Caleb Smith

Kona Dream Builds: Conrad’s Foxy Process 153 CR DL

We don’t have a huge amount of photos of Conrad’s epic Process 153 CR DL build, but from what we do have here, I think it’s pretty clear just how ballin’ this bike is. He hasn’t skimped on anything with this Dream Build and there are even some cool personal touches that link back to the German-based South African’s homeland. 

Conrad has a hard time hiding his love for Fox here, Fox Factory 36’s up front, a Factory Float X2 out back and a Fox Transfer seatpost keep things orange. South African based composite company CSix provide carbon hoops, an ultra-lightweight chain guide as well as carbon bars. Onza Ibex tires keep the bike hooked up and the whole package is propelled courtesy of a classic Shimano XT drivetrain.

Kona Dream Builds: Ryan’s Race Ready Process 153 29

Ryan Gardner is not a short dude, at 6ft 3 his extra-large builds are always interesting to check out. His latest farm gate sized enduro weapon, which got it’s first run a few weeks back at the Trans Puerta Vallarta race in Mexico, is one very cool Process 153 29. It’s built from the ground up with a smattering of very cool parts from Ryan’s longtime sponsors E*Thirteen, WTB and Fox Racing Shox and its built with one purpose, landing its lanky pilot on podiums throughout California and the world.

WTB Vigilante tires are laced to E*Thirteen’s bulletproof TRSr Carbon rims. Suspension up front is looked after by a set of burly Fox Factory 36 forks. Kona’s own bar, stem and grips combined with E*Thriteen’s 170mm TRS Plus fully serviceable dropper post complete the cockpit.

Brakes are Shimano Zee while an XT rear mech handles shifting duties on E*Thirteen’s wide range rear 9T-46T cassette. E*Thirteens TRSr Carbon cranks propel the 29 Inch wheels, while an E*Thirteen TRS plus chain guide keeps things running smooth. The rear suspension on the Process is handled by Fox’s trunion mounted Factory Float X2.

Damn, that 9T-46T cassette!

Photos. Ryan Cleek

Kona Dream Builds: Garry’s Satori DL

Garry has a history with Kona and a history with the Satori, when he heard that we were planning on bringing back the model he knew he had to get his hands on one.

Seven years ago he bought the first edition of the Satori, it was on this bike that he completed the 2012 BC Bike Race, a proper bucket list event and a week that Garry will never forget. The bike had a good race career back in Ireland afterwards in local enduro events before being placed aside.

“I remember the bike as a great all-rounder with a suspension set-up that was ideal for Irish riding conditions. I have lots of memories wrapped up in the Satori and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new one.”

Garry has customized his Satori DL with the same component mix as on many of his previous Kona builds.

The cockpit consists of Kona bars clamped by a Hope Stem paired with the trusty Hope headset to keep out the Irish weather. Ergon grips and saddle complete the contact points along with CrankBrothers Mallet E pedals. The drivetrain is SRAM Eagle 1 x 12 turned by Hope Cranks on a Hope BB.

There’s a CrankBrothers Highline dropper post held in place by a Hope seatclamp.

An RRP front mudguard keeps the worst of the dirt off and he’s tweaked the fork performance with an MRP Ramp Control cartridge.

Braking is done via by Hope tech 3 levers biting on Hope floating rotors. Wheels are Reynolds Black Label rims on i9 Hubs. Maxxis Minion Semi Slick rear tyre and DHF 2.3 front filled with Orange Seal sealant.

Kona Dream Builds: Lauren’s Drool Worthy Hope Tech Dripping Shred 20

Lauren is a seven-year-old little ripper from Ireland. Her Dad, Colin, thought it would be a fun activity to build a custom bike for Lauren. They opted for a Kona Shred 20, and have fully kitted the bike with gorgeous purple anodized parts from Hope. Check out the build and some info from Colin on how and why they built this bike.



Kona: Why did you decide to do this build for Lauren?

Colin: Lauren was on a 16″ bike for over 3 years and was getting way too big for it. I was planning on getting her a bike for Christmas anyway. I’ve always wanted to put together a super high-end bike and working in a bike shop makes that task easier. When people see it and their jaws drop, they ask me, “Why? It’s only a kids bike,” and I get to say, “Why not? If you could, wouldn’t you?” That’s the main reason why we put this build together- because we could. That and I’m just a big kid myself and really wanted to do something cool like this. 

