Honzo

And the Winner is….

It’s time to announce the winner of the coveted Birthday Bike! The raffle from the Sea Otter classic has come and gone and we’re excited to announce the winner. A huge congratulations goes to Matthew Kurkjian of Moraga, California! It almost seems like the steel Honzo was made for him.

“Winning this bike means that my mountain biking is about to get launched to the next level! I have been riding a Frankenstein hard-tail single-speed for 5 years now (my first mountain bike). I dig steel, hardtails, 29ers, and I’ve always admired Konas in the bike shops.” When asked what he’s most looking forward to about the bike Kurkjian is quick to respond that he just wants to get to know the bike. “I’m most looking forward to naming her! And of course our first post-ride beer together (duh). My first Kona. It feels like I’m moving up in the world!”

From all of us at Kona, welcome to the Kona family, Matthew!

Visit us at Sea Otter!

It’s the official kick-off of the bike season, and we’re celebrating with thousands of others at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. This year we’re showing off a bunch of our new bikes that will be available later this summer including the new carbon Operator prototype, the Process 29 CR DL, and our gorgeous, limited edition steel Honzo Birthday Bike!  More details on all the bikes to come soon!

If you’re in the area be sure to swing by our booth and grab a raffle ticket to win one of only 201 Birthday Honzos! We’ll also have legendary Kona freerider, Graham Agassiz, in the booth signing posters and hanging out this week.

Steel Honzso 30th Birthday Bike for the raffle

Carbon Operator PROTOTYPE

Process 29 CR DL

Swag for sale! Get yours in the Kona webstore!

Kona Demo Tour in Anthem, AZ and at the Sedona MTB Fest!

The 2018 Kona Demo Tour is coming to Anthem, AZ TOMORROW, February 27th, at Freedom Cycles from 12-4pm. We’ll also be at the Sedona MTB Festival this weekend. Check out details below and come test ride a new Process 153 CR 27.5Process 153 AL/DL 29, Hei Hei Trail CRHonzo AL/DL or the brand new Satori DL!

 

For the full schedule be sure to check out the Demo Tour page!

Bike Love

It’s Valentine’s Day. For lots of people that means romance, fancy meals, and way too many heart-themed things.

At Kona, we also want to share the love of our favorite bikes with you. So from the bottom of our sappy little hearts, this is an ode to the bikes we are currently loving the most.

Amanda Bryan, Sales: I love the way the Process 153 sucks up the trail and pops around. It boosts confidence in the steep chunder and loves to get sideways and rowdy.

 

Jordan Sembler, Sales: This is my “One that got away” Valentine bike: “I miss my sweet baby blue Sutra LTD. She stood by me for more miles than any other bike I have had in recent memory and what did I do? I sold her for the next hottest thing… Looking back is always hindsight. She is truly the one that got away and I have to live with that. I just hope that she is happy with her new partner and looks back on our time together as fondly as I do…. I sure hope my Rove LTD doesn’t read this…”

Product Team members Justin Clements and Ian Schmitt: Justin says, “Me and my friend Ian riding a rock roll together in Squamish BC at the MY17 Kona Launch. He’s riding a Big Honzo and I’m riding a Hei Hei Trail CR.”

Product Team member Mark Allison: I love the Operator because who doesn’t love riding big bikes down gnarly terrain? It always means you’re in the woods with your buddies.

Molly Joyce, Sales: This is my Process 111. It was a party! What a sleeper of a bike. It had a way of getting you into spicy situations and at the same time see you out like a champ. I had some of my favorite rides on that bike.

Kona Adventure Team Member Spencer Paxson: My Hei Hei and Process 111 in foreground. Valentines big and small, and bikes of all kinds. Bikes + love and families + bikes = love.

Kona CX Racer Kerry Werner: My “Kona Valentine” is the Superjake. First, and foremost, it is fast as hell on the cx course! Enough said. Secondly, it is so versatile. As the CX season was winding down I was planning as many different bike packing adventures and big gravel rides I think of. Basically, this bike gets me excited to spend copious amounts of time in the saddle.

Scott McKay Sales: Gotta love a Wo and Fireball Whiskey on a cold afternoon like this. Wo+Whiskey= Love

Garry Davoren, Distributor: Who doesn’t love a Ti Honzo?

