Monthly Archives: September 2017

“Versatile Bike Par Excellence” ilovebicyclette.com Reviews the Hei Hei Trail DL (French)

French website ilovebicyclette.com have just posted up a solid alpine-bike-park-hopping review over on their site of our much-praised Hei Hei Trail DL.  You can check out the full here in French, cant read French? You can always enlist google translate for a bit of Frenglish.

“Pour moi le Hei Hei Trail DL est le vélo versatile par excellence, celui avec lequel on roule toute l’année, dans la boue de l’hiver et dans la poussière des bike parks en changeant simplement les pneus. Son faible poids et son rendement de folie vous permettront d’envisager de très longues sorties, et son côté joueur vous mettra la banane à la moindre petite descente ! Autre bon point, après 4 mois d’utilisation intensive le vélo est comme neuf, seules quelques petites traces d’impacts sont visibles sur les jantes.”

Built for War: an In-depth Look at the All-New Kona Process from UK Magazine MBR

While we hosted the North American media in Squamish for the Process G2 Launch, the lucky European media got to join us at Tignes Val d’Isère in the French Alps. For the summer school holidays, the Tignes Val d’Isère resort offers up FREE bike park access, yes you read that right, FREE. UK magazine MBR joined us and have just posted up their in-depth first look at the all-new Process family. Check it out here and in the video below.

Kerry Werner’s World Cup Waterloo Sizzler

After Jingle Cross Doug and I were graciously invited to spend Monday-Wednesday in Chicago, hanging at the Tenspeed Hero Studio. Luke, of Tenspeed Hero showed us a rad time. We ate a good deal of great food (including the meat sweats at Publican, highly recommend the charcuterie) and saw a lot of the sights!

I also kicked off my modeling career and I am currently accepting agent applications…

tenspeedhero.com/

We left the Chicago skyline in the review and headed to the Trek HQ in Waterloo, WI on Thursday. After setting up at the venue I got a quickie sunset spin in followed by dinner at the host house.

Friday was a C2 at 3:30pm, undeniably the hottest part of the day. I had an unfavorable start and pitted halfway through the first lap. The course was so hard and bumpy my chain was bouncing everywhere, which coupled with the sprinting caused my front derailleur to twist.

I was further back than I wanted to be at this point and thus put some efforts in to bet me back up to a group fighting for 8th. This, however, was a mistake.

The explosive efforts in the heat took the same toll on me as previous experiences at altitude had. I was in the red early and quickly found myself going backwards with nothing much I could do but soft pedal. The heat, which was already causing elevated heart rate, should have cued me to change my racing style towards more conservative and consistency. However, I was peeved with my start and didn’t want to miss the early gaps so I made it happen all at once, which pushed me over the edge. I found that out about 3 laps in.

I was chuffed, new word I learned from Helen and the Brits which means frustrated, to DNF on my own accord. Though, after I started going backwards I immediately shifted focus to Sunday afternoon making more sense to save it for the world cup rather than finish for pride’s sake.

Doug and I headed home to a dinner of burgers and roasted veggies, provided by our hosts, can’t thank Peter and Connie enough. I even managed to beat Doug in pool though he put many more W’s on his record. So the day wasn’t a complete disappointment.

Saturday I got out on the World Cup course, which was much better than Friday’s C2 setup. A few more off camber sections, a mandatory run up, and some tricky nose wheelie turny bits!

I tried to minimize time outside so after riding we planned a big multi team movie night. Kingsman 2 came out so we invited a bunch of people and went to a swank movie theater with plush leather recliner seats, push button food/drink service, and air conditioning, for only $11!

Sunday I was feeling good and ready to rock. We took a lot of icy precautions, stuffed many panty hose with ice to put inside the skin suit for warm up and race time. Lots of ice cold water for pouring everywhere. Sitting in the start grid it looked like we were at a water park! Everyone doing their best to stay cool in the sweltering sun, hiding under umbrellas and passing around cold water to pour on ourselves.

