KHS Flite 500, £849,

Beauty might well be in the eye of the beholder but with striking silver livery and sporty poise the Flite 500 drew appreciate glances from fellow commuters. And it’s not just a superficial lipstick job, for the Flite has pedigree and quality beyond its price tag.

KHS realises that it has to work hard to lure you away from better-known brands and it has. It’s specced with components that you would normally associate with a bike well over the £1k mark, including Shimano 105 gears and Mavic CXP 22 rims.

The bike also rides like a more expensive machine. The aluminium frame has shaped tubes designed to stiffen the ride and the carbon forks and rear chainstays do indeed add comfort by ironing out road jarring. The high bar position means that you’re not unduly stretched as with some wannabe race rigs and coupled with wide-range 11-28t cassette and compact chainset, it’s at home on sportive, commuting or leisure rides.

It was light and lively on the hills, responsive when you pointed it into a corner and prompt when jumping on the pedals. The Kenda Kontender tyres were trustingly grippy; our sample came with 23c, but it now comes with wider 26c tyres for added comfort). Plus the reassuringly sharp Tektro brakes were plenty powerful enough around town. MM

PROS High value spec, lively ride, versatile
CONS Brand relatively unknown in UK