Enduro

PB and J: The Kona Global Enduro Team battle trying conditions at Colombian EWS

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

2017’s EWS season has affectionately garnered the nickname Enduro Wet Series (less affectionately by those actually racing) and after the first bone-dry opening round last week some thought that, just maybe, we might be in for a dry season of racing. Who were they kidding?

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

By the time everyone’s bikes eventually showed up in Manizales, Colombia, the skies had opened and what looked to be some of the best dry loam imaginable had turned into mud with the texture of peanut butter and jelly. Steering was non-existent. Kona Global Team rider Alexander Kangas likened the feeling to riding on ice, without spikes!

It wasn’t all mud at the second stop on the 2018 EWS series, though. For the first time since 2013, the race kicked off with a short urban prologue through downtown Manizales. Scott Countryman surprised himself in his first ever urban race cruising to a respectable 38th place in the short punchy and physical stage. Kangas suffered a mechanical and finished the stage a bit off the pace but given its short nature, it would not have a massive effect on the following day’s results.

Race day saw the seven stages turning to six as a heavy overnight downpour had turned the already extremely slippery and carnage-inducing stage six into an even more uncontrollable beast. The desert-dwelling Countryman wanted to pull the pin at times during the day but pushed through for 76th on the day. “After raining all night, race day became a survival day for me. I cyclocrossed the top half of the second stage (first of the day) and was feeling pretty good until I got too wild in a chute and sent myself head first into a tree and broke my saddle. One stage down and I was ready to pull out of the race, but I taped my saddle back onto my bike and continued. Stage three went fairly well besides having to pass several racers that had missed their start times and were thrown into the mix right in front of me. I found some flow and was starting to feel good about the rest of the day. My hopes were dashed again on the next stage when coarse tape laying in the trail got wrapped up in my cassette and brake. I wasn’t able to pedal and had to strider my way down half of the stage. Again, I was ready to give up but I forced myself to continue. I had no more motivation at that point and got myself down the rest of the stages safely. In the end, I am very happy I can say I finished and it is an experience I am sure I will look back on fondly.”

Scott Countryman, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

Kangas, who thought round one in Chile was the last time he’d see anti-grip was, like many riders, ultimately bettered by the lack of traction in Manizales. “The Colombian soil and weather conditions were far from optimal for me. Overall it was an OK race. I struggled on the first three stages, and rode OK on four and five. Things would have been fine if it wasn’t for me losing my top jockey wheel at the start. Stages seven and eight were nothing to write home about! 58th overall is nowhere near where I want to be, but considering I’ve only had 10 days riding on the new bike since November, I’ll take the positives with me and go back home with a good feeling for the upcoming races.”

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

Scott Countryman, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

Ryan Gardner reports from Mexico’s Trans Puerto Vallarta

With the major portion of the enduro race season still a few months away but a month or two of training already on the books, Becky and I decided to head south for a few days and check out the Trans Puerto Vallarta. The Trans PV was new this year and included some awesome trails we had already ridden in the little mountain town of Mascota Mexico. We were also treated to some new trails in San Sabastian and mountains surrounding Puerta Vallarta. The whole race took four days with travel to Mascota and included 15 special stages. It was the perfect opportunity to test new bikes, dial in suspension, and shake off the cobwebs from a few months away from racing. Plus, it’s hard to say no to warm temps, tacos, and those chill Mexican vibes.

After flying into PV we built up bikes including my brand new Process 153 29”. I only had one day on this monster before I crammed its big wheels into my Evoc bag, but I had already set a few PR’s on my home trails. This bike breathes fire.

 

After a bike building session, 5-6 tacos, and a margarita (It’s ok to go full gringo) we were off to bed and excited to travel to San Sabastian the next day.

 

The trails of San Sabastian (and neighboring Mascota) are old. Really old. Most of the trails we raced are leftover mining trails and roads from the 1700’s. Even the estate where we camped for the first two nights was built sometime around 1750 and was the center of gold and other mineral mining for the surrounding areas. From here, mules carried the valuable metals down to the Puerto Vallarta so they could be exported. From these ancient paths, the riders of Mexico have reclaimed (sometimes very) narrow single tracks. This, coupled with the dry season, made for some exiting blind racing as riders struggled to find speed, traction, and flow throughout the day. Ryan had a solid day placing second behind good friend and training partner Cory Sullivan by just one second, and ahead of the rest of the field by over 30 seconds. Becky crushed the first four stages before taking a big crash, splitting her knee open, and taking a stem to the sternum. Even with the crash, she finished the day in first place.

