Morgan Taylor

Ups and Downs with the Kona Gravity Team and the 2017 World Cup DH Season

The 2017 World Cup season was one of ups and downs for the Kona Gravity team. There was much to look forward to with Connor Fearon coming off a great 2016 season, Josh Button and Tegan Molloy anticipating the World Championships on home turf, and young gun Anthony Poulson seeking to improve upon his last year’s results.

Throughout the season, the team was supported by team manager and all-star mechanic Mathieu Dupelle, keeping track of the team’s logistics and ensuring their new Operators were as perfect as could be for timed runs. A team is only as strong as their support crew, and Dupelle does a hell of a job for our team not only on race weekends but throughout the year.

With three of our four Pro DH riders hailing from Australia, the World Championships in Cairns was not only a focus for the season, but a highlight for all. Below we’ve compiled a short recap of the 2017 World Cup DH season from each of the four riders’ perspectives with photos from Boris Beyer. Enjoy.


Dupelle and the team after Mathieu’s victory at the Boxxer World Championships in Cairns.


Connor Fearon

Coming off my best World Cup season ever, I had big expectations of myself coming into 2017. My off-season was really productive, I felt fit and made a few changes with my bike setup – the biggest of which was moving up to a large size frame which felt perfect after a couple months of riding. I was riding the updated version of the Operator as well which had a few small but good improvements. Our off-season is very long so by the time Lourdes came around I was excited to go racing.

Lourdes was definitely the highlight of my season this year. The track is always fun and pretty gnarly, it was pretty much the same as the last two years apart from a couple new loam sections. I didn’t qualify very well at Lourdes. I don’t really know why but I just had a really average run. In finals I was able to put together a really good run and come away with 5th place. Being on the podium is the best feeling ever and it was awesome to come to the first race of the season with the number 5 plate and leave with the number 5 plate.

Round 2 was Fort William. It’s not my favorite track with heaps of gnarly rocks, lots of straight sections and the mud bog in the middle. That said it’s the hardest track physically and technically, and also presents a high risk of injury because it’s so fast the whole way down. I ended up 8th, my personal best result for Fort William, which I was stoked with. My time was pretty close to the podium times as well. So for a track I’ve always battled with it was definitely a boost of confidence knowing I’m improving on last year’s results.

After a 10th place at Leogang we headed to Andorra where my season would take a turn for the worst. On a really good run which should have seen me easily inside the top 10 again, I crashed in the second-to-last corner and I broke one of my fingers pretty badly. I still got 28th which was a pretty good result considering a huge crash. I tried to ride the next week at Lenzerheide but I just couldn’t deal with the pain/loss of grip strength in my hand. After Lenzerheide I got my hand checked out and actually needed to get surgery to put wires in my finger. That would put me out for the rest of the World Cups which was devastating. Injury is something that’s hard to avoid in this sport, yet I hadn’t missed a World Cup since 2011 – a pretty good run.

I made the decision to come back and try to race World Champs in Cairns. I had the best looking World Champs bike ever and racing and riding in my home country in front of a home crowd is something I’ll never forget. After 6 weeks of not riding any bikes or training properly, along with my hand not being fully healed yet, it quickly became apparent to me that I couldn’t ride anywhere near my full potential here. My goal became to just have fun and not crash and re-break my not-yet-fully-healed finger. I finished 24th which was actually better than I thought I could do considering the circumstances. I was pretty disappointed with the whole situation but apart from the result it was an awesome week back on the bike.


Josh Button

Another year of World Cup racing is complete. For me, it was a really tough one.

Lourdes started me off with a decent result, I was happy, and I was ready to build off of that. Unfortunately, a knee injury during my time at home before Fort William, left me having an arthroscopy, 4 days before flying out. So I was sidelined for round 2.

The next 3 rounds, I felt like I was playing catch up, my mentality wasn’t there. I felt OK in practice, but come race run, I just couldn’t find that intensity that you need. I had a really good break in Bromont before the next few races. I put flat pedals on, rode my bike every day, and just tried to get back to basics.

Mont Sainte Anne rolled around, and I felt much, much better. I was pushing myself in practice, trying lines, and being a whole lot more playful on my bike. Race run though, I was still having these “average” runs, and I knew it was all my race mentality and confidence.

