I stopped by the KHS booth at Sea Otter this year. The KHS gravity team has been kicking ass lately, with Logan Binggelli throwing down in a big way at the 2010 Red Bull Rampage and Melissa Buhl has been dominating in women’s DH and slalom for a few years now. KHS also has a really exciting new downhill bike, the DH-300. It was announced last year at Interbike where they showed off a prototype. Then I heard Dave Weagel was suing them for infringing on his DW-Link patent. At Sea Otter I talked to team member and manager, Quinton Spaulding, and got more details on the patent issues as well as an update on the new bike.
So what’s the big deal about the new KHS downhill linkage, you ask? Take a look at the photo of the non-drive-side linkage here and you’ll note the “concentric bottom bracket.” The bottom bracket goes right through the main pivot point forming a “neutral link.” According to Quinton, the new linkage does a much better job of absorbing impacts. He said he has far less leg fatigue on the DH-300. Normally, the suspension absorbs some of the hit and the rider absorbs some with his or her legs. But Quinton says the new linkage is so effective it’s taking most of the impact, allowing him to just pilot the bike. And less fatigue means a stronger, faster, more controlled rider.
Quinton and the rest of the KHS team are really excited about the new bike and Logan Bingelli’s first place finish at Fontana in February on the DH-300 bodes well for the rest of the downhill race season. The team rode 6-inch bikes at Sea Otter but they’re looking forward to racing the DH-300 at steeper, rockier venues later this season on the Pro GRT Tour. The next Pro GRT race is May 14th and 15th at Highland Bike Park in New Hampshire. We’ll see if the KHS riders can take the DH-300 to a top ten finish.
The KHS DH-300 downhill bike isn’t available yet in the US because it violated Dave Weagel’s DW-Link patent. KHS is currently testing a new swingarm that moves the “center of instance” (sorry, an engineer will have to translate that) so that it doesn’t infringe on the DW-Link patent. Complete bikes are already available in Canada for $4399 and they’re hoping to have the new linkage tested and ready for US buyers by the end of June.