Caleb Smith

Kona Dream Builds: Kristina’s Race Ready Hei Hei CR DL

Kristina Young is the Brand Manager at All Spoked Up in Batavia, Illinois. When she’s not trying to keep their two locations fully operational, she tries to balance bikes, bills, and mom life with her husband and two kids.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

I’ve ridden hardtails forever, but have always wanted a full squish. Having eyed up all the Hei Hei’s our team riders seem to enjoy racing, I decided that I’d like to join the party as well with one. I saved for a while and presented a hardly rational argument to my husband as to why I needed this bike. He humored me and was cool with it.
As if he had a say ultimately…

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

At All Spoked Up, we have great relationships with a number of companies that make amazing components and help support our shop’s junior development program ASU Devo.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

I felt that it was only right to spec the build out with the choicest components they have to offer. Industry Nine’s Ultralight 235’s are crazy light for an alloy rimmed wheel and handled all the hucks and jump-lines I took at the local XC race recently. Samesies with the FOX Float 32 Factory Step Cast. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

It was the only fork that seemed to be perfectly matched to what the frame is all about, light and shreddy. Of course, orange, cuz the bike demands attention.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

We love Race Face, and the NEXT cockpit, cranks, and chainring keep it real by being light, tough, and mean looking. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Shimano XTR shifting and XT brakes do their job flawlessly and effortlessly. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

A Selle San Marco Lady Aspide saddle,  ESI grips, and crank brothers pedals keep all the touch points comfortable and efficient. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

I love this bike. It climbs like a dream, inspires the confidence to try more difficult lines, and it makes me smile. Did I mention its fast?

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

It’s all because of the donut top cap. Thinking of donuts makes me wanna go faster.

Ti Tuesdays With Kona: Seth’s Ti Esatto Commuter

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Seth is in charge of warehouse logistics, shipping and our Konz showroom in North Vancouver. He’s also the son of one of the longest-running Kona employees, Dik Cox, and has been around the brand since his birth. A couple of years back he started racing cross’ and began quickly working his way up the ranks. Cross’ was like a drop-bar gateway drug for the fit young rider, and the next thing you know he was building up this next level forever bike. He commutes on this Ti Esatto every single day to the Kona Canada office, as well as logging some serious miles on Mt Seymour’s epic climb and other classic Vancouver road loops. This Kona Dream Build definitely warrants a closer look.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG Marrying Shimano’s Di2 Ultegra group with a timeless Ti road frame is a brave move.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG But one that Seth has pulled off with style.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Shimano Di2 Ultegra, no words are needed really.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG The Esatto lacks disc bosses so some classic Ultegra 6800 stoppers were enlisted to keep the speedy bike in check.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Our own carbon race fork.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Conti Grand Prix 4000II’s are mounted up on Mavic’s timeless Ksyrium Elite wheelset.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Easton gets some love in the cockpit with the Easton EC70 bar and EA90 stem.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Supacaz’s Super Sticky bar tape ensure’s comfortable and solid hand placements, every time.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG No modern bike is really complete without a little oil slick. Seth’s Esatto is sporting the Supacaz Fly Cage.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG And the whole bike would not be complete if were not for the Di2 compatible Pro Vibe carbon seatpost.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Kona Dream Builds: Caleb Holonko’s Team Issue Process 153 CR DL

