Gravel

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.

Bike Packing Reviews the Libre DL “Climbs extremely well, and feels exceptionally fast on gravel and pavement.”

“Nice geometry that hits a sweet spot between comfort and performance—surprisingly nimble, climbs extremely well, and feels exceptionally fast on gravel and pavement.” – Logan Watts, Bikepacking.com

Logan Watts at Backpacking.com has been putting a whole bunch of time on our new multi-surface and super capable light touring bike, the Libre DL. In typical BikePacking.com fashion, he has gone pretty darn deep with this review and tested the bike in multiple configurations and on varying terrain ranging from smooth gravel to full-blown MTB trails.

Check out their very thorough review here.

Cycling Weekly Rides Madeira

Cycling Weekly recently took part in our gravel trip to Madeira. They just released their report on what it’s like to ride around the small but incredibly hilly island. With amazing gravel and tarmac roads and for being well known for incredible singletrack for mountain biking, plus views that are straight off of a postcard, could Madeira be the ultimate bike destination? Read on to find out!

 

For more information on Madeira, check out Visit Maderia!

Dr Dew Does Madiera

Kona’s legendary Dr Dew recently skipped across the Atlantic with product manager Mark “Donny” Allison to help launch our line of drop bar/gravel bikes to the European media. The setting was the ever-so-scenic island of Madeira- the perfect terrain for Libres, Sutra LTDs, and Roves. We’ll be rolling out reviews from the press as they come in, but for now, please enjoy this recap of riding and local culture by the doctor, himself.

I was aware that I had a work assignment coming up in the second half of October. I would be attending a gravel launch in Madeira with Mark Allison, a.k.a. Donny, Kona’s most junior product manager. As I pondered his recent 21,000 vertical single day achievement, I began to think of the story of the old bull and the young bull only we wouldn’t be walking down the mountain. We met in Vancouver airport and three planes later landed at the Christiano Ronaldo airport in Madeira. Known as the most dangerous airport in Europe it was good to be on terra firma.  Once at the hotel we were warned of the impending hurricane forecast for the next day. I thought back to the plane landing somewhat relieved that our flight had been so smooth. Timing is everything.

The following morning, we awoke to a pleasant hurricane. The brunt of the storm was passing us to the north and we were looking at a promising day with light rain, wind and high seas. After breakfast, we were introduced to the guys from Madeira who would be our guides for the launch. The morning was spent assembling bikes. During the afternoon we weathered the storm and checked out one of the planned rides on the west side of the island. The following day was much the same spent detailing bikes in the morning and riding another trail in the afternoon. Trail guide Joe Sanchez would clear trails and Kona lensman Joonas Vinnari scoping the best photos opportunities. The riding reminded me of California meets Hawaii. It was going to be exciting to have a large group on the ride.

Day one of the launch started at breakfast with introductions. Some of the journalists arrived late and were a bit groggy. Everyone’s spirits were high. Madeira has had good riding reviews lately and everyone was anxious to get on the bikes. After bike assignment, we were shuttled off to the east side of the island. We arrived high in the hills above Machico and had a light rain to contend with. Twisting mountain roads gave way to a modest gravel climb. We ascended up the gravel road until we entered a single track that was part of an old aqueduct system. Banana trees, eucalyptus and sugarcane provided a cover from the wind and rain as we wound our way across the side of the mountain.  About a dozen mountain bikers shot us bewildered expressions as we passed them on our drop bar bikes. After maybe 24 kms of singletrack we came out into dry warm skies and continued onto more twisting roads traversing the mountainside. An exhilarating decent led us to a piazza with great views of the ocean. After a quick traditional lunch, the bikes were loaded into the van and it was off to the west side of the island. The west side had slightly denser vegetation and was the same area where the enduro trails are located. This ride was more open and led into some sweet single track. The single track turned into urban trails and finished with a stunning steep descent down to the ocean. At the beach, we hung at two little Rasta bars. Everyone relaxed and reflected on the day’s riding with beer and poncha. Poncha is Madeira’s traditional drink and can help to cure a cold among other things. One of our guides named Alex had his board shorts and convinced everyone to jump into the Atlantic. As we were bobbing in the Atlantic he gave us some advice. “Go where the current takes you,” and, “The waves come in sets of seven. Don’t panic.” After the swim it was back to the hotel for dinner. Everyone looked content after dinner and we retired soon after. Tomorrow would be an early start.

