Caleb Smith

Kona Dream Builds: Matt’s Honzo ST Can See the Forest and the Trees

Matt Harris is no stranger to Kona. Before immigrating to Canada he was one of New Zealand’s OG freeriders pioneering massive drops and super tech lines in and around his home town of Auckland on his old Kona Stinky. These days he splits his time between slinging icecreams with his wife Katie at Squamish institution Alice and Brohm and trail building on the Sunshine Coast. The guy still shreds on a bike, in fact, we featured his alloy DL Process on Kona Dream Builds a little while back and you may have even seen him in a Kona Process advert back in 2017! Anyhow, he’s had a Honzo in his quiver for a quite a while, but decided it was time to update his old non-boost version for the latest 2019 frame.  Matt and his Honzo can definitely see the forest AND the trees.

Like Matt, this bike is a brawler. Matt can ride faster than you can on this hardtail and that ain’t no joke. Long high speed days in Squamish require a solid build and Matt kicks that off with a set of Light Bike carbon rims laced to a set of Industry 9 Torch hubs. The fork is a 130m Pike with One Up’s tool-less axle.

A long time Shimano fan Matt is running XTR out back.

And a Race Face One-Up combo up front. You can’t see the Hope sealed bearing 30mm BB but you can see the One Up alloy pedals.

Keeping things local Matt has matched the best stem in the world (a 32mm Race Face Turbine R) with a Chromag BZA bar. Stopping is again a Shimano affair with XTR levers upfront.

And Saint calipers out back.

The 130mm Rock Shox Pike is held in place by a 2º Works Components angle set. There are more parts from Squamish based One Up up here as well, with an EDC tool installed in the steerer and One Up’s carbon dropper post lever…

…connected to the 185mm drop Bike Yoke Revive dropper post

Matt loves his one off decals and before having the whole thing custom wrapped by Ride Wrap in Whistler, he made a bunch of custom graphics.

For more rad custom Kona bikes, check out our Kona Dream Builds archives and the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram.
If you have a custom Kona that you think deserves to be featured on the Kona Cog simply tag it on Instagram or Facebook with #KonaDreamBuilds, if we select it you’ll also get one of these super sweet Kona Dream Build patches in the mail!

Kona Welcomes Miranda Miller

The team rumors have been flying for the past few months, but we’re ready to make it official… officially Miller Time! We could not be more excited to welcome Canadian legend and powerhouse racer Miranda Miller to the Kona family. Miller will be headlining our Global Enduro program alongside Rhys Verner, Connor Fearon, Shelly Flood, and Hannah Bergemann. She’ll be racing the Process 153 CR DL 29 and the Operator CR for select downhill races.

Kona: Holy crap! You’re on Kona? How did that happen?

Miranda: It’s time for a new chapter to this story. The past pages are full of semi-trucks, fast cars, French boys, rainbow stripes, crashing and burning. What’s written on the next is maybe more relatable to a western theme. Much more saddle time, and wide open plains where one is allowed to be themselves and challenged in varied terrain. Kona is the place where I look forward to grabbing the reins with both hands and showing that this show pony isn’t ready for the glue factory. Kona has shown me that they share the same enthusiasm for racing and riding in the way that made us all love this sport to begin with. Team Manager, Mathieu Dupelle has already been looking after me for 10 plus years. Giving me shelter, rides and parts as a privateer back in the day. Here at Kona, I know I’m with good people.

Kona: Why did this move make sense for you?

Miranda: My past two seasons were ones riddled with injuries and performances that I found hard to find pride in. In retrospective, of course, I should have been proud, but often we are our harshest critics. Still, I know that I’m a better rider than my last two seasons of racing. I needed a refresh and restart with a company that recognizes this and is willing to support me for more than just race results. A company that loves what I love, for the same reasons.

Kona: It’s only been a couple weeks, but what are your first impressions of the bike and company?

