Morgan Taylor

“A playful, smooth ride at a reasonable price” – VeloNews on the Kona Wheelhouse

VeloNews has featured the Reynolds 853 Wheelhouse in their recent Buyer’s Guide. The Wheelhouse’s steel frame and disc brakes stand out on a road bike, making it a unique choice with the unmistakable Kona ride.

“Riding the Wheelhouse is just plain fun. The steel frame is an anachronism amid all the carbon bikes in this Buyer’s Guide, but that’s okay. It offers a playful, smooth ride at a reasonable price.”

Read the full writeup at VeloNews.

Roos op de Beek Wins Belgian National Championship on Her Kona Operator

Kona Grassroots rider Roos op de Beeck has won the Elite Women’s Belgian National Downhill Championships in Bouillon in Belgium’s Ardennes region. Besides winning the national title she took also the overall win in Bouillon in the Lotto DH1 series. Having won the first round of the Lotto DH1 series in Chaudfontaine, Roos is the overall leader in the series. Congrats Roos!

Photos by Luc Delhaye.

Good Living and Good Times in Arizona with the Kona Adventure Team

The Kona Adventure Team has recently published a big photo story from their trip to Arizona for the first of the Epic Rides Triple Crown – the Whiskey 50 – and a multi-day bikepacking adventure on the Prescott Circle Trail. The Adventure Team is predicated on the idea that traveling to races provides the opportunity to slow things down and see another side of the places that host events. So far, it seems to be working!

“We travel for more than just racing nowadays. We travel for mountain biking and seeing the world and bringing our friends along for the ride. For some of us this is a vacation from work, for others, it’s an evolution away from the height of our competitive careers, and for a couple, it’s a route towards the next peak. For all of us, it’s good living and good times.”

Check out a few more photos from Patrick Means below, and the full photo story on Pinkbike.

 

Nostalgia-Free: Pizza & Bikes at the 2017 Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Festival

Our Endurance Team is deep into the 2017 spring season and this weekend are in Grand Junction, CO for Round 2 of the Epic Rides triple crown. They’ll be putting their Hei Hei DLs to the test across the rugged terrain of the Grand Mesa. Leading up to this weekend, team rider Spencer Paxson clues us in on a fantastic event held close to Kona’s home in BC, with some special heritage dating back to Kona’s founding individuals. Stay tuned for more action from the Endurance Team as this weekend unfolds. 

Words by Spencer Paxson. Photos by James Lissimore and Scott Robarts.

Before there were trails at Vedder Mountain, there was pizza and mountain biking. The year was 1984 and it was the first “unofficial” Canadian MTB Championships, comprised of a group of cyclists from Deep Cove and the BFJCC, including the eventual co-founder of Kona Bicycles.  The winner was Alex Stieda, who would go on to become a 2-time Olympian and, in 1986, the first North American to lead to Tour de France.  The route began in Yarrow and finished near Cultus Lake with après celebrations planned at Beethoven’s Pizza off the Columbia Valley Highway.

Today there is still pizza and mountain biking at Vedder Mountain.  Beethoven’s has endured and the trails have evolved.  In fact, the mountain bike community in the Fraser Valley (Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association) has grown in the last three decades to create a trail system that may be as timeless and pleasurable as a hot slice of pizza pie.  And so on the weekend of May 6-7, 2017, hundreds of cyclists and their friends flocked to the lakeshore for two days of mountain bike racing.  Day 1 was the Vedder Mountain Classic, a historic marathon cross-country race birthed from the original event held in 1984.  Day 2 was the Fraser Valley Enduro, a multi-stage downhill trail race and part of the more recent BC Enduro Cup and North American Enduro Tour.

During the post-race interview on Saturday, I was asked what is special about racing in this part of world.  My on-the-spot answer spoke plainly to the sense of fun, community and great trails that are so abundant in BC.  After the interview I had a further thought.  I’ve only been racing mountain bikes since 1998, around the time when the Vedder Classic went on a 16-year hiatus.  That said, I’ve raced all around the world since then, and have grown up with this sport and lived and breathed its evolution as a core participant.  What’s special about racing in this part of British Columbia is that there is no nostalgia around it.  The heritage and the heroes are still there, some are still fast as hell, all are still stoked, and some even share podiums with their children.  There’s no pretense to riding or racing here, no matter your skill level, and no need to waste time on reflecting on how it used to be, because in BC, mountain biking and racing just is.  It’s a f*@#% good time!

So, thirty-three years after the first event, it seemed fitting that a few of us representing the now globally recognized Kona Bicycles brand could collect a few accolades.  I took the win in the marathon XC ahead of rising star Rhys Verner in 3rd, long-time Kona Legend Kris Sneddon smiling from mid-pack, and second-generation Kona Employee and core newcomer Seth Cox.  On Sunday, young Rhys showed us all how the new-schoolers get it done with a top-10 overall in the enduro, while I donned my goggles-and-a-half-shell to earn second fastest overall time in the XC + Enduro combined.  It was worth a few extra slices from Beethoven’s, and with specks of Vedder’s loamy trails and pizza grease on my face, I headed home happy and ready for more.