Donny-not working on his tan.

Day 2 started with a 6:30 breakfast. By 7:15 we were off on our bikes equipped with lights heading to the ferry terminal. A 1.5-hour ferry ride ensued as we headed to the island of Porto Santo. Northeast of Madeira this island makes for a great day trip. Porto Santo “Holy Harbour” has lots of sandy beaches that are sheltered. The stark landscape is a result of feral rabbits that were introduced back in the 1400’s. They decimated the island and left it sparse with vegetation. We set out and really experienced what these bikes are all about. Smooth twisting tarmac got us to the top of the island where we rode off into gravel singletrack that circled the island. Singletrack opened into “German Gravel” that was smooth and fast. The riding was excellent and the views unbelievable. It wasn’t until mid afternoon that we completed the ride down at the beach, exhausted. Lunch was relished. Soon after the lunch Donny, Joe, Henry and Joonas took the journalists to a small airport where Tourism Madeira had them booked on a hopper flight back to Madeira. I settled on a swim with Alex, Jim and Bart before boarding the ferry back with the bikes. At dinner everyone seemed to be glowing. Two good days of riding left everyone feeling content. Most of the journalists were talking about the next time that they would be back to ride. We chose to walk back to the hotel from the old town and enjoy the night air. A lot of journalists had early flights so there was no time for any shenanigans.

For our last day in Madeira we had been invited to play a round of golf at the Palheiro golf club. Despite this tempting offer I graciously declined so that I could spend the bulk of the day riding the bikes and exploring Funchal. Joe was kind enough to take some of the remaining journalists along with Donny and myself on a little tour. Tight cobbled roads, coffee bars, the fish market, old forts were just a few of the spots that we visited. It was like old world meets Hawaii as we finished watching the sun traverse the ocean. As we shared a beer and some beans the journalists were comparing the hours that they had between this launch and their next. I was reminded that this was their work and in fact it was our work as well.

I would like to thank everyone but especially Joe www.bikology.pt and tourism Madeira for their hospitality. Everyone else I hope to thank in person next time I am back in Madeira. Oh yeah there better be a next time.

Six Updated Roves For 2019

THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF DROP BAR BIKES

Wherever you may Rove… Is the perfect place to be. On-road, off-road, gravel, touring, bikepacking- the Rove is the bike of all drop bar trades. With six offerings in multiple wheel sizes, gearing configurations in both 1x and 2x and frame options in both steel and aluminum, you can truly get the Rove you’ve always dreamt of for whatever size adventure you’re planning and at whatever budget best suits your needs.

Rove LTD

“This bike has it all.” “How can it get any better?” “I’m speechless. It’s perfect.” It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about the Rove LTD in similar terms. Simply put, there’s nothing left out of this thoughtfully spec’d bike. Reynolds 853 steel is the chassis for SRAM Force 1 components, our full carbon flat mount CX race disc fork, and WTB ASYM i23 wheels.

“Whether weaving through lush, green ferns like a speeder bike on Endor, or sprinting it out on the pavement, the Rove LTD felt stable without being too muted, but still playful enough to wear the Kona badge.”

– Bike Rumor

  

 

Rove NRB DL

We had fun designing the Rove NRB DL. With homage to its steel cousin, the NRB has creative geometry to allow for bigger tire clearance, and custom dropouts that are easily used with fenders. Size XS comes with smaller 40c tires. Nicely dressed with a Shimano 105 2×11 drivetrain, a carbon fork and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the NRB DL is a unique bike that is ready for anything.

Rove NRB

Sometimes we hit a crossroads where the pavement ends, and the dirt begins. Enter the Rove NRB. 650b wheels, a carbon flat mount disc fork, and mechanical disc brakes mean that transition from pavement to dirt is seamless. Couple those features with a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, and the Rove NRB is begging to take you away from your traditional route and into territories unexplored.

“This rig is a go nearly anywhere and ride nearly anything drop-bar rolling fun factory.”

– Peloton Magazine

Rove ST

For those that have a love affair with steel, the Rove ST will slide rightfully near the top of your “next to buy” list. New this year, the Rove ST runs on 650b wheels that are tubeless ready right out of the box. A SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and flat mount disc fork round out what we consider to be a killer value.