Miranda:  Fun. What they say is true. The Kona Process 153 29″ is one of the most fun bikes I’ve ridden. My riding has been invigorated so to say. In only a few weeks I’ve found a new speed, style and drive to push a little harder. My interactions with the staff of Kona has been very genuine and real. It’s a place where I can be me…and me is a little weird like them.

Kona: Is it important to you to work with a brand that is local?

Miranda:  Yes. Very. We live in the mountain bike capital of the world with Kona at the heart of it. There is no disconnect between company and rider, company and dealer- our backyards are the same. It allows me to belong and be apart of the same community, loving all the same rides.

Kona: What are you most looking forward to with Kona?

Miranda: I have a voice and certain style that I’d love to be able to show more, at the races, on the trails, and in the media. Kona isn’t afraid to do things differently, say what they want and show a little flair.

Kona: You’re making the switch to a pretty full EWS schedule. What was the driver behind that?

Miranda:  EWS is a new challenge for me. I’ve done events before but never with a commitment to a season, it was always a sideshow to DH. Although EWS is physically tough, you don’t have the high speeds and hard compressions that DH does. When you’re struggling and not mentally 100% into a World Cup DH run it’s impossible to perform and more dangerous. I love riding my trail bike, I also like exercising and I like the part of EWS where no one knows what’s going to happen! Let us all just go do something different and something that we’re maybe not as comfortable with. Or did I just read that on a Lululemon bag?

Kona: Your first email address was something with Stinky in it, right? Do you believe in fate?

Miranda:  I only believe in Tarot cards, magic eight balls, and horoscopes. JK, I don’t. But yes, my first ever email address was stinkykona45@hotmail.com. Did anyone grow up not wanting a Stinky? I grew up in Squamish and Kona sponsored a local rider, Kyle Ritchie aka Hercules and he was kind of the coolest kid in town. He threw down in Rampage and on the same trails I rode. But the coolest part was that Kona had all these sick free riders with a “no fucks given, let’s just ride” attitude but then on the other hand as a company they were also out there winning World Championships.

Kona: If you had to give yourself a mantra for the upcoming season, what would it be?

Miranda:  At races, there are often words I use to help in race runs or practice but I find those can change based on the location or race. I don’t think I’ve formulated a mantra just yet but what gets me excited about this upcoming season is just a lot of changes. I like that many things are unknown and that I get to learn all new equipment again. So maybe something along the lines of, “restart, relax and enter the unknown.”

   

Kona: You’ll be riding alongside another Squamish local at the EWS-Rhys Verner. Were you two friends before Kona?

Miranda: I’ve known Rice Burner since he was an uber grom! I can’t wait to travel with that goon. He’s smart, but not so smart that we can’t communicate, he’s fit but not so fit that he’s socially stunted from a lack of oxygen to the brain and he’s funny enough that he will make me laugh.

Kona: What are you most looking forward to with the Kona program?

Miranda: Connor Fearon has to ride with me now.

At Kona, we couldn’t ask for a better fit for our program. Miranda brings humor, an amazing work ethic, and proven results (Hello, World Champion!) to the brand. Bonus points: she’s Canadian and we love staying true to our roots! From all of us at Kona, we’re wishing you the best 2019 possible and we are beyond stoked to have you on our team!

Bike Rumor Reviews the Libre DL “The Libre DL should be a the top of your list.”

“Overall, there’s no mistaking that this is a Kona, which is one of the reasons I think I fell in love with it. Kona has a habit of making bikes that are heavily focused on fun with a healthy dose of durability and performance. The Libre DL checks all of those boxes for me.”

Zach Overholt at Bike Rumor has just posted up his full review of the Libre DL on their site. After the bike making his Editors Choice list for 2018 we had a feeling that his review might show a little love for the Libre DL, but it seems that much like us, he is head-over-heels infatuated with this bike.

“Every time I ride the Libre DL, I’m constantly amazed at how good it makes me feel and that feeling is further rewarded with some of the fastest speeds that I’ve been able to maintain on a gravel rig.”

You can check out Zach’s full Bike Rumor review here.

