KHS Flagstaff 29er Review

We took possession of the KHS Flagstaff 29er back in August. During my testing period, I’ve posted a first impression and an update. The Flagstaff comes with a decent spec sheet:

Frame: 29″ AL 7005 w/4-bar Horst bearing linkage, 3.5″ Travel w/RockShox Monarch 2.1 air shock
Fork: 29″ Rock Shox Reba SL 80mm, Dual Air, Motion Control, External Rebound, Internal Floodgate, Compression adjust to ‘Lock’
Headset: Tioga ZST2 Threadless, Zero Stack
Rims: WTB Speed Disc29 All MTN w/eyelets
Hubs Front: Alloy Disc Rear: Shimano Disc
Tires: WTB Exiwolf Race, 29×2.3, Folding
Spokes: 14G Black Stainless, 32°
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-9
Shifters: SRAM X-7 Trigger
Chain: KMC Z9000
Crankset: Truvativ Firex Giga X Pipe, 44/32/22
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP outboard cartridge bearing
Cassette: SRAM PG950 11-34, 9-Speed
Pedals: Wellgo W41 Clipless
Seatpost: Truvativ XR
Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
Handlebar: Truvativ XR 31.8, Triple Butted
Stem: Truvativ XR 31.8, 3D Forged
Grips: WTB Weirwolf Dual Density
Brake Levers: Hayes Stroker Ryde
Brakes: Hayes Stroker Ryde Hydraulic, 6″ rotors
Color: Flat Black
Frame Sizes: S, M, L

Although I’m not a SRAM fan, I was impressed with the quick and precise shifting of the X-7 shifters paired with the Deore in the front and the X-9 in the back. The 29″ Rock Shox Reba SL 80mm is perfectly matched to this bike, the fork is plush and its lockout feature a major plus when it is time to climb up the hills.

The Rockshox Monarch is very simple to adjust, simply pump your weight in PSI, get on the bike, measure the sag and do minimal adjustments. Although the rear shock lacks a lockout, the horst bearing linkage does an excellent job at minimizing bob. The only time I felt it was when I would get out of the saddle and mash the pedals.

I do have to mention a couple of nuisances about this bike; due to its frame design, there are no water bottle bosses because there is no room for a water bottle.

I also took the Flagstaff 29er to the Fullerton Loop, Santiago Oaks, Chino Hills and Southridge. The bike is an excellent recreational bike, it tackled all sorts of terrain and it was a blast to ride every single time.

I took the Flagstaff 29er one step further, I actually raced Super D on it. For those who are not familiar with Super D, it is basically a top to bottom run with some climbing and not so gnarly terrain as a downhill race.

While most Super D racers rode a four to five inch bike, I was the only one racing on a Full Suspension 29er. The Flagstaff’s weight is comparable to most all-mountain bikes, but where I felt that I had the advantage was on climbing. I simple locked out the fork and the front tire never left the ground. You hear that riding a 29er with 80mm of travel “feels” like a 5 inch travel bike. I couldn’t agree more. As I blasted the downhill, I never worried about doing an endo and the big tires did roll through everything.

So here’s the deal, the Flagstaff 29er is an amazing, fun and well balanced bicycle that not only you can do recreational rides with, it is also a very capable Super D racing machine. I would give this bike a 9.9 out of 10.

For more information, visit www.khsbicycles.com.

KHS Flagstaff 29er

For 2009 KHS Bicycles didn’t really change much on the specs. They were pretty happy with the current set up, but they did decide to change up the color to white.

I do love me some black and white and this bike is dang sexy!
khs flagstaff

KHS Flagstaff 29er update

Let me begin by saying that this bike freaking ROCKS! I wasn’t 100% on board with the whole 29er thing until I rode this bike. Last Saturday‘s ride at Santiago Oaks was what sold me on this bike. I’ve never ridden Santiago Oaks, and it is definitely a step ‘up’ in technicality from what I’m used to riding. What was so special about the ride? The bike that I was riding has as much travel as an ‘old school’ cross country bike. That’s right, 80 mm in the front and 3.5″ in the back.