Once back to camp, riders were treated to cervecas and a mountain of carnitas. This particular combination results in near instantaneous sleep. Not even the snoring of racers and barking of extremely photogenic Mexican dogs could keep us awake.

Day two of racing saw us move to the steep and fast trails of Mascota. The tracks here are varied and include some wide open sections, some incredibly tight switchbacks, and some pretty gnarly rock gardens. It was in the latter that I made a critical error. My Process 153 had been egging me on all day, seemingly frustrated by my pace. The whole bike comes alive at speed and it’s a constant battle to keep things under control on a trail you have never ridden. I got just a little too excited in one gnarly rock garden and instead of rolling a 4ft boulder, I pulled up and hucked out towards a side hill hoping to keep some speed. Unfortunately, I landed juuuuust a bit to the right and clipped a knife-edged rock which put a 2.5-inch slice in my tough casing WTB vigilante. It was an immediate flat for me and a 30-minute time loss as I finagled a fix to get me back to town. After some Mexican ingenuity and the incredible durability of my Vigilante, I was able to get it patched up and win 3 of the 4 remaining stages including a super tight trail on which my “dinosaur bike” was supposed to be slow.

 

Becky, denouncing stitches which would have taken her out of the race, soldiered on to the amazement of everyone in the field. Rocking last season’s Process 134 and fueled by ice cream stops and adorable Mexican puppies, she rallied through the day only losing one spot on the timesheet by day’s end.


That night we set up camp at a beautiful ranch outside Mascota. There was only one cold shower, but the home-cooked food and late night pizza delivery made up for it. Talking that evening with friend and event promoter Alvaro Gutierrez Leal, he confided that the next morning’s transfer to the stages was what he was most worried about. It was a three-hour drive through 4×4 roads, in two-wheel drive Toyota vans. Turns out he was right. After a few sketchy river crossings and putting some serious wear on the clutch plate, we arrived in the coastal mountains above Puerto Vallarta.
Where the first two days were loose, these trails were on another level of negative traction. No front breaking here. Every stage of the day was wide open with almost no traction, some sand, and scary off-camber corners. We were also given some “Mexican surprises,” like a trail that enters a backyard, loops around a house, and then exits through the front gate. A flock of chickens presented a few opportunities for nose-bawks.

After finishing on a steep and sandy track known as El Scorpion we gathered together for a chill ride back to the ocean, buckets of beers, more tacos, and a bit of Raicilla (the traditional liquor Mascota made from wild agave and brewed in backyard stills). Due to the tire fiasco, Ryan finished off the podium. Becky finished the race in second place, injury and all!

 

 

Photos by Nico Switalski

Words by Ryan Gardner

 

 

Announcing the 2018 Kona Roster!

AGGY, FEARON, VERNER, WALLACE, WERNER HEADLINE KONA'S 2018 ROSTER

Spring is just around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: bike season is near! We’re excited to kick things off by announcing our 2018 roster, which is chock full of speed, talent, and creativity, ensuring an exciting and memorable season.

KONA GRAVITY TEAM 2018

On the gravity side Connor Fearon will be flying the Kona colors at the 2018 downhill World Cup races, set to kick off in Croatia in April. Connor will be running the Operator as he attempts to climb atop the podium throughout the season’s seven races. Also returning is legendary Kona athlete
Graham Agassiz. Whoever said, “freeride is dead,” clearly never rubbed elbows with Aggy and friends. Aggy’s goals for 2018 are to continue to push the limits of what’s possible on a bike, ride as many wild lines as possible, and create some interesting content.

The gravity team is rounded out by North Shore standout Caleb Holonko, and downhillers
Josh Button of Australia, and Anthony Poulson from Quebec.

KONA GLOBAL ENDURO TEAM 2018

New for 2018 is the Kona Global Enduro Team. The Global Enduro Team will compete in races throughout the world, including the EWS. Squamish ripper Rhys Verner, who saw strong results in 2017 will be leading the EWS charge alongside Ireland’s multi-national champion Leah Maunsell. Verner and Maunsell are joined by Swede Alexander Kangas and Americans Ryan Gardner and Scott Countryman.