We decided to sit out the final World Cup Round after Connor’s injury, which I was happy with, considering I had more time to prepare for World Champs in Cairns. Cairns rolled around, I really enjoy that track. I felt very comfortable all weekend, I felt I had a good result in me for sure. All my practices went really well, I was ready. Unfortunately, a little off track excursion up the top, and a small crash at the bottom, prevented any result from me. I was gutted!

I’m assuming I am just putting too much pressure on myself, because these stupid mistakes are happening even when I’m not pushing hard. I will spend the next few months reflecting on my season, working out what I need to do to sort myself out, and hopefully plan some races for next season.

Thanks again to Kona and all our supporters, you guys rock!


Tegan Molloy

There are lots of highs and lows as this season draws to a close. This season has been a tough one for me. With a new UCI rule change that now only allows the top 15 women to qualify for racing I had my work cut out for me. After not qualifying in the first couple of World Cups I struggled mentally to be able to put together a qualifying run decent enough to even be allowed to race. I had a solid training regime over the southern summer so I knew I could do it, although my results did not reflect this.

Changing things up a bit this year I took on a few EWS rounds including New Zealand, Tasmania and Whistler, this was a new challenge. I had lots of fun practicing as a team, getting lost, and riding some sweet new trails. Crankworx Les Gets was one of my favorite races this season. I hadn’t been to Morzine/ Les Gets before but the track used for the downhill race was really good. With fast open grass turns, a super fun woods section and a few jumps in the mix, it was a super fun track to ride and race. I would jump at the opportunity to race there again.

I really enjoyed riding my DH bike in Bromont in between races, and not having to travel back to Australia was beneficial as riding back home is not an option due to the winter season. Mont Saint Anne was my best World Cup result this year as it was the only race where I qualified and had the chance to throw down a race run. I only wish I could have done this consistently throughout the season.

Being selected to race World Champs at home in Australia was definitely a highlight for me this season. Racing a World Championship is pretty special and is quickly made even more special on home turf. The crowd was ecstatic and having lots of friends and family there to support me was awesome. I didn’t produce the run I had in my head but at the end of the day I gave it 100% and came away with 12th. The atmosphere at this race was electric and something that I will not forget in my racing career.

A big thank you to everyone who has continued to support me; I appreciate being a part of the Kona Family and the experiences it has given me.


Anthony Poulson

The 2017 season surely had some good highs and good lows but overall I’m happy with how it went. I didn’t get all the results written on paper but became a way better rider than I was before. I got my best ever World Cup result at my home race in Mont Sainte Anne, where I finished in 14th. I also had a podium finish at Crankworx Whistler.

My World Championships race run was going well too with top 20 splits but I went down near the end. Still one of my best races this season, the track was good and the weather was perfect. I was bummed to leave Cairns with no results but it definitely gave me some good motivation for next season and my move into the Elite category knowing the speed is there.

I’ll be making sure I will be the best I can be mentally and physically coming into the first race next season. I’m happy with my results this year but feel like I could have done it more often and even better – I just need to figure everything out to be the racer I want to be and to be consistent. Really happy to have the Junior years behind me and excited to go race against the big guys next year.


Keep up with Connor, Josh, Tegan, and Anthony on Instagram.

“Always up for a trail party…” NSMB.com’s Long Term Review of the Kona Operator DL

NSMB.com has just published their long term review of our Operator DL after joining us at our Retallack launch of the new 27.5″ platform last year. After nearly a year with the bike including lots of time at Whistler Mountain Bike Park, reviewer Tim Coleman was impressed by the Operator’s durability and fun factor.

“The Operator felt stiff in every direction, which works well with my riding style. I think all these choices by Kona fit the design philosophy and geometry of the Operator. All the decisions are middle of road, nothing extreme in any one direction. All pointed cohesively towards one goal; a fun and accessible downhill bike that most folks can go out and enjoy.”

Read the full review at NSMB.com.

Helen Wyman and the Kona Super Jake Find the Podium in Belgium

Helen Wyman is off to a strong start this season after a broken collarbone dashed her hopes of staying at the top of the European cyclocross pack last year. Riding the new Super Jake, Helen’s picked up her first podium back on European soil after the 2017-2018 World Cup season got started in the US.

Scroll down for Helen’s report from Neerpelt and Gieten, and her quick 1-minute CX Diaries videos from those races.

