adventure

Kona Dream Builds: The Bearded Bike Packer’s Fully Loaded Rove LTD

The Rove Ltd and Sutra Ltd bikes are big-time staff favorite bikes here at Kona. I mean they are built to OUR dream spec basically. So we really, really love seeing just how customers make them their own. Zach Wist AKA The Bearded Bike Packer, has changed pretty much every component on his stock Rove Ltd,  as he’s built his own Kona Dream Build, I think that rear mech might be original? We reached out to Zach to see what he had to say about the bike and his motivation for building it.

Inspiration for this build was absolute flexibility, with where I can ride while taking advantage of multiple cycling disciplines. The Rove LTD is everything I need to succeed in commuting, bike touring and bike packing, and is completely capable for cyclocross and blasting through single-track. I come from a predominantly mountain biking background, to keep happy on the road, I also want to be able to leave it!

The Rove LTD is a steel frame with a carbon fork, so I decided I would keep the two very polar components as part of the theme. A steel frame with carbon everywhere else for weight savings and to help minimize chatter. While I’m on the subject of chatter, this is a grand opportunity to talk about 650B road. It’s amazing. My forty mile commute days have become completely ironed out. There are areas on my commute where I used to grin and grip, now they’ve become much more tolerable, in fact, they aren’t even a problem anymore. The higher volume tires allow me to roll over every imperfection without feeling much at the bars.

I chose FSA products because the US office is based out of Mukilteo, WA and I have a thing about supporting as local as I can get. Their components are top notch and their customer service is stellar, Kona is based just up the road as well.

FSA’s New AGX (Adventure Gravel Cross) line falls under the road category. With that comes the new FSA K-Wing AGX handlebar which is incredibly ergonomic. It’s full carbon with a slight flare in the drops, perfect for managing the bike on single-track mountain bike trails.

From head to toe:
FSA K-Wing AGX handlebar w/ FSA powergrip tape
FSA K-Force Stem
FSA SL-K Wheelset
FSA SL-K Modular road crank, hacked with the 34T FSA Afterburner modular chainring
FSA K-Force Light Chain
FSA K-Force Light seatpost
Brooks B17 Imperial Saddle
WTB Byway tires
Crank Brothers Candy Pedals

Luggage and extras:
Ortlieb Handlebar bag w/ accessory bag
Ortlieb frame bag
Ortlieb Seatpost bag
Ellum Bagworks Hitchhiker Stem bag
Planet Bike fenders, because PNW.
Two Fish stap-on bottle cages w/steel bottles

Squirrel Chasing

Words: Matt Falwell of Gear Up Cycles in Kentucky

My granny’s people lived on the banks of the Tennessee the river and were forced out by the TVA during the reclamation of floodplain areas in order to usher in the advent of affordable hydropower for the common man.  When dammed, the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers rose to create an unintentional recreational area that resulted in 170,000 acres of “Land Between the Lakes,” home to a wealth of outdoor activities, such as water sports, cycling, fishing, hunting and the like. I spend most of my time on the bike solo in these woods, on lonely back roads poking around the remnants of often-forgotten communities and homesteads. The plan for this trip came about while on these back roads–the idea of bridging together the two worlds of bikepacking and hunting.  Squirrel hunting does not require a massive firearm. In fact, you can legally hunt them with a slingshot if you have the dexterity.  It is also a social activity that can have several people out together walking the ridgelines and hollows, sharing conversation and stories that continue post-hunt back at the fire.

I truly love traveling by bike. It is often with the mindset, though, to get to and from a destination with the minimum amount of equipment as fast as possible.   This trip would be in the winter months with temperatures hovering in the 30’s.  So slower, more comfortable travel was made with the intent of riding to an isolated primitive camp.  Said camp hopefully would be full of squirrels to provide a meal and tales of daring bushwhacking and the eventual outsmarting of our prey.   I invited my longtime friend, Nathan Brown–artist, and avid outdoorsman, and Rockabilly music legend–along with my eldest son Isaac, also a musician and accomplished adventure paddler, to come out with me and wander the woods.  It had been a long time since we last camped together.   We packed light, as far as equipment, although, I carried equal the weight in fresh food.  With the potential of possibly not shooting any squirrels, my “Be Prepared” attitude kicked in.   Loaded, we rolled off into the forest.  With a few water crossings and pauses to watch our bushy-tailed prey flit back and forth taunting us, we made our way into a series of remote glades that typically are flush with rabbit, squirrel, and birds.  We rode overgrown roads, past remnants of farms, further back into the hollows.

