Honzo

Winterized: Part 1

Let’s face it. If you live north of the equator there’s a decent chance you’re stuck in this weather phenomenon we call, “winter.” Perhaps you’re a skier or snowboarder and have hung up your rubber shoes in favor of wooden plans. More power to you. But, for those of you who just can’t quit your bike, we feel you. We feel you because we still have sensation in our fingers from years of trial and error of keeping our bodies somewhat temperate in cold(er), nasty weather. In fact, we have so much wonderful advice for you that we’re launching a series of posts called Winterized. Winterized features tips from Kona employees, partner and pro riders on how to best survive the winter. So grab a cup of your favorite toddy, throw another log on the fire, and soak in the advice. We’ve suffered so you don’t have to.

Name: Kevin Rutherford
Kona gig: Canada Sales/Small Parts
Bike of choice: Process
How Kevin gets Winterized:

Fall/winter is my favourite time to ride! I generally ride my Process all year long, regardless of weather and I run Minions year round.

The key riding gear I find is:

  • Warm, semi-lined base layers
  • Moto/DH/long legged pants to keep my legs clean, and avoid the mud ‘tan lines’
  • RaceFace Agent jacket
  • Bag for wet gear after the ride. Anything from a garbage bag to a dry-bag to keep the slop contained and the car dry

A couple dream gear additions would be:

  • 5×5 pop-up canopy for changing underneath
  • Mini pressure washer, either battery or cigarette-lighter powered

Name: Pat White
Kona gig: Long-time Product Manager and floral verbiage connoisseur
Bike of choice: Roadhouse and Hei Hei AL
How Pat gets Winterized:

Wool
Fenders (road) Open lug treads (MTB)
Wool
Microfleece helmet liners
Wool
Booze
Wool


Name: Molly Joyce
Kona gig: Inside sales support,
Bike of choice: Honzo
How Molly gets Winterized:

  • Best Drink: Thermos with hot Skratch Green tea electrolyte mix.
  • Snack: 100% pure Maple Syrup – the electrolytes and low glycemic sugars give you a more steady boost of energy and it just tastes like the holidays. Untapped has them in shot size packets, or if you are more wary of lots of trash, then a hip flask with maple syrup in it – just make sure you refrigerate it after your ride so it doesn’t go bad.
  • Mucky Nuts fenders.
  • A vest (Troy Lee Design, Giant, Pearl Izumi etc)– keep the core warm for sure!
  • A bandana wrapped around your neck – great for keeping you warm but more importantly for protecting your face on the bitter cold descents, and blowing all those runny boogers out.
  • Hand warmers: again, a good trick for warming up your hands if your fingers are frozen.
  • Studded tires! Mob around the trails or your frozen streets with nobby, studded tires! The most fun commuting around. Schwalbe Marathon Winters and the Ice Spiker are all rad.

Name: Kevin Thornton
Kona gig: Graphics
Bike of choice: Whichever one has fenders
How Kevin gets Winterized:

Just like everyone else, I’ve tried every type of clothing, layering, combination possible and nothing stops the rain from getting me wet. But there is one thing I swear by…gore-tex socks that I wear inside my shoes. Not the boot things that go over the shoes…those are a hassle. In my experience…dry feet = warm feet = nothing else matters.

That’s it for round one of Winterized. Stay tuned to the Cog over the coming weeks for more cold weather riding tips!

 

Hard Tales, Light and Fast, The Tools for 140-km of Slack-Country Shredding

What do you carry for big rides in your back yard? Here at Kona, exploring the rituals of “the big ride” is an evolving year-round job, and perfectly fitting to our Kona Adventure Team, to whom the term “off season” does not apply. No matter the time of year, our riders are ever scheming, ever exploring, and ever testing proof of concepts for outings that touch just beyond the realm of…sensibility.  Plain old, no-frills, leg-torching, trail-devouring good times. Consider this early winter: while Barry Wicks may be single-speeding down the coast to then paddle across the San Francisco Bay and then climb to the top of a mountain and back, Cory Wallace is 4-days deep and 15,000 feet up in the Himalayan backcountry getting charged by angry yaks. Meanwhile, emerging from “paternity leave” in the Pacific Northwest, Spencer Paxson is blithely linking together a series of backyard mountain trails to see just what is possible to get done in a day. Here, Spencer checks in on his tools for one of his recent outings, a 140-km (90mi), 5,000-m (16,000ft) vert mountain bike ride across seven summits above the Salish Sea. Read on for tidbits on his bike and setup, and a few notes from the ride.  For more details on the ride itself, be sure to check out Spencer’s blog.  