Kona Dream Builds: Craig McPhee’s Burly Enduro Smashing Custom Kona Honzo ST

Craig lives in Sydney, Australia andhas been riding for about six years. He spends most of his time riding the east coast of New South Wales, and while he hasn’t got much vertical elevation the trails can be very rocky. Each year he does a trip to Queenstown, NZ which is where he got the idea for a burly Honzo build after seeing Kona rider, Jake Hood’s Purple Honzo ST at Bikeaholic.

I had wanted to build a steel hardtail for years but when I finally decided to pull the trigger on the purple Honzo ST, all the frames were all gone. After a fruitless search at the regular outlets, I called a small Kona dealer near me about ordering in a 2019 frame. As luck would have it they had a large purple in stock on the floor – it must have been one of the last, if not the last, in Australia.

As far as the build goes, it’s a mix of old and new. I had the Shimano XTR drivetrain, XT cassette, Raceface Turbine cranks, and Chromag BZA bars/Hifi stem. Things started to escalate when my buddy offered me his Fox 36s for a good price after he put a big scratch in one of the stanchions – it’s been repaired so the damage is only cosmetic. The fork has been dropped to 140mm and is the newest 44mm offset with Grip2 damper – I think the orange and purple really set off together, and it’s probably my favorite part on the bike.

The wheels were a Black Friday special, Mavic EN827 rims (27mm internal width) laced to Hope Pro 4 hubs. I had some Hope rotors lying around and also got some XT brakes in the same sale – I always run Shimano brakes for reliability, same goes for the Hope bottom bracket. For tires, I’m currently running Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3 front and Aggressor 2.3 rear which work great on our baking hot trails.

I used a number of OneUp components on the build – I really like their innovative products, and the one time I did have an issue their warranty service was great. For this build, I’ve used the OneUp 170mm dropper post with carbon plastic remote, EDC tool in the steerer tube, and aluminum flat pedals. DMR Deathgrips, a fabric scoop saddle, and a matched yellow water bottle complete the build.

I’ve only had the bike finished and running for a few weeks but I’m loving how it rides. It’s making my local trails more fun and I’ve noticed an improvement in my riding when I hop back on the dually.

 

Kona Dream Builds: Graham Beaumont’s Earthy Sea Foam Process 153 CR

The drivetrain has us intrigued. A Hope set of CNC’d cranks with an oval chainring, an XTR rear mech, and a SRAM Eagle cassette.

Hope is CNC and these cranks really show what the Barnoldswick based company can do.

Hope F20 flat pedals keep Graham firmly attached.

There’s that XTR shifter…

And the Hope Tech 3 levers.

If you didn’t know, Kona’s cable routing is UK, Australia, Japan, and NZ friendly.

Hopes’ AM Freeride 35mm stem holds Burgtec’s 800mm Ride Wide Carbon Enduro handlebar firmly in place.

The bike rolls on E13 TRS SL Carbon Race rims laced to Hope Pro 4 hubs.

Connor Fearon’s Gamble Section Makes Pinkbike Top Ten Videos of 2018 List

Pinkbike just posted up their list of picks for the top ten videos from 2018 and Connor Fearon’s amazing section from Gamble made the cut. We’ve loved the section from the moment the video dropped, if you haven’t seen it or need a quick refresher you should watch it now and share the stoke with the other 56,697 people who have viewed it on YouTube.

18 Year Old B’yauling Toni Has Ridden His Sutra 28,000km since July. Find out Why.

Six days after graduating high school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last year, at just 17, B’yauling Toni hopped on his stock Kona Sutra and started pedaling. Loaded up with a little food, a sleeping bag and a bivy he began one massive and awe-inspiring journey. His goal was to cycle 30,000km around the world. His planned route would take him traveling, unsupported and solo, in relatively the same direction, passing through a set of antipodal points on the earth, for B’yauling that was Madrid, Spain, and Wellington, New Zealand. If it all goes to plan he will break the world record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle.

