Winner of our Dirty Dozen test two years running and narrowly pipped in last year’s Bike of the Year by the Specialized Rockhopper, the KHS Alite 2000 is back with a new frame design and an even better spec than before. It’s also available in two versions: the Alite 2000 at £599.99 and the Alite 2000SL for £899.99.
Both bikes share the new smooth-welded alloy frame with its carbon-esque front-end and revised chainstay profiles; the only difference between the bikes is spec and the resulting weights. On our workshop scales, the Alite 2000SL came in at 11.5kg (25.4lb), making it considerably lighter than a similarly priced 29er hardtail. More impressive still is that the £600 Alite 2000 is under 12.7kg (28lb).
While the tubing profiles and frame design have changed dramatically for 2013, the geometry of the Alite 2000 is identical to the bike we tested, and gave 10 out of 10, last season. Yes, there’s a slight discrepancy in fork travel between the models — the Alite 2000 has a 110mm RST First fork instead of the 120mm RockShox Reba — but the difference in geometry will be negligible due to relatively low axle-to-crown height on the RockShox unit.
Sizing is also unchanged, even if the new frame design has less standover clearance. We couldn’t find any sizing guidelines on the KHS website, but if you are around 5ft 10in tall, we’d recommend getting the 19in over the 17in, as the Alite frame sizes up a little short and the fit of the 19in will work better with the stock 80mm stem.
Kevlar bead tyres and alloy spoke nipples help keep the rotational weight in check, but arguably the biggest improvement to the Alite’s spec is that Avid Elixir 1 brakes replace the wooden-feeling Hayes Stroker Rydes. Cable routing is all neatly tucked under the hydroformed top tube, but all of the cables will need shortening from the off to stop them rubbing on the fork crown.
With a RockShox Reba RL fork and SRAM 3×10 drivetrain, the only concession to price on the Alite 2000SL is the 1 1/8in head tube. We’d like to see a tapered set-up to bring it up-to-date, but it’s not a deal-breaker given the price and weight of the bike.
If you want a lightweight, well-specced hardtail with an XC race attitude, the new KHS Alite 2000SL is going to be tough to beat.
Frame: 6061 double butted aluminium
Fork: RockShox Reba RL Dual Air 120mm
Wheels: In-house hubs, WTB Speed Disc XC rims, Kenda Small Block Eight 2.1in tyres
Drivetrain: SRAM S1000 chainset, SRAM X5 shifters and front mech; X9 rear mech
Brakes: Avid Elixir 1, 160mm rotors
Components: Kore 670mm bar, 80mm stem, Q2 seatpost
Weight: 11.51kg (25.4lb)
Sizes: 15, 17, 19, 21in
Size tested: 19in
Head angle: 70.8°
Seat angle: 72.2°
BB height: 305mm
Front centre: 660mm
Down tube: 672mm
This article first appeared in the September 2012 issue of MBR.