master of bottom licks
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lou-evil, Canned-Yucky USA
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A few months ago I bought a couple of Mochas for my wife and I and have put quite a few miles on them. My initial impressions are very favorable so far but there are a few things prospective buyers should probably be aware of. First off, despite what KHS's site claims, the Mochas I bought are 6061 aluminum, not 7005. Also, the gearing is on the small side which is great for people who like spinning frantically up hills and a snail's pace and travel at very modest speeds on the flats but for anyone who likes a little spirited riding, changing from a 44t to 50t chainring is a good idea. But since the stock crank has an integral chainring, you'll need a whole crankset. No problem, I just grabbed one from my parts bin and installed it.
Aside from the alloy difference and the short gearing, I am pleased with the stock KHS Mocha and am impressed with the ride quality of these little folders. Both frame and handlebar hinges are big, blocky and utilitarian looking but they function well and make the bike feel solid and rigid. The 20" wheels are well built and sturdy but the stock tires are a little slow and squishy compared to what I'm used to since they have a max inflation limit of 45psi. Despite the tires I can maintain a good pace on this little folder that surprises a lot of riders on "standard sized" bikes... just as long as there isn't a headwind. Once the breeze picks up the very upright seating position turns your torso into a sail, great with a tailwind but no so much with a headwind. Unfortunately the bars cannot be dropped to any great degree with the stock set up but then even though I'm used to riding in more of a tucked position most of the time on my main bike this upright "sit up and beg" thing has it's benefits. I feel very relaxed while riding and can scan my surroundings by merely turning my neck... what a revelation! The height of the handlebars is so much higher than what I'm used to when riding my fixie that I feel like I'm in my 20s again... when I used to build choppers sporting ape-hangers and went riding with my pits in the wind. Ah memories.
The Mocha's brakes are very powerful and surprisingly fade resistant, shifting is precise and the bike has a nice sturdy rack integrated into the frame... nice useful touch. Although I'm a big fan of Brooks saddles, KHS's stock squishy sprung saddle seems to work very well with this type of bike and riding position. Something I forgot to mention, even though I have a fairly short inseam of 32" the seat tube, at 400mm, isn't long enough to get comfortable. I ended up welding an extension onto mine so that I could raise my saddle but many "tall" riders may want to start sourcing a supplier of longer (+450mm ?) seat tubes.
So far I'd say that the KHS Mocha is a great deal on a bike with a street price of about $369.
BTW - a point worth making. From my experience assembling new bicycles arriving fresh from the Bianchi, KHS, Marin, Jamis and Masi suppliers, not ONE of these bikes arrived with all bearings properly adjusted. Wheel bearings, bottom brackets and/or steering heads were over-torqued and if not re-adjusted would be prone to fail prematurely. So make sure that when you buy a new bike, that it passed through the hands of a trusted and competent assembler/mechanic.