I managed to sneak past a crash at the start and found myself come through the first lap in the mid 20’s. I worked my way up slowly and eventually was in 18, rallying with Stephen Hyde and creeping up on Tobin, Americans uniting for Euro domination.

However, about half way through I lost some traction on a corner that lead into the pit entrance. I corrected and didn’t unclip but this put my trajectory wider on the exit and I hooked the pit entrance pole with my bars. I should have ran backwards on course to enter the pit and get a new bike, my bars were “turnt!”. However, something about racing and always going forward caused the though to never cross my mind. I did a half a lap with my bars pointed at 2 o’clock until I got a new bike.

I would like to take this time to apologize to Stephen. He was on my wheel during this slip up and crashed as well. He managed to claw back into the group and even finished at the front of it. If only I would have pitted…

I lost some spots doing this and found myself in the midst of shattered souls and those determined to keep on fighting. Fragmented groups of 2 or so hanging on by the skin of their teeth rather than the big group of 5 or 6 I was in, which was focused on top 20 placing.

I held it together mentally and didn’t continue to go backwards. So I finished 26th. Not too shabby but I was confident I could have finished better, which nagged the back of my mind.

The last two World Cup weekends were awesome. It’s always great to have the world’s best come over and put on a clinic. I am also happy with where my fitness and psyche is coming out of it. Really looking forward to next weekend in Thompson, CT at the KMC Cross Fest where temps are expected to be high’s in the high 60’s! About time, still no rain though. But it is a start.

As always big thanks to Dougems for keeping things running

CX Diaries: Kona Pro Helen Wyman to Produce Short Video Series All Season Long

Words by Helen Wyman.

CX Diaries are my way of bringing you closer to the action as I take on the 2017/18 season. Cyclocross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle sport, but you can’t always be events, so I want you to be able to see the true ups and downs of racing through a professional season in USA and Europe.

This season I’ll be taking on the world’s best riders in the UCI World Cup series as well as key events throughout Europe. Aiming to return to the top 10 of the ranking, my video diaries will be an honest account of my race season and I through them I will give you race updates, technical features and an insight into the life of a pro racer.

After a low-key kick off in Eeklo, Belgium, the season gets serious quickly with back-to-back World Cups in the USA. My race in Eeklo was curtailed with a corner 3 crash. That’s racing, but it was a frustrating start and meant a solo ride for me from nearly 2 minutes down. I rode back into the top 20, before packing the equipment up and taking off for the USA only a few hours later.

The USA campaign kicked off with a UCI C1 event in Iowa City, where I finished 4th, and recorded the first CX Diary, quickly followed up by the second:

Riding the newly released Super Jake, I’m looking to gain progressive results throughout the season, as I put the 2016-17 season of crashes and injuries behind me. I’ll be based in Oudenaarde, Belgium, during the main part of the season, with the European World Cups taking me to Denmark, Germany, Holland, France and of course the CX heartland of Belgium. Czech Republic is the venue for the European Championships, in early November as we build towards the World Championships in January.

Keep up with the CX Diaries series on Helen’s Vimeo page.

Process 111 Swan Song & Trans Cascadia Tech Talk with Team Rider Spencer Paxson

Kona team rider and endurance/backcountry specialist Spencer Paxson reports with an in-depth bike & gear check as he preps for the 2017 Trans Cascadia, a renowned 4-day blind format, backcountry enduro event taking place somewhere deep in the mountains of Oregon’s Willamette National Forest on September 28-October 1.    

Just as my 2017 event season began in April with a mountain bike stage race (Pisgah Stage Race in North Carolina), it will conclude in October with another multi-day mountain bike event – the coveted Trans Cascadia, a 4-day blind-format, backcountry enduro race through Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. It’s the sort of event that eager-beaver MTB folks save up for all year in their piggy banks and vacation hours in order to capture a gourmet, catered, well organized wilderness experience with friends, and the remarkable autumn riding conditions unique to the Cascade Mountains.