“A big weekend of racing to get the body back into the European season, I took on two events in Belgium and Holland.  Neerpelt UCI C2, and the first round of the Superprestige series.  I’m happy with the performance and results and it’s always really nice to be on the podium.  Next weekend is another two-race weekend with both events in Belgium this time as we return to the DVV series.”  – Helen Wyman

CX Diaries: Kona Pro Helen Wyman to Produce Short Video Series All Season Long

Words by Helen Wyman.

CX Diaries are my way of bringing you closer to the action as I take on the 2017/18 season. Cyclocross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle sport, but you can’t always be events, so I want you to be able to see the true ups and downs of racing through a professional season in USA and Europe.

This season I’ll be taking on the world’s best riders in the UCI World Cup series as well as key events throughout Europe. Aiming to return to the top 10 of the ranking, my video diaries will be an honest account of my race season and I through them I will give you race updates, technical features and an insight into the life of a pro racer.

After a low-key kick off in Eeklo, Belgium, the season gets serious quickly with back-to-back World Cups in the USA. My race in Eeklo was curtailed with a corner 3 crash. That’s racing, but it was a frustrating start and meant a solo ride for me from nearly 2 minutes down. I rode back into the top 20, before packing the equipment up and taking off for the USA only a few hours later.

The USA campaign kicked off with a UCI C1 event in Iowa City, where I finished 4th, and recorded the first CX Diary, quickly followed up by the second:

Riding the newly released Super Jake, I’m looking to gain progressive results throughout the season, as I put the 2016-17 season of crashes and injuries behind me. I’ll be based in Oudenaarde, Belgium, during the main part of the season, with the European World Cups taking me to Denmark, Germany, Holland, France and of course the CX heartland of Belgium. Czech Republic is the venue for the European Championships, in early November as we build towards the World Championships in January.

Keep up with the CX Diaries series on Helen’s Vimeo page.

Hey Montana! The Kona Demo Tour is Coming Through!

The Kona Demo Tour is on the road with the new Process G2 in both 27.5 and 29, Hei Hei Trail, Rove NRB, and Remote. Wanna see when we’ll be in your neck of the woods? Head over to our Demo Tour Page.

This weekend we’ve got four demo dates in Montana: Whitefish, Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings. See the flyers below for details, and keep yourself up to date through the Events page on the Kona Facebook.




Kona’s Leah Maunsell is 2017 Irish National Champion in Both Enduro and Downhill!

Here’s an update from Irish Kona Pro Leah Maunsell, who’s proud to hold the 2017 Elite Women’s National Championship in both Enduro and Downhill. Congrats, Leah!

This year my brother Jonathan and I were delighted to have the opportunity to return to the Kona Bikes Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis at the beginning of August. Jonathan acted as coach and I was the Kona Bikes Women’s Ambassador. I jumped at the opportunity to ride with and race against the best young girls in the world!

I really like the structure of the camp: it not only teaches the kids bike skills and how to approach racing but also that racing is not the be all and end all. Si Paton was on hand with loads of really helpful information for the kids about racing.

We also enjoy lots of off the bike activities during the week which are very entertaining. We spent an evening at the fun park at 1,800 metres altitude and and then took the “Flitzer” rail toboggan back down to the town. It is such an action packed week! I personally do think that the race is a nice way to finish up the week though! I really enjoy the challenging race track they have there. I was happy to finish 3rd U19 Women against the best up and coming European downhillers!

I did an Interview about our trip to the Kona Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis which is now up on Pinkbike.


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

Next up on the schedule was the Irish Enduro National Champs in Carrick, Co. Wicklow, on August 19-20. Carrick is home to the Emerald Enduro – a round of the Enduro World Series for the past 3 years – so to me it is a special place to have our National Champs. It is one of my favourite riding spots in the country and I was so eager to get out and ride there for the first time since the very wet EWS round back in May.

After a fast and dry practice day I was so excited to get racing! With rain forecasted for the afternoon I was happy with my early morning seeded position. It would be a mission to beat the rain! Despite a crash on Stage 3 I managed to keep it clean for the remainder of the day. I took 5 out the 6 stage wins. I was delighted to retain my National Title by taking the win in Elite Women. So that leaves me as 2017 Irish National Champion in both Enduro and Downhill – stoked on that! And all on my Kona Process 153 DL, what a capable machine!