Once we arrived at our destination, we set to the business of making camp, filtering water, gathering firewood, and building our cookfire.  It was clear and cold with the temperature just above freezing.  We warmed ourselves by the fire and had an appetizer of Brie and crackers with hot tea and bourbon. We are not savages after all.  Foil packs of roasted veggies and a squirrel I had shot and marinated beforehand were our supper.  That would be the last squirrel we would see for the rest of the trip.  The freezing rain that night drove all the wildlife deep into their winter burrows. We awoke the next morning and shook off the ice.  Strong cups of coffee were made while bacon warmed in the skillet.  The sun began to show its face above the ridge, setting the glade ablaze in golden warm light.  We spent the day wandering from hickory tree groves to tall stands of oaks, finding piles of empty eaten nut shells and worn entrances to hollow trees. Our bushy-tailed friends eluded us.

As the day drifted into dusk, we loaded our bikes and rode back to the trailhead, eyes at the ready for signs of movement in the trees, just in case.  We had returned empty-handed with no meat for the pan. Yet the time away from the hustle of daily life was reward enough.  A day in the open and a night on the ground, the song of the wind in the trees, or the laughter of a friend while feeling the warmth of the fire growing in your toes is what we really brought back.  I remember my granny always ready to set a place at the table for family or friend that came to her house, with a gesture of time and a warm plate.  I believe it is the shared experience that is the meal that feeds the heart–the meal oftentimes skipped in our daily rush.  There will be future days riding in the woods with lone solitude or with the harmony of friends. Till then, I look forward to the abundance of nature and the freedom the bike provides, while I roll my way through my granny’s land between the rivers.

TVA: Tennessee Valley Authority

Bike info:

XL Kona Wozo stock

MD Kona Big Honzo

54cm Kona Sutra LTD frameset, 27.5×2.8 WTB wheels w Arisun tires, Sram Freagle  12 spd Eagle drivetrain with 11 spd microshift thumb lever set on friction, Crust Jungle runner bars, Brooks C17 saddle with Specialized CGR seat post. Shimano hydro disc

 

Road.CC Features the Libre DL in Their Drop Bar Review

Road.CC has featured the Libre DL as a top contender in 1x drop bar bikes. Have you tossed out the extra chainrings? What do you love about 1X?

“With its carbon fibre frame, 45mm tyres and massive selection of gear mounting points, Kona’s new Libre platform is billed as “the ultimate adventure machine’ and for once it looks like that hype is justified. Sensibly, Kona have gone for hubs with SRAM’s XD freehub body, allowing a ten-tooth smallest sprocket so the 40-tooth chainring still provides a decent high gear, and it’ll still be reasonable if you decide to fit a 36-tooth ring for hauling gear. There plenty of rack and mudguard mounts, four bottle mounts, a top-tube bag mount and Salsa-style three-bolt rack mounts on the fork legs.” –Road.cc

Check out the full report here.

A Supreme Weekend

Amanda and Hannah of The Kona Supremes have been going on regular mini bikepacking trips right in their backyard for the last couple years. Leaving from the Kona Bike Shop, they’ve been linking together all the various greenway trails and single track that webs all throughout Bellingham, WA. From overnights on top of their local mountain to hanging hammocks in secret coves that line Bellingham’s shores, these two have made it a point to squeeze in a micro adventure as often as they can.

These mid-week micro adventures inspired the two to plan a trip and invite other women interested in bikepacking to join them. The idea turned into a collaboration with a local pack maker, Pack Northwest and a non-profit aimed at creating welcoming recreation experiences for all, Shifting Gears. Together the team planned a 20-mile multi-surface route that linked trail systems from downtown Bellingham out to Larrabee State Park, located at the foot of the Chuckanut mountains.

The Friday night before the trip all the participants met at The Kona Bike Shop for a packing party. After safety and gear checks they went over the ideal ways to load up a bike for a trip, and the tips and tricks of keeping the weight low and evenly distributed. Together the group went over the route details to make sure all riders were on the same page.

Amanda talking with participants about the inspiration behind the Trip.

Hilary from Pack NW going over the route.

Once the formalities were out of the way, the riders quickly moved to the most exciting part of the evening – Packing! All the participants wasted no time getting familiar with the different bag systems and quickly started strapping all their gear to the bikes.