After a 2-month mid-season break from travel and competition (“parental leave!“), I’m looking forward to representing at this special event – a showcase of trail stewardship, eco-tourism, high-level competition, and plain old good times riding bikes in the woods. One of the special aspects of this event is that it is the impetus and fulfillment of reviving forgotten Forest Service trail networks, expanding high quality recreation resources and bringing them back into the fold for others to enjoy. See a more in-depth write-up from our friends at Pinkbike.

In keeping with the inner geek in most of us mountain bikers, below is a rundown of the gear I’ll be taking along, and my rationale for using it. As I’ve said of previous gear-related posts, hopefully you know to never listen to a sponsored professional, as they never provide unbiased advice…;)…but they do come from experience…

The 2017 Kona Process 111 w/ Team Spec – size Large. Indeed this will be the swan song for this trusty steed, as the new Process G2 platform (released earlier this month), is bringing on a new generation of trail machines well-suited for events such as Trans Cascadia. From my perspective as a team rider, the new bikes are better off selling like hotcakes and going into the hands of Kona customers asap…me, I’ll get my turn eventually.  In the meantime, lets give this horse one more good run through the mountains.

I am 5’9.5″ (1.75m) but with a relatively long torso, so the reach of this bike (475mm) suits me well, especially in a gravity & speed-oriented scenario.

I balance the long reach with a short stem (35mm Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail Stem), 740mm bar (Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail), and a 46mm fork offset (MRP Ribbon 130mm), which provides 5mm longer mechanical trail compared with the standard 51mm offest.  In my experience, this combination provides a pleasant balance of quick steering axis with slightly increased high-speed stability and consistency through corners.  It’s a bit different than my XC race bike setup, but not wildly different (see other post on the 10,000-meter ride setup on Hei Hei). I keep a grip with WTB’s Padloc Commander grips (30mm diameter). Shimano XTR M9020 Trail brake levers can handle a bit more abuse than the light M9000 brethren, plus the additional stopping power and reduced fade is noticeable. Those brakes are using a 180mm rotor in front and a 160mm rotor in back…and metallic pads in the calipers for longevity.

Critical to any “long” bike setup (or really any MTB, for that matter) is a dropper post, ideally one that drops all the way to the seat collar. Back on the handlebar, I run the small KS Remote lever on the left side pointing downwards so my thumb has easy access while the rest of my hand stays safely positioned for handling and braking. I run the KS Lev Integra paired with a WTB Silverado saddle on top.

Suspension – The front end is held up by MRP’s new Ribbon fork, highly adjustable and reliable, which I’ve enjoyed to great success across a diverse range of trail conditions, from marathon XC racing to aggressive trail riding. The rear end is held up by FOX’s Float DPS Evol shock.

This fork is set at 130mm. I weigh around 155 pounds (70kg) hydrated without riding kit. For fast riding I typically run a firm sag around 15%, with the positive chamber filled to 95 psi (~10psi higher than factory recommended for my bodyweight) and the negative chamber filled to 102 psi or just under 110% the pressure of the positive chamber. I have the Ramp Control knob set to 14 (2 clicks from fully “ramped”), rebound at 11 (from closed), and low speed compression is a quick flip switch at the top right leg, which at this firm setting stays open most of the time. This setup works for me because it feels very supple and progressive, and for my riding style works well for moving proactively along the high-speed, velvety, high-traction conditions of many of my favorite trails in Washington and Oregon…but of course may take some tweaking once we get to these new trails at TC.

I run around 25% sag in the rear with the custom Process factory tune from Fox.  This works out to 142 psi with rebound set at 10 clicks (from closed) and the compression switch flipped to “open” most of the time. Again…this may need to be adjusted for the conditions in Oregon.