After that it was a round of the Irish Downhill Series so close to my door in Mallow, Co. Cork it was hard to miss. During Saturday morning practice the track was bone dry but with the classic Irish rain in the forecast for the afternoon that dry track wasn’t going to last long. Lo and behold the rain came in and changed up the track. The open top section became quite greasy but the lower wood section really turned in to an ice-like layer of mud! This section claimed the most victims of the weekend and wasn’t long being christened ‘Carnage Corner’ I took a spill there myself during Sunday practice but luckily I was ok. I had a clean race run to take my Kona Process 153DL to the top spot in Elite Women yet again.

The following day I passed my Driving Test – woo hoo, watch out world! It’s not all just riding bikes 😂


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

The final round of the Gravity Enduro Series took place in Djouce, Co. Wicklow on September 9-10. Due to school commitments I was unable to make the practice but still went up on race day. Djouce is a great venue with terrain to challenge every rider. The forest was littered with roots and loam despite the odd puddle! I made a few silly mistakes almost taking out the tape due to lack of knowing where I was going! I was really happy to hold it together to take the win in Elite Women and grab 2nd in the series overall having missed 2 rounds due to racing in Europe.

I have just written another interview for Prime Mountainbiking magazine in Germany, so I’m excited to see that as well.

Soon I will be leaving for the last round of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure which takes place on the 30 September – 1 October. I’m really excited to give it everything at my last big race of the season. Praying for a bit of sunshine!

Pedaliero Team Reports from the German Enduro One Series

Here’s an update from Kona-supported pedaliero team in Germany, who have been busy racing the regional enduro series this summer. You can follow their progress at pedaliero.

Words by Stefan Westerveld. Photos by Nico Gilles.

For the third time the region around the 1024-metre-high Ochsenkopf was the venue for the growing German Enduro One series.

With the Bullhead House and the organizer WSV Oberwarmensteinach, the BABOONS crew had once again brought in two competent partners who made the best of the trails around the Ochsenkopf and the local bike park.

A total of five stages, with Stage 5 also being the prologue on Saturday evening, had to be raced on Sunday.

The relatively short round with 18km and 350hm had everything for intermediate technical skills but between there were always difficult bits which had to be mastered. And the very rocky terrain provided some flat tires for the riders.

Nevertheless I didn’t choose a tire with a double wall and rode my favorite tire Nobby Nic with a little more pressure on the rear wheel again which worked well in Laax.

The weather played along and everybody had a smile on their face at the end of the day.

But the organizers should perhaps think about Stage 4 again. A 40 seconds “straight line” along a lift corridor would be much more fun with at least a few berms.

In the end a top ten, a podium and a nice weekend was a perfect outcome.

The Enduro One series is a favorite for many Enduro racers these days. For a good reason! Be sure to join in if you’re in the area. In the beginning of October we will see each other at the final in Wipperfürth!

Cheers!
The pedaliero crew

The Kona Process G2 is Here!

You’ve been waiting patiently, and we appreciate that. We’re proud to introduce the first major revision of our popular Process platform: the Process G2. The Process has a long history of dominating the descents, and with this new design, now has climbing manners more commonly attributed to shorter-travel bikes. No switches to flip, just pedal up efficiently, then smash the descent.



The Kona Process is synonymous with progression, and we haven’t been resting on our laurels. Process G2 represents an evolution of that game-changing platform, featuring an updated suspension design with superior pedaling performance, larger bearings for improved stiffness, and an all-new carbon or aluminum frame. Standover remains low, chainstays are short, and we increased the seatpost insertion depth so riders of all sizes can benefit from longer travel droppers. Did we mention it fits a water bottle? No? It fits a water bottle. Yeah, we did that. Because we love you.



An all-new carbon frame is at the heart of the Process G2 project. We used a vertically-oriented, trunnion-mounted metric shock to achieve the ride characteristics we desired while accommodating a water bottle inside the front triangle. As you’d expect, all Process bikes use bearings at all pivots, including big 20mm ID bearings at the main and rocker pivots and a new 3-piece locking pivot axle design.



The carbon frame features the same internal routing and cable access port introduced with our Hei Hei Trail platform, while aluminum frames use external routing. All models feature an aluminum chainstay for durability. We worked hard to improve the platform’s ride characteristics without sacrificing the durability and playfulness the Process has come to be known for.