However, the bike felt as if I was riding a 5″ travel bike. The video does not do justice to the type of terrain we rode; there were small drop offs, loose rocks, loose dirt and ruts. The Flagstaff did ride over everything and gave me a great sense of confidence as I was going down the trails.

The Flagstaff is not perfect though, I would consider the WTB Exiwolf tires the weak point (sorry WTB fanboys) for the type of trails that I’ve been riding. As some of you know, most of the SoCal trails are really sandy or the dirt is very loose and these tires just don’t grip as good as the Kenda Nevegals that I have on my KHS Solo One 29er.

I’m planning to take this bike to Aliso and to Turnbull Canyon, I want to see what this bike can do on Rock it and on the tight Turnbull Canyon switchbacks.

Oh, Quinn… you don’t know what you are missing, riding a full suspension 29er is way more fun than riding a 29er hardtail 🙂

KHS Flagstaff First Impression

We finally took possession of the much awaited KHS Flagstaff Full Suspension 29er yesterday. Unfortunately, the only test bike they had was a medium and the bike was a little too small for Jeremy, our resident 29er expert. Luckily, the bike fits me just fine so the duties of testing/reviewing this bike will fall upon me (yeah, I know, you feel bad for me).

Let’s begin by checking out the specs:

Frame: 29″ AL 7005 w/4-bar Horst bearing linkage, 3.5″ Travel w/RockShox Monarch 2.1 air shock
Fork: 29″ Rock Shox Reba SL 80mm, Dual Air, Motion Control, External Rebound, Internal Floodgate, Compression adjust to ‘Lock’
Headset: Tioga ZST2 Threadless, Zero Stack
Rims: WTB Speed Disc29 All MTN w/eyelets
Hubs Front: Alloy Disc Rear: Shimano Disc
Tires: WTB Exiwolf Race, 29×2.3, Folding
Spokes: 14G Black Stainless, 32°
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-9
Shifters: SRAM X-7 Trigger
Chain: KMC Z9000
Crankset: Truvativ Firex Giga X Pipe, 44/32/22
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP outboard cartridge bearing
Cassette: SRAM PG950 11-34, 9-Speed
Pedals: Wellgo W41 Clipless
Seatpost: Truvativ XR
Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
Handlebar: Truvativ XR 31.8, Triple Butted
Stem: Truvativ XR 31.8, 3D Forged
Grips: WTB Weirwolf Dual Density
Brake Levers: Hayes Stroker Ryde
Brakes: Hayes Stroker Ryde Hydraulic, 6″ rotors
Color: Flat Black
Frame Sizes: S, M, L
MSRP: $2,399

Not a bad spec sheet if you ask me. Highlights include the Hayes Stroker Ryde Hydros, 4-bar Horst Suspension, X7 shifters and a X9 rear derailleur.

Wasting no time, I took the KHS Flagstaff for its maiden ride this morning. I rode the world famous Fullerton Loop, a perfect trail to get acquainted with a new bike. I was supposed to have ridden with my 2 other compadres, RL and Jeremy, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up riding solo. This means that I won’t be able to post action photos, but we will post them on the next update.

I’m not a stranger to the big 29er wheeled bikes; I’ve owned a Gary Fisher Cobia 29er and I currently own a KHS Solo One 29er. I also believe that 29er bikes have advantages and disadvantages, so I’m not all for them nor I’m against them.

OK, now that I’ve given you the skinny on me, here are a few observations on the bike. Aesthetically speaking, the bike looks bad ass, the flat black paint job makes it look like a stealth bomber. The big wheels are imposing, you CAN tell that this bike is a 29er. The Rockshox suspension is easy to set up, simply look at their chart, match your weight (be honest) and pump the required PSI.