The Tool for the Job: Honzo CR, size Large. For long distance days with a mix of steep, technical, satisfying trail and long “transfer” sections (think big climbs), the Honzo has been my steed of choice, particularly in winter time.  I appreciate a return to the hardtail any time of year, but especially after a summer of riding primarily full suspension on increasingly dry trails (either the Hei Hei Race or Process 29). Once the trails get slick again and force a re-education of every line, the hardtail forces, for me, a deeper “tune-up” to my skills. Lines that worked so effortlessly in the summer time are suddenly way harder by virtue of the slime, and if I have to re-learn the terrain again, then I might as well get to the core of it and ditch the rear squish.  With that mentality, why don’t I just go full ridid singlespeed, you ask? Well, I am bit of a sadist, but I like to stay reasonable…

Light and fast: For long rides, it’s important to “bring the picnic“, as they say. I like to balance the load on and off the bike. For these long “slack-country” rides, a pitstop is usually feasible, and the ride starts and finishes at home, so there’s not need to carry an extensive backcountry kit.  Still, for a full day out, efficiency and preparedness still include sufficient hydration, calories, and safety precaution. Experience, terrain and weather conditions all dictate the limits to how “sleek” you can go. As for my own testing, I’ve used a combination of MTB stage racing and multi-day enduro racing to hone my “slack country” kit.  It includes small carry devices on my bike (totaling about 0.75L), and the rest on my hips, either in a snug-fitting 3-pocket XC jersey, or a fanny pack. Above is the kit that worked for me on the most recent sadist ride, where a friend and I put together our own “7-summits mega-enduro”: 90 miles and 16,000 feet of descending (and climbing >;) across seven mountains in our back yard. A 3D recap of the ride is below and the title is full of inside jokes, so don’t ask. As for gear geeking, game changer items for me have been mini water filters (Sawyer Water Filter) and freeze-dried backcountry food packs (Mountain House Foods, Adventure Team Sponsor).

Pedals to round and round: With all of the options available, and with all of the varying concepts of a “big ride”, gearing is a personal preference. For the last two years I’ve been running a Shimano drivetrain. On this particular setup, XT 175mm cranks and 34t chainring up front paired with an XT 12-42 cassette and XTR derailleur in back. For enduro competition I typically run a 36t and will vary the cassette depending on terrain and surface conditions.  I ride almost exclusively clipped in, primarily for the pedaling efficiency provided by stiff-soled trail slippers.  Go-to kicks for me have been the Shimano XC7 shoe paired to the XTR M9000 pedals.

Sip, sip: A bottle half-full at all times, or as much as possible. I keep a bottle with mix on the bike for ‘quick-grab’, but also carry a collapsible water pouch (at least 1L) on my hips, and fill as a reserve using a mini water filter…or a stop at a gas station.

Traction control: Okay, so a little suspension is prudent.  We Adventure Teamers have been running MRP suspension for the last two seasons.  The new Ribbon has been a fantastic fork, highly adjustable and, more importantly, very reliable for huge days. The biggest single day I have done on my MRP ribbon is 100 miles and 33,000 feet of descending, and my hands didn’t hurt…so that is evidence to me of a few things, including the fact that the suspension is doing its job.  Ground contact has been the WTB Trail Boss 2.25″, either light or heavy casing depending on how fast I need to go. And if it’s sloppy, I throw a Vigilante 2.3″ on front, or both front and rear.