KONA ENDURANCE TEAM 2018

Keeping the spirit of fun alive is the major goal of Kona’s Endurance and Adventure Team. Personality and talent run deep with this crew, and a good time is never far away. With 24 Hour Solo World Champion Cory Wallace in the mix, big races, and bigger challenges are sure to unfold. Finishing in 3rd place at US cyclocross nationals, Kerry Werner is back and ready to challenge for the top step of the podium. Americans Barry Wicks and Spencer Paxson are always up for whatever shenanigans they can concoct on their bikes and will be joined on big adventure days by Sechelt’s Kris Sneddon.

The 2018 Kona team covers a massive spectrum of riding talent and abilities and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store! Be sure to check out our team page on Konaworld.com for more info on each rider, and tune into the Cog throughout the season for updates on race results, expeditions, and adventure logs.

Kona Process 153 CR DL Named a Bike Mag Bible Top Pick!

Bike Magazine has released their 2018 Bible of Bike Tests, one of the most comprehensive mountain bike tests in the world, and has named the Kona Process 153 CR DL as a top choice. Gear Editor and tester Travis Engel makes it no secret that he’s a lover of 29ers in his normal routine, so his selection of the Process for his top pick makes it an awesome surprise.

Writer and tester Jonathan Weber had this to say about the tester’s overall impression of the Process CR DL: “Our testers were enamored with this bike. One’s first impression was of a very neutral, balanced-feeling all-mountain bike. Another remarked that it felt like a downhill bike, and really came alive when the trail turned steeply, chunkily downward. All three were impressed by its climbing characteristics. Another highlighted how fun the Process is, even on less-technical or slower sections of trail.

 

Check out the full review of the Process CR DL here!

Getting to Know the Process G2

When we launched the revamped Process line back in late summer, Pinkbike spent a ton of time dissecting the new features of the bike. Check out their in-depth dive here. Writer Mike Levy’s a big fan of 29ers and he was partial to the AL/DL 29er, because of wheel size and cost. “The 153 AL/DL 29’s big wheels go over and through everything and, since my riding style seems to suit 29” wheels lately, I’d happily reach for the heavier bike with the cost-conscious build,” he wrote.

What’s your Process of choice?

Processing the French Alps – Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ride Tignes/Val D’ Isere

Ah, the French Alps. The land of good cheese and great wine. It also happens to be home to two high alpine bike parks that are the perfect proving ground for the all-new Kona Process. This past September, Kona Super Grassroots riders Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ventured to Tignes and Val D’ Isere bike parks where lift tickets are free (no joke) and caught the perfect weather and autumn light making for gorgeous, and rather treacherous big mountain descents. Regnier’s weapon of choice is the Process 165, the perfect bike park, all around ass-kicking machine, while Kangas opted for the Process 153 AL/DL 29er, proving that big wheels love big descents.

Kona videographer Joonas Vinnari and photographer Caleb Smith were on hand to catch all of the action.

Jordan Reginer

Alexander Kangas

The Process line features seven new models that progress our goal to build a bike that not only descends confidently but also climbs exceptionally well. Be sure to check out the full Innovation story for complete details. The Process is available in carbon and aluminum and both 27.5 and 29″ wheels, ensuring a bike for every rider and a bike for every budget.

Process 153 AL/DL 29

Process 165 

Lost Trails Found, Trans Cascadia 2017

An adventure in the woods. Rustic trail. Real fast. Part race, part revelry, part trail stewardship, the Trans Cascadia is all about uncovering ancient trails, creating a valuable resource for those who like to share good times amongst friends going self-powered through the woods on two wheels.  Our own Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson takes us inside a distinctive journey to the Old Cascades of central Oregon as part of the third annual Trans Cascadia, where he partook in four days of riding racing uncovered trail.

Daniel Sharp

A long time ago, before any so-called mountain bikers roamed, a wide web of trail was built in these here hills…the Old Cascade Crest…in a land called now Oregon.

Trails once upon a time meant to move through the forests in order to skirt the flanks of fearsome mountains, to be with the land and to trade things like huckleberries. Later on, to move wagons and pack animals, or to spy forest fires. Eventually, trails just to have trails, to experience nature, and move through the forests. 

Leslie Kehmeier

Eventually the trails were lost, or forgotten. Signs marking the way had become one with the trees, and the path through the forest was no longer.

Mike Thomas

Until, one day, a party gathered in the woods to uncover these old trails and clear their way through the forest again.

Dylan VanWeelden

“Mountain bikers”, they were called. These new trail stewards, those who value a certain way of going through the forest. Many came to rebuild, and then the rest came to ride the handiwork.

Mike Thomas

The goods are best when shared, yet kept secret enough. Undisclosed until the night before, queue cards are handed out in camp and studied under headlamp.

