Monthly Archives: October 2018

Aggy’s 2018 Rampage Recap

Rampage 2018 has come to a dusty close. This year’s event was packed with big lines, big hits, and big crashes, but thankfully everyone walked away mostly unscathed. For Aggy, it was a test of mettle and proof of what the body can do. With just two weeks cleared of a broken scapula, he put on quite the flow show, riding smooth and giving the crowd a taste of his signature style they know and love.

We caught up with Aggy to get a couple of thoughts after the event.

What part of this year’s Rampage did you find most challenging?

Rampage is a purely mental game. No one truly understands unless they’ve been in those shoes themselves. Having the right people there to remind you of self-discipline and tell me exactly what I need to hear to perform at my best and be my best self, and also keep everyone updated while I entered my zen state for the event. Mathieu Dupelle performed at his highest level as a coach and manager and was the MVP of the event for me.

How did your Scapula hold up with the digging and the riding? 

My scapula held up fine, but day one of digging I went too hard and developed severe tendinitis in my arm just above my wrist. Felt like my arm was broken for a few days and I was barely able to lift a tool with it. Once the sports physio team showed up later in the week they were able to help me keep it at bay so I could hold on tight for the event.

What is one thing you think fans at home need to know that they don’t understand unless they’re there in person?

Everything is much bigger in person and it’s hard to describe what kind of time goes into the build. We worked roughly seven days total, waking up at 5:30 am, eating breakfast and heading to the site…We’d work all day long with taking only a short lunch break on slope and then right back at it until it was dark around 7:30 pm. It was probably between 70-80 h0urs per person over those 7 days.

Who was on your dig team and how do you know them?

Colin Davis was on my dig team and we know each other through Retallack Lodge where he works. We’ve known each other for a few years now and he’s always offered to come help and dig for me at Rampage and this year with only 2 weeks notice I hit him up and he dropped everything to come to join me. We had a great time and he worked as hard as two dudes out there. Key player to the team this year, I really appreciated his hard work and attitude throughout the entire event.

Were you listening to music at the start? 

– I was listening to, A Tribe Called RedElectric Pow Wow Drum.

You were chosen to wear a telemetry monitor. What was that like? It was interesting to see your heart rate. 

I didn’t notice it at all but ya it was really cool to see and hear about what my heart rate was looking like and doing during my run. Sounds like I was pretty chill for what I was doing!

Did you ever consider skipping your second run? What goes through your mind after your first run?

At first, I was considering calling it a day but I wasn’t happy with how I messed up the bottom portion of the run so I really wanted to clean it up. Luckily I had a pretty fun and conserved run so going back up I was almost excited but still a little nervous because there are helicopters and a lot of people watching.

Congrats, Aggy, on a successful mission to the desert!

Bicycling Netherlands reviews the Libre DL “Zou het wel een bike zijn waarmee we nog flink wat graveltochten zouden willen rijden…De fiets rijdt als een trein!

“…Zou het wel een bike zijn waarmee we nog flink wat graveltochten zouden willen rijden…De fiets rijdt als een trein!”

I don’t speak or read Dutch, but I know how to work Google translate, and even in broken english, this review from the Netherlands edition of Bicycling Magazine is good one. “It rides like a gravel bike should ride…like a train…”

Head here to check out the review in full (and in Dutch).

The State of Cyclocross

Coming soon: The State of Cyclocross! Join Kona bikes at The Kona Bike Shop on Thursday, November 8th at 6:30pm for a screening of LCN-PDX film’s production about all things Cyclocross. We’ll have beer courtesy of Fremont Brewing, a Q&A, and a raffle! Tickets are $5 with 100% of the proceeds going to Cascade Cross.

You’ll be able to check out the latest CX bikes from Kona too!

For full event info, please check out the link on Facebook.

 

 

“State of Cyclocross is about making something that lasts. In an age of mass photography, and an era of select, process, post and forget, we wanted something tangible and lasting. To shoot on film is to be fully present, to evaluate, to prepare, to be patient and to be right. At its heart, this film is a meditation on the sport of cyclocross. It explores its counter-cultural past, its existence today and what needs to be done to sustain it moving forward. As the rapidly growing sport drifts away from its counter-culture roots and begins to become more mainstream, it is developing a bit of an identity crisis: does it stay fringe and true to its roots or does it accept the movement towards professionalism and a more sustainable economic model? Even in the space of time since the film was shot and completed, the ever-changing landscape of Cyclocross has already shifted. Incorporating voiceover by multiple current and former professionals and national champions, it was filmed in Super 8 in a single day in January at the United States Cyclocross National Championships in Reno. Additionally, the film also incorporates still photography as interludes which were also shot that same day using vintage film cameras and legacy lenses.”

