Featured User Review: KHS Urban-X

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Featured Review: KHS Urban X
by JJsKHS

Price Paid: $399.00 at Summit Ski and Bike
Review Date: August 24, 2009
Used product for: 3 months
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Bike Setup:
KHS Urban-X w/ grocery panniers, kryptonite u-lock, and Planet Bike Blaze front/rear lights.

Summary:
This is really an excellent commuter for the price. I was looking at models selling for two and three times as much online, but when I went into the store the Urban X was the first one the guy pulled off the rack. I was somewhat hesitant, as I had it in my mind I was going with a single front chain ring with Nexus as opposed to a derailleur setup, but I’m so glad I went with the X. I routinely use all three rings here in LA, and would be at a loss on some of the steeper grades without a full 21 speeds. To think, I was considering a fixie!

Strengths:
Really well equipped stock, especially for the money: serviceable wheels, 21 speeds, a rack, fenders, etc. The stock Kendra Kwest tires are great at absorbing some of the “noise” and shock from the road, while still being fast. Bulletproof, too — ran over broken glass and all kinds of urban detritus and no flats yet. The Urban X has proven itself to be durable, usable, and an overall nice bike. Perfect commuter at a reasonable price; one only needs lights and panniers to be fully stocked and ready to roll.

Weaknesses:
The stock “Brooks-style” seat killed me. I tried and tried to get on with it, but just couldn’t. Put about 50 miles on it and was still undecided, then went on a 20 mile cruise one day and was hurting so bad by the end that I literally rode directly to the bike shop on my way home for a replacement saddle. Tried all kinds of adjustments, etc, and just couldn’t get accustomed to the stocker. This is, ultimately, a minor issue and a personal choice; your mileage may vary. Definitely not a deal breaker either way; if you don’t like the stocker, get a suitable replacement for $20-$50 and you’re all set.

That aside, my only other gripe is the paint, which seems fairly easy to chip. Granted, it’s not egg shell delicate, but I hit the metal part of my U-lock against it fairly gently and dinged away a tiny (tiny) bit of paint. This happened another time when I banged my pannier hook against the frame. It’s aluminum, so I’m not worried about corrosion, and I got this thing for riding, not for looking, but I think the paint should be stuck on there a bit better, and be more rugged. But it’s not terrible or anything, and looks nice. Minor gripe.

Similar Products Used:
Rode a heavy, poorly sprung, and poorly maintained Raleigh M50 Mountain/Trail around the urban landscape for quite a time, and thought I was cruising on a nice bike. Heh, right. Riding on the KHS is like night and day, primarily because it was made from the ground up for urban riding, has city tires, and doesn’t weigh ten thousand pounds. Now it makes me laugh when I see literally every other person on the road riding either a low end mountain bike like my old M50, or a full on race/road bike, neither of which are entirely appropriate for city riding.

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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  • gregg says:

    Excellent review! Lots of good info. No doubt switching to a real Brooks saddle will improve things, but then again, it’ll cost about half of what the bike costs!

  • AJ says:

    I just got one of these used. I absolutely love it. However, mine did not come with the fenders. Anyone know where I can find some?

  • William says:

    Aluminum??

  • Doane says:

    My 2010 is cromo steel frame, not aluminum, did they change? Anyway, it’s still very light and absorbs vibrations well, glad it isn’t aluminum. I too am having problems adjusting to the seat and have had the bike almost a week with short daily rides. Yesterday I set the seat a notch more angled down in front so that it is level now to the ground and riding home on my commute last night it improved the ride seat comfort appreciably. The Urban-X feels solid, precise and everything is smooth… I really like this bike!

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