Mike Thomas
Nate Johnson

Like the operators of the old Santiam Wagon Road, the hosts treated their people very well and looked to every detail to make their stay comfortable. Much food is prepped for 100 people spending five nights in the forest. Special ingredients are added to stave off the inevitable loamatosis, which afflicts those who consume lush trail with such gluttony.

Nate Johnson

…and after dinner ceremony, neon dance revelry…

Mike Thomas

…and after neon dance revelry, neon sleep in the woods ritual…

Lyden Trevor

…and come morning, the wheeled stables bring the steeds and their riders out the paved road and on to the primitive trailhead.

Chris Hornbeck

The ride begins along an old way through the forest. The trail is barely perceptible through the thick green moss. Walking.

Mike Thomas

A delicate balance across the creek to the next path. No pole vaulting required, just bike balancing.

Mike Thomas

Eventually out of the thick forest and up into the mid-alpine meadows, kept open long ago for living and hunting, the trail is barely perceptible through the golden grass. Old stone cairns mark the way, and clouds float.

Chris Hornbeck

Across misty, huckleberry-strewn ridge tops they go.

Leslie Kehmeier

As the descent becomes ever closer, the excitement builds.

Mike Thomas

Dropping down through the fiery fall foliage.

Dylan VanWeelden

Travelers were obliged by the swiftness of the trail to join in a train of shred. Unlike covered-wagon routes, these trails are as serpentine as possible.

Shimano

The author foot out, flat out

Mike Thomas

A section of trail ripe with Loamatosis shredarensis

Lyden Trevor

Airborne, peak sustained speeds in the section: 33.6 mph

Leslie Kehmeier

Returning to covered-wagon speed, back uphill again, across the next section of the pass.

Mike Thomas

Trail snacks galore since 1873…

Dylan VanWeelden

Along the Old Cascade Crest…

Mike Thomas

Really, it was like a dream. Repeat.

 

Joe Lawwill

The author and his steed. Spencer ended up 7th overall aboard his 2017 Process 111, snagging a few 4th & 5th stage placings across 16 stages in four days, and over 25,000 ft of descending. Check out more of Spencer’s outings on his blog, or follow along his Instagram account @slaxsonMTB

 

 

 

All New Kona Process Tops the Podium at EWS Finale Ligure

Kona riders were out in force over this past week in Finale Ligure for the final round Enduro World Series. New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland, France and Canada were all represented. The physical and technical nature of the seven stages did take its toll on riders, however: Jonathan Maunsell, Alexander Kangas and Jordan Regnier all had their weekends end abruptly, but our two U21 riders, Leah Maunsell and Rhys Verner, both had weekends they will remember forever.

Rhys had an absolute stormer of a weekend. Not only did he ride the all-new Process 153 CR/DL to the top spot in the men’s U21 category by over a minute, but his time was fast enough to put him in 13th in the pro-men’s field.

Leah, who led after the first day of racing, tried her best in the tightly contested women’s U21 field to lengthen that lead on day two. She’s no stranger to the podium at EWS events but the stop step has eluded her. The final of stage would be her undoing, losing precious seconds relegating her to second place. Not the top spot she was looking for but an amazing result for the young rider all the same.

We have both Rhys and Leah‘s race reports below, along with some fantastic photos from our EWS photographer Sven Martin.

Rhys Verner

What a week for me! This was pretty much a dream trip as far as racing and fun goes. The whole week leading up to the final round of the Enduro World Series was great, going for long rides and just taking in the amazing scenery of Finale! Pre-riding the stages I felt great and right at home on the new Process 153 CR DL and I genuinely couldn’t wait to get the racing underway. The weekend started out with a 20-minute stage from the highest mountain at around 1400m and descended almost all the way back down to sea level.

I’ve always been a fan of the long stages coming from XC but this stage went better than I could have hoped for. I ended up pulling a 39-second lead on the 2nd place U21 rider and had by far my best stage result ever with a time that would have had me 5th in the Elite men’s category. The rest of the day I tried to ride smooth and just stay within my limits as to not toss away the lead. I ended day one with a 36-second lead in U21 and ranked 7th overall.

Day two I woke up again ecstatic to get the racing underway and pedaled up to the stages full of energy and just living the dream. I again rode smooth throughout the stages and ended up winning stages four, five, and six, with one stage left to go I had a 1:14 lead on the nearest competitor. Stage 7 was a rough stage so I played it on the safer side as to get down in one piece and secured my first EWS win with an overall time that would have placed me 13th in the pro men’s field.

