Connor Fearon

Out of the Box with Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail

Out of the Box

All too often we can get sucked into the same old habits. Same trails, same bike, same everything. Sometimes you’ve got to get out of the box. Live a little. Breathe. And then shred.

The Hei Hei Trail is an out of the box thinker, like many of Kona’s bikes. Everyone who swings a leg over one notes that it outrides its numbers, surpassing their expectations of a trail bike’s capabilities. Light and efficient with its full carbon frame and Fuse suspension design, snappy and playful on the way back down.

While the Fuse suspension design is shared with our race-ready Hei Hei cross-country bike, the Hei Hei Trail, with 140mm of travel and 27.5″ wheels, is a completely different beast. It’s the kind of bike that challenges preconceptions, and redefines what a bike in this class can do.

Right out of the box and under our World Cup racer

With the Hei Hei Trail’s lineage, it may have been expected of us to produce a video featuring one of our Endurance Team racers. But the reality is, this bike may just get you out of your box, thinking differently about the Hei Hei name from which this bike found its lineage, and pedaling to places you previously considered outside that box.

So, we sent World Cup downhiller Connor Fearon into British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains with the Hei Hei Trail. And what we came out with was exactly the proof we needed that this bike doesn’t belong in the box, but up in the hills, getting loose. We tend to think you’ll agree.

heiheiop-1645heiheiop-1730
heiheiop-2273heiheiop-1748
heiheiop-1771
heiheiop-2055
heiheiop-2343
heiheiop-2143
heiheiop-1529
heiheiop-1532heiheiop-1559heiheiop-1587heiheiop-2735heiheiop-2697heiheiop-1672heiheiop-2513heiheiop-2544heiheiop-2441heiheiop-2358

Hei Hei Trail Details

All three Hei Hei Trail models feature the same Kona Race Light full carbon frame. From the top-spec Hei Hei Trail Supreme through the Hei Hei Trail DL and the Hei Hei Trail, you can expect to find wide rims, great tires, and high quality suspension components. No matter which model you choose, you can be assured it’ll be ready to shred right out of the box.

HEI HEI TRAIL SUPREME

heiheiop-2852

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT3
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3
Crankset: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle 1x 12spd
Cockpit: RaceFace Next 35 bar and Turbine stem, ODI Ruffian MX Grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB SL8 Pro

HEI HEI TRAIL DL

heiheiop-2811

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano XT
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

HEI HEI TRAIL

heiheiop-2794

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB STP i29 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano SLX
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

Connor Fearon on the Cover of Bike Magazine

Coming out of our 27.5 Operator test sessions at Retallack Lodge, Blake Jorgensen‘s photo of Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon has been selected as the cover shot for the December 2016 issue of Bike Magazine.

Head to the Cog post to check out the whole photo set and watch the video from Retallack again, and head to Bike Mag to for a preview and to buy your copy of the December 2016 issue.

bike-mag-cover

Connor Fearon and Graham Agassiz Rally the 27.5 Kona Operator at Retallack

The word is out: we’ve got a new Operator.

That word was out long ago. If you truly want to develop upcoming technology in race situations at the UCI Downhill World Cup, you’re going to show some of your cards. And if you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve been developing this bike for the past two seasons under Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon.

You probably also know that the Operator is the bike Graham Agassiz sends to stratospheric heights at the FEST series and at Red Bull Rampage. Aggy and Connor push their Operators to the limit in different ways, and we needed to build a bike that was suited to their needs as much as it was to the privateer racer’s or to those banging laps in the bike park.

In creating a new Operator, we wanted to retain the traits that riders like Aggy really love, while continuing to develop the bike that Connor needs to compete at the top level. It’s gotta be agile. It’s gotta be planted. It has to be fun to ride, and it’s gotta rip around corners. In short, it’s gotta ride like a Kona.

In all cases the new Operator needed to be durable and well-built: a bike that our top riders could smash on race courses and big hits, day in and day out. Our riders and our bike park partners need to have confidence in a bike that will hold up, lap after lap, for more than just one event. Our bikes have been evolving for nearly three decades, and the new Operator is another step in that lineage. The evolution of a bike that can compete at the top level while still being the bike you’d choose to ride on your day off.

Two years in a row we’ve had Aggy and Connor join us at Retallack for test sessions on the Operator. For these two, whose schedules rarely coincide, coming together at Retallack is a bit of a celebration. Aggy’s spent a lot of time riding and building in Retallack’s high mountain terrain and Connor has fallen in love with the place. While they may both compete at the top level in their respective disciplines, the pure joy of ripping amazing trails on a bike you love is undeniable.

2015_08_bj_konaretallack-3051Retallack Lodge has etched itself high up in both Graham Agassiz and Connor Fearon’s top riding locations. Both riders have made multiple trips to this Kootenay, BC mecca of riding. The fun and playful riding styles both riders adopt when hitting the trails there just make you want to grab your bike and ride.

kona_275_operator_02-newAlthough Retallack has its fair share of alpine riding much of the good stuff can be found deep in the fir, spruce and hemlock lower down. Aggy in the trees.

untitled-3067Not at all fazed by the classic “one more time” Aggy and Connor ponder that fact that they have yet again been stitched up by the filmers.

