Monthly Archives: April 2019

RED Light

Words by Kona Ambassador Markus Zieher. Photos by Chris Hosper.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

With the idea to color up the woods in the night, Chris Hosper and I went into the woods at night armed with a camera, flashlight, craft paper, and a construction spotlight.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The construction spotlight gave little glimpse where the trail goes. Onboard my Kona Process 153 29er Enduro Bike it was a bit of a challenge to read the light up the trail. We were experimenting with colors but the red light came out the most rad. At least it was a little play on words, too.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Cheers Markus

#light

In Pursuit of a Dream Build

Words and photos by Kona Ambassador Lita Monaghan.

I am filled with excitement to have an opportunity to build my ultimate dream bike.  I also won’t lie–I hope to snag a highly coveted #KonaDreamBuilds patch in the process, too.  

In this pursuit, I am starting with the gorgeously painted Kona Libre in a size 46cm frame.  Out of the box, this bicycle is amazing as it is. I’ve been so tempted to ride it while I waited for parts to arrive, but I want my maiden voyage to be in the bike’s “dream state.”

I plan to strip the bike down to its beautiful multi-colored frame and then start building it back up.  The Shimano 105 drivetrain will be replaced with Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2. This will be my first foray into electronic shifting and I am ready for the challenge!  

The 650b wheels x 47mm tires will be upgraded to carbon fiber 700c wheels and the tires will be replaced with a more tarmac-minded ride in mind, but still mixed-terrain friendly.  165mm Ultegra R8000 crankset and a left-arm power meter will keep tabs on my #withthesethighs efforts.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Will there be LIGHT at the end of this tunnel?  Will I achieve “dream build” success? Stay tuned to find out!

Hopefully the build goes according to plan, so take one last look at this beauty before she gets upgraded.  Stay tuned for the reveal!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG


Kona Dream Builds: Three’s Company – The Bike Station’s Staff Rides.

This post is a part of our Dream Build Series. Start your own dream build here!

New Zealand Kona Dealer The Bike Station, has been posting up a number of pretty cool custom Processes of late. We reached out to them for a bit more info on one of them and discovered that five of their staff are riding Process 153 G2‘s and it seems that three of the builds are a tad on the dreamy side of things. So today, as a special bonus, instead of one Kona Dream Build you are getting three!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

So first up is Lewis Murphy’s Process CR 29.

Lewis has left suspension stock on this bike but has swapped out the wheels for a hand built set of I9 Torch hubs laced to a Spank Oozy Trail 345 out back and a Spank Oozy 345 up front with Cush Core. The rear is shod with a Maxxis Aggressor DD while up front you’ll find an Assegai DH. The base of the cockpit is Burgtec Ridewide alloy bar and Burgtec MK2 stem. Stopping power comes from TRP’s Quadiem brakes. An Absolute Black Chainguide and Ergon saddle round out the build.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Next in line is Hunter’s Process 153 CR/DL 27.5

There must be something in the water at Bike Station as HUnters bike kicks of again with Industry 9 Hubs, this time the Hydra’s. The hubs are laced to DT Swiss EX511 rims, both with Cushcores. Up front, you’ll find a DH Casing Maxxis Assegai while out back the bike is fitted with a Maxxis DHRII DD. Marzocchi’s 170mm Z1 Bomber keeps the front end suspended, the rear suspension is stock but Hunter has changed things up with a custom painted rocker. An MRP AMG chain guide helps with chain retention, and to finish things off Hunter has replaced the stock bar and stem with a Renthal stem and carbon bar.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

And the last dreamy Process CR 29 build out of The Bike Station in Nelson, NZ belongs to Johann.

The hubs on this bike are you guessed it, Industry 9’s, Johann has opted for gold Torch’s laced to DT Swiss EX 511’s on his build, and again with the Cushcore inserts. Like Lewis, he’s also running Maxxis Assegai DH up front and a Maxxis Aggressor DD in the rear. An Alloy Renthal bar and stem combo from the basis of the cockpit, while upgraded Guide RSC brake levers sit next to Deity’s super popular Knuckle Duster.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Which Bike Station Process did you like the most?