As for a snipped of the latest ride…

Relive Lazer Heavy and Dr. Wetzel, the Bear Meat Entree or How Logan Earned His PhD

View my ride Lazer Heavy and Dr. Wetzel, the Bear Meat Entree or How Logan Earned His PhD

It was a good day…

Me (left) and co-conspirator Logan Wetzel of Transition Bikes all smiles afterwards.

Irish Kona Dealer Green Bikes Posts First Look at the 2018 Kona Honzo CR Trail DL

Connor Campbell and the crew at Green Bikes in Ireland have produced this great little first look at the 2018 Kona Honzo CR Trail DL.
The Honzo CR Trail DL is the cream of the Honzo crop, with a RockShox Pike RC, Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, KS Lev Integra dropper post, and tubeless-ready Maxxis tires on WTB Asym i29 TCS rims. Find out more here.

Three Kona Bikes on Bike Magazine’s 10 Best Hardtails Under $2000

If there has ever been an accolade for our MTB Hardtail and Honzo ranges, this is it: three bikes in a list of 10, with great notes from Bike Magazine on the value of Kona’s trail-ready, yet affordable mountain bikes.

“Another Kona? Yeah. Another. Three Konas made this 10-bike list because they’re smartly specced values and have modern geometry. We scoured the internet looking for an alternative from another brand that could top the Big Honzo at the $1,700 price point, but couldn’t find anything. So here it is, another killer Kona.”

All of these bikes are in stock now and available to order through your local dealer or Kona Ride Online. Read on at Bike Mag!

Cinder Cone

Big Honzo

Honzo AL/DR

Kona Big Honzo and Big Honzo DL: New Graphics, New Spec

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 Big Honzo and Big Honzo DL.

Big Traction, Big Fun, Big Honzo

The Big Honzo is one of four frames in the Honzo lineup, and it’s the only one with geometry optimized for 27.5+ wheels. The Big Honzo and Big Honzo DL offer all the fun the Honzo is known for, with the added traction and compliance of 2.8″ rubber.

Big Honzo DL

Take the agile handling and legendary fun of the Honzo, give it the confidence-inspiring traction and comfort of 27.5+ tires, and you get a new-school hardtail. With geometry optimized around 27.5+ wheels, a new RockShox Revelation fork, fast and grippy tubeless-ready Maxxis Rekon 2.8” tires, and a SRAM 11-speed drivetrain, the Big Honzo DL is ready to tackle the chunkiest terrain you can find.

Big Honzo

Our Honzo line was already wildly popular before we introduced the Big Honzo, and now there’s yet another flavor to enjoy. With the addition of traction-happy and smooth-riding 27.5+ wheels, the Big Honzo is a confidence-inspiring singletrack shredder.

Keep an eye here on the Cog and on Konaworld.com for new models arriving at Kona dealers every day!

Dirt Rag’s Ode the Honzo CR Trail: “Long, Low and Slack. It Works.”

Dirt Rag‘s Scott Williams has finished testing the Honzo CR Trail DL and it seems he gets it “Long, low and slack. It works. “ From the component spec to the frame details to the ride characteristics, Scott absolutely loved the Honzo CR Trail.

“There have only been two bikes that I immediately felt at home on, my personal bike being one of them and now this Honzo CR Trail DL.”

Read Scott’s complete review at Dirt Rag or right here as a PDF. 20170406-Kona_Honzo_CR-11

Kona Dream Builds: Travis’ Honzo ST is Ready to Party!

Photos by Matthew Fehrmann

This custom 2017 Kona Honzo ST build is the creation of Cleveland, Ohio shop owner/operator/partner Travis Peebles. Their stable, affectionately coined Blazing Saddle Cycle, is about what you’d expect out of a couple of good-timin’ dudes who want nothing more than to see the smiling faces of folks on bikes.

A unique blend of all-encompassing bike culture, Blazing Saddle caters to all riders. They began their journey a half dozen years ago as a custom restoration and service shop. This has since transformed into two full-service locations that can tackle anything that has two wheels and pedals.