Kona Dream Builds: Rob Parkin’s Island Loving Hei Hei DL

If you have ever followed downhill – actually scratch that – if you follow mountain biking whether you know it or not you would most likely have watched something Rob Parkin filmed, such as “Parkin Brothers,” his OG Would Cup and UK DH film project with his brother John. It may be one of the many Red Bull bike videos he’s filmed and produced in more recent times, heck it may even have been our Honzo CR and Hei Hei launch videos from a few years back. Wherever it was, there is no doubt that you’ve seen his amazing filming and editing. Unless you live on Vancouver Island though, you probably haven’t witnessed Rob’s skills on a bike. The guy can ride a bike, with Island Cup wins in both CX and XC, a seventh at the Nimby 50 and a fifth at the BC CX provincials Rob can most likely tear your legs off (he can also pan and zoom better than most). After witnessing Spencer Paxson rip around Bear Mountain whilst filming for the current Hei Hei’s release, Rob grew fond of the bike and not long after the shoot built up this Dream Build to race when he wasn’t traveling the world filming that is.

Rob knows what he wants and his Hei Hei is a testament to that, with a number of quirky features established by years of high-level local BC racing.

The drive train is built around an 11speed SRAM XX1 groupo. Rob is an oval chainring convert “It helps to get over the dead spot when doing technical climbs, which is pretty much all I do in Victoria.” The rear mech is also an amalgamation of a Force and an XX1 rear derailleur.

Up front, you’ll find a 120mm Rock Shox Reba Race, some narrow arse Truvativ Noir carbon bars and a Bontrager stem. Tire wise Rob is running a 2.4 Maxxis Ardent up front and Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 out back “Cos that’s what Richie Rude runs.” And you may have noticed the front and rear rims don’t quite match. “I run a Light Bicycle carbon front rim for stiffness and a Stans Flow Ex alloy rear for flat protection on rocky Island terrain.”

Those wheels are laced up to classic I9 hubs, with a little race trick Rob picked up from a pro-XC race mechanic.

“I run four bolts on my rotors, I heard from a World Cup XC race tech that you only need three bolts, but they come loose on bigger rotors so an extra one helps. Oh and they are Ti.”

Brake wise and Rob relies on some damn sexy stoppers from SRAM… Level Ultimates these puppies weigh in at a mere 318 grams!

Cincy CX: A Race Fit For A King

Becca: The Cincinnati race weekend is close to a hometown race for me, having grown up about an hour north (note that in Ohio we measure distance in time). Despite my love for the race, it never really goes super well for me. Last year my body gave up, leaving me unable to pedal through my favorite type of heavy-mud conditions on day one at Devou. Day two went okay. Years before it was never complain-worthy but not super great. This year, knowing that both days were going to be at the King’s venue, I was pretty hopeful that I could finally excel on the C1 day – that course is raw power.

I was anxious for our race, knowing the start would be everything on the twisty, slippy course. I warmed up, focusing on the start effort. Front row call-up always adds some nerve, but it was long straight away and I built my confidence.

The whistle blew. I got my pedal and pedaled fast. I found myself drifting back and realized I had forgotten to shift. I shift and pedal, pedal, and shift. I am top five exiting the pavement, a good place to be. A few turns and I feel that the pace is slow. I go to the front. 

I.

Go.

To.

The.

Front.

Then I realize why the pace was slow. I slide out. Whoopsie daisies. It was slicker than even the preride. The best way to describe the surface is with saying it was like snot on glass: the top layer was saturated and was sliding on the otherwise dry and hard ground underneath. It never rained hard enough to saturate down below.

I go from first to third. Someone slides out in front of me and I go to fifth. Another slide. Seventh. Chase through to fifth. It was really a game of back and forth, not by who was going fastest but who was crashing the least. I was powering passed people when I could, only to crash in the turns. I was not riding smoothly or keeping my power in check. I was frantic, worried about the race and not the ride. I hate looking back because it is all so fixable in hindsight! It was so different from in preride that things I was riding easily had turned in to runs during the race and I didn’t have long toe spikes in so I wasn’t getting good foot traction. I was able to ride some things but when I saw others running I would hop off and it was maybe a worse decision than just staying on the bike.