After leaving Saskatoon on July 1st he pedaled 5000km to Halifax on Canada’s east coast, he flew to Portugal and rode through Spain, France, Belguim, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia. From there he rode across Russia into Mongolia, followed by China. After leaving Shanghai for Perth, Australia, he rode across the Nullarbor Plains, and up the coast through Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney on to Brisbane. He then flew to Invercargill, New Zealand where he rode up the South Islands west coast toward Wellington. By the time you read this, he’ll almost be in Auckland. To finish he’ll fly to Vancouver where he’ll don rain gear, change his tires out and ride over the Rockies back to Saskatoon.

B’yauling had embarked on this trip to raise money for a local outdoor education program in Saskatoon. His Go Fund Me page splits half the donated money between funding his trip and the Outdoor School Program. After meeting with him it became pretty darn apparent that he doesn’t require much to get by. In fact, he’s spent a total of $32 Canadian dollars on accommodation since he began his trip six months ago. Flights obviously take up a big portion of the funds, but on average he reckons it costs him $10 on food per day. He doesn’t carry a cooker and eats only food that doesn’t require heating. He averages around 11-12 hours on the bike a day, and around 200km a day in distance. He stops to check out sights as well as checking out a little touristy stuff but being on the bike allows him to take it all in whilst moving, after all he has deadlines to meet and planes to catch!

Yesterday though, he hit one of his first major speed bumps while cycling through New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. He was cruising downtown checking things out when an irate driver pulled up beside him and started yelling obscenities at him. Unaware of what he’d done to aggravate this driver he ignored him and kept riding. At the next intersection, the light went red and B’yauling found himself pulling in front of the driver in the green cycle bay in front of traffic. He pedaled off as it went green, trying to get a gap on the angry driver only to hear the engine rev behind him, he looked over his shoulder to check on the driver and the car plowed right into him, knocking him clean off his bike and sending his gear yard sailing through the intersection. The driver didn’t stop there and continued to yell expletives at B’yauling until he realized that the pedestrian eyewitnesses didn’t share his view of who was at fault. But before anyone could stop the man, he jumped in his car and high tailed it out of there. While picking up his belongings, he was approached by a lady who’d seen the whole thing happen, she offered him food and a warm place to sleep.

It was the first bit of road rage he’d experienced in New Zealand, and also the worst road rage experience he’s ever had. He pointed out that in the close calls he’s had, he’s never been knocked off his bike.

But the story gets worse. After arriving at the woman’s house, he decided to take a quick nap. The nap turned into a 16-hour long sleep. When we woke though, he realized that in the hit and run and its aftermath that his money belt, with $400 cash inside, had come off and was nowhere to be found. His entire NZ budget is now gone. We meet up with him he was sporting a large shopping bag of goods that the lady had loaded him up with… His bags were full.

His gear has taken a beating. The multiple zip ties on his frame bag attest to this. It no longer closes, even after having a yurt maker in Mongolia repaired it. He’s been through three drivetrains and two sets of tires, the Brooks saddle looks nice and broken in. He’s also experimented with different kind of bicycle lubricant, when the bike shops disappeared in Mongolia, he tried butter on the chain, it worked well when it was warm but when the temperature dropped the butter would coagulate and freeze, his solution, the flavor sachet from noddle packets!
His helmet has been shattered into three distinct and separate pieces and is being held together by zip ties and duct tape. When I offered him a new helmet, he said that food was more important, he had just $24 to make it to Auckland.

You can donate to B’yauling’s Go Fund Me page here and find out more about the Outdoor School Program in Saskatoon you can head here.

 

 

Kona Dream Builds: Chainline Bikes Build “Fez” The Ultimate Process CR DL

Chainline Bikes in El Cajon, California aren’t your average bike shop. Located amidst an industrial area filled with body shops and mechanics that are there to pimp your other ride (the one with an engine) Jason Guthrie and his crew has found a niche building one-off custom bikes for their customers. Some of these are simple, changing out a bike’s wheels from the stock ones to a set of Enve’s laced to Chris Kings. Some are a little more involved and require swapping out a few more parts, but then there are the truly one-off custom builds where Jason and his team provide custom paint and decal finishes to the frame. On top of that, every single part is swapped out, some receive custom paint and decals much like the frame, the attention to detail is meticulous, and the results are always mindblowing. The latest bike to receive that treatment? This absolutely over the top 1970’s Pony Express van inspired Kona Process 153 CR DL 29 affectionately named “Fez”.