I am coming away from this race with a lot of confidence knowing that I can ride with the best and really couldn’t be happier with how the week went! – Rhys Verner

Leah Maunsell

Coming into day two with a 9-second lead after the first day’s racing was great, but I knew it was going to be a tight battle right until the end. With a 50km loop and 1300m of climbing to tackle it was going to be a tough day in the saddle. I was delighted to be battling it out for the top step right until the last stage but missed out by 12 seconds. I could say that I’m a little disappointed, but how could you after a great week riding in Finale Ligure. Getting to finish off my season with some really tight racing and ending it on the beach with some gelato with your mates was amazing! – Leah Maunsell

Process 111 Swan Song & Trans Cascadia Tech Talk with Team Rider Spencer Paxson

Kona team rider and endurance/backcountry specialist Spencer Paxson reports with an in-depth bike & gear check as he preps for the 2017 Trans Cascadia, a renowned 4-day blind format, backcountry enduro event taking place somewhere deep in the mountains of Oregon’s Willamette National Forest on September 28-October 1.    

Just as my 2017 event season began in April with a mountain bike stage race (Pisgah Stage Race in North Carolina), it will conclude in October with another multi-day mountain bike event – the coveted Trans Cascadia, a 4-day blind-format, backcountry enduro race through Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. It’s the sort of event that eager-beaver MTB folks save up for all year in their piggy banks and vacation hours in order to capture a gourmet, catered, well organized wilderness experience with friends, and the remarkable autumn riding conditions unique to the Cascade Mountains.

After a 2-month mid-season break from travel and competition (“parental leave!“), I’m looking forward to representing at this special event – a showcase of trail stewardship, eco-tourism, high-level competition, and plain old good times riding bikes in the woods. One of the special aspects of this event is that it is the impetus and fulfillment of reviving forgotten Forest Service trail networks, expanding high quality recreation resources and bringing them back into the fold for others to enjoy. See a more in-depth write-up from our friends at Pinkbike.

In keeping with the inner geek in most of us mountain bikers, below is a rundown of the gear I’ll be taking along, and my rationale for using it. As I’ve said of previous gear-related posts, hopefully you know to never listen to a sponsored professional, as they never provide unbiased advice…;)…but they do come from experience…

The 2017 Kona Process 111 w/ Team Spec – size Large. Indeed this will be the swan song for this trusty steed, as the new Process G2 platform (released earlier this month), is bringing on a new generation of trail machines well-suited for events such as Trans Cascadia. From my perspective as a team rider, the new bikes are better off selling like hotcakes and going into the hands of Kona customers asap…me, I’ll get my turn eventually.  In the meantime, lets give this horse one more good run through the mountains.

I am 5’9.5″ (1.75m) but with a relatively long torso, so the reach of this bike (475mm) suits me well, especially in a gravity & speed-oriented scenario.

I balance the long reach with a short stem (35mm Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail Stem), 740mm bar (Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail), and a 46mm fork offset (MRP Ribbon 130mm), which provides 5mm longer mechanical trail compared with the standard 51mm offest.  In my experience, this combination provides a pleasant balance of quick steering axis with slightly increased high-speed stability and consistency through corners.  It’s a bit different than my XC race bike setup, but not wildly different (see other post on the 10,000-meter ride setup on Hei Hei). I keep a grip with WTB’s Padloc Commander grips (30mm diameter). Shimano XTR M9020 Trail brake levers can handle a bit more abuse than the light M9000 brethren, plus the additional stopping power and reduced fade is noticeable. Those brakes are using a 180mm rotor in front and a 160mm rotor in back…and metallic pads in the calipers for longevity.

Critical to any “long” bike setup (or really any MTB, for that matter) is a dropper post, ideally one that drops all the way to the seat collar. Back on the handlebar, I run the small KS Remote lever on the left side pointing downwards so my thumb has easy access while the rest of my hand stays safely positioned for handling and braking. I run the KS Lev Integra paired with a WTB Silverado saddle on top.

Suspension – The front end is held up by MRP’s new Ribbon fork, highly adjustable and reliable, which I’ve enjoyed to great success across a diverse range of trail conditions, from marathon XC racing to aggressive trail riding. The rear end is held up by FOX’s Float DPS Evol shock.