Rove DL
When the ride requires speed, it’s important to pay attention to the little details. Fenders for bad weather and 9 speed gearing provide the comfort and range needed to access any kind of road in any kind of weather. The Rove DL is the answer to your road needs no matter when and where you ride.

Rove

The intention is in the name, as the Rove is the perfect bike to use as a wandering companion. Our most traditional drop bar offering, the Rove is willing to go the distance whether on pavement, dirt, or even gravel. Outfitted with Hayes mechanical disc brakes, and a wide range of gearing, the Rove is an affordable, road-ready steed.

“Kona hasn’t pushed the boundaries of what is possible with a gravel bike, but they’ve created a bike that is happy across a broad spectrum of riding and perhaps the beginning of the reinvention of the road bike market with a focus towards more versatile and adventurous experiences.”

– Road.cc

 

Toni Lund’s Custom 2011 Kona Dew FS Allroad Bike

Bikes have always been my passion. I pretty much live the ‘n+1’ concept. The bike industry brings something new every year and lately a more capable gravel/all-road bike has certainly been something I have wanted. I like to explore small, rugged gravel forest roads and for my liking 700X40C tires are just not enough sometimes. Sure, I could pick up a 29+ bike or even a fatbike, but sometimes there are longer paved transitional sections to those gravel and forest roads so a well-rolling and faster bike makes a lot of sense.
I have built several new roadplus bikes at work like Kona NRB bikes. 650BX47 roadplus tires or even slightly wider tires look like the right size for my needs. However I can’t afford a complete new bike at the moment. But living with the ‘n+1’ syndrome often means that there are some old parts in the garage. So, I found a brand new 2011 Kona Dew FS frame from Kona’s warehouse and the plan was ready: build a completely custom allroad bike. A bit of inspiration came from my coworker who had built a Dew Drop as a roadplus bike.
There were several things I wanted to achieve with this bike project:
– Build a very unique bike
– Reuse the old parts and save money
– Build the wheelset myself
– Run largest possible tires that the frame accepts
– Front dynamo hub for USB charging
– White/blue Suomi-Finland color theme
After several late evenings building the bike after work and building the wheels during the midsummer the mission was accomplished. Here are some shots of the bike. All the photos where shot on the Hanko coast, the southernmost point of Finland.
Something new and something old. New: Ritchey Comp VentureMax 42cm handlebar, very comfortable and spot-on tuck and top positions. Old: Shimano 105 STI 8-speed gear/brake levers. The front fork is one of the many Kona P2 forks. I painted it myself. The complete build looks very good indeed.
Handlebar tape is Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm, definitely best looking and most comfortable tape out there.
Thomson Elite Setback seatpost has been my favorite on my fatbikes over the years so it was a natural choice. Kona saddle from the original Wo build.
Kona clamp came with the frame.
Stem is a Thomson Elite X4, 90mm +/-10°, slammed as -10° as as low as possible to get better top position.
The headtube is pretty massive at 18cm. Kona’s metallic head badge is very nice.
Shimano Deore 175mm triple crankset (smallest chainring removed) with Hollowtech bottom bracket, Shimano Tiagra rear derailleur from the old parts, Shimano HG-93 XT 9-speed chain (8-speed in the picture, 9-speed is MUCH smoother!), Shimano Ultegra 6703 triple front derailleur with Problem Solvers adapter.
Then to the wheels, starting with the hubs. I’m using a dynamo hub for the first time .It’s a Shimano DH-3D32-QR.
The rear hub is the reliable Shimano XT 756A.
The front dynamo hub required a 36-hole rim. Not many rim choices for 27.5 so I ended up with the NoTubes Arch MK3. 36 spokes front, 32 spokes rear. Spokes are DT Champion and DT brass nipples.
Tires are Schwalbe Thunder Burt Evolution SnakeSkin TL-Easy 2017 27.5 x 2.10 / 584-54, set up as tubeless with Muc-Off NoPuncture sealant. These tires are fast! I have averaged 30-31 km/h on my 40 km commuting route!
WTB TCS tubeless valves in blue of course.
Brakes are Hayes CX Expert (originally on my Kona Rove ST 2015) with Hayes rotors.
Top tube is frame taped to protect from frame bags.
The bottom bracket sits pretty low at 26cm. It’s too low for trail riding but this bike is surprisingly fast on all roads, and that is really the main purpose. This bike will see different setups with bikepacking bags and other adventure equipment. I’m pretty excited for future allroad adventures with this bike!