On the trail, the bike felt a little stiff and responsive, I was able to really hammer the flat singletrack section of the loop. Going up, well, being spoiled from riding a light hardtail, I really felt the bike’s weight. No biggie, this bike has plenty of gears. The bike behaved rather well downhill, I didn’t have to worry about picking the best line, but I didn’t let it rip like I do on my 6″ travel bike. Although the bike has only 3.5 inches of rear suspension, it didn’t leave me asking for more. I will see how this bike does on more challenging terrain.

I would like to thank Mr. Calvillo from KHS bicycles for giving us the chance to test this bike, we know that this bike is in high demand and they are hard to come by.

Southridge Demo Day Recap

Since we’ve got a couple more pictures from the Demo Day, I’m going to do a quick recap.

I was talking with my friend and he was thinking out loud that an ideal day mountain biking day would include riding really nice bikes that were all maintained, set up for you and everything worked perfectly. That’s what the demo day at Southridge was like.

Sweet bikes (and new ones in the case of the KHS XCT555 & Flagstaff) all ready for your disposal and a really fun course that happens to also have all day shuttle access to the top of the hill for $5/day. The only way it could have been any better is if we spent more time and came back for a second helping on Sunday.

Here’s the last of the pictures that we had:
KHS Flagstaff
Crawling up a hill on the KHS Flagstaff

KHS Flagstaff
A little small, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to ride one

KHS Flagstaff, Rock Shox Monarch
KHS Flagstaff sporting the new Rock Shox Monarch 2.1 shock

Turner Sultan, Kenda Nevegal
Turner rear tire clearance (currently has the 2.2 Kenda Nevegals)

Turner Sultan
Descending on the Turner Sultan

Turner Sultan
Frame Only? Yup, for $1895

Turner Sultan
Headtube junction

Turner Sultan
Yeah, I stopped on the trail to look at it. It’s so pretty

By the way, I’ve got to apologize to Lance. I should have taken more pictures of him, but I was having waaaay too much fun riding. Sorry dude. I promise to do better next time.

KHS Flagstaff & Turner Sultan at Bike Demo Days

Lance & I hit up the Consumer Bike Demo Days at Southridge in Fontana, CA this past Saturday. It rained pretty hard all night on Friday but I continually checked the weather.com and knew that there shouldn’t be anymore rain by 9am.


KHS tent

When we rolled into Southridge, the skies were cloudy but no rain. Thankfully Sourthridge race course dries up very quickly and, because of the rain, the trail was more ridable than normal.

I had two bikes on my mind and Lance was up for anything (thanks Lance).

KHS Flagstaff
We first headed over to KHS and I checked out their new Flagstaff, a full suspension horst link 29er.

KHS Flagstaff
Still dirty from Interbike

KHS Flagstaff
Enough clearance for WTB Exiwolf 2.3’s up front and in the rear

KHS Flagstaff
Horst link can be seen in the back

I don’t have much to report on this bike because it wasn’t my size (KHS doesn’t have a Large Flagstaff yet) but I am glad I put in some seat time on it. The Flagstaff give me more confidence as compared to riding my hardtail 29er on the Southridge course and the horst link was very plush. For the price ($2,000 complete) and what you get, there is no competition in the full suspension 29er category.

Turner Sultan
The 2nd bike I rode was the Turner Sultan. You can’t just glance at this bike as the blue really calls attention to itself. The Sultan uses the Turner Rocker suspension design.

Turner Sultan
Turner guys took a few minutes to dial in the bike for me

Turner Sultan
Cables fit under

Turner Sultan
Ready to rock & roll

This bike was my size and dialed in to me so I do have a couple of quick impressions. I thought this bike fit me really well. The geometry is just a good fit for my body’s dimensions. The frame was pretty stiff and the suspension was very nice. It definitely gave me confidence in some of the more technical parts of the trail. Lastly, I found that the front end of the bike did not pop up on me as much as my hardtails do.

If you get a chance to ride a demo day, I’d highly recommend it. The guys at the booths were very accommodating. Also, a suggestion I heard from more than one person: bring your own shoes & pedals. Other then that, leave the rest up to them.