Oh the joys of stuffing as much gear as you can into one single bag.

Alex Packing her sleeping bag into a Revelate saddle bag.

April used her panniers and a handlebar bag for the trip.

All the bikes looked super pro and dialed at the end of the packing party. The Kona Bike Shop kindly housed the bikes overnight, so they would be ready for the 10am departure Saturday morning. At 9am on Saturday morning all the sleepy participants slowly started showing up. After a hot cup of coffee you could see the nervous excitement rippling through the group. After some last-minute bag checks the group was ready to start pedaling.

Kelen giving her bag one last check.

The only mechanicals happened within the first 15 minutes, which added extra excitement right out of the gates. One rider had a dropper malfunction which required replacing it with a rigid post and another rider snapped her derailleur with no replacement. With Amanda running sag they were able to quickly troubleshoot all the mechanicals and get the crew pedaling again.

Riders pedaling through Whatcom Falls Park.

From the bike shop the group pedaled the greenway up through Whatcom Falls park and made their first stop at the pump track. From there they pedaled over Galbraith mountain via the pipeline trail and some daring riders went to ride some single track trails along the way.

Lots of stops for snacks because… snacks!

Hannah and Delia playing on the local pump track.

By far the biggest highlight of the weekend for most of the riders was the single track. Many expressed nervousness about riding with all the extra weight but found the joy in “monster trucking” down the trails and the wilderness was lit up with smiles and laughter.

Hilary with Pack NW leading the pack through the Lake Padden trails.

Contagious laughter and grins out in force over the weekend.

The group met up again on the South side of Galbraith with everyone in high spirits and starting to get the hang of riding with all the gear. Everyone got to try their hand at navigating the roots and tight corners on the Padden trails just before lunch. After a lunch break by the lake, the ride continued on through Fairhaven Parkway to Arroyo Park. After tackling some steep uphill switchbacks in Arroyo, the group finished the ride with a few miles of pedaling on the Interurban trail out to Larrabee State Park.

Hannah was the group mechanic and did a great job of making sure all bikes were in working order.

Stoke was high when all the riders pulled into the campsite.

Once everyone arrived at Larrabee and unpacked their gear, chamois were exchanged for bathing suits and everyone headed straight for the table loaded with a bright charcuterie platter.

Huge shout out to Boundary Bay Brewing for the cold ones.

Thanks to Amanda for being the camp Mom – the food was on point!

After all the riders gorged on yummy cheese and fruits, the group made their way down to the beach to cool off and soak in the sun. Once the sun dipped past the horizon everyone came back to camp to enjoy a campfire-cooked curry and storytelling.

In the morning the group repacked bags a little more efficiently than the first time. Everyone met around the campfire one last time to reflect on the trip. Many ladies expressed new-found passions for bikes and camping and felt inspired to plan their own trips, now more confident in their own abilities having some bikepacking experience.

Thanks to all the participants and ride leaders for making this trip a smashing success!

This trip would not have been possible without the support of Kona Bicycle company. Huge thanks to Paul Kelly for the photos.

Thanks,

The Kona Supremes

Solstice Madness

Spencer loves massive days in the saddle.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we’re celebrating the summer solstice today. It’s annually a day where we pack as much into a single day as possible, taking advantage of the gratuitous daylight that mother nature has granted us. We thought it fitting to take a look back at last year’s amazing solstice achievement by Kona rider Spencer Paxson as he packed in more vertical in one day than almost anyone else in the world ever has on two wheels.

When I heard Spencer was attempting to ride one of Bellingham’s most awesome trails as many times as possible during daylight hours, I became really intrigued. Spencer is freakishly athletically talented, but that climb is a MONSTER….not in length but in steepness. The average grade is puke-inducing on a good day. I remember polling my friends asking, “How many times do you honestly think you could climb to the top of that trail in a day? Honestly?” Some said two, three, four. One said six…but he’s also freakishly talented. While I’m not the most talented rider on the planet I consider myself to be in good shape and I think I could maybe do it four times. That four times includes me crying, barfing, screaming, trying to quit at least once per lap, and consuming as many cookies as my body could handle. In other words, four would be a massive stretch for me… but if my life were on the line I could probably make it happen.

Spencer climbed that climb FIFTEEN TIMES. Over 32,000 feet of climbing. My mind is still blown. Every single time I ride that trai

Spencer, no doubt planning some sort of Type 2 mega sufferfest.  Photo: Sarah Paxson

l I am in awe of that accomplishment. You can read all about it in this feature from Bike Magazine.