Kona: What made you choose the Shred 20?

Colin: We’re a Kona dealer at the MBW Bike shop so I know how good the bikes are. On top of that, with the air fork rather then coil makes it easier for me to tune the bike perfectly for Lauren because she’s super light. 


Kona This was her first time working on a bike, how did she do?

Colin: She had only ever helped me clean our bikes after a ride, so with no maintenance experience I really threw her in the deep end when I pulled the frame out of the box and said, “We’re going to build a bike together.” She was super excited and really enjoyed it, but I had to double check all the bolts just to be safe! I think I was more excited than she was. 


Kona: What made you select the Hope components?

Colin: We’ve worked with Hope on other builds so they were our first choice. You can’t get much better than the parts Hope produce, and with so many colour options it was a no-brainer. They loved the idea. We sent the measurements and in no time a box full of purple parts arrived in the shop. 

Kona: How long has Lauren been riding and what is her favorite kind of trails/paths to ride?

Colin: Lauren was only 1 when she was rolling around on her scooter so she has no problem balancing on anything with wheels. When she was 2 she got a balance bike and in no time was flying down hills and gravel pathways. When she was 4 she got her first pedal bike and within 5 minutes she was pedaling around like she had been on that bike for years. Lauren doesn’t care if she’s on pavement, gravel or dirt, as long as she’s on her bike she’s happy. 


Kona: What do you think her next bike will be?

Colin: I’ll probably move her up to a Shed 24″ but who knows? It’ll be another couple of years before she grows out of the Shred 20. I’d love to have her on a cool little 24″ full-sus for the trails (cough, cough, get on it Kona, cough, cough).

Kona: How much fun was this to work on with her?

Colin: It was really great. When we put the bike together she wanted to do everything and fit all the parts. The bigger bike with gears and suspension has really improved her riding so we’re having more fun on the trails together too. It took a few trips for us to get the shots we needed and she really enjoyed scouting for locations. I’ll definitely be working on more projects with her, any excuse to spend more time on our bikes together. 

If the bike itself wasn’t awesome enough, Lauren has been racing the local circuit. This week she finished first among all boys and girls in the under 8 age group. Way to go Lauren! Keep on shredding!


Scott Countryman reports from the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo

Racing the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is one of my fondest mountain bike racing memories of all time. I don’t remember exactly when I first raced the 24HOP because it was so long ago but I think I was 15 years old. A riding buddy asked if I wanted to be on a team with him and it seemed like the cool thing to do so I said yes not really having any idea what it was or would be like. I bought some lights, went night riding a few times, and then had an incredible time at the race.
The event is like nothing else I’ve ever done. Held on private ranch property in the middle of the desert, mountain bikers descend on a normally empty plot of land and create a city. 24 Hour Town has a population of over three thousand and exists less than one week per year. There are streets, vendors, a local radio station, and a non-stop party. Whether you are there to throw down or just have a good time, you can’t help but partake in the shenanigans.

I went to 24 Hour Town this year as part of a four person team made up of some local shredders that are also part of the Enduro racing community. We usually prefer to get rowdy on big squishy bikes but also enjoy some good hard pedaling from time to time. And having just started back on the training schedule, I had no expectations for the weekend of racing. My only goal was to beat my course personal record of one hour and two minutes.
Race weekend kicked off with a lot of unexpected rain. From when I left home Thursday night to Saturday morning, it seemed like it rained more than it didn’t. The 12 miles of dirt road to get to 24 Hour Town became a mud bog and ended up getting closed to vehicles without 4wd. Luckily my little van and I made it through before it got too bad but it was looking like the race would be a sloppy mess. When the sun finally came out Saturday morning, you could literally hear cries of joy all around camp. The clouds burned off and the dirt started drying out leaving crisp clean air and the most heroic dirt any desert has ever seen.

As most 24 hour races do, the Old Pueblo begins with a Le Mans start. The lucky first lap riders, like myself, line up there bikes at the exchange tent and walk up the road a quarter mile to the start line. At 12 noon, a shotgun blast starts a stampede of racers awkwardly running to their bikes in XC mountain bike shoes.