2015_08_bj_konaretallack-3021_27-comp-v2Speed and Style: a Retallack hip, two ways. Yum.

untitled-2936Aggy leads Connor through a set of Retallack’s perfectly sculpted subalpine booters.

untitled-2679Retallack’s tight and technical trails received a masterclass from Aggy and Connor as the pair kept things low and extremely fast for the cameras.

untitled-2600With Connor firmly locked in his cross hairs, Aggy gets barreled in BC interior loam.

rampage-compRed Bull Rampage and Aggy are always a recipe for some of the tastiest lines and burliest moves. The big mountain freerider is a crowd favorite, but more importantly is highly regarded by his peers for his line selection and steeze.

rampage16_aggy_byadl5021There are not many riders out there that can manhandle a bike as effortlessly as Aggy.

rampage16_aggy_byadl-3471The 2016 Rampage blank canvas and its new format was welcomed by the riders, including Aggy, who teamed up with good friends James Doerfling and Kurt Sorge to build one of the rowdiest and most creative lines on the hill. Lofting above spectators and fellow competitors’ lines, Aggy pilots his 27.5 Operator on one of his final practice runs.

wc_leogang_practice-3314-copThe Dream Team. Kona Gravity Team mechanic and manager Mathieu Dupelle and World Cup racer Connor Fearon’s involvement in the development of the new 27.5 Operator platform has been absolutely vital. The feedback and input provided by the two helped Ian Schmitt and the product team produce not only a bombproof World Cup racing machine but also helped Connor finish the 2016 World Cup season on the podium!

wc_cairns_finals-4193The journey for the podium was a long one for Connor and the Operator, one that began at Lourdes in France where Connor kicked things off with a solid eighth place. His lucky 13 number plate replaced with a single digit, Connor then headed for his homeland of Austraila for the second round where, due to a slipped pedal on the final straight he finished in 12th place. His teammate and mentor Josh Button, however, rode Connor’s 2015 27.5 Operator prototype on to the Podium, shocking the field with a solid fifth place finish.

during the 2016 UCI MTB World Cup at Leogang, Austria.If there is one sure thing when it comes to racing World Cups in Europe, it’s that no matter what the forecast says, there will be rain. Leogang this year was no exception with the weather swapping constantly between full blown sunshine to a muddy and boggy rainfest.

wc_leogang_practice-8686After a tenth place at Fort William, Connor kept things low fast and stylish at Leogang wowing photographers and spectators as he piloted his Operator to yet another top ten finish, this time in eighth place.

wc_lenzerheide_practice-3100The track at Lenzerheide for round five of the World Cup would prove to be a near perfect match for the Operator and Connor’s aggressive riding style. With the single number nine back on the bike, Connor would demolish most of the field in a stellar run and find himself standing on the podium in fifth place as a reward.

wc_msa_finals-8235Round six brought Connor to Mont Sainte Anne on the east coast of Canada. The popular course proved as challenging as ever and a real mix up of riders finishing in the top 20 would assure that Connor would retain his season-high position of fifth heading into the final round in Andorra.

UCI MTB World Cup, Valnord, Andorra.After qualifying in Andorra Connor was just a single point ahead of his nearest rival in the hunt for finishing fifth overall in the 2016 World Cup Series. Connor would ride his Operator onto the platform in fifth place that day and solidify his and the 27.5 Operator’s standout season, finishing the overall in fifth place.

wc_lenzerheide_practice-3156


27.5 Operator Technical Details

The 27.5 Operator sees a number of changes which continue the evolution of our long travel platform. To retain the snappy and lively feel we’ve put a 423mm chainstay on all sizes, increased the reach across the board, and combined this with a 63º head angle. The Beamer suspension design has been updated with a more progressive leverage curve for increased bottom out resistance and a raised main pivot for improved pedaling performance. With bearings in all suspension pivots, and now in the upper shock mount as well, the new Operator will continue the legacy of Kona’s legendary durability.

heiheiop-2633

Supreme Operator

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Novatec Demon
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage RC
Crankset: SRAM XO1 DH
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 DH 7spd
Cockpit: ODI Flight Control bar, ODI Adjustable stem, Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 3C 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: WTB High Tail

heiheiop-2642

Operator DL

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Mavic EX729
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer RC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage RC
Crankset: Shimano Zee
Drivetrain: SRAM GX 10spd
Cockpit: Kona DH bar, Kona Direct Mount stem, Kona Slog grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide R
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 3C 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: WTB Volt Sport SE 250

heiheiop-2639

Operator

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Sun Ringle MTX 33 Sleeved
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer RC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage R
Crankset: RaceFace Chester
Drivetrain: SRAM X7 9spd
Cockpit: Kona DH bar, Kona Direct Mount stem, Kona S-LOG grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide R
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: Kona DH

2017-kona-operator-geometry

For more information on the 27.5 Operator and the rest of our 2017 bikes, head to konaworld.com.