Jason has gone to town with his tribute paint job, the front to back stripes, the colors, and the gold leaf inlay. That’s right- what looks like wood paneling in the photos below is actually 22-carat gold leaf. The red in the stripes is taken from the Marzocchi forks and then tied back in via the grips and the custom ENVE decals.

You read it right, that is a 22-carat gold head tube badge!

The Gold just looks right surrounded by the ENVE Carbon M7 bar and stem combo.

But it doesn’t stop there, The gold leaf is also laced throughout the top tube branding and…

…It goes all the way back to the seat tube. Damn!

While the Red in the Marzoccchi Bomber Z1’s forms the basis of the colors used in the bike’s new paint job, the gold comes in here in the form of a custom graphics package.

I’m not sure if reflective gold vinyl stickers are an everyday option for your ENVE M7’s

Even more gold leaf in the Kona down tube graphics.

Jason just can’t help himself. Even more custom decals, this time on the SRAM XO1 Cranks.

At this point it would be rude not to spec a XX1 Eagle gold cassette, right?

Nothing on the build goes untouched.

Well, maybe not nothing. The Ergon saddle is stock.

A One Up EDC tool rounds out the cockpit,

Frame Kona Process 29 153 CR/DL
Rear Shock Fox Float X2
Fork Marzocchi Bomber Z1 170mm
Crank Arms SRAM X01 DUB 170mm
Chain Ring SRAM Eagle 32t
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB PF92
Pedals Kona Wah Wah II Alloy
Chain SRAM Eagle XX1
Cassette SRAM Eagle XX1 Gold
Rear Derailleur SRAM Eagle X01 Red
Shifters SRAM Eagle X01 Red
Brake Rotors Hope Floating Disc
Brakes Hope Callipers E4
Brake Levers Hope Tech 3’s
Headset Cane Creek 110 Series
Handlebar ENVE M7 40mm Rise
Stem ENVE M7 50mm
Grips Ergon GD1
Top Cap One Up EDC Orange
Seat Post Fox Transfer 150mm
Saddle Ergon SME3
Hubs DT Swiss 240 DT Swiss
Rims ENVE M730
Front Tire Ibex 2.4 FRC Onza BF
Rear Tire Ibex 2.4 FRC Onza BF

 

Fez would be proud!

Bike Magazine Reviews Process CR DL 29 In Bible of Bike Tests “Fit and positioning on the Process are remarkable”

 

December has been a good month for the all-new 29″ wheeled carbon Process, with solid reviews rolling in from Pinkbike and Vital. Well Bike magazines highly anticipated Bible of Bike Tests came out today and its positive and praiseworthy review added yet another notch in the Process’s belt. We love Bike and having them rave about the bikes fit and intuitive nature is the best Christmas gift anyone could give heading into the holidays.

“The Process 153 29’s reactive, mindreading and intuitive handling created an instinctual and instantaneous feel during any line-choice moment.”

Watch the video above and then you can check out the full written review here on Bike Magazines website.

Kona Libre DL Makes Bike Rumor Editors Choice List

Zach at BikeRumor.com has had a Libre DL test rig for a while now and we’ve been waiting for his full review to drop. You can imagine how stoked we were this morning when this little tease appeared on Bike Rumors website. Zach seems to feel the same way we do about this bike and has selected it in his annual Editors Choice post. You can read what he wrote below and head to their site to see just what else made Zach’s list here.