I got a good start position near the front of the pack before the run began and as I was nearing my bike to jump on I noticed a familiar looking fellow running next to me. Lance Armstrong! Say what you want about him but he will always be a legend. And I just passed him. While running. At a mountain bike race. Odd. But that didn’t last long; a few minutes later ripping across the first dirt road section called “The Bitches”, Lance zoomed past me. I jumped on his wheel and tried to hang on but was quickly popped.
After the first couple miles of dirt road, the race course is mostly single track. Twisting and turning around every kind of pokey cactus you can imagine, it can feel like a high speed slalom of impending death. Though it is not rough, this is where having mountain bike skills can pay off. Carrying speed around corners with confidence you will not end up getting acupuncture can save you a lot of time; and a little after the halfway point I caught back up to Lance. Surprisingly as soon as he heard me behind him, he pulled over and let me by. “Thanks Lance!”
I buried myself to finished the lap coming in just under an hour. Passed the batton off to my teammate, and as I was exiting the exchange tent I saw Lance roll in. Not trying to brag or anything, but I beat Lance Armstrong at a mountain bike race! At that point I felt like I could throw in the towel. My goal for the race was to beat my personal record of one hour and two minutes which I just did. And I beat Lance Armstrong while doing it so I could chill out for the rest of the race, right? Nope. If I have a number plate on my bike, I’m going hard.

Each lap after the first felt like it would be my last and there was no way I could hold the pace I was pushing. I was feeling muscle twinges on lap three, my first night lap; managed to keep the cramps at bay but came in with a much slower time. After changing my electrolyte intake, my lap times started falling again and they kept falling all the way to my last lap, number six, which ended up being my second fastest lap of the race.

My teammates had similar experiences. Crushing first laps, dark times around half way (no pun intended), and a resurgence after sunrise with killer final laps. We had worked our way up to fifth place and held it all the way to the finish. For a couple enduro racers at a cross country race, we were stoked!
First race of the year and first podium of the year! As I have said before, this time of year can be a little odd; I am putting in a lot of work to get in shape for race season but with no real gauge on how the fitness is coming along. A preseason race like the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is a great test and I think I passed with flying colors. With new motivation to train hard I am looking forward to kicking off the Enduro race season at the South American EWS races in a month. Wish me luck!

Bike Magazine Reviews the Satori DL “This bike snob would be perfectly happy riding the Satori DL full time”

“This bike snob would be perfectly happy riding the Satori DL full time”

Bike Magazine reviewer Ryan Palmer has spent the last little while on board our brand new Satori DL, his review has just gone live online at Ryan gave the Satori DL kudos for its geometry “That steep seat angle makes the bike climb so well that I never found myself wishing the frame was carbon.”

You can check out the review on here and you can check out the new Satori bikes here.

Kona Dream Builds: Travis’ Breathtaking Rove Ltd Custom Build

Travis Peebles’ (Co-owner of Blazing Saddle Cycles in Cleveland) custom Rove Ltd will straight up take your breath away. It did ours. While our stock build of the Rove Ltd is nothing to sniff at with its SRAM Force groupo and plus-sized WTB tires and hoops, what Travis has done with his is next-level-take-your-breath-away-stuff. We asked Travis to outline his motivation for the build and for some juicy details, we’ll let him take it from here.

This do-all demigod was inspired by the need to go anywhere anytime, and over any terrain. While I do appreciate the 650b wheels size, it just doesn’t fit my riding style or my desire to go places quickly, while attacking all and any obstacles with ease. Hence, the retrofitted 700c Reynolds Cycling Carbon Assault wheel-set wrapped in Panaracer Gravel King 43mm gumwalls. This tubeless combination fills up this steel steed very nicely.

The drivetrain consists of Ultegra mechanical 11 speed shifters resting on Salsa Cowbell drop bars (wrapped in Salsa’s Glyph bar tape) mated to an XTR rear derailleur by a Wolftooth Components Tan pan mechanism. This nifty little piece equalizes the cable actuation and smoothly provides all the gearing necessary across the 11-42 XT cassette. Power is applied through a set of FSA Energy cranks linked up with a Wolftooth 44t drop-stop chainring. Stopping power is provided by a sleek and steadying set of TRP Spyre brakes on Shimano XT 160mm rotors.