Wheels and Tires – WTB tires and wheels go round and round.  Given the blind format racing, I plan on needing extra braking traction on the front end of the bike to keep from flying into the woods on unfamiliar turns, which is why I’m likely going to run the 2.3 Vigilante, Tough Casing, Fast Rolling compound.  It’s a bit heavy (1140g) compared with the next option, the 2.25 Trail Boss Light Casing Fast Rolling (795g), but the extra grip and security may be worth it.  We’ll see.  In the back I’ll run the Trail Boss.  And depending on conditions, either dual Trail Boss if it’s not too rough, or dual Vigilante if the skies decide to open up. Tires are mounted to the WTB Ci31 29″ rim, laced to Shimano XT hubs.

Trail Boss…a bit less bite than then Vigilante, but this casing option is significantly lighter and may be the ticket for speed on the balance of climbing and descending.  It treated me well on the 10,000m Challenger High Epic back in June.

 Tire pressure will be a day-of decision based on trail surface and conditions, but in general have been running anywhere from 18-21psi, typically the same front and back (weight distribution shifts to either balanced or more weight on front of bike while riding aggressively down). I think about “system weight” for tire pressure…bodyweight + kit + bike.  Though I weigh around 155lbs (70kg), my system weight is closer to 190lbs (86kg).Drivetrain – An MRP 1x V3 chain guide keeps things in line aboard the Shimano XTR/XT drivetrain, with 175mm XTR M9020 cranks, 36t ring, XTR M9000 rear mech, and XT M8000 11-42 cassette, and XT M8000 chain.  The front chainring size certainly isn’t for everyone (nor is anything on any bike, for that matter, all setups are individual!), but I prefer it because 1) I have the strength and power to push it efficiently, 2) there is slightly less chain-wrap around the ring so it feels a bit better and wears less in the muck, and 3) I can keep a bit more tension on the chain as it spends more time in the smaller-interval middle cogs in the back (15-17-19-21) …and if I need to cover lots of ground at a very high speed, I don’t spin out as quickly. Pedals are XTR M9000 pedals…with fresh cleats after a long summer of riding!

I spend the majority of my bike time in the more fitness/endurance-oriented world of XC, marathon, and cyclocross, and since 2012, a power meter has been an important training tool.  I use a Stages power meter mounted to my XTR crankarm in order to collect performance data from training and competitions so that I can be more efficient with training for a specific discipline, tracking progress and managing fatigue along the way.

The ride kit will include the following items tucked into a High Above Designs Lookout hip bag, and a Barrier Micro seat bag by Blackburn Designs:

CLIF product (Bars & Bloks) in a 1/2 size screw cap “snack can”; Sawyer water filter & 1L bag (there’s time to stop and refill in putt-putt enduro biking); tire plugs for quick fix + 2x spare tubes 27.5×2.3 w/ tire lever, filled by Blackburn SL Mini Pump w/ CO2 backup; emergency whistle, space blanket, compress & quik-clot, plastic baggie /w NSAIDs + antihistamine just in case; zip ties, spare der. hanger, Blackburn Wayside multi tool for a good fix; iphone + GoalZero battery pack.

Off the trail…Though Trans Cascadia will provide tents and sleeping pads a generally posh setup, I’m still planning to travel with my go-to quiver of Kona Adventure Team gear. After all, this is a backcountry adventure.  You never know what’s going to happen!  Tents from Eureka, sleeping systems by Klymit, bags and camp wear from Mission Workshop, backup camp food from Mountain House, cookwear from JetBoil (in case we need some midnight snacks), and gear bags from Blackburn Design.

Over and out for now…

“Kona is back in a big way…” Vital MTB’s Kona Process G2 First Impressions

“The biggest takeaway? Kona is back in a big way, and they’ve caught up to and even surpassed some modern bikes. These are now much more versatile steeds.”

Brandon Turman from Vital MTB made the trip to Squamish, BC for the recent launch of the redesigned Kona Process. After riding some of BC’s finest trails the new bikes definitely won him over. Look out for a full review in the near future, but in the mean time you can check out the full story over on Vital MTB.

“The bikes delivered rock slab after rock slab, steep pitch after steep pitch, and we came away unscathed and in control. Frame stiffness was superb as well.”