This fork is set at 130mm. I weigh around 155 pounds (70kg) hydrated without riding kit. For fast riding I typically run a firm sag around 15%, with the positive chamber filled to 95 psi (~10psi higher than factory recommended for my bodyweight) and the negative chamber filled to 102 psi or just under 110% the pressure of the positive chamber. I have the Ramp Control knob set to 14 (2 clicks from fully “ramped”), rebound at 11 (from closed), and low speed compression is a quick flip switch at the top right leg, which at this firm setting stays open most of the time. This setup works for me because it feels very supple and progressive, and for my riding style works well for moving proactively along the high-speed, velvety, high-traction conditions of many of my favorite trails in Washington and Oregon…but of course may take some tweaking once we get to these new trails at TC.

I run around 25% sag in the rear with the custom Process factory tune from Fox.  This works out to 142 psi with rebound set at 10 clicks (from closed) and the compression switch flipped to “open” most of the time. Again…this may need to be adjusted for the conditions in Oregon.

Wheels and Tires – WTB tires and wheels go round and round.  Given the blind format racing, I plan on needing extra braking traction on the front end of the bike to keep from flying into the woods on unfamiliar turns, which is why I’m likely going to run the 2.3 Vigilante, Tough Casing, Fast Rolling compound.  It’s a bit heavy (1140g) compared with the next option, the 2.25 Trail Boss Light Casing Fast Rolling (795g), but the extra grip and security may be worth it.  We’ll see.  In the back I’ll run the Trail Boss.  And depending on conditions, either dual Trail Boss if it’s not too rough, or dual Vigilante if the skies decide to open up. Tires are mounted to the WTB Ci31 29″ rim, laced to Shimano XT hubs.

Trail Boss…a bit less bite than then Vigilante, but this casing option is significantly lighter and may be the ticket for speed on the balance of climbing and descending.  It treated me well on the 10,000m Challenger High Epic back in June.

 Tire pressure will be a day-of decision based on trail surface and conditions, but in general have been running anywhere from 18-21psi, typically the same front and back (weight distribution shifts to either balanced or more weight on front of bike while riding aggressively down). I think about “system weight” for tire pressure…bodyweight + kit + bike.  Though I weigh around 155lbs (70kg), my system weight is closer to 190lbs (86kg).Drivetrain – An MRP 1x V3 chain guide keeps things in line aboard the Shimano XTR/XT drivetrain, with 175mm XTR M9020 cranks, 36t ring, XTR M9000 rear mech, and XT M8000 11-42 cassette, and XT M8000 chain.  The front chainring size certainly isn’t for everyone (nor is anything on any bike, for that matter, all setups are individual!), but I prefer it because 1) I have the strength and power to push it efficiently, 2) there is slightly less chain-wrap around the ring so it feels a bit better and wears less in the muck, and 3) I can keep a bit more tension on the chain as it spends more time in the smaller-interval middle cogs in the back (15-17-19-21) …and if I need to cover lots of ground at a very high speed, I don’t spin out as quickly. Pedals are XTR M9000 pedals…with fresh cleats after a long summer of riding!

I spend the majority of my bike time in the more fitness/endurance-oriented world of XC, marathon, and cyclocross, and since 2012, a power meter has been an important training tool.  I use a Stages power meter mounted to my XTR crankarm in order to collect performance data from training and competitions so that I can be more efficient with training for a specific discipline, tracking progress and managing fatigue along the way.

The ride kit will include the following items tucked into a High Above Designs Lookout hip bag, and a Barrier Micro seat bag by Blackburn Designs:

CLIF product (Bars & Bloks) in a 1/2 size screw cap “snack can”; Sawyer water filter & 1L bag (there’s time to stop and refill in putt-putt enduro biking); tire plugs for quick fix + 2x spare tubes 27.5×2.3 w/ tire lever, filled by Blackburn SL Mini Pump w/ CO2 backup; emergency whistle, space blanket, compress & quik-clot, plastic baggie /w NSAIDs + antihistamine just in case; zip ties, spare der. hanger, Blackburn Wayside multi tool for a good fix; iphone + GoalZero battery pack.

Off the trail…Though Trans Cascadia will provide tents and sleeping pads a generally posh setup, I’m still planning to travel with my go-to quiver of Kona Adventure Team gear. After all, this is a backcountry adventure.  You never know what’s going to happen!  Tents from Eureka, sleeping systems by Klymit, bags and camp wear from Mission Workshop, backup camp food from Mountain House, cookwear from JetBoil (in case we need some midnight snacks), and gear bags from Blackburn Design.

Over and out for now…

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.