You’d think if you had seen one Team Issue Process you’d have seen them all right? Well, Wrong, while Rhys Verner, Connor Fearon, and Miranda Miller’s Process bikes are all the same build, there are still a few in our team who are rocking some unique builds and Caleb Holonko‘s sweet bike is one of those.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Caleb is often the face of Rock Shox’ social media campaigns and has been the face of their 35mm Descendant bar for a while now. And right now SRAM wants him showing the world just how versatile and burly their GX Eagle drivetrain can be. I mean if you watched our little 1-minute Instagram vid on Caleb a while back you’ll fully understand that this North Vancouver native does not take things easy on his bikes. He does ride with a smooth effortless style but the steep loam and jank of Mt Seymour is not a place to ride if you plan on taking it easy on your bike or its components. I’m rambling now, let’s check out the damn bike already!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG The first thing of note is the fact that Caleb has spec’d the black version of the Lyrik Ultimate. The black fork with our Team Issue red frame looks pretty damn awesome!
Caleb Smith | KONA COG As mentioned, Caleb is sporting SRAM’s durable and affordable GX Eagle drivetrain (Well with the exception of that bling XX1 chain).
Caleb Smith | KONA COG If it’s good enough for Caleb then it should be good enough for you and me.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Suspension wise, out the back you’ll find a trunnion mounted Rock Shox Deluxe RT3. The shock features a DebonAir spring, external rebound adjustments and three compression settings (Open/Pedal/Lock).
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Tried and true. Hope’s classic Pro 4 Evo hubs are laced to rims from Caleb’s wheel sponsor We Are One.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG The We Are Union rims are hand laid in Kamloops, BC and feature a 30mm internal width and a lifetime guarantee.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG Red nipples are faster. The rims are shod in 2.4″ Michelin Wild Enduro tires, with the Magi-x compound up front and Gum-X compound out the back.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG The cockpit features a SRAM Descendant 35mm bar stem combo, Caleb uses the alloy DH bar.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG SRAM’s Code RSC/s slow the bike down.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG And, you guessed it, a RockShox Reverb does the uppy-downy thing.
Caleb Smith | KONA COG And the whole build is rounded off with a set of Kona Wah Wah II alloys.

What do you think of Caleb’s build? Do you have a custom Kona worthy of earning a Kona Dream Builds patch? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook and your bike could be next!

The Kona Gravity Team take on EWS Round Three in Madeira

Sven Martin Rhys Verner During the 3rd round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Machico, Madeira.

Round three of the Enduro World Series took place over the weekend on the Portuguese island of Madeira. If you are not familiar with the name you would most definitely be familiar with views from this race.  Photos from the cliff top stage seven are (along with Tasmania’s rock gap) the poster children of the EWS’s image! Unless you live under a really large rock you should be familiar with the terrain. Insane orange dirt, dusty in the dry, terrifying in the wet. Luckily for the Kona Gravity Team of Miranda Miller and Rhys Verner (and all the other competitors), the event stayed dry, save for a drizzle on day two of practice, although the dry and dusty conditions presented some of their own challenges. The technical and often rocky trails were taking a beating from the 100+ riders, come race day, after two days of solid practice, they had become extremely physical.

Sven Martin Rhys Verner During the 3rd round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Machico, Madeira.

After battling with injuries on and off last year Squamish, BC local Rhys Verner found the rhythm he’s been looking for this season and rode to a solid 24th place on stage one. Two more solid stage finishes on day one would see him secure 30th place after those first three stages.

“Smooth is fast was the name of the game for me today! It was a mixed bag of super rough and blown out stages today and they made for some tough racing! But I’m pretty pumped to be sitting 30th and I’m feeling really good for tomorrow.”

A disaster on stage four would force Rhys to drop back in the standings, But he’s using his recent EWS experiences  he stayed composed in the remaining stages and would land in 39th place after the weekends eight varied and challenging stages.

Sven Martin During the 3rd round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Machico, Madeira.

Fellow Squamish, BC local Miranda Miller suffered a major concussion recently at the ProGRT DH race in Port Angeles and had only recently been given the all clear to be back on her bike. In fact, before departing for Madeira she had only been back riding Squamish’s technical trails for a week. You wouldn’t know it though, after day one, an 8th on stage one and a second place on stage two signalled that Miranda’s relaxed approach to this round was paying off. Unfortunately, a disaster on day two would undo her hard work. She’d finish off the last stage of the weekend with another second place. 

Sven Martin Miranda Miller during the 3rd round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Machico, Madeira.

“I felt much more relaxed during this round, the expectation of a result gone. Any European round is often quite harder to navigate and feel confident at. Luckily Madeira went with more physical toughness opposed to technical toughness as some of the trails and conditions the island can offer are terrifying! Stage seven, the Queen Stage, was easily my favorite as you were assisted by gravity more so than the others. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, erosion was so bad that a section of trail had all but disappeared. It resulted in me getting my bike stuck in a fence and wrestling with it as the racer behind me caught and passed. It was very frustrating to throw the race away so quickly and at the end of four hard days of work. I was pretty much last on that stage and there was nothing I could do. I was able to use some of that frustrated energy to push ahead and finish 2nd on Stage 8. Two 2nd place stage finishes and many good moments I can be happy with my performance and look forward to being a bit stronger in round four.”

Sven Martin Miranda Miller during the 3rd round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Machico, Madeira.


