I stopped by Marty Gauss’s Total Cyclery in Kenosha, WI a couple of days ago, Christmas Eve to be exact, for a bit of personal business. Fortunately, it coincided with the fact that Marty had, the day before, finished assembling a just-delivered KHS 3000 4 Season Fat-bike giving me a chance to look it over and take a bit of a ride on the new entry in the exploding fat-bike space.
To keep the $1799.00 retail price point KHS made some component choices that seem to put the goods where you need them, like a SRAM X9 rear derailleur, SRAM 11-36 cassette, SRAM X7 front derailleur and Avid BB7S disk brakes while using more value priced components like Weinmann 80mm rims and Vee Rubber 120tpi Mission tires that are serviceable and can be upgraded later if needed. The WTB saddle is a nice touch while the remainder of the cockpit includes a 700mm Alloy bar with a 10mm sweep, a 31.8 Alloy seat post and a forged Alloy stem. Rounding out the components is a forged KHS crank with 22/36 chainrings and outboard bearings.
The Frame of the KHS 4 Season is 6061 Aluminum with what appear to be hydro-formed top and down tubes. There is generous stand over (the model Marty got in is a Small but I measured an effective top tube of 22.75 inches that seems to stretch it out a bit into the Medium range). The rear stays have rack mounts and the frame features Slider-style dropouts with replaceable derailleur and disk mounts. Interesting choice with the Slider on a 170mm rear end. At this point it does let you change the wheelbase some. I measured the chain stay length at 18.25” in the forward position with maybe 3/4” that the wheel could move rearward. What does the future hold for a Slider on a 170mm bike?
Since I couldn’t locate any geometry numbers for the 4 Season I did a bit of measuring in the shop and found a 71d head tube angle coupled with a 73d seat tube angle and the above mentioned 22.75” effective top tube.
The fork measured out at approximately 468mm a/c and is a straight-bladed cro-mo unit with rack mounts as well as what look like Anything mounts on a 45d angle along the rear of the fork leg. I did’t have an Anything Cage to test out the fit but they looked about right.
The riding position of the 4 Season is more MTB than a traditional snow bike and the brief ride I was able to get in the 4 Season felt responsive and didn’t exhibit any quirky handling with the Missions at about 15psi. We will have to get more experience on the bike in different conditions to make a better evaluation of how it rides though. So, stay tuned!
We first saw a hint of the KHS fat-bike at Interbike where it was very much a prototype. Gomez and I thought it rode better than some of the other offerings at the Outdoor Demo and were happy to offer up some thoughts to Wen Hsieh, President of KHS Bicycles! The fact that KHS got it to market so quickly is a testament to the flexibility of a smaller company and we look forward to more fat-bikes from KHS.