2016 CX 300
Review: 2016 CX 300By Scott Mares | Published Dec 14, 2015
Right Out of the Box
Pulling the bike right out of the box was interesting this time around because we are use to pulling bight & shiny bikes out of the box. But in this case we pulled out a muted red bike. Now the paint job on the CX 300 is not really paint as it is powder coating. It has a rough industrial look and texture to it with the dark on dark color scheme. You don't really see the KHS logo because your eye is drawn to the thin white accent that follows the black accent on the frame set. With the dark on dark letters/paint it is easy for the eye to glance over it. Things that caught our eye were the FSA bar and stem combo, internal cable routing and the stacks of pennies weldsalong the joints. You usually don't see these things on a bike in this price point.
Road Test Ride
After a initial shake down ride we took the CX3i00 out on the road from some training. Our first impression of the CX300 on the road is that its a solid ride. This is because of the A7 Alloy frame with its aero down tube shape. This big tube intersects with a bottom bracket that looks like something from back in the day by an Italian frame builder called Rossin. Put this with the oversize carbon fork and you have a very solid feeling bike on the road. But lets not forget the 72/73 head tube seat tube angels. The CX300 has a snappy ride to it. But the trade off is that you will feel the road a little more than if you had a carbon frame or a steel one.
Dirt Test Ride
We take all of our test bikes out to Powell Bute park because this place has a lot to offer in the way of terrain. It has everything from single track, double track, punchy climbs, winding down hills and 180's. We had a really good time with the Cx300. Not only is this bike stable and solid on the road its a really good bike in the dirt. KHS is one of the few companies that have actually equipped their stock bikes with mud tires. Most companies put a small block 8 or something similar. Not with KHS this year. Thank you... The tires were hooking up corner after corner and it was made better by the great Shimano hydraulic brakes that came stock on the bike. The Hydraulic brakes take less effort and are more precise than their mechanical brother. Again the fork tracked straight and true and we didn't have any problems with it flexing under braking. The one place that the bikes does not shine as bright is the climbs. Unfortunately we could feel the few extra kilos that this bike carries with it on the up hills.
Here is a list of all of the things that we like about this $2200 mud racer. The list is not only long but its also pretty extensive and I doubt that you will find all of these features on another bike in the same price point.
- Full carbon fork
- 11 speed Shimano
- Hydraulic brakes
- Mud tires standard
- Internal cable routing
- A7 Alloy frame set
- Great price point
We Didn't Like
So here are our thoughts on where this bike could be improved upon. Keeping in mind that this should be someone first real cx bike and they will probably have this bike for a few seasons. This means that it needs to be upgradeable and not obsolete in just 2 seasons.
No through Axel on the wheels: This is kind of a big deal and kind of not. the reason is that all of the wheel makers and all of the top end bike makers are going through axle for the wheels and frames. So moving forward you will want a through axle bike. But not too bad because the Wheel makers are making the hubs convertible. They will include end caps that you swap out and bam you went from QR to through axle or you can convert back to QR. Why do we want through axle? We want that because it makes the bike steers better and brake better with disc brakes. I have also noticed that the fit of the wheel into the fork is better and easier with a through axle than a regular quick release.
No FSA seat post: The seat post that comes with this bike is a brand that I haven't heard of and I only see it on the KHS brand which tells me that its a house brand post. So? Well house brand carbon tends to be over built and heavy. Its also does not match the FSA bar and stem combo and brings down the value of the bike in my opinion. Better to have the cockpit match with all FSA stuff.
So I have a list of a few upgrades that I would do to this bike over time as your progress from the beginner ranks to the more advanced ones. Ill start with what I consider the most important and will have the biggest impact on the bikes performance.
Wheels: This is the biggest thing that you can upgrade on this bike. The wheel that are on there are great house brand training wheels and by gong to a lighter race wheels you will drop some weight and make the bike perform better.
Crank: This is one of the areas that they went a little lower to keep the bike at the right price point. Change this crank out for a carbon crank or a Ultegra cranks and you will drop the weight and there by making the bike faster or easier for you to pedal.
Post: I already went over this. Get a better post. Its a quick and easy fix.
The Final Say
Had your first cyclocross race and want to get really into the sport? But the bike you used was a hand me down and was beat to hell and not all of the gears worked? Then you will be on the hunt for a newcyclocross bike that will not only work but will take you through a few cyclocross seasons. The KHS CX300 is probably the best bike for you to get without breaking the bank or getting a second note on the house. So why should you consider the CX300? When getting a entry level bike you want to get a platform that is sturdy, reliable and can take a beating for all of the mistakes that you are going to make. It has to live through all of the crashes that your going to have. The CX300 is packed with a lot of great features. It comes standard with 11 speed Shimano and Hydraulic brakes. All of the cables are routed internal giving it cleans lines. In addition to this KHS has shaped the frame to make it stiff and responsive when you put the power down. The front end is nice with FSA and a full 1.5 tapered carbon fork. the flip side to this coin is that the bike is upgradeable but it falls a little short in that the bike is not through axle. Don't get us wrong, the CX300 is a totally a upgradeable platform. And for $2200 bucks its a great buy for what you get.
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- First Impressions
- On the Road
- On the Dirt
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