Travis has this to say about his Honzo ST: “I built this bike with good times and good friends in mind. It says everything I want my bike to say… I’m hopeful it screams, ‘I’m here to party!'”

Here are the details on the build…

  • Kona Honzo ST frame size L
  • Rock Shox Pike RTC3 130mm
  • SRAM XX1 Crankset
  • Wolftooth Elliptical 32t drop stop chainring
  • SRAM Eagle 12sp Drivetrain
  • Hope Race Evo E4 brakes
  • Hope 180mm Floating rotors
  • RockShox Reverb 170mm dropper Seatpost
  • Prologo Kappa Evo saddle
  • Easton Haven 40mm stem
  • Ritchey WCS 35 Trail Bars 785mm
  • ESI XTRA Chunky Grips
  • Shimano XTR trail pedal
  • Industry Nine Pillar Carbon 310 wheelset
  • Front tire – WTB Ranger 3.0
  • Rear tire – WTB Trail Boss 2.4

The rainbow Industry Nine spokes and SRAM Eagle set this one apart right away, but so many of the details are drool-worthy! Scroll down for the full spread.

For more rad custom Kona bikes, check out our Kona Dream Builds archives and the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram. And for more rad custom Kona bikes out of Cleveland, follow Travis and Blazing Saddle Cycle on Instagram.

Kona Endurance Team Completes Epic Rides Triple Crown, Spencer Paxson 5th Overall in Series

This just in, Spencer Paxson set out to climb over 10,000 metres in a day on the longest day of the year. Check out his Instagram stories while they’re live for the next few hours, and read on below for his report on this year’s Epic Rides Triple Crown…

Words by Spencer Paxson.

Yes, I still own a skin suit! Amidst all of our backcountry adventuring, we members of the Kona Endurance Team have also been busy doing some good old fashioned bicycle racing. Last Sunday saw the conclusion of the 2017 Epic Rides Off Road Series in Carson City, Nevada.  The three-race series began in late-April through the cactus of Prescott, Arizona, the slick rock of Grand Junction, Colorado in mid-May, and wrapped up under the hot blue skies of the the Sierra Nevadas.

Painface on a knobby-tire breakaway for two laps before being caught by the pack. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

I can speak from experience that within the realm of endurance mountain biking, the Epic Rides Series has come to be the most distinguished race series in North America, attracting the entire tribe of top-ranked endurance racers this side of the Atlantic (and in some cases a few Europeans, too), all vying for a piece of the prestige and $100,000 prize. This year I managed to log consistent efforts and earn 5th overall in the series.

A podium finish eluded me this season, and snagging a top-5 overall admittedly had more to do with luck. I finished 9th in Carson City, and was a subpar 14th in the other two events.  Going into Carson City, a few riders in the top-10 were unable to contest the final event due to injuries, and there were some mechanicals in Sunday’s marathon that shifted things around even more.  Not exactly how you want to earn your marks, but then again, consistency and luck are a reality of the sport.

The Pro men start the Capitol 50 race Sunday morning. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

While the racing is serious, one of the greatest things about the Epic Rides Series is that it proves how well-done events go far beyond the racing itself.  Each event consists of a 3-day festival atmosphere where beginners, seasoned amateurs, and the world’s fastest pros come together to enjoy mountain bike culture, live music and world class singletrack.  A pro fat-tire crit kicks things off on Friday night (it’s all about putting on a show!), followed by great music and beer gardens Friday and Saturday nights. Amateurs race on Saturday morning, and the pros race on Sunday. Over a thousand racers partake in the events, and thousands more come to watch and experience the weekend.

Barrington Levy headlined the music festival on Saturday, providing mellow reggae tunes for the crowd. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

Each stop of the Epic Rides Series places a rewarding spotlight on its host communities, helping to promote community health, outdoor recreation and making a real boost to the local economy. As the Executive Director of the Carson City Visitors Bureau was quoted in the Nevada Appeal, “Epic Rides is more than just a good fit in Carson City. It has made an impact in our rebranding and we are seeing a dynamic change.” According to the Carson City Visitors Bureau, Carson City’s revenue in tourism increased 64 percent over the last four years, from $12.3 million to $20 million.