Hey Montana! The Kona Demo Tour is Coming Through!

The Kona Demo Tour is on the road with the new Process G2 in both 27.5 and 29, Hei Hei Trail, Rove NRB, and Remote. Wanna see when we’ll be in your neck of the woods? Head over to our Demo Tour Page.

This weekend we’ve got four demo dates in Montana: Whitefish, Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings. See the flyers below for details, and keep yourself up to date through the Events page on the Kona Facebook.




Kona’s Leah Maunsell is 2017 Irish National Champion in Both Enduro and Downhill!

Here’s an update from Irish Kona Pro Leah Maunsell, who’s proud to hold the 2017 Elite Women’s National Championship in both Enduro and Downhill. Congrats, Leah!

This year my brother Jonathan and I were delighted to have the opportunity to return to the Kona Bikes Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis at the beginning of August. Jonathan acted as coach and I was the Kona Bikes Women’s Ambassador. I jumped at the opportunity to ride with and race against the best young girls in the world!

I really like the structure of the camp: it not only teaches the kids bike skills and how to approach racing but also that racing is not the be all and end all. Si Paton was on hand with loads of really helpful information for the kids about racing.

We also enjoy lots of off the bike activities during the week which are very entertaining. We spent an evening at the fun park at 1,800 metres altitude and and then took the “Flitzer” rail toboggan back down to the town. It is such an action packed week! I personally do think that the race is a nice way to finish up the week though! I really enjoy the challenging race track they have there. I was happy to finish 3rd U19 Women against the best up and coming European downhillers!

I did an Interview about our trip to the Kona Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis which is now up on Pinkbike.


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

Next up on the schedule was the Irish Enduro National Champs in Carrick, Co. Wicklow, on August 19-20. Carrick is home to the Emerald Enduro – a round of the Enduro World Series for the past 3 years – so to me it is a special place to have our National Champs. It is one of my favourite riding spots in the country and I was so eager to get out and ride there for the first time since the very wet EWS round back in May.

After a fast and dry practice day I was so excited to get racing! With rain forecasted for the afternoon I was happy with my early morning seeded position. It would be a mission to beat the rain! Despite a crash on Stage 3 I managed to keep it clean for the remainder of the day. I took 5 out the 6 stage wins. I was delighted to retain my National Title by taking the win in Elite Women. So that leaves me as 2017 Irish National Champion in both Enduro and Downhill – stoked on that! And all on my Kona Process 153 DL, what a capable machine!

After that it was a round of the Irish Downhill Series so close to my door in Mallow, Co. Cork it was hard to miss. During Saturday morning practice the track was bone dry but with the classic Irish rain in the forecast for the afternoon that dry track wasn’t going to last long. Lo and behold the rain came in and changed up the track. The open top section became quite greasy but the lower wood section really turned in to an ice-like layer of mud! This section claimed the most victims of the weekend and wasn’t long being christened ‘Carnage Corner’ I took a spill there myself during Sunday practice but luckily I was ok. I had a clean race run to take my Kona Process 153DL to the top spot in Elite Women yet again.

The following day I passed my Driving Test – woo hoo, watch out world! It’s not all just riding bikes 😂


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

The final round of the Gravity Enduro Series took place in Djouce, Co. Wicklow on September 9-10. Due to school commitments I was unable to make the practice but still went up on race day. Djouce is a great venue with terrain to challenge every rider. The forest was littered with roots and loam despite the odd puddle! I made a few silly mistakes almost taking out the tape due to lack of knowing where I was going! I was really happy to hold it together to take the win in Elite Women and grab 2nd in the series overall having missed 2 rounds due to racing in Europe.

I have just written another interview for Prime Mountainbiking magazine in Germany, so I’m excited to see that as well.

Soon I will be leaving for the last round of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure which takes place on the 30 September – 1 October. I’m really excited to give it everything at my last big race of the season. Praying for a bit of sunshine!