“Kinda letting the cat out of the bag on this one before the final review, but the Kona Libre DL has been such a fun bike. The geometry and positioning is pretty wild compared to some of the competition, but I think that’s part of why I like it so much – it certainly meshes well with riders coming from an MTB background. While the bike sits you up fairly high, and the bars are super wide, the ride is incredibly comfortable and I realized the other day that I haven’t been getting numbness in my hands on rides which tends to happen on other bikes almost no matter what. It’s super easy to wheelie, handles mountain bike trails like a champ, and has plenty of mounts for just about anything you’d want. It’s also ridiculously fast. Faster than my current “road” bike, and this thing has 45mm knobby tires. Add in a light build that doesn’t resort to too many carbon parts, and you have a great bike for bikepacking or just gravel adventuring.”

Kona Dream Builds: Jouko’s 2012 Honky Inc Slays All Roads

We featured Jouko‘s head-turning retro Killer Kilauea a few weeks back, well he’s back at it, this time with a Kona from a completely different century! Hi Sweet Honky Inc frame was purchased via Fillarikellari in Helsinki where Jouko works. “I found out that Kona Europe still had one of these six-year-old framesets in stock, most likely all alone waiting for me in a dimly lit dusty corner of a warehouse. The frame ticked all the boxes plus the size was perfect for me so I had to get it.”

The best roads are usually the ones in the worst condition. For the last few years, my old road bike has been a permanent fixture in our living room while I’ve been riding my cyclocross bike. I wanted to build a sort of an all-road bike with best features of the two, basically a fast enough bike I could ride all day, every day. I wanted the bike to have a steel frame, preferably a carbon fiber fork, disc brakes, enough room for 32 mm tires and a road bike-ish geometry.

Derailleurs and shifters are Shimano’s bombproof 9 speed Dura Ace 7700 series with a washing line-like cable routing. Handlebars are nice and wide Salsa Cowbell 3’s with a bit of flare and plenty of flair, it’s held in place by a Pro PLT stem. Ratio Pile bar tape is thick and soft and dampens vibrations nicely. A Cane Creek 110-series headset makes steering effortless. Brakes are also a familiar safe choice, Avid BB7’s. All in all nothing too fancy, but reliable nice parts many of which I chose because, to be honest, I happened to have them already.

My favorite part of the bike, chainset, is a lovely pair of old ISIS type Middleburns with a smooth as butter SKF bottom bracket that will most likely outlive me. Gearing is more cyclocross than road with 36/48t chainrings accompanied by an 11-28t cassette, it should be perfect for small roads and hardpack gravel rides I have in mind for the bike.

For water there’s two proven Blackburn Mountain bottle cages. Frame is roomy enough to have plenty of space for a frame bag even with two large bottles.

I’m currently running a pair of 32-622 Panaracer Paselas until my sweet 34-622 WTB Exposures arrive. I prefer the comfort, lightness and relative puncture resistance of a tubeless setup. The Exposures are super light and fast tires with just enough thread for the odd stray to a path less pedaled. Wheels themselves are nothing special but they get me where I need to go, I built them with some mismatching hubs, Alexrims rims and DT Champion spokes.

The bike feels way more relaxed and stable than my cyclocross bike and is still capable to rip on occasional singletrack. It’s really just what I had in mind, a real long distance winner. I’m still kind of going through my shakedown period with the bike but everything seems spot on. I can’t wait for the epic rides I’m going to have with this one.

Frame: Kona Honky Inc ‘12, butted cromoly, 61 cm
Fork / Headset: Kona Carbon Disc Race / Cane Creek 10-series
Derailleurs / Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 2×9
Crankset / Bottom Bracket: Middleburn, 36/48t, SKF ISIS
Cassette / Chain: Sram 11-28t / Shimano HG93
Pedals: Shimano PD-M520
Handlebars / Stem / Bar tape: Salsa Cowbell 3 46 cm / Pro PLT 110 mm / Ratio Pile
Saddle / Seatpost: Bontrager Montrose Elite / Brand-X 0-setback
Brakes: Avid BB-7
Wheels / tires: Self built with mismatching hubs, DT Champion spokes & Alexrims rims / Panaracer Pasela 32-622