Kona Ambassador Erkki Punttila has contributed quite a bit to Kona over the years. He’s the face to our Not Far From Home Series, which takes a look at bikepacking around the Lapland area of Finland, has penned several posts for the Cog, given us lots of great photography work. One thing we did not know is that Erkki is also a phenomenal artist.
For his winter submission, Erkii drew this really cool picture featuring his bikepacking rig- the Big Honzo. ” I wanted to create something a bit out of my comfort zone, so I picked up a bunch of markers instead of the usual camera. Here is my Big Honzo on a winter bike packing trip to the mountains. The outlines and shading are done with 0.3 and 0.1 liner pens and the colouring with Copic markers. The background aurora borealis photo is from Unsplash.com created by Isak Dalsfelt. ” Erkki Punttila
Kona Ambassador Shae James likes to do things a little differently and regularly tweaks her bikes to make them juuuust right. Enter BoB RoSS, the multi-dimensional Process 165. Here’s Shae’s take on her unconventional dream build.
“What the heck is that??” are the first words my new bike ever heard as I wheeled it out into the world for the first time. Words full of curiosity, but mostly bike lust. Not ‘What?’. But who?
This is BoB.
Short for Best of Both.
Bob is a Process 165 trail bike who, like a superhero, can quick change into a downhill bike.
But we’ll get to that later. Let’s take a closer look at Bob.
Bob has been upgraded to include a Sram GX Eagle drive train. While the cranks are the original NX arms, the rest of the drivetrain is GX.
In addition to a new drive train, Bob has also received a set of Santa Cruz Reserve 37 Carbon Wheels with DT Swiss 350 Hubs. Light as a feather, stiff as a board. These big shoes are tied with two Maxxis Minion DHF tires 27.5 X 2.6.
With this set up, I’ll be able to ride anything, and everything, every day of the week.
Monday through FreeRide-Day.
Oh, it’s Sendy Saturday?
Now it’s time to meet Bob’s twin, ROSS.
Short for Rig of Super Steeze.
Ross is a Process 165 with a dual crown Marzocchi Bomber 58 that has been lowered to 190mm and locked into place with a Truvativ Descendant direct mount stem.
Kona handlebars and grips accompany the original Sram Code R that is still in place for Bob’s front brake, but Ross gets the upgrade of Sram Code RSC brakes for the front, and rear.
The final touch, is unclipping the KS Lev Integra, and sliding the cable into the belly of a Kona seat post topped with a Chromag Overture Brandon Semenuk Seat.
Now those matchy green Kona Wah Wah pedals are really calling for your feet.
If all of this wasn’t enticing enough, the cross over from Bob to Ross, takes about the same time as changing a set of brake pads.
But to me, this dream build was about more than just convenience and parts.
I wanted a bike that fit me, and my riding style. This bike is meant to be fast, but fun. To pedal around gates and hit the big stuff, yet be playful enough to encourage creativity and trickery.
I’ve added my signature touch to really affirm the originality of this steed. A set of custom decal stickers in coral and dark green metal. The finishing touch is a personally designed head badge that has signed all of my bikes throughout the years.
To me, a dream build is the bike you’re riding in all of your day dream stunts.
Kona gravity team rider Miranda Miller finished in a solid sixth place on Wednesday aboard her Process 153 in the Air Downhill race at Crankworx Rotorua. Miller, whose primary focus is the Enduro World Series, was thrilled with her placing and looking forward to practicing for the EWS race, which starts tomorrow.
Up next for the Kona team is Speed and Style with Caleb Holonko, happening today. You can stay up to date with all Kona team riders and the events with our Crankworx Post here.
“For those skeptical action-oriented new parents out there, it turns out that cargo biking is a way, for me at least, to experience a terrific oxymoron: to step out of one comfort zone while staying completely comfortable. That is to say, my comfort zone on two wheels typically involves some element of performance, speed, distance or other mix of benign masochism. It was gratifying to have none of those elements, save for the 100-pound bike to lug up the hills, yet still have every bit as much fun on this trip as I had on pre-kiddo outings. Instead of being stressful, I found it satisfying to feel the responsibility of our family outside the comfort of home. And like any backpacker has experienced, we were energized by the simple act of traveling under our own power with all of our needs at hand.”