“Still steel. Still single. Still simple.” Dirt Rag Posts their First Impressions on the Kona Unit

Adam Newman at Dirt Rag magazine recently posted up his first impressions on the Kona Unit, their full review will be dropping in an upcoming issue of the magazine. You can check out his initial thoughts here. You can also watch the video below and get super excited about the endless possibilities for your new Unit or its new brother the Unit X.

Bike Magazine reviews the Supreme Operator “It’s a bike that you could be confident rallying all season”

“It’s a bike that you could be confident rallying all season without giving it too much thought or concern.”

Bike Magazine’s resident downhiller Anthony Smith spent all summer aboard our 27.5 Operator platform, his review has just gone live online at Bikemag.com. Anthony praises the bike for its simplicity and states that “It’s an easy bike to throw a leg over and feel at home on right away whether you’re a seasoned racer or wild park rat.”

You can check out the review on Bikemag.com here. For 2018 the Operator’s have switched to a trunion mounted shock out back,  you can check out the newly updated bikes here.

Pedaliero Team Reports from the German Enduro One Series

Here’s an update from Kona-supported pedaliero team in Germany, who have been busy racing the regional enduro series this summer. You can follow their progress at pedaliero.

Words by Stefan Westerveld. Photos by Nico Gilles.

For the third time the region around the 1024-metre-high Ochsenkopf was the venue for the growing German Enduro One series.

With the Bullhead House and the organizer WSV Oberwarmensteinach, the BABOONS crew had once again brought in two competent partners who made the best of the trails around the Ochsenkopf and the local bike park.

A total of five stages, with Stage 5 also being the prologue on Saturday evening, had to be raced on Sunday.

The relatively short round with 18km and 350hm had everything for intermediate technical skills but between there were always difficult bits which had to be mastered. And the very rocky terrain provided some flat tires for the riders.

Nevertheless I didn’t choose a tire with a double wall and rode my favorite tire Nobby Nic with a little more pressure on the rear wheel again which worked well in Laax.

The weather played along and everybody had a smile on their face at the end of the day.

But the organizers should perhaps think about Stage 4 again. A 40 seconds “straight line” along a lift corridor would be much more fun with at least a few berms.

In the end a top ten, a podium and a nice weekend was a perfect outcome.

The Enduro One series is a favorite for many Enduro racers these days. For a good reason! Be sure to join in if you’re in the area. In the beginning of October we will see each other at the final in Wipperfürth!

Cheers!
The pedaliero crew

Introducing the Kona Quebec CX Team supported by La Cordée. 

#crossiscoming is a hashtag we see everywhere leading into cross season, and there is good reason to get excited about it. Cross has run in the Kona veins since day one: it’s part of our DNA and is not only incredibly addictive to participate in but it’s highly exciting to watch.

For the 2017 season, we are supporting, along with La Cordée, a grassroots team of two young riders from Quebec, Canada who are eager to play in the mud – and to try and survive the snowy months ahead of us.

20-year-old Laurie Arseneault is our new addition to our Kona Quebec Cross Country and ‘Cross Team. Laurie was the the 2015 Junior Canadian XC Champion, so she knows what racing is all about! Over the next couple of months, she will be throwing a leg over her Jake The Snake for the CX season and will compete with the Elite women. Follow her on Instagram at @laulouche1.

Emile Robillard is 21 years old and one hell of an enduro rider. He’s also trail builder, instructor and race planner, the list goes on. He’s been racing enduro all summer and working year-round taking care of trails at the local hill north of Montreal. He will get his blood pumping while racing the Elite Men’s category aboard his Jake the Snake (all while wearing baggy shorts!). You can follow him on Instagram at @emilerobillard.

The season in Quebec started this past weekend and will go on until the end of October, so if you are around la belle province over the next few weekends, stop by the races and the Kona tent, ring a cowbell in support of the team, share a drink or two and make as much noise as possible.

See you there.

Photos by Judicael Aspirot.