Racers take in a flowy descent on the Postal Run trail Saturday. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

Out for food on Friday night, we noticed that several new restaurants and other businesses had opened up in Carson City since the first event in 2016 thickened their circle on the map.  Significant buy-in from sponsors and host cities provides the largest cash purse in endurance mountain biking (split equally for men & women) along with a strong media platform.  That in turn attracts major industry players and their top professional riders to participate in a world class set of events.

The momentum is unquestionable, and the series plans to expand in 2018 and beyond.  Meanwhile, Todd Sadow, President and visionary of Epic Rides, looks to support groups within the host communities to build and maintain trails of the Off-Road series. The fundraising goal in 2017 is $30,000, and 100 percent of the funds will go to repairing, maintaining, and expanding existing trail systems — evenly split between the host cities.

Proud to be keeping Kona Cog a strong presence at the Epic Rides events since their inception as a noteworthy pro-am series. Photo by Patrick Means

It is a great series to be a part of – as an elite-level racer, as a member of the mountain bike tribe at large, and as someone who appreciates the value of a healthy, local community.

Needless to say, I’m stoked to come back for an even bigger and better series in 2018!

In the meantime…time to head into the mountains.  Stay tuned for the next installment of the Kona Adventure Team’s “Cooldown Adventure”…somewhere in the mountains above Lake Tahoe…

Blazing through the streets of Carson City in Friday night’s street race. I nearly held off the pack for the win despite racing knobbies! After all, it is called a FAT tire crit.

Factory Jackson is in awe of the Honzo CR Trail: “The Kona really has encouraged me to ride…”

Andrew Dodd from Factory Jackson has recently published an excellent long term review of our Honzo CR Trail. The Honzo inspired him to get out in sloppy conditions all winter and helped him to push his riding skills – exactly what we were hoping by sending over a long term tester.

“Unlike many hard tails that can feel a bit nervous when the going gets treacherous, the Kona Honzo CR Trail actually has more in common with the way you might ride a jump bike on a section of single track. It’s stiff and really inspiring to ride.”

“Overall – I bloody love this bike. You might have already guessed that.”

Without any doubt, Doddy is impressed! Read his complete long term review at Factory Jackson!

“Reasonably priced and unreasonably fun” – Big Honzo Wins a Bicycling Magazine Editor’s Choice Award

The Kona Big Honzo DL has won a Bicycling Magazine Editor’s Choice award! Bicycling revealed their 2017 Mountain Bike Editors’ Choice Winners at Sea Otter this past week and the Big Honzo – “reasonably priced and unreasonably fun” – made the list.

“If you want to shred trails—without the expense, additional complexity, and service requirements of full suspension—this Kona is reasonably priced and unreasonably fun.”

Read the full writeup at Bicycling.

Ti Tuesday: Cam’s Leave-No-Stone-Unturned Ti Honzo

Leave no stone unturned. That’s the idea with Cam’s Ti Honzo. This bike has so many details that you’ll keep finding more the more you look. Cam’s story is also one that might resonate: selling a previous bike and immediately regretting it. Fortunately, Cam’s day to day at Joy Ride Bicycles in Lacey, WA keeps him in the loop, and he was able to atone for his past mistakes.

“A couple of years ago I sold my Steel Honzo for something that I thought ‘was a better bike’ and I’ve been regretting it ever since. Turns out there may not actually be a better bike than the Honzo, so when the stars aligned earlier this year and the prospects of affording a Ti frame became feasible it was a no brainer. While the initial build is focused on shreddy and durable, there is a ‘B’ build in the works for bikepacking so stay tuned for an update on the most versatile Honzo in the PNW.”

Scroll down to pore over the details on Cam’s Ti Honzo covered in Pacific Northwest loam. For more Ti Kona goodness, check out the Ti Tuesday archives and #TiTuesdaysWithKona on Instagram. If you’ve got a Ti Kona bike, please do get in touch!

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