 I was always so back and forth with people that I never pitted – it didn’t seem necessary. I must have bumped my rear derailleur hanger and that combined with the mud made my chain drop between my wheel and cassette. I had to stop to pull it out. Luckily, it didn’t get wedged because it was easy to pull out, and luckily this had before and I remembered to shift into an easier cog so that it didn’t happen again right when I got on – that’s a win. But in the time it took me to fix that, my solid lead on the chasers (who were in seventh and eighth) greatly diminished. I pitted for a new bike and in being yet more frantic to regain my old place I crashed even more. I ended up finishing eighth, quite disappointed in myself for the sloppy riding and rookie mistakes.

After the race I was able to find some positives, like my start, aggressive riding, and remembering to fix an error post-crash. I also felt a lot better after watching the men’s race, because they looked like deer on ice and it was HILARIOUS!!

Kerry: After checking out the course on Friday I was really pumped for Saturday’s race. It was shaping up to be a real slip n’ slide, especially once all the amateur racers got rid of all the grass. I was all smiles going to bed on Friday night and looking forward to the forecast for rain overnight and drizzling throughout the day on Saturday. 

Sure enough, when we arrived around noon for pre-ride on Saturday morning the ground was hard underneath and there was a thin layer of slick mud snaking its way between the tape. The name of the game was “smooth is fast” and how uniquely can you draw lines to find the most traction. For me this was skirting the main lines drawn from earlier races and running wide or inside, popping over the main line, and back out to the grass on the other side of the corner. Another phrase that comes to mind is “grass is fast”.

After watching the juniors race followed by the women’s race I had a pretty good idea that the race was going to blow apart. Therefore, I was dead set on getting the whole shot and having line choice and a wide open line of sight in front of me.

I didn’t quite get whole shot but I was second wheel to Gage. Then I jumped around him on the second set of off cambers. Then I quickly fell behind him as I floundered for traction. I was foot out tri-poding and my clipped in foot was still pedaling, nevertheless, I was moving backwards. I knew that meant my tire selection was not quite up to par so I got into the pit on a more aggressive tire. 

This immediately proved to be advantageous and I started making up some lost ground. Unfortunately, it was a little too late. By this time Gage and Lance were up the road about 15 seconds. 

I did all I could muster but could bring Gage back. He was riding super consistently at the front and maintaining his lead. Lance, on the other hand, started to fall apart on the last lap and I brought the gap down to single digit seconds. One more lap and second place may have been achievable. 

It was one of those races when you finished and didn’t feel super depleted. There just weren’t many sections where you could put down power. And the few sections that I could put down power I was hesitant too because I wanted to have my wits about me when I hit the slippery bits. It was all about managing and gauging efforts so you could stay consistent. I did that well, which I was happy about but coming up short lit a bit of a fire for Sunday’s race.

Becca: Day two. Would it be more muddy, just as slick, or a power course? Lucky for me, the wind dried up all the snot and then the sun came out to seal the deal on the tacky course! It was changed to cut out some corners, add some elevation, and make it overall more Becca-friendly. [Note: I LOVE the mud and perform really well in it. But Saturday was not muddy. It was snotty and just not a good environment for where I am in my racing right now]. The wind was so gusty that everyone had to take their tents down and really batten down the hatches. Gusts up to 45mph, not surprising if that was the speed of some of the sustained wind as well.

The whole day I felt mellow and quiet. I was in my head, but my head was empty. I decided that I wasn’t going to race that day. I would show up on the start line with a number, but I was the only person out there. I was going to ride smoothly. I chose a more aggressive tread than I needed on the day only because I couldn’t get the slippiness of Saturday out of my head, and I didn’t want that fear to linger out on the course.

Another good start for me. I had to battle some overly aggressive riders, but I was able to come out in front of them and settled solidly into fourth place, in line behind Ellen, Kaitie and Katerina. Good wheels to be on, and being that it was so windy it was good to be on wheels. I was anxious and the pace was low so I kept half wheeling – like a dick. Using my own energy doing mini yo-yo movements. Even worse is my ability to follow wheels. I was letting little gaps open up that I had to shut down. My own fault. I just don’t see how the other riders do it, follow each other so closely like a choreographed dance. I was seeing other riders slip and I was reacting to them. I was seeing them falter and making sure I didn’t get tangled. I was being reactive instead of proactive. 