Crankworx Rotorua kicks off TODAY in New Zealand, marking the official start to the 2019 season. We have finally dug ourselves out from piles of snow here in the PNW, our wheels are back on dirt, and we’re all excited to watch our newly minted gravity/enduro team kick off their season!
Here’s a complete list of our Kona team riders and their schedules, as well as a few other folks we think are worth watching this week. All times are listed in Pacific Standard Time
Kona Ambassador Kate Meyer is no stranger to ripping DH laps. The Bend, Oregon racer has been turning the heads of photographers with her effortless style and aggressive riding for years. We are thrilled to have Kate riding an Operator CR this year because we know she’ll do it justice. Kate recently paired up with Bend photographer Trevor Lyden to show off her gorgeous Dream Build.
I’ve had my eyes on the Operator for some time now, but at 5’4” I was worried the medium frame would be too big for me. I decided to just go for it and create my dream build.
The 2019 Operator CR comes specced with 29″ wheels but can be converted to 27.5” thanks to chainstay adjustment and a flip-chip on the rocker link. So I had some Spank 350 Vibrocore hoops built up with Hope Tech Pro 4 DH hubs and switched over to a Fox Factory 40 27.5” fork.
I set the eccentric headset cups to the backward position to minimize the reach and swapped the stem out for a 40mm Hope Tech stem.
I added the sexy PNW Components Range handlebar and the tried and true Hope Tech 3 V4 brakes with 200mm floating rotors (in all black, of course)
I’m trying out some Panaracer tires and always have my CushCore tire inserts. And the cherry on top… a Wu-Tang sticker to remind me to always keep it gangster.
It’s the time of year when winter begins to blend into spring. We start to look at our skis and bikes at the same time and wonder if there’s a way we can enjoy both things at once. Kona Ambassador Colt Fetters has it all figured out and filmed Hannah Birdsong an avid skier and cyclist doing her daily commute—the Colorado Commute—combining skis and bikes to get around town.
Mother nature needs some etiquette lessons. This snowy slushy BS is out of control. Yes, I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes as you read this because you live in places that get feet and feet of snow constantly and you are hardened winter warriors. I am not. So when it snows I run through this odd range of emotions. It goes a little something like this.
It’s so pretty!
It’s so fun riding in snow!
Wow. It’s still snowing.
When is it going to stop?
Guess I’ll ride the trainer for the 4th day in a row.
Ugh this needs to stop.
It stopped…and now it’s frozen.
Back on the trainer.
A week later and it’s still frozen.
More trainer. More intervals while it snows. Again.
A month later and it’s still frozen.
Shit. Maybe I should pick up splitboarding.
I bought a splitboard!
It’s still frozen/snowing/snaining. Splitboarding is fun!
I miss my bike.
The trainer is not my bike.
I’ll ride my road bike!
Road biking is terrifying!
Back on the trainer.
My feet are blistered from touring and now bleeding on the trainer.
When is this going to melt?!
This is like a really long form of weather-grieving. I’m not sure what stage I’m in. Looking at the forecast gives me hope. It says next Monday will be 63 degrees. Dear God that’s bikini weather! Reality is, this training program has been hard to decipher the last six weeks due to unprecedented snow and freezing in Bellingham. We, quite simply, don’t get this kind of weather here and we don’t ever really plan for it. So as a collective, mountain bikers are going batshit crazy trying to figure out how and where to ride.
As the snow does slowly melt, what’s left behind is virtual minefield of slop and damaged trail. Hoar frost six inches thick has completely uprooted our fragile soil. Mud with the consistency of peanut butter is inches deep as snow continues to drain and soften the earth. The first hint of dirt is exciting, but a false positive. The trails are so damaged that they need time, and patient Lacy is champing at the bit to ride. Regardless of how much I want to pedal on that dirt, I know that riding will only make things worse and continue to further damage the trails.
So at the advice of many of you and my friends that constantly nag me about not partaking in “real winter sports,” I went out and blew my bank account on a touring set up so I can splitboard. Skinning uphill isn’t too different from pedaling, so I’ve just been embracing the beauty of the cold sunny days in the mountains, pretending that I enjoy it as much as I do riding my bike. I may have fooled myself for a while, but deep down my need for loam lingers strong and I have zero standard to compare my fitness to on snow.