A Taste of the New 27.5 Kona Operator

The new 27.5 Kona Operator was developed on the World Cup Downhill circuit under Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy over the past two seasons and it’s now ready to be unleashed. We have been gathering footage over this development process including two trips to Retallack Lodge with Connor and Kona Gravity teammate Graham Agassiz, and this is our first taste of what’s to come. Head to konaworld.com for all the details on the 2017 Operator and stay tuned for a full feature…

Ti Tuesday: “I’m going to own this bike forever” Connor Fearon’s Ti Humuhumu

When we brought you news of Connor Fearon’s contract extension back in September, we also included a little sneak peek at his Ti Humuhumu that Kona co-founder Jacob Heilbron gifted him as his signing bonus. When Connor showed up at Retallack for our Operator and Hei Hei Trail media launch a few weeks back with the bike packed away in a box, we just had to build it up and shoot you a full set. How does one of the fastest downhill riders on the planet build a cruiser? Like this.heiheiop-3694

The Ti Humuhumu’s are extremely limited in numbers, each individual build just seems to ooze class, Connor’s is no exception.

heiheiop-3682

While many Ti builds we feature on the Cog are built with classic Ti components and retro cranksets, Connor opted for lightweight carbon parts, Truvativ XO cranks and a direct mount X-Sync 32T ring propel the Ti Humuhumu.

heiheiop-3685

Connor went for simplicity with the build and spec’d his Humuhumu as a single speed with an 18t cog out the back.

heiheiop-3691

SRAM’s latest and greatest Guide Ultimate brakes provide more stopping power than could ever be required, as well as a place to squeeze in a little more carbon.

heiheiop-3696

SRAM’s Guide Ultimate brakes are the business, the increased opening and heatshield keep them from overheating, and the new piston pockets keep the brakes consistent. Features that all cruisers need!

heiheiop-3697

With Connor’s connections he could have installed something pretty trick from Rock Shox, instead he opted to keep the Humuhumu true to its roots with a classic P2 rigid Kona fork.

heiheiop-3693

Finding the wheels was the biggest challenge Connor faced. He had one QR carbon SRAM Rise 60 wheel and wanted to match the front and rear, but finding a second quick release Rise 60 proved harder than planned. In the end, Connor had to drop some cash to pick up the matching wheel on eBay of all places!heiheiop-3688

No bike of Connor’s is complete until it’s labeled with a Stevie Smith tribute sticker. #longlivechainsaw

heiheiop-3686

heiheiop-3692

 

Kona’s Gravity Team hit round two of the UCI World Cup in Cairns.

South Australian based Kona rider Connor Fearon and fellow countryman Josh Button have wasted no time getting up to speed in the humid tropical rainforests of Cairns. You may remember last years event turned chaotic (and a tad comical for for some) when a tropical cyclone rolled through town, drowning the pits, riders and the media a like in a heavy deluge of biblical proportions. Well it seems after a dry track walk on Wednesday, the predicted rains have arrived for this the second UCI visit to Cairns, and they made for an exciting timed practice. “Track here in Cairns is sweet unless it’s pissing down with rain, which is half the time it seems like! – Connor Fearon. Qualifications are tomorrow (well today in Australia) and here looking forward to seeing Connors number nine plate to move even lower. You can show the riders your support by following them on Instagram and letting them know your backing them! Connor Fearon can be found here and Josh Button here.

WC_Cairns_TrackWalk-0714

Everything in Australia can kill you… Except this freaking huge spider. Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_TrackWalk-0708

Connor Fearon is stronger than you. Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_Practice-9722

After a solid result last week Connor has dropped his starting position into the top ten. He’s now rocking the nine plate. Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_Practice-1264

Orange is the old Green. Josh Button getting to grips with the track and a new bike. Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_Practice-6564

Josh Button hitting berms for dayz. Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_Practice-9366

Who wants to see this number decrease even further?  Photo Duncan Philpott

WC_Cairns_Practice-1141

Those roots are going to be slippery when wet! Photo Duncan Philpott

2K16_Team_SponsorsGroups-new-gravity

Kona Process Challenge Teaser

Welcome to the inaugural Process Challenge! For this premier event we gathered XC Beast Spencer Paxson, DH Destroyer Connor Fearon and FR Animal Graham Agassiz and started them atop Retallack Lodge’s Reco Peak for an all out blitz to the bottom. We placed each rider aboard a skill specific Process and awarded points for cross country power, downhill steeze and freeride flair to determine a winner. With a mountain of singletrack ahead of them, who emerged victorious at the first ever Kona Process Challenge? Find out when we release the full video at 12:00 PST Monday January 18th.

2015_08_BJ_Konaretallack-1016

Retallack’s Reco Peak is not the worst place to start a race. Spencer Paxson, Connor Fearon and Graham Agassiz get ready to drop in on a race for the ages. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

2015_08_BJ_Konaretallack-0108

World Cup DH rider Connor Fearon follows Graham Agassiz off one massive natural stepdown. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

2015_08_BJ_Konaretallack-1079

Spencer Paxson finds himself all alone on one seriously stunning piece of singletrack. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

p5pb13040962

Spencer Paxson uses Retallack’s flowy singletrack to hold off an attack from Connor and Aggy. Can he hold the pole position? Photo: Blake Jorgenson