A Heavy Weekend of Racing for Cory Wallace

Kona Adventure Team Rider and 24 Hour Solo World Champion, Cory Wallace, had a somber start to his racing last weekend. Prior to the Squamish Spakwus 50km race, he received word that one of his close friends had passed away while racing his bike in Nepal. Cory took his grief and poured all of his emotion into a powerful victory in the race. He followed it up with a 120km race in Alberta the next day. Cory is a true machine with a huge heart.

Cory wrote about processing his friend’s passing and channeling it into his racing in his most recent blog post. Our condolences to you, Cory. Thanks for always being a true champion.

Racing in Alberta has its perks

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.”

Imaginary Domination Under the Eye of Stravaman

After suffering a mishap 15-miles in to a 54-mile day, Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson shares his experience of what possessed him to keep riding real hard through the forests of the Black Hills.  

On the penultimate day of March, spring seemed preterm in the Black Hills (Capitol Forest) outside of Bordeaux, WA. Just shy of 200 bike riders gathered in the chilly, misty fields of the Evergreen Sportmen’s Club, set at the edge of the forest. Named for its border with the Black River, which is named for the “dark water” of Black Lake, the woods of the Black Hills did not hide their sinister nature. Indeed, the Eye of Stravaman loomed over all who pedaled through.

Spooky woods

Bordeaux, WA circa March 1903. Not much has changed except that there are bicycle races here on the weekends.

This was the sophomore year of the Cascadia Super G, put on by the Race Cascadia crew, which is best known for its regionally popular Cascadia Dirt Cup Series. This event was intended as a blend of enduro-meets-road-racing, or what these days we popularize as “gravel racing”.  At 9:30am we set out on a 54-mile course (shortened by 1 mile due to logging activity) to see just how we would fare. Unfortunately, the enduro timing system (which was supposed to record special downhill segments along the way) had been stuck in customs, so aside from the clock ticking at the finish line, we were all left with the Eye of Stravaman to decide the (unofficial) champion of the “race within the race”.

They say few can endure its terrible gaze, but for better or worse, with the Eye staring down, it didn’t matter so much when I suffered a nasty gash in my sidewall just 15 miles in, which I proceeded to have trouble fixing. After a few false starts of plugs, CO2s, boots, pumps, and even a nice helping hand who pulled over to see that I was alright (thank you, kind Sir!) I had lost around 18min. The race was rightly over, so it was time to go in to TT mode and let the Eye see what I was made of.

Blazing through moody clearcut vistas and spooky woods, I got to say hello again to most of my fellow bike racers who had passed me while I dealt with my mishap. For the next two hours I carried on with the Computer of Power weighing ever heavier on my handlebar. Lured by the Eye, I saw just how fast I could sustain.

With cracks beginning to show at the seams, I crossed the finish line a bit over 3 hours since I’d left it. According to the the clock I was 5th, but according to the Eye, I’d logged the fastest times on the major climb and descent segments. Be that as it may, the Eye grants no real dominion, only imaginary domination. And thus the ride was done and we left the Black Hills behind for another go some other day.

Chris Mcfarland

Racing against myself after getting rolling again…flat-out from mile 15 to 54.

Relive ‘Morning Ride’

 

Spring petals and pastels. Super Jake dressed pre-race like it was ready for an Easter egg hunt (it was Easter Weekend).

Super Jake with CX/MTB gearing combo (46/36 front, 11-40 rear) was the ride of choice for the 2018 Cascadia Super G

Super Jake, super gravel style. It was just an unlucky matter of physics and statistics (okay, and probably rider error!) that got the better of an otherwise burly tire setup.

The Computer of Power, displaying some heavy numbers from the day. It was “flat out” despite “flatting out”.

Crown Town

Bike Rumor posts their Rove LTD First Impressions “It’s a bike that is distinctly Kona in its execution”

“The steel purists should love the LTD, but even those who don’t have a “steel is real” tattoo will be able to appreciate the ride quality.”

We had Zach from BikeRumor.com join us in Squamish recently for the launch of our new Rove LTD and Rove NRB models and his first impressions are online now. You can check them out in full here.

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!