Spencer understands the challenges of the weather, so he’s tried to accommodate all of his clients as much as possible. He’s not just the trainer here, either. He has a pretty full calendar of events he’s also trying to train for, so we’ve had several chats about just how to deal with this conundrum. It’s not just as simple as “switch sports and enjoy the winter.” He’s devised a bit of a work around for me. Since sitting on the trainer for four consecutive days can start to be pretty arduous, he’s now made my program more flexible. There aren’t hard dates or deadlines for anything. Instead it’s pack in more endurance when I can. Do intervals as prescribed on days that make the most sense. Stretch. A lot. Eat well and eat enough. Most of all he’s reiterated to me so many times how important it is that I am having fun. He’s written in splitboarding days as part of my training because I don’t care what anyone says, skinning is freaking hard!
Still, splitboarding isn’t biking, and it’s really hard to judge my growth from spinning on a trainer or even riding a road bike. Mountain biking is just so unique with it’s constant undulation and need for fast-twitch responses, so when people ask me if this program is working, I honestly don’t have a good response for them. I’m sure I’ve gotten stronger in some capacity, since I’ve been diligent with my workouts, but I haven’t been able to put it to the test since my last big ride January. I’m clinging to a bunch of intangibles and the knowledge that I’ve put in the work. The physical part has been the easy part. The mental part has been the hardest for me. Struggling to stay motivated through the last six weeks has been a test of patience and stamina. Telling myself I’m getting stronger with no proof of said improvement is a mind game that I have to play to move forward. It’s been a test of mental mettle.
It snowed at my house again this morning. I cursed Ullr for his constant mockery of the impending spring. But all is not lost. The forecast is promising. The snow will melt. We’ll all pull our pasty bodies out of the shadows and experience dirt again soon. It’s almost harder as the sun is out longer and the temperatures warm up and we still can’t ride. It’s a giant tease. I guess I’ll take this time to do one or two more trainer workouts, clean my bike and get it all ready to be caked in mud for the weekend.
Barry McWilliams is an American graphic designer living in Berlin. A long-time cyclist, he cruises all around town aboard his Jake, and soon will be on a Libre DL. Barry put together these cool little graphics to help illustrate how he stays warm while riding during the winter months.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word “tour” is : a journey for business, pleasure, or education often involving a series of stops and ending at the starting point. I suppose this definition accurately breaks down the components of why I am addicted to bike tours and ski touring.
First, I can say the business of both is to challenge my physical and mental strength. Staying fit as I grow older, held down with work and obligations, becomes more of a task that I must strategically integrate into my lifestyle to maintain success. So why not ditch the car or chairlift and earn those turns!? The business of sitting in traffic jams and long lift lines is also not something that I care to engage in.
Next, the pleasure of a tour is indeed hard to deny. I am of the belief that there is nothing more pleasurable than feeling my heart pounding while I torpedo down black, brown or white POW. On tours, adrenaline-endorsed hill bombs and terrifyingly steep couloirs and cliff drops are brilliantly complemented by the long and meditative journey to the objective. Allowing my mind to clear and focus on sounds of my own breath, the stroke of my pedals and the clicking of my splitboard bindings while I quietly travel through space gets replaced by the scream of rushing wind and the mental silence of pinpoint focus as I fly down mountains on my chosen toys. It is the journey that provides me these juxtaposed pleasures for the mind and body, both of which remind me how brilliant it is to be alive.
Finally, the education of a tour is something to not glaze over. On bike tours, I am acutely oberving and engaging within the changing environments and ecosystems I pass through. My body feels nuances of the terrain and climate, while I simultaneously absorb the diverse sights, sounds and smells of a place, reviving golden senses that I so frequently sacrifice to technology and automation. Likewise, a ski tour encourages me to study terrain and climate in a scientific demeanor that is lost to the average lift rider. When we ski tour, we assess slope aspects, snow quality and climate trends. We scrutenize our surroundings as we punch through fresh snow and we listen for movement. Touring provides me opportunities to intimately engage within and learn from these magnificent environments in which I play.
Above all, I find that I am most drawn to the element of simplicity that pairs both bike touring and ski touring. The ability to carry all that I need to eat, sleep, live and play on while moving through vast lands at moderate speed with a quantitively low expulsion of energy is just plain magnificent. My scrappy legs transform into powerful pistons that can take me to far more interesting places than a car or lift will ever be capable of. In turn, when weather windows open and ice clears from the roads, There is nothing more pleasurable than strapping my splitboard, hammock and Jetboil onto my Kona Sutra and venturing to the hills.
