Bike Review: KHS 7500 Enduro Bike
KHS has over 35 years of experience manufacturing bikes for everyone from urban commuters to road bikers and mountain bikers. The KHS 7500 is KHS’ top-of-the-line enduro bike built to conquer the most demanding trails. Seeing the KHS Pro MTB team in action is enough to inspire any rider to go out and push the limits of what a bike can do, so this month we did just that with our brand-new 2021 KHS 7500 test rig. Here are our thoughts on this enduro ripper.
For those looking for the ultimate competitive edge, you won’t find a carbon frame available here, but what you will get is a robust 6061 aluminum frame with a custom-formed, double-butted top-tube and downtube. Furthermore, this KHS offers Boost hub spacing, external cable routing (except for an internal dropper post cable) and a threaded bottom bracket.
KHS made sure the geometry of this bike was tuned for high-speed runs by providing the 7500 with a 65-degree head tube angle, a short rear end and a low bottom-bracket height. Additionally, KHS designed the frame to offer 150mm of travel and two wheel-size options, depending on frame size.
Although the 7500 is a high-end model in KHS’ lineup, its components were carefully picked to balance value and performance. The bike features mostly Shimano SLX level parts along with an XT level derailleur. The Fox 36 fork provides 160 millimeters of travel, and a Fox Float DPX2 controls the bike’s 150 millimeters of suspension travel.
A standout component on our KHS was the wheelset, which combined WTB i29 rims with Shimano SLX hubs. While these wheels are far from fancy, they did provide a stiff lateral feel, allowing us to point and shoot the bike down rocky terrain, and the SLX hubs, once spun up to speed, became silent, allowing our testers to fully enjoy the beauty of tires slashing across the dirt. To aid traction, KHS provided 29×2.4-inch Kenda Hellkat tubeless-ready tires. Size-small frames are built around 27.5+ wheels with 27.5×2.6-inch Kenda tires.
The 7500’s four-bar suspension linkage is designed for soaking up rough terrain while retaining the ability to climb back up the mountain. Utilizing a Fox DPX2 shock with a three-position lever and a Trunnion mount to maximize shock stroke, this KHS is highly capable on any type of trail. Switching to 29-inch wheels, compared to past 7500 models, reduced travel sightly; however, this is seen by many riders as a positive attribute.
DOWN AND DIRTY
The KHS 7500 might not blow your socks off with advanced carbon materials or fancy top-of-the-line parts, but it does provide an impressive amount of performance on the trails. Riders seeking a capable bike without added bells and whistles will gravitate to this model.
The 7500 loves technical climbs where its suspension can grab the trail and propel the bike forward with each pedal stroke. On smoother trails, however, this KHS benefited from its lockout compression lever. Just one click from the three-position lever provided a firm platform, allowing riders to lay down power without bouncing up the trails. This KHS wasn’t intended to be the fastest up the hill, so don’t expect lightning-fast speeds, but do expect to get to the top of the hill promptly. The 7500 is no slouch with a strong rider powering it.
Flowing down the trails is where the 7500 is happiest. The suspension and geometry provide a stable ride at speed and a plush feel capable of soaking up rough trails. In tight sections, this KHS felt nimble enough to toss around while retaining high-speed stability when the trails opened up.
A huge part of the 7500’s prowess comes from its Fox Performance Series suspension. Launching off jumps, riders are met with pillowy-soft landings, encouraging riders to go a little bigger the next time around. In corners, the suspension provides mid-stroke support, allowing riders to push through turns with confidence. Another key component was the Shimano drivetrain, which allowed our tester to quickly click through gears on the downhills as he picked up speed. All in all, KHS provides a nice bang for the buck with its new 7500 model.
MODS AND UPGRADES
The very first thing that caught our test riders by surprise was the over-the-bar remote. Most modern bikes with single front ring drivetrains offer an under-the-bar remote. Swapping to another remote, such as one from Wolf Tooth, Fox, or Shimano, would give the cockpit a cleaner look and a more ergonomic feel.
Another thing our testers found funny was the internal routing for the dropper post was placed on the same side of the frame as the remote. This created a cable that required a zip-tie to tame. The bike looks exceptionally clean on one side, while the other side is covered with cables. Riders who have purchased the KHS 7500 might want to spend some time on cable management to give their bike the professional look it deserves.
At the end of the day, this KHS will put a smile on most riders’ faces as they descend the trails and soak up large trail features. Sure, you could find a lighter or possibly more capable enduro bike on the market, but it would likely cost a lot more. The KHS 7500 is far above entry-level in performance but not far off in price. Yes, $4299 is a lot of money, but considering this bike’s suspension package, drivetrain, and overall design, it could be a great companion for many riders. If you’re looking to add an enduro bike to your fleet and don’t want to break the bank, consider the KHS 7500 as a solid option.
WHEEL SIZE: 29″ (27.5″+ size small)
SUSPENSION: 160mm (front), 150mm (rear)