Connor Fearon

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

An Update from Connor Fearon as Three Kona Gravity Riders Prepare for the DH World Champs in Cairns

Earlier this week the Australian National DH team was announced and Kona Gravity team rider Connor Fearon made the list along with teammates Josh Button and Tegan Molloy. You may be wondering what Connor’s been up to recently and may have noticed his absence from the World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne.

We caught up with Connor and Kona Gravity team manager Mathieu Dupelle in Squamish during the North American Kona Ride launch to get the scoop on the situation. Connor gave it to us straight:

“Alright, so way back at Andorra World Cup I crashed 3 corners from the finish in my race run. For the next few days my hand was pretty swollen and sore from the crash but I could still ride and thought whatever was wrong would heal.

After 3 weeks of it really slowly getting better I got x-rays to see if anything was broken. Turns out my little finger was pretty much broken in half and I had to get a little surgery to put wires into my finger to keep it straight. This really sucked because it would mean I miss out on MSA and Val di Sole. These are the first and second World Cup I’ve ever missed since starting in 2011 (42 World Cup starts).

Thankfully, my hand will be 100% by cairns world champs. I’m so determined that this injury will not slow me down at that race. I can still do most of my training and my full focus is now on world champs!” – Connor Fearon

Mathieu weighed in with his side as the team manager for one of the most consistent riders on the World Cup circuit:

“Unfortunately, this is disappointing for Connor, but it’s part of every pro athlete’s career at some point to have to step down from a couple events to get better. Thankfully, he will be OK for the World Championships in Cairns, in his home country of Australia. He’s been looking forward to this particular race for the last couple of years.

Connor is a smart, hard working person that is determined with what he wants. He will do everything in his power to be 110% ready for the World Champs and will be even hungrier for a good result since he will have missed the last two World Cup races.” – Mathieu Dupelle

So there you have it: an update from Connor, a particularly gnarly x-ray image, and a plan for what is arguably Connor’s biggest race of the year, the World Championships in Cairns. We look forward to watching Connor and fellow Australians Josh and Tegan represent on home turf!

Connor Fearon bags another Top Ten World Cup result at Leogang

Thanks, in part, to a crazy start to the season the 2017 UCI DH World Cup is shaping up to be one of the more exciting events in recent memory, and Connor Fearon is right there in the mix. Just three rounds in he’s sitting comfortably in the top ten and despite the fresh names surrounding him, this is, without a doubt the fasted World Cup Field ever. On Sunday morning Connor rode to his third top ten result of the season, solidifying himself as a real contender this year. 

The course at Leogang had been drastically changed from recent years, changed from the course where Connor finished in second place. The rocks (and some roots) were now gone from the track and riders had to do battle on what some deemed as a pure bike park track, one rider even rode practice on hard tail to prove that point. The lack of technical features on the hill meant that times would be tight and any errors would be costly. Connor rode a consistent race run that was by no means conservative, but it was void of some of the risk and flair we’ve seen earlier this season from the guy many on the circuit believe to be the fastest corner destroyer in the business.

His days efforts would be rewarded with a solid 10th place, which see’s him now sitting eighth overall in the standings with four rounds to go. And if you like stats, this race marks ten World Cup events in a row where Connor has finished in the top 15, eight of those being in the top ten.

“I’m happy with how the weekend went. 10th is good, the track doesn’t suit me as well as it did a few years ago. There’s a lot less turns and fewer tech sections. The track is basically a flow track for 80% of it now. I think I was capable of a better result, I just didn’t risk it enough which you need to do on a easy track like this. But I’m leaving full of confidence and looking forward to Andorra.” Connor Fearon

After a conservative qualifying run that landed hin in the 55th spot Josh Button was ready to show everyone what he was made off and back up that amazing Cairns 5th place podium. Unfortunately for Josh, a heavy crash took away that chance, he stormed on like a trooper and managed to finish his race run, crossing the line in 73rd, more motivated than ever!

Magnus Manson, coming off some solid results Stateside, suffered a rotor bending crash in his qualifying run that meant his bike would not move, after bashing it into shape he managed to get it down the hill but not in enough time to make the top 80. It’s just a matter of time before Magnus pieces together an Elite World Cup event and reminds us of the speed and style we all saw when he was a junior. The guy was winning practice at Leogang thats for sure!

Connor Fearon Gets in One Last Trail Shred Before the World Cup Kicks Off

With the 2017 DH World Cup kicking off this weekend, Kona’s in-house cinematographer, Joonas Vinnari, though it timely to re-work our recent footage of Connor Fearon rallying the Hei Hei Trail at Retallack Lodge. With the season packed over the next few months there wont be a whole lot of small bike action for Connor and the DH team. Enjoy!

You can check out the original version of the video with a whole pile of photos HERE.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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