Video – Kona Process G2: Development Story and Technical Details

Kona Product Manager Ian Schmitt dives into the development story and technical details of the Process G2:


Three Frames, Two Wheel Sizes, Seven New Process Models

With two materials and two wheel sizes spanning three distinct frame platforms, the Process G2 is a well-rounded range of aggressive trail bikes. The Process 153 27.5 and 29 share fit characteristics and frame geometry. The Process 165 is more focused on descending, but climbs surprisingly well for a long travel platform. Framesets are available in Process 153 27.5 carbon and aluminum, Process 153 29, and Process 165.

Process 153 27.5

Process 153 CR/DL 27.5

Process 153 CR 27.5

Process 153 AL/DL 27.5

Process 153 AL 27.5

Process 153 29

Process 153 AL/DL 29

Process 153 AL 29

Process 165 27.5

Process 165

The all new Process G2 is now available through your local Kona dealer or Kona Ride Online.

For all the details on the new Process, head over to Konaworld.com, and check out the in-depth technical details on the Innovation page.

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Video – Process G2: Sea to Sky with Rhys Verner

Kona pro team rider and Sea to Sky shredder Rhys Verner is a perfect match for the all new Process. Together, they climb efficiently and descend in harmony.

Check out the full photo gallery and story from our Sea to Sky shoot with Rhys and the Process G2.

Ride a New 2018 Kona in Boise, ID and Sun Valley, ID this Weekend

Hey Idaho! The fall swing of the Kona Demo Tour is underway! Want to try out a new 2018 Kona, including the all-new Process G2, Remote, and Rove NRB? We’ll be in Boise at Military Reserve with McU Sports on Saturday, and in Sun Valley at Pete Lane’s on Sunday, September 17th.

For more info see the flyers below or hit up either of the shops linked above – and for further demo dates, check out our Demo Tour page as well as the Kona Facebook Events page.

Rhys Verner Rides the Kona Process G2 in British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Corridor

Kona pro team rider and Sea to Sky shredder Rhys Verner is a perfect match for the all new Process G2. Together, they climb efficiently and descend in harmony. The Process has a long history of dominating the descents, and with this new design, now has climbing manners more commonly attributed to shorter-travel bikes. No switches to flip, just pedal up efficiently, then smash the descent.

After you enjoy the video below, scroll down for a huge gallery of photos from Caleb Smith.

 

Rhys is riding the Process 153 CR/DL 27.5, one of seven all new models in the Process G2 lineup. With two materials and two wheel sizes spanning three distinct frame platforms, the Process G2 is a well-rounded range of aggressive trail and enduro bikes. The Process G2 is now available through your local Kona dealer or through Kona Ride Online.

For all the details on the new Process, head over to Konaworld.com, and check out the in-depth technical details on the Innovation page.

Check Out the Kona Gravity Team’s Custom World Championships Operators!

Photos by Boris Beyer.

As has become tradition at this time of year, Kona Gravity Team manager Mathieu Dupelle has been working hard on custom graphics for Connor Fearon, Anthony Poulson, and Magnus Manson in anticipation of this weekend’s 2017 UCI Downhill World Championships.

The Operator frames that the Gravity team rides are the same frames that you can buy at your local shop or through Kona Ride Online – and we’re happy to announce that the new Operator models with trunnion-mounted metric shocks, revised leverage curves, and updated spec and graphics are now available for purchase

Head over to Konaworld.com to check out the new Operators, and peruse Connor, Anthony, and Magnus’ bikes below…

Connor Fearon – Team Australia

Anthony Poulson – Team Canada

Magnus Manson – Team Canada

Kona Rove ST… Now with Thru-Axles and More Tire Clearance

With new Kona models arriving in your local bike shop over the next couple of weeks, we’re doing a series of posts here on the Cog to introduce the new bikes. Keep an eye here all week for rad new bikes and updates to current models. Next up: the venerable steel Rove, further modernized…

Rove ST

Our venerable steel adventurer is back, offering that smooth steel ride and a great parts spec in a package with a whole lot of potential. This year the Rove ST gets flat mount disc brakes and thru-axles on its cromoly frame and fork, as well as more tire clearance at the chainstays to let you squeeze even more tire into it. Big ol’ gravel tires? Yep. High volume 650b conversion? Sure. The Rove ST keeps its wide-range SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain, and tubeless-ready wheels and tires. Where will the Rove ST take you? That’s up to your imagination.








Keep an eye here on the Cog and on Konaworld.com for new models arriving at Kona dealers every day!