After two laps I was tired of closing my own gaps and seeing that the group was still 10-deep I knew I had to do something or I was going to be at the tail end of the 10. I go to the front. I don’t attack, I just go there and ride the course how I wanted to. I really underestimated that headwind, though. On a day like that the usual 20% drafting advantage is put to 80% advantage no DOUBT. I am at the front for nearly a lap, and when the podium contenders wanted to pass, they did so easily. I know I could have kept up with their paces, but for some reason, there were a few turns that I could not get out of my head from the prior day’s race and I was going slow, picking around the ground trolls that were taking my wheels out from under me the day before. At some point Clara passed me, taking fourth, and I for some reason I just couldn’t close the gap. Maybe I had mellowed out my brain too much for the day, overcompensating from the day before. Maybe my legs were empty. I was not exhausted at the finish, but I was proud, and I guess that is worth it, to have finished a proud fifth than a regretful… somewhere further back. 

The ability to dance at the front is a skill that I should have worked on last year, except last year I never made it to the front to try, so here I am, a year later working on skills I should already have. I put in two good days of racing, but swapping around some aggression and decision making could have made two good days one really great day, or at least two better days. Each weekend I am clawing my way further and further up the results list* (relative to race quality), being very consistent, taking something away from every race, and usually applying to the next. Who knows, maybe I will have another breakthrough at the coming race at Pan Ams? Maybe Nationals? Heck, maybe I should save the breakthrough for worlds 😉

Kerry: Sunday the course went to the opposite side of the spectrum. From greasy slick to tacky dry. Muds to files. I slapped on some Maxxis Speed Terrane’s and was ready to rock. 

There were huge gusts of winds, 30-40 mph. Tents were getting whipped around like sails and the course tape was ballooning out across various sections of the course. 

I figured because of this the race would be a huge pack race like it was in the juniors race. In the women’s race, the first lap saw a huge group of 10-15 riders strong, so I assumed our race would follow suit.

I got the whole shot and kept her pinned. The technical sections on the second half of the course split our race up a bit more than I initially thought and so I kept the hammer down. 

A predicted sprinkle touched down on lap two so I hit the pit for a more aggressive tire. So did everyone else. Couple the gaps that formed from everyone pitting with the wind and the high pace and our race shattered. 

Gage, Curtis, Stephen, and I were on the same page keeping the pace high. By mid-race we managed to have a good gap between our group of four and the rest of the field. 

Then Curtis came off and then there were three heading into the last lap. 

Curtis didn’t lay down by any means and was chomping at the bit to latch on to our group trading pulls with Jamey Driscoll. 

Gage went first just inside half a lap to go. I latched on to his wheel and Stephen came off a bit. Gage kept the pedal to the metal and was pouring it on. I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth until I came unclipped trying to wrestle all the forward momentum I could out of my bike. I clipped back in but this allowed Gage another two bike lengths heading into the final feature on course. 

I kept pushing and hopped the barriers to maintain contact just as we turned right on to the finish pavement stretch. 

Gage sat up for a split second and looked back over his right shoulder. So, naturally, I punched it up the inside! 

With so much of a headwind into the finish line, I knew I needed all the help I could get and I may have got a bike length ahead before Gage reacted and got on my wheel. 

I was looking back under my armpit watching his front wheel creep closer and closer ahead of mine but I had just enough to hold him off.

Razor thin margin but a win is a win!

Check the last minute of the CX Hairs Maxxis Cyclocross Television “minisode”

I was gassed as you could imagine but so happy I didn’t lay down after Gage put the wood to me and had a few bike lengths on me. Persistence and a little bit of ninja work on the finish sprint got me to the top of the podium and has my confidence up heading into Pan-Ams looking for a new jersey.

Also, check Vlog 21 for all the behind the scenes shenanigans….

Cold Smoke – Smokey shreds the Kona Wozo

Cold Smoking meats at home is not recommended by The US National Center for Home Food Preservation. However, watching Washington State native Smokey shred his Kona Wozo in freezing cold conditions most definitely is.

The Wozo takes Fat Bike stereotypes and tosses them out the window. Sure, it’s great to ride in typical Fat Bike conditions, but it also rips on singletrack and with those big old Maxxis tires, traction is paramount and bumps dissolve with ease.