Demo Tour Kona 2017 au Québec!

Kona s’en vient au Québec, avec des vélos plein sa musette ! c’est le moment de venir essayer les vélos dont vous avez tant entendu parler dans les médias, du Hei Hei Trail DL au Roadhouse en passant par le Hei Hei DL et même le Honzo en Titane.

Contactez votre shop local pour plus d’infos, rides organisés, horaires et locations. N’oubliez pas vos pédales, casques et lumières si vous voulez venir rouler de nuit avec nous. Dakine sera aussi de la partie et tout le long de la tournée, un concours photos avec plein de trucs à gagner.

Bien plus que juste essayer un vélo, venez découvrir ce qui fait la réputation de Kona, des rides funs avec des riders fun ! Veuillez-vous referez au flyer ci-dessous.

Kristien Achten Wins Transvesubienne on Her Kona Hei Hei

Kristien Achten of Swooth MTB Shop in Belgium has found redemption on the course at Transvesubienne. Kristien found herself in 2nd place at the end of the 2016 race and, setting Transvesubienne as a main target for 2017, took her Kona Hei Hei to victory in both the Prologue and the main race. While XC races are usually won on the climbs, Kristien notes that her carbon Hei Hei also lets her ride away from her competitors on the descents. For the rest of us, that stacks up to a competition-ready bike that is a lot of fun on the trail! Congrats Kristien!

Photos courtesy Art Reflex Photography.

James Rennie Finds the Silver Lining at the Vedder Mountain Enduro

Words by James Rennie. Photo James Cattanach 

When racing, sometimes things don’t go to plan. You can do everything you can to make sure your bike and body are in tip top shape, yet the result at the end of the day shows none of that effort. The first two races of the 2017 season for me certainly haven’t gone to plan!

The 2017 season kicked off with the Pemberton Enduro which is always a favourite of mine, even if I haven’t had the best track record there. This year the PORCA team laid on another great course with a mix of new trails and old favourites. I however got a little too excited in practice and found myself nursing a very bruised and swollen hand which forced me to pull out after the first stage. You win again Pemberton.

After a week of rest and ice my hand was almost back to 100% and ready for the first round of the Canadian Enduro Series at Vedder Mountain, this race also doubled as the first round of the North American Enduro Tour which meant the pro field consisted of 40 riders!

If you haven’t been, Vedder Mountain is a must ride. Its plentiful amount of dirt alone is worth the trip. The course this year was much the same as last year with the addition of a short loam trail to start the day off. This was then followed by the same 3 stages as last year which in total would add up to over 30 minutes of racing with the last stage getting close to the 15 minute mark!

The day started well for me as I fired into the first short stage and found a good flow on the bike, this stage probably wouldn’t decide the race but it was a nice warm up for what was going to be a rather long day. I posted the 4th fastest time on the stage and felt in good shape for stage 2.

Stage 2 would prove to be my undoing. After riding the steep top section fast and in control I started to build some good speed and hit the short climb a few minutes into the stage with a good amount of pace. I then entered the tight middle section and felt great but managed to snag my derailleur exiting a rut, I thought I had got away with it until the cage started to fall to pieces about 30 seconds further down the trail.

At that point I conceded defeat and contemplated rolling back down to the car, my day done, but after watching a few of the guys rip past me I thought ‘this dirt is too good not to ride’ so I hustled a chain breaker and binned by broken drivetrain at the feed station. I raced the rest of the day chainless and even managed a 19th place finish on the 3rd stage even though I had to run and push through a flat and soft lower section.

All in all it wasn’t a total waste. The trails were running perfect and I finished the race having ridden all the stages surrounded by good group of people (some of which even pushed me up the hill), hard to complain really.

Elliot Smith – A Boy With a Coin

Kona’s Caleb Smith lives in Squamish with his wife and three kids. Elliot is the eldest of the Smith kids at 14, soon to overtake his (very tall) dad in height – but as you’ll see with this video he’s no doubt already left him in the dust on the trails.

The perks of having a dad in the bike world who’s pretty handy behind the lens, Elliot gets to shred a Process 153 on Squamish’s rough and rugged trails, and to plan and film a pro-caliber video at 14 years old.

So, in their spare time over the past year or so, Elliot and Caleb set out to film, all based around Iron & Wine’s A Boy With a Coin. The concept, perfectly executed. Nice work Elliot (and Dad). Enjoy!

Fat Biking the Beaches, Bogs, and Cliffs of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

“And you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles” – Flann O’Brien, Irish novelist and playwright, The Third Policeman

Kona friend Garry Davoren of MBW Bikes has been keeping busy helping out his local tourism board with his enthusiasm for exploring all terrain on his Wo and Wozo fat bikes. Here’s a short video; check out the full story at the Wild Atlantic Way.