Bicycling Magazine Rate the Blast as the Best Affordable Hardtail Trail Bike

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Bicycling Magazine has just posted up an editorial post looking at the Best Affordable Mountain Bikes available right now. Our classic Blast took the title of Best Hardtail Trail Bike, check out what they had to say below.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

“The aluminum Kona Blast is aptly named. With a 100mm RockShox Solo Air fork, 27.5×2.25-inch WTB Trail Boss tires, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and a Shimano Deore 1×10-speed drivetrain, this bike is ready to blast trails. The wider tires are ideal for navigating tricky terrain, and the air-sprung fork is a nice upgrade from the coil-sprung options often found on bikes at this price. A decent gear range, stock flat pedals, and mostly Shimano and Kona-branded parts round out the package.”

Ready to buy your Blast? Start here!

Connor Fearon Takes on Round 1 of the UCI DH World Cup in Slovenia

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

It’s been an interesting off-season for Connor Fearon. Surgery on his hand reduced his Southern Hemisphere summer riding time dramatically. Training time spent on his DH bike hasn’t been anywhere near to past years. That said once he was given the all clear from the doctors to ride he wasted no time in making up for his period off the bike. Racking up a second at the Aussie National DH Champs behind new team mate Jackson Frew, and having a stormer at round two of the EWS in Tasmania, where he finished in third place Connor is poised to keep climbing the ranks.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Arriving in Maribor with the number 10 plate (and complete series protection) Connor was greeted with a brand new team issue Operator CR and one very fast and raw race track. With the sun shining for track walk and practice, the entire DH field was in love with the technical Maribor track. Come qualifications though, the weather gods had a different idea and decided to release a deluge on the elite men and the root infested course.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

No one was immune, riders hadn’t practiced in the wet, and many still had dry tires on. While not a disaster by any means, Connor’s qualification race was not what he wanted. Not wanting to crash in the sketchy conditions and knowing he was protected no matter what, Connor reeled it in slightly to qualify in 43rd place. With the final race day limit now set at 60 riders, making the final cut is harder than ever and teammate Jackson Frew, unfortunately, missed out by just two places.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Come race day on Sunday and Connor had a score to settle with the track. With the rain gone and the track drying up, things were going to be hectic, to say the least, and Connor planned to put it all on the line and make up some of those points lost on Saturday.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Racing was tight. The top four riders would all finish within one second of each other. Connor would cross the line in 22nd, just 5.477 seconds back off the podium. While it’s not the result he was after, it’s not a bad start to the season with many of Connor’s competitors caught out in the changeable conditions. Plus there was that SCRUB. If you watched it live or watched the replay you’ll know what we are talking about.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

THAT SCRUB

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Keeping it Light on Bikepacking Trips!

Words and text by Kona Ambassador Sandra Beaubien.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

When I mention to my riding friends that I like bikepacking, many of them respond with “It’s too hardcore for me”, especially the women.  I’m perplexed by this.  I see my friends riding steep, technical terrain on mountain bikes or doing long, hard gravel races during early season conditions which tend to be muddy and snowy.  This seems way more hardcore than a weekend bike packing trip!

As a smaller rider, one thing I’m always trying to figure out with my next bike packing trip is how to make my gear even lighter.  These are a few things I have learned over the years, both from bikepacking experience and extensive backpacking trips in New Zealand and Nepal. Doing a 15-day trek will certainly teach you a few things about keeping your gear as light as possible!

Tent Versus Hammock

Switching over to a hammock has been a huge space and weight saver for me and was a relatively inexpensive way to achieve the lightness.  I would have had to either buy a very expensive, light bivy bag or an even lighter 2 person tent.  Light tents = expensive tents.  With more hammocks coming on the market, it made my decision easier.  I’ve only bike packed in Ontario so far and there is no shortage of trees! Having a built-in mosquito net is super important too.  I’ve spent many evenings reading my book, swaying in my hammock safe from the bugs.  It is a convenient way to dry your riding clothes too!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Dehydrated Food

Even if we only do a 2-night trip, a substantial amount of weight can be saved on lighter food.  It also means you can bring more! Riding a fully loaded bike in either the spring or fall (bugs are overwhelming in the summer) burns A LOT of calories.  I’ve been known to get hangry before…

By borrowing a friend’s dehydrator and his mom’s food sealer we could make enough food to last for the season in just one weekend.  It is a fraction of the cost of store-bought dehydrated food and also really tasty!  We just mark on the outside of the packaging how to prepare it (usually, just add hot water). 

With the food being so light, we bring an extra day’s worth.  Or, it’s good to have extra in case a friend you are with doesn’t attach his food bag well enough to his bike 😊 Yes, that can happen!