 

Looking to buy or test the Wozo?
Visit your local dealer today or check KonaWorld for purchasing options in your area.

Ti Tuesdays: Molly’s Forever Ti Honzo

“I brought the frame when I first moved to Bellingham, I figured if I was going to work for a bike company then I should give myself a bike I would always keep. It’s my Forever bike.” If you ever bought anything from our website over the past year, chances are Molly had a hand in it, whether it was helping with production, taking your order or heck, even packing it. When a dream teaching job came up in Flagstaff, Arizona that was too good to pass up, Molly sadly left Bellingham and Kona, but not without taking a stunning piece of Titanium with her. Molly’s Ti Honzo is her forever bike, and I’m sure a bunch of you would like to make it your forever bike also.

Up front, it’s rocking a Pike RCT3 fork and its rolling on a set of DT Swiss XM 481 rims laced to Hope Pro 2 Hubs (Molly handbuilt them), it’s shod with a Maxxis Minion DHF and a DHR.

Thanks to some trickle-down tech it’s running a still very rad SRAM XX1 1×11 drivetrain, complete with Sram XX1 carbon cranks and Sram X-Sync 34t chainring

Avid XO1 Trail brakes slow things down and Race Face’s SixC 31.8 carbon bar and our in-house 40mm stem keep things tracking true.

ESI Racers Edge purple and blue silicon grips handle the key contact points.

The tried and true KS Lev Integra 150mm dropper is topped with WTB’s Koda saddle (a lady’s best friend).

 

Cycling Weekly Post Their Libre First Impressions “It’s one of the most versatile and well sorted gravel bikes we’ve ridden.”

“We were impressed by the Libre: it’s one of the most versatile and well-sorted gravel bikes we’ve ridden.”

Cycling Weekly have just posted up their first impressions of our new Libre multi-surface bike after returning from our European launch in Maderia. After their initial first few days on the bike, it seems they have nothing but praise. Head to their website here to check out the in-depth write up in full.

“The Libre proved a confident companion, handling the damp mud and dry gravel equally effectively.”

Italian Kona rider Simone Medici Puts Shovel to Dirt

Italian Kona rider Simone Medici together with his buddy Mattia Setti and photographer Alex Luise recently discovered their own little Italian freeride paradise. After putting in countless hours on the shovels to make it ridable they returned with Alex, who chronicled their events in an extensive photo set that’s up on WeLoveToRide right now. You can check it out the full post here.

Revolution Magazine post There Remote Control First Impressions “For their first real soiree into the trail specific e-bike world Kona have created a bloody good all-round package.”

“I have to say, for their first real soiree into the trail specific e-bike world Kona have created a bloody good all-round package.”

Revolution Magazine magazine has just published this in-depth first ride review of our 2019 Remote Control in their latest issue and online. You can purchase the magazine online here or click on the below image to check out the review as a high res PDF. It’s also available to read on their website here.

“I admit that I was a little curious to see if the bike’s 132mm of rear travel was going to be enough to handle the style of riding that rocks my boat… As soon as the single track started, that question mark dissolved as the bike ate up all of the rocky and roots and rollovers that the trail had in store.”

Connor Fearon is the Australian National Enduro Champion

Over the weekend, in Connor Fearon’s hometown of Adelaide, South Australia, he unleashed a can of ass whooping on a stacked Aussie field at the Gravity Enduro National Championships and pulled off total stage domination over the two days racing. His eight first places would give him and the Process 153 CR DL 29 he was riding the title by over a minute.

“For the second year running the Enduro National Champs were held in my hometown of Adelaide, SA at the Fox Creek trail network. The race was a two-day event with eight stages split over the two days. I chose to race my 29er as a lot of the stages are fast rolling and it feels a bit easier to keep the momentum going with the big wheels. I know Fox Creek like the back of my hand so it definitely was an advantage I had over all the competition from out of state. Although there were some new sections built for the weekend which were really technical and challenging. I had eight perfect stages with no crashes or mechanicals and the Process ended up being the bike to beat! I had a clean sweep and ended up with the title once the weekend was done.” – Connor Fearon

Australian Kona Gravity rider Shelly Flood piloted her Process 153 CR DL to second place in the elite women’s category, finishing just 33.18 seconds behind the women’s winner. In the process, she took out two stage wins