rides, the brakes stopped me like a bad habit. No issues whatso ever. But during the ride through Telonics, I experienced brake fade. At one point, we’re going so fast that when I grabbed a fist full of brake, I’d started to slow down, but then the rotors got too hot and then the power went out. I had to feather them on the way down just so I wouldn’t over heat them again. It seems like the faster I go on this bike, the better it performs. I kid you not, the KHS XCT 555 is one serious bike!

By the way, the XCT 555 is an awesome 4x bike. I’ve spent many occasions practicing the 4x track at Fontana. All I can say is that this bike is pretty much the perfect bike…It can do just about anything you want it to do…well except make you breakfast.

Did you know that there are other brands of bikes out there that have the same amount of travel as the 555, but their frame alone cost as much as the complete KHS. Crazy eh? What’s cool about the XCT 555 is that you get a boutique quality bike but at generic prices…Plus you only need one bike to do everything you want to do on a mountain bike.

As I’ve mentioned, the KHS XCT 555 is the best bang for your buck, why? It’s simple really. The way the bike is spec’d, there’s no need to change anything out when you get it from the bike shop. The bike is ready to roll! Take it XC riding, or go to your favorite downhill trail, once your done with all that, take it to the BMX or 4X track and have some fun. This bike literally can do anything you would want a mountain bike to do, its light, fast, very flickable, and its ultra durable. You also have to consider that for the price of the KHS XCT 555…around $2300, you’re getting 3 bikes in one…a fast XC bike, 4X Machine and Downhill Rig…and that’s exactly why the KHS XCT 555 is the best bang for YOUR Buck!

Don’t waste your money on “brand name bikes” get yourself the KHS XCT 555, you won’t regret it…trust me.
khs xct 555

Sette Venom Freeride Frame

The Sette Venom just got delivered today to the MtnBikeRiders.com HQ….and boy I tell you whut, this thing is legit man!

sette venom

Here’s the features of the Venom:

Sink your fangs into any trail and the Sette Venom will deliver. The plush, adjustable 6-7” single pivot suspension will smooth out most any obstacle, keeping those wheels against the ground when you need it the most. Nail those gaps, rail those corners and hold on for some amazing adventure with this super strong 7005/6061 aluminum freeride frame.

Sette chose to equip the Venom with the Rock Shox Vivid 5.1. An excellent coil-assisted shock that features an incredible amount of adjustability, including external ending stroke rebound, beginning stroke rebound, and compression.

The Venom frame comes complete with all of the standard features that you would expect from Sette products; sealed cartridge bearing pivot points, integrated hydraulic brake hose guides that lead to IS standard rear brake mounts, cable guides, seatpost clamp, replaceable derailleur hanger, and a durable powder coated finish.

Rock Shox Vivid 5.1 Coil Over Shock
Sette Venom

The site says the color of the frame is red, but upon my first glance of the frame, its almost like rusty-ish red…a lighter burgundy…I actually like it because its a unique color and you won’t mistake it with any other brand.
sette venom

Just in case you wanted to know, specs:

Material 7005/ 6061 Aluminum
Welding Tig Welding
Rear Suspension Travel 7″/ 177.8mm
Recommended Fork Suspension Travel 7″-8″/ 180-200mm
Headset 1-1/8″ Standard
Front Derailleur 34.9mm Bottom Pull
Bottom Bracket 73mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 2.5″
Seatpost Size 31.6mm
Seat Clamp Size 34.9mm
Disc Mount IS Standard
Shock Length (eye-to-eye) 8.75″/ 222.3mm
Shock Stroke 50mm
Damping External ending stroke rebound, beginning stroke rebound,
and compression
Available Sizes Small (17″/43cm), Medium (18″/46cm)
Color(s) Red
Weight 11.35lbs (w/ Shock, Small Size Avg.)
Warranty 5 Years

We’re looking forward to testing this frame. We like the fact its a single pivot design, which to me, means its going to be trouble free and reliable. Shoot, many of the world’s best DH/FR bikes are single pivot…but the Sette Venom is a fraction of the cost, at $499.08, that’s a steal of a deal.