Pillow

This may seem crazy, but this is my favorite piece of light bike packing gear.  I sleep better with the support of a pillow (I know, I can roll up some clothes and use that but I often wear everything I brought to bed because the weather is so sporadic!).  This Klymit pillow only weighs a few grams and works great!  If you do any travelling, I put it in my purse and use it to sleep on airplanes or catch a few winks in an airport.  My old pillow wasn’t THAT heavy, but this is a simple and inexpensive way to maximize comfort and keep it crazy light weight and small! This pillow only weighs 54 grams.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Chair

Ok, so the fact I’m even bringing a chair might seem luxurious to some more serious bike packers, but in terms of comfort, this is phenomenal.  For the majority of trips, we are using rustic campsites (i.e. a clearing in the forest near a lake or river) so there is nowhere to sit.  The Helinox chairs are lightweight and very easy to strap onto the front of your sweet roll.  To put it in perspective on our first group trip with 6 people only 1 person brought this chair.  On the second trip, 4 people brought a chair and on the 3rd trip, all 6 of us had a chair.  It makes the campfire so much more enjoyable.  A great gift for someone who bikepacks.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Bike: Honzo versus Fatbike

The biggest way I’m saving weight this season is upgrading from an aluminum fatbike to a carbon Honzo!  Even just decreasing the tire width will be huge weight savings in rubber, and the carbon frame will be lighter too.  With the lighter bike, all of my bags will transfer over easily, so I’ll have the same capacity but it will make the climbs or long days that much more enjoyable.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Packing Strategy – Weight Distribution

From my backpacking experience, I learned that you want to keep your heaviest items centered as much as possible.  When I’m packing my bike, I put my heaviest items (typically food and tools) in my frame bag, and also on my fork cages (stove/fuel and spare water).  My front roll carries a fair load of weight with my hammock, sleeping pad and sleeping bag.  Of course, my chair is strapped on too!  My lightest items go in my hydration pack to compensate for the weight of the water (shell, first aid kit, phone, ID) and most of my clothing goes in my seat bag.  As I eat down my food, I transfer things out of my backpack and into my frame bag to lighten it up even more.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Kona Dream Builds: Superb Steel – Jorge’s Sutra LTD

This post is a part of our Dream Build Series. Start your own dream build here!

When you are used to being around the finer things in life, then only the best will do. That was very much the case for Jorge, Hotel Director of the luxurious Pig Hotel in the New Forest and his Sutra LTD.

Having been a long time Kona fan and also in the market for a seriously comfortable steel gravel bike with bike packing capabilities, it was always going to be a match made in Heaven. The all new sparkly paint job combined with the ultra-comfy riding position of this year’s Sutra LTD was enough to convince him that the Sutra LTD was the one.

Jorge quickly set about making the bike his own, adding his favorite Panaracer Gravelking tires, matching Brookes Cambium Saddle, Chris King headset, and an Absolute Black oval chainring. He then added a few upgrades to make his LTD a little more prepared for those bike packing trips. On top of installing a wider range of gearing for when the bike is fully loaded, he’s added a Carradice bag set (only the front was attached at the time we shot the photos) and an Exposure Revo Dynamo front Light & Hub, this thing will even charge his phone!

Ben Hazell | KONA COG
Ben Hazell | KONA COG That sparkly paint job really pops in direct sunlight
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Appropriately suave luggage from Carradice
Ben Hazell | KONA COG For those super long rides, you need a reliable, bright Headlight . . .
Ben Hazell | KONA COG . . which you never have to worry about running out of juice
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Like many others, Jorge favours the Oval Chainring
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Big range of Gears for when the bike is fully loaded up
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Panaracer Gravelking SK Tubeless Tyres match up nicely
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Who doesn’t love a little bling factor?!?
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Hope for the best – Prepare for the worst
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Hope rear Hub adds a level of reassurance on those long excursions
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Brown Cambium Saddle matches well and gives some serious comfort
Ben Hazell | KONA COG Cinelli Tape for that personal touch

Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, the KONA demo tour is headed your way!

Come demo some of our favorite bikes including the Process 153 CR 29 and 27.5, and Big Honzo CR. We’ll even have a few Libres ready to ride at select stops. We’ll have full sizes runs ensuring everyone can find a bike that fits just right.

Here are some events coming soon! Details in the posters below.