As an added bonus the left Shimano Ultegra shifter was overhauled and modified (by mechanical WIZARD James Rychak A.K.A Jimmy Whistletip in Instaworld) to actuate the 100mm KS Lev dropper post to help get the Prologo Zero II CPC PAS saddle out of the way in tight situations. This allowed us to use most of the bikes original braze-ons, just in a little different fashion. This avoided too much unsightly housing on the frame.

This build was a culmination of work and mechanical genius from all of the staff at our shop, Blazing Saddle Cycle in Cleveland, Ohio. I surely could not have done this on my own. We are extremely proud of the work that goes into each and every bike we send out the door and this is no exception. We love being ambassadors of the Kona name and technology. This build clearly shows why.

Video: Ice Fishing with Aggy POV

Back in early January, Aggy headed out to The Farm in Kamloops. It was the first snow ride of the season and a solid crew showed up to shuttle laps in The Farm‘s winter ‘Burb (an old 4×4 Chevy Suburban with full chains and an internal wood stove!). Aggy was riding his custom painted Trout bike, a 2015 26″ carbon Operator, built up with Maxxis beavers (in the Exo sidewall) with custom studs, up on Novatec demon wheels and hubs. The bike is kitted with SRAM and RockShox head to toe as well and has a Kore cockpit, Sensus grips and HT pedals.

Aggy sets up the studded Maxxis Beavers himself. After drilling holes from the outside in, various length sheet metal screws are then inserted from the inside out of the tire. A standard tube pumped to 60 PSI then provides solid traction, flats are rare and Aggy says that these studded tires still weigh less than his summertime DH setup.

The Trout bike in all its Rainbow glory, painted by Vancouver legend Painthouse Customs

That paint though… If Aggy keeps repurposing his old 26″ bikes like this, then #26aintdead.

PinkBike Reviews the Kona Wah Wah II Composite Pedal “Kona’s Wah Wah II pedals are ready to rock”

“Kona’s Wah Wah II pedals are ready to rock, with a wide, grippy platform that provides plenty of support for keeping those feet in place no matter how rough the trail, and a price tag that’s tough to beat.” – Mike Kazimer

PinkBike‘s Mike Kazimer has been on our Kona Wah Wah II’s for the last few months and this morning posted up his very positive review on their site. It’s the latest in a bunch of glowing reviews for our new pedals and you can check it out here. You can check out Vital’s and Bike’s reviews here and here.

Your local Kona dealer will have stock but you can also purchase the new Wah Wah II composite pedals here in our web store.

Ti Tuesday: Alan’s zippy Single Speed Ti Raijin

Alan’s Ti Raijin isn’t a big showy head turner of a bike. It’s been built up as durable zippy single speed for Alan’s local trails at Sports Swap in Toronto. Closer inspection reveals a thoughtful parts selection that will truly go the distance and perhaps last as long as this Raijin Ti frame will. The Stan’s Crest wheels laced to Paul Components hubs are a case in point. The Cane Creek 110 headset and Spank Subrosa bars are another.  The smattering of SRAM and Avid bits and pieces show their age, but also an element of if it ain’t broke… The carbon Truvative XO cranks (with North Shore Billet spider and ring), Avid Juicy Ultimates and 100m Reba forks are all super solid and reliable choices that round out this solid single speed steed. Reviews the Kona Wozo “Kona has proven once again that they have some of the most capable and enabling bikes”

“It is capable of handling some of the most aggressive trails with its burly spec and near perfect geometry taken from its skinny brother, Honzo.” – Aristotle Peters

Aristotle Peters from has spent the last few months riding our Kona Wozo around his snow-covered Wisconsin trails. To say he gets the bike would be a bit of an understatement, with a Kona Honzo as his personal bike, Aristotle found the transition to the Wozo seamless and could not help but get playful on it.

“The short chainstays had me wanting to bring the front end up and pop off of everything.  Hopping on the Wozo is easier than any fat-bike I have ridden and will give any rider more confidence in their abilities.”

You can read Aristotle’s full review on here.