Kona Dream Builds: Rob’s Big Honzo CR Will Make You Mint with Envy

This post is a part of our Dream Build series. To start your own dream build, click here.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Rob from Vedder Mountain Bike Co in BC’s, Fraser Valley has built this absolutely stunning and pretty damn blinging Big Honzo CR. Rob wanted the bike to showcase the new and current product in his store, and the Cane Creek Helm fork, NOBL wheels and SRAM AXS groupset and Reverb really are a testament to this.

“I have a trials background so use this bike a little around town hopping onto ledges and tables etc and having fun, but the trails on Vedder Mountain is where the bike really feels at home. “

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The bling on the Big Honzo really kicks off with SRAM’s XX1 AXS drivetrain and AXS Reverb. The wireless system cleans up the bike, removing all but the bikes brake cables. NOBL’s single walled TR45 Plus rims are laced to Industry 9’s Torch hubs.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Cane Creek’s 140mm Helm fork keeps things tracking true, while Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic (27.5×3.0) tires add a shit ton of traction.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Braking is courtesy of Magura’s MT 1893 LE brakes, the special edition celebrate Magura’s 125th-year anniversary. The brakes are mounted to a Chromag BZA handlebar and stem, the cockpit is completed with ODI Float grips.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The Magura 1893 LE brakes feature Magura’s powerful 4-Piston calipers. The build is rounded out with a Chromag Trailmaster Ltd saddle and Chromag scarab pedals and then wrapped with one of Ridewrap’s tailored protection kits

Kona Dream Builds: Mactalla’s Choose Your Own Adventure Rove NRB

The folks at Mactalla Cycles have built up this super cool Kona Rove NRB DL for one of their regular customers. To say they are happy with how it turned out would be somewhat of an understatement.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

“The bike was built up as a weekend warrior, cyclocross ripper and all-around city commuter for a local woman in Vancouver looking to upgrade from her 20-year-old Brodie to something exciting and new. She wanted to stay with a local brand and support a local shop and was excited about being able to choose her configuration along the way. “

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Mactalla used a 2019 Rove NRB DL as the base for the build and started by adding a Praxis Alba M30 crankset, Shimano XT M8000 11-speed shifter with a matching rear derailleur and an 11-42 Shimano XT cassette. BBB’s Horizon 31.8 flat handlebars are home to Shimano XT M8000 brake levers mated to Shimano 105 R7000 flat mount calipers out back. The wheels are handbuilt WTB KOM i23’s rims, Shimano SLX hubs laced with Sapim Race spokes. The custom changes are rounded with a BBB Skyscraper seatpost, BBB Road Force stem, and WTB Byway 650bx47 tires.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

If you are curious as to how Mactalla were able to use the 15mm SLX hubs outfitted on this bike, they used PDX Ti’s brilliant 12-15mm thru-axle carbon adapter sleeve.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The bike feels nimble and speedy but feels planted to the ground in all the ways you need it to.

Connor Fearon Rides Honzo CR to Enduro Win

Over the weekend in Adelaide, South Australia, Gravity SA hosted a round of their 2019 Enduro Series and Kona Gravity Rider Connor Fearon showed up, but not on a Process as many would except, but on his carbon Honzo. He rode the aggressive carbon hardtail all the way to the top of the of the podium and beat long-time friend and rival Troy Brosnon.

We hit up Connor to find out exactly why he choose to race the Honzo, if there were any advantages or disadvantages and if he’d do it again.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Is this the first time you’ve raced a gravity event on your Honzo CR?

Yes, this was the first time I’ve raced my Honzo at an enduro event! I’ve raced the tracks at Fox Creek in Adelaide a lot of times over the years so I wanted to change things up and even the playing field with my friends who aren’t professional riders.

How long have you had the Honzo, what do you normally use it for?

I’ve had that Honzo CR for a year or more now, but I had a steel one before that which was sweet as well. I ride my Process bikes every day and sometimes I’m just bored of riding the same terrain so I grab the Honzo to change it up a bit. I mostly like riding it on tracks with jumps and flow.

Could you have pushed it more? Did you find the Honzo’s limits?

Yeah, there are a few spots I could have ridden the Honzo faster for sure. I hadn’t actually ridden the bike for a few months so I wasn’t that used to it. If I had more time on it I could go faster for sure.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Did you know you were in the lead at all during the day?

No, I didn’t know I was leading, but after the first couple of stages, I realized just how fast the bike could actually be. I honestly thought I would be battling for a mid-pack finish but pretty quickly I realized I was at no disadvantage!