May 3 – Kalamazoo, MI
May 4 – Brighton, MI
May 5 – Cleveland, OH
May 9 – Lancaster, PA
May 10 – Greensburg, PA
May 11 – Pittsburg, PA

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

Kona Dream Builds: Connor Fearon’s World Cup Slaying Operator CR

We gave you a sneak peek at Miranda Miller’s Operator CR a few weeks back, right before she headed down to the ProGRT in Port Angeles. Given that the first World Cup of the season has arrived, we thought it was time to show you Connor Fearon’s weapon for World Cup DH domination in 2019. Oh yeah, in case you were living under a rock, the DH World Cup kicks off this weekend in Maribor, Slovenia. Stay tuned to our Instagram Stories for up-to-the-minute coverage.

Now, about that bike.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Connor, like Miranda, will be riding this special Team Issue only color for the 2019 DH season.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

SRAM has helped with the theme, providing a super cool red XO DH drivetrain. New team sponsor OneUp will be providing bash and retention duties.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

SRAM with the rad red XO DH rear mech.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

You gotta love that small block rear SRAM DH cassette.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Stopping comes courtesy of SRAMs Code RSC’s

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The cockpit on the Operator like Conor’s Process, is now fitted out with Deity Components for 2019. ODI is back providing the most important of contact points, the grips!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Rock Shox’ Super Delux coil rear shock provides damping out back. Connor will be swapping between a 450 and a 475 spring weight this weekend.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Up the front Connor’s rig is rocking the freshly updated Boxxer Ultimate.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Chris King has been providing headsets for the team for a while, for 2019 they have stepped up and are now looking after the team with their famed hubs as well.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Angry Bees!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Another new sponsor for 2019 is Canadian hand laid carbon wheel company, We Are One, a long time sponsor of Connor’s Gravity Team Mate Caleb Holonko. For 2019 they are providing their rims for the full enduro and DH squad. And yes that most definitely is a Cush Core valve, and yes, there Connor is rocking Cush Core tire inserts.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Finaly HT are back ensuring Connors feet stay hooked up!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Connor and Jackson have just completed their first runs and have reported in that the bikes and the course are both running fantastic.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Alberta, the KONA demo tour is headed your way!

Come demo some of our favorite bikes including the Process 153 CR 29 and 27.5, and Big Honzo CR. We’ll even have a few Libres ready to ride at select stops. We’ll have full sizes runs ensuring everyone can find a bike that fits just right.

Here are some events coming soon! Details in the posters below.

May 4 – Red Deer, Alberta
May 5 – Edmonton, Alberta
May 6 – Calgary, Alberta
May 7 – Lethbridge, Alberta
May 8 – Redcliff, Alberta
May 9 – Calgary, Alberta

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

Feeling Light

There is that feeling at the end of a long day. You’re tired, bit heavy, maybe you just finished work. But all you have to do is get on a bike and fly… woosh!  It all vanishes away so quickly replaced by something else.

In the cycling world, we talk about ultralight bikes and gear; the weight, how heavy, how big?! How many grams, pounds, kilos do I have in these here panniers, fully loaded and packed onto this kickass Kona bike? Just enough (with maybe a few extras). But the weight goes away once we’re cruisin’ forward, up and down, back and around. The Sutra can carry me to innumerable places and with what weight?? It’s something I can lift over a shoulder, a fence, a boundary if needed.

Touring around the world, I want dependable, sturdy, reliable, comfortable, robust, steel(!!). A bike who (it does become like a good mate doesn’t it?) can handle a day flying down windy, bumpy, torn up roads in the back country of China, slick snowy streets of Switzerland, or rocky gravel trails in the wilds of Tasmania. 15% grade going up? Let’s race*! I’m in the spotlight now!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

I never have a shred of doubt when I’m shredding on this Sutra “beast”. The sutra is strong, it’s sexy, it protects, it carries me the way, and I can carry it. It can handle that extra 2 liters of water, 6 packets of biscuits, 3 jars of peanut butter (ok, maybe just two). Of course, the essentials of a year on a bicycle are in there too. Are we getting heavier yet? Nah. It makes me so mobile, so agile, so ready to jump at any adventure handed my way.

The way I feel when I think about riding? Freaking happy. The way I feel when I’m on my bike, free to go wherever the pedals will take me? Light.

*“race” being a loose term here

______________________________________________________________________________

Find your Sutra at Konaworld.com.