Today Spencer and Kona product manager Mark Allison are attempting another brutal feat that includes climbing an actual mountain on foot (the North Twin Sister off of the Mount Baker Highway) and a bit over 100 miles of riding their Honzos on some of Whatcom County’s most epic trails.

Stay tuned for an upcoming report of their day. Do you think they’ll make it?

 

Cycling Ireland

Irish cyclist David Flanagan has recently completed a book about cycling all around Ireland’s gorgeous countryside. The book is gorgeously illustrated with route maps, elevation profiles, and detailed descriptions of dozens and dozens of rides. The photography features a Kona Sutra in various gorgeous environments.

A word from Flanagan:

“This book documents the best cycling that Ireland has to offer. With eighty routes spread across the entire island, there is something for everyone; from gentle, traffic-free cycles, ideal for the whole family, to long challenging routes packed with relentless climbs.

The routes range in length from 8km to 207km on a variety of surfaces including tarmac roads, gravel tracks, canal towpaths and singletrack. – David Flanagan

Each route description includes:

  • A full-colour map.
  • Turn-by-turn directions.
  • A route profile.
  • A detailed description of the route.
  • Advice on variations, extensions and shortcuts.
  • A downloadable GPX navigation file.

The book also includes details of over fifty family-friendly greenways and trails, information on Ireland’s long-distance cycle routes and sixteen pages dedicated to cycling along the Wild Atlantic Way.

This comprehensive guide is packed full of detailed information and inspiring photography that is sure to appeal to everyone interested in cycling in Ireland.”

 

The book is available for purchase here for the price is €25 which includes shipping worldwide.

 

“David Flanagan is a publisher, writer and freelance journalist from Dublin. He is the author of a number of climbing books including Bouldering in Ireland, Bouldering Essentials and Rock Climbing in Ireland. In 2016 he published Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a collaboration with Kerry-based photographer Richard Creagh. A keen cyclist with a particular interest in off‑road exploration and bikepacking, he published Cycling in Ireland in May 2018 after more than 18 months of research.”

Toni Lund’s Thousand Mile Ride

Recently Toni Lund attempted the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 1000 mile trans-Alaskan race in the harshest of conditions. Toni sent us a little recap and some photos of his experience. We’d like to extend him a HUGE congratulations for becoming the first Finn to cross the finish line in Nome, AK. We hope your Wo proved to be the perfect steed for your journey!
Words by Toni Lund, the ‘Extreme Bike Mechanic’ from Finland who works at Bikeshop.fi / Ajopyora that sells Kona bikes.
So, having done the ‘short’ 350 mile race in 2015, this year I attempted the 1000 mile monster to Nome for the first time, as the first ever from Finland and first with Kona Wo. This year’s race turned out to be extremely and exceptionally demanding as the race saw an awful lot of bad weather with close to ten blizzards, soft trails and lots of pushing. Out of the almost 27 days on the trail, there were only 3-4 sunny and calm days.
– My worst period in the journey was after McGrath (350 mile point) when I got sick with diarrhea. I spent 24 hours in Takotna to overcome it, but it struck me one more time after Ophir. Feeling really weak I still marched on in blizzard conditions and hilly terrain.
– The most dangerous sections were the passage of Rainy Pass with -10 F temps and -40 F windchill and similarly the Bering Sea ice crossing to Koyuk.
– It’s hard to say how much I pushed my bike but I think more than half of the complete 1000 mile distance.
– My 2017 model Kona Wo had zero issues and worked perfectly in the super demanding conditions. There were several soft trails that I was able to ride with Wo and it proved to be a very capable bike for the world’s longest and toughest winter ultra marathon. I had built my Wo myself and the only original component is the headset.
– I bivyed several nights under the sky and I needed to put on my best game with winter survival skills. Overall, Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile is exceptionally demanding and a very dangerous quest. I finished with the time of 26 days 19 hours 18 minutes in 10th place.