Can you see yourself racing it again?

Lots of people think I’m racing a cross country bike but the Honzo is nothing like that. It’s built for going downhill and it was really fast. I think for a lot of the sections the Honzo was faster. It really opened my eyes to what a good hardtail is capable of.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Ready to buy your next hardtail race steed? Check out the full Honzo lineup here.

Kona Dream Builds: Ben’s Peruvian-Ready Sutra Ltd

Morgan Taylor

Morgan Taylor has just posted up a fantastic look at that Sutra Ltd that Ben Johnson took to Peru or his inaugural bike packing adventure.

“When most people think, ‘I’d like to take on my first bikepacking trip,’ they don’t think of going to the Peruvian Andes. Well, most people aren’t my friend Ben Johnson. Ben’s a filmmaker and a storyteller, and once an idea gets into his head, it’s hard to shake him of it.”

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Morgan played an integral role in helping equip Ben (a self-confessed amateur backpacker) and his bike for this massively ambitious and adventurous trip, his in-depth post is well worth checking out if you are at all bikepacking curious.

You can find the full bike check over on the Radavist here.

Must Watch: Admissions of an Amateur Bikepacker

Ben, from Johnson Studios, had the brilliant idea of bikepacking and self-filming a solo adventure in the Andes of Peru. He had zero bikepacking experience. He figured his biking and backpacking knowledge would simply become one making the journey a breeze! How hard could it be?? This short film is an attempt at an honest documentation of the victories and struggles of a solo first-time bikepack through a hi-altitude far off world.

Ben Johnson
Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Into The Woods: Ryan and Becky Gardner Take on The Dirty Sanchez

Aaron Lesieur

Sure, the invite-only Dirty Sanchez Enduro looks like a race on paper; top tier athletes, gnarly race courses, timing, start gates, the whole nine.  But those who have attended this party in the woods in Northern California, can all attest that the racing is just a backdrop for one of the most entertaining and full-on weekends of the year! From humble beginnings with just “11 guys getting drunk in the woods” (The Man, the Myth, the Legend Ron Sanchez) to over 120 racers from all over the world getting drunk in the woods with industry support, an RC car track, a whip off contest, a slalom course, moto screenings, spirit awards, memorabilia, and at least 15 side by side shuttle vehicles, TDS has become a full-on circus in the best way possible.

Kasey Carames

The pace is always turned to 11 and a good margin looser than any other event of the year. Full send is needed on every track to have any chance at a top 10 (there were over 20 DNF’s this year). This year Becky and Ryan had an incredible amount of fun, had some hero moments, and a few dirt samples… Just as TDS was meant to be. Thanks to the Sanchez Family and everyone else who makes this event a reality. It just goes to show how absolutely amazing the mountain biking community can be.

Kasey Carames

Kona Dream Builds: Jeff Builds himself a Honzo ST “Forever Bike”

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

Jeff grew up in Tucson, AZ, riding afternoons away with friends on dirt pump tracks they built themselves. The bikes are now bigger and days are longer but Jeff and his buddies are still just having fun riding bikes.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

When my last aluminum bike cracked back in June I decided I was ready for a change. I wanted something more fun than it was fast, comfortable for long days on the AZT, and sexy enough to keep forever. Something one-of-a-kind. I went to Nate at Blue Dog Bikes and said: “I wanna build a Honzo ST.” He looked at me and said “Cool man. 

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

This is the finished product! I couldn’t be happier! This thing chews up singletrack, looks good and just downright makes me happy! I think of this bike as my forever bike.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

WTB Asym i35s are laced to the Orange Hope Pro4 hubs. The stock 780mm Kona handlebar is clamped to a 70mm Kona stem. The bike is then doused with orange! There’s an orange Hope headset, Orange Hope floating disc 180mm rotors, and matching orange Hope Tech3 E4 brakes.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The 11spd drivetrain is Shimano XT Front and rear, with a Wolf Tooth 32T Powertrac chainring and a 10-42 SRAM cassette. As far as suspension goes the Honzo ST is rocking RockShox Pike RCT3 120mm DebonAir up front and then an e*thirteen TRS+ 170mm dropper outback. The whole build rolls on a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5 up front and out back you’ll find a Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.5.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

This bike chews up the Southern Arizona chunk. I couldn’t be happier. It was worth the wait!

Caleb Smith | KONA COG