Today is International Women’s Day. While we think it’s fantastic to honor women and what they’ve brought to the sport, we think it’s important to do this every day—and not just on this one day. Kona is fortunate to have an amazing crew of women woven throughout the fabric of our brand, both internally and externally. Here are a few of the women that we’re proud to call family.
In the House!
If Kona were actually a bicycle, it’s safe to say that women are the drivetrain. Our administrative team is made up almost entirely of women. They do our finances, our forecasting, work directly with our factories, ensure all vendors are paid and keep the money coming in. Without our administrative team, we’d be nothing but a run bike, and run bikes don’t climb mountains very easily. A huge shout out to Jen Studer (who very seriously runs the show), Katie Lowe, Jackie Goodall, Cristina Callahan, Angela Staton, Debbie Smith, Willie Edwards and Myra Schimscal.
Outside of administration, we’ve got some big personalities in sales and marketing with Amanda Bryan and Lacy Kemp. Amanda is our territory manager for D.C., Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, W. Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and helped start the Kona Supremes team. Lacy Kemp, our Communications Manager, spends her time at Kona and outside of Kona writing everything. She’s also pretty addicted to riding her Process as much as possible.
Around the Globe!
We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of women in biking beyond the walls of Kona’s offices and are proud to have top-notch women headlining our race teams. Miranda Miller kicks off her enduro season this weekend in Windrock, TN. The Canadian downhill World Champion brings style, personality, and speed to every track she his. Along with Miranda, our enduro program features Aussie pinner Shelly Flood who corners better than you, and Bellingham’s Hannah Bergemann, who can go head to head in a game of B.I.K.E. against anyone and have a damn good shot at winning.
And, just because it’s not cyclocross season doesn’t mean we forget about the super strong women that flew the Kona flag this year. Rebecca Fahringer had her strongest pro season yet as part of the Kona Maxxis Shimano CX team, finishing with a 16th place at World Championships. Additionally, the Team S&M CX out of Portland is a powerhouse women’s cyclocross team that had massive success on the circuit this year, including a national championship by Clara Honsinger. It’s safe to say women’s CX is growing at a strong rate, and we are proud to be a part of that story.
Beyond the race tape, we’re proud to support women from all around the globe as a part of our Kona Ambassador program. We have been blown away by the contributions of these women over the past couple of months and are so excited to see what they have in store! The women ambassadors are artists, world travellers, engineers, scientists, teachers, and activists. Some race professionally, some are major community stewards, while some are breaking barriers on inclusivity in sports. They all have one thing in common, they’re all badass women that exemplify progression in the sport and show a true passion for cycling.
On behalf of all of us at Kona, we salute you all for being a part of our family! Happy International Women’s Day!
Freeriding in an area which is normally not rideable but smoothed by tons of snow? It makes more sense with skis but let’s try it with the bike.
Together with photographer Christian Frumolt I travelled down south to check out a cool area in Graubuenden, Switzerland close to the Berninapass. Chris knew that place from a Photo trip he did a year ago. With the idea to ride some freeride lines I brought my Operator for this trip to the high alpine mountains.
We were on our way to the zone after an early wake up alarm. As we stepped out of the car we got freshed up by a heavy wind. With the rising sun the wind calmed down a bit and we started to shoot. The warm days, the wind and the cold nights packed the snow well, which helped alot to make it possible to ride down on top of this deep snow.
The hard surface was grippy but at the same time
it was tricky not to catch some soft spots and get thrown over the handlebars.
A few hours later the sun was high up and we called it for that morning
After a short Coffee to warm up we drove to the next spot. There is this red train which winds its way through the mountains. It´s called the Bernina express. We wanted to get a shot together with the train. After we checked the timetable we had a time window for when the train would come.
It was a mean waiting game with the heavy cold wind and the below-freezing temperatures. Chris and I were freezing cold and I wanted to quit… but Chris was sure that the train would come the next minute. And so it was. I rushed back and rode down. In the end the shot came together.
The next day we went skiing on that white stuff and enjoyed another facet of the winter.