How to Train a Trail Dog

Dr. Dew with Snoop Dog

Fewer things bring a smile to a mountain biker’s face then a well-trained trail dog. The best of the best can scrub jumps like a world cup racer, take ninja inside lines, stay right on your wheel, and wag their tails with pure delight at the end of a great descent. Training a trail dog takes time, but if done well, you’ll always have a buddy ready to ride with you, no matter what Ma Nature may have in mind. The old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may hold true, as it’s best to groom younger dogs for riding. Considering training your pup? Here are a few tips:

Tip 1: Start ‘em young, but not too young. While training puppies new things is typically easier than older dogs, it is crucial you don’t run your puppy too hard at too young of an age. Experts suggest waiting until the puppy is about 8 months old before you start running them longer distances. If eight months seems like forever, consider starting with short hikes in the woods with your dog. This will get them familiar with the type of terrain you’ll bike on. Hike on trails with obvious paths so they understand how to follow a trail. Keep them on a leash and heeling close to you so they know to stay near. Once they become comfortable with your pace and surroundings (and don’t have a tendency to bolt), let them off leash. Give them vocal queues to keep them near you, and reward them for doing so. Jog a little bit to see if they are apt to keep up with you. If not, put them back on the leash and jog with them so they understand that they need to stay with you.

Mike the trail pup

Tip 2: Once comfortable off leash try playing hide and seek. This may seem silly, but there may be occasions when you outride your dog and you’re separated. Instead of panicking that you’ve lost each other, a quick game of hide and seek will have you reunited in no time! Go back to the familiar paths where your dog first learned to walk off leash. Have the dog sit and stay while you go hide behind a tree, out of sight. Once hidden, whistle, or yell, “OK!” When the dog finds you, reward him again so he knows he’s always supposed to find you.

Roscoe the trail dog Photo by Ian Coble

 Lacy Kemp (front) and Roscoe the trial dog (back)  Photo credit: Ian Coble

Tip 3: Teaching your dog how to drink out of a hydration pack is a great way to ensure he stays hydrated on warmer days. There’s not much magic to this, but ensure you can keep a consistent stream of water coming from the hose so Fido gets adequately hydrated. Practice at home before you hit the trails on hot days.

Tip 4: Speaking of hot days don’t run your dog long distances on days that are too hot. There’s no magic number, but use your common sense. If there aren’t constant streams for your dog to rest in and recharge, don’t take him if it’s too hot.

Tip 5: When ready to move to the bike, start by taking your dog on short rides on your bike while leashed. This can be dangerous, so make sure you’re confident on holding a leash while your dog runs alongside. Make sure the leash is long enough so your dog won’t get too close to your wheel. One thing I do is attach the loop of the handle to my chest strap on my hydration pack. That way if he pulls, he’s pulling from my center of mass and not likely to pull me off of my bike. Go slow at first until you’re able to have your dog trot alongside you without having him pull.

Tip 6: When your dog is comfortable running alongside you on a leash, take him back to the trails you first learned to walk in the woods off leash. While on your bike, have the dog sit. Unleash him and keep him seated. When you’re ready to go, start slow and call for him. If he gets in front of you, immediately give the command, “follow,” and stop and place him behind you. Reward him for getting behind you, so he understands he needs to stay out of the way. Most dogs understand this quite easily, but repeating the behavior until he grasps it will ensure better behavior when on a longer ride or with a group.

Kona Senior Engineer James Westerfield and Shadow

Tip 7: Once you’ve mastered your local stomping grounds, take him on a longer ride. The same rules apply. Leash him until you’re ready to go, then ensure he’s following alongside. As he gets more comfortable on more rides he will learn to explore and come back to you. Practice the “hide and seek” rule on rides, too, to reinforce that behavior.
Tip 8: The best rides for your dogs are rides that aren’t incredibly fast. Remember, they’re running the entire thing. A 20-mile ride for you is a massive day for your dog. Try to take him on rides with multiple water sources. Try to stay away from super hard packed, steep descents. This type of terrain is bad on the hips and joints for your dog. Just like us, dogs love the loam!

Roxy the trail dog doing some product testing w/ Kona product managers

Tip 9: After a long day of riding, give your dog a massage. Have him lie on one side and massage his hips and shoulders. Stretch his legs. Make sure to do both sides. Just like people, dogs need to recover from a big day on the bike. Choose your dogs rides wisely. Don’t run him every day, and give ample resting time between big runs.

Tip 10: Make sure he knows how great of a job he’s doing. In between segments, stop and tell him he’s a good boy! Dogs love to be rewarded verbally and will always appreciate the positive reinforcement. But the most important thing of all, have fun!

 

Bruce Wayne guarding his owner’s Hei Hei.

Title image by @andyvathis

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!