Written by: Brad Veasey
Finish Strong Elite Cycling teammate
Category 2 Racer
Lives: Raleigh, North Carolina
Until recently I never understood the cycling community's obsession with carbon. I started riding in 2009 on an '04 Specialized Allez triple that I bought for 500 bucks at a local bike shop. Since then I've logged over 42,000 miles training and racing on aluminum frames, the most recent of which included a Cervelo S1 and Cannondale CAAD10. Aluminum has always made sense to me as a racer - it's durable, relatively light, responsive, stiff, and--most importantly--affordable. The last thing on my mind during the countless times I've gone down on my bikes is whether or not my frame is OK.
However, over the last year my interest in carbon has gained some ground, and I've been eager to see what all the hype is about. My friends boast about how carbon is lighter, stiffer, and more comfortable and responsive. And while I've always felt like aluminum frames held many of those qualities, I've never felt 100% comfortable on them. There's always been a small element of disconnect between me and my bicycles - almost as if we're trying to make the relationship work when we both know it was never destined to be. Don't get me wrong, my bikes served me well and have a lot of sentimental value - I've raced and crashed them, broken and mended them, and last year on my CAAD10 won the S.C. State Road Race Championship and attained my category 2 upgrade. But at the end of the day I'm left feeling like I should be getting more out of them.
This year the Finish Strong Elite Cycling Team was fortunate enough to gain the sponsorship from Greenville Custom Bicycles and manufacturer KHS Bicycles. This partnership gave us the opportunity to ride the KHS Team Flite - their flagship carbon frame - for the 2014 season. This came at a great time for me, because, like most racers, the N + 1 formula was telling me I needed a new bike. But I also had a feeling that this might be the one, so to speak.
I ordered my frame from Greenville Custom Bicycles, and outfitted it with the SRAM Force group set from my Cervelo. Frank from GCB built up my new machine, and I picked her up the first week of December. Aesthetically, this bike is gorgeous. The first thing you notice is the geometryófrom the thick head tube all the way down to it's massive bottom bracket and tall chain stays, this bike just begs to be pushed to the limit. So, that's exactly what I've done...
I've logged about 1500 miles on my KHS Flite Team in the 2 short months I've had it, and I am just as impressed with it now as I was the first time I took it out. The responsiveness is unbelievable, and it feels as if not a single watt of power you put in to this bike is lost. Every time I crank up the intensity I get a big childish grin on my face - this bike just flies. Living in Durham, NC, I have to deal with the hills, and the KHS tackles them without a second thought. I've never enjoyed climbing out of the saddle this much; it almost feels effortless. On descents the KHS Team Flite stays steady and straight. Cornering is incredibly precise; just keep your eyes up the road and the bike will follow. But perhaps my favorite part about this bike is the comfort. I've dealt with lower back discomfort for years, and it often limits my ability during races. The KHS's geometry allows me to get as aggressive or relaxed as I want, and 5 hour days in the saddle no longer end with intense pain.
KHS has made me a believer in carbon fiber, and I think it's safe to say that I found the bike I've always been looking for. I've spoken with many of my teammates, and they also agree that the KHS Team Flite is the best bike they've ever ridden. The Finish Strong Elite Team is excited about racing on KHS in 2014, and expect some big results from us. We hope to see you on the road, and if you want a chance to own this incredible machine then head over to Greenville Custom Bicycles (gcpparts.com) and ask for Frank!