 

Kona Athlete Hannah Bergemann: The Honzo climbs with ease, which encourages me to ride longer and further. It’s insanely confidence-inspiring and stable, yet still super playful on the descents, and it has me wanting to hit all the jumps and features I can find. I can pack it up with gear for an overnight bike packing trip, or rally it down some of my favorite downhill trails. I’ve been riding the Honzo for a few months now and have taken it to most of my favorite trails in Bellingham. I’ve had a blast riding long XC routes in Mazama, WA and descending technical, rock-filled trails in Squamish. The Honzo made me reconsider my opinion of hardtail bikes, and I feel like I have yet to find the limits of this bike. Looking forward to many more miles on this bike!

Lacy Kemp, Marketing: My Process 153 CR DL is always up for diving into the steepest pitches. The steeper the better!

Kona freerider Graham Agassiz on his custom Operator: This is my favourite bike for a lot of reasons but the two biggest ones would be it’s 26″ and it’s a rainbow trout!

Happy Valentines Day to you and your bikes, from all of us at Kona!

Kona Dream Builds: Darryl’s Detailed Honzo St

Darryl’s immaculate and incredibly detailed Honzo St build is the result of what he calls “the longest demo ever”. Whilst riding his two buddies Honzo’s, Darryl had plenty of time to contemplate what his dream build would look like. The result is one of the most dialed and tidiest steel Honzo builds we have seen. The beauty really is in the details on this one. Read on for to find out about Darryl’s motivation, a full set of build photos as well as the bikes complete component list.

Darryl’s Honzo ST in its current configuration.

After years of riding carbon everything cross-country race bikes, a buddy let me ride his Kona Honzo ST. Needless to say, I’m a lucky guy with good friends. Two of my buddies had Honzos and before I built my own I put about 450 miles on them combined. Basically, it was the longest demo ever and really helped me determine how exactly I wanted to build mine. I pieced together all the parts, paying close attention to the details all the way down to the Paragon Machine Works cable guides, Shimano’s I-Spec II system, heat shrink to keep the cockpit clean and tidy, and custom frame matching rim decals. As great as the bike looks, it rides so much better. From local after work dirt therapy sessions to shredding big mountain backcountry epics, this thing rides so amazingly. I raced it in my local enduro series this past year and ended up taking the overall in Master Men 30-39. The Honzo can hold it’s own against full-on enduro race bikes. For my annual bike trip this year I headed to Oregon and Washington and the bike felt immediately at home in the loam. The way it handled the trails in Oakridge was just incredible, even at the tail end of the famed “17k in a Day” ride. I love this bike!

Full build list:
Frame 2017 Kona Honzo ST Large
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 140mm Boost
Headset Cane Creek 40
Handlebar Renthal Fatbar Carbon 780mm 10mm Rise
Stem Renthal Apex 31mm
Grips Ergon GE1 (Now Ergon GD1)
Brakes Shimano XT M8000 200mm/180mm Freeza Rotors
Shifters Shimano XT M8000
RD Shimano XT M8000 GS
Guide OneUp Components BB Mount
Cranks Shimano XT M8000 Boost 175mm/34t XT Chainring
BB Shimano XT M8000
Chain Shimano XTR HG-901
Cassette Shimano XT M8000 11-46
Pedals Shimano XT Trail
Front Rim Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow MK3 32 Hole
Rear Rim Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow MK3 32 Hole
Hubs DT Swiss 350 Centerlock Boost
Spokes DT Swiss Competition
Front Tire Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35 (Now Maxxis Minion DHF 3C 2.3)
Rear Tire Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35 (Now Maxxis Aggressor DD 2.3)
Saddle fi’zi:k Tundra M1
Seatpost Fox Transfer Performance 150mm
Clamp Chromag NQR

 

Kona Dream Builds: Todd’s Jealousy inducing Carbon Honzo

We are not about to make any wild assumptions about Todd, the owner of this jealousy-inducing carbon Honzo CR Trail DL, but here at Kona just love it when people pour there personality and riding style into their custom bike builds. Whether it’s subtly updating one of our complete bikes or building a bike fresh from the ground up, the finished build tells you so much about the rider and their riding style (or the style they want to emulate). When we spied this amazing build on the OCCP Instagram page we were all gobsmacked and wanted to know more about the owner and his motivations for putting this beautiful Honzo together.  We reached out to Jared at The Oak City Cycling Project in Raleigh, NC and he had this to say.

“This was a build we did for a friend and customer at our shop, The Oak City Cycling Project (Raleigh, NC). His name is Todd Hancock. He has been mountain biking his whole life and was super excited to go from riding a Moots rigid single speed to this Honzo that we finished up for him in time for this Christmas. He loves classic bikes, hence the silver touches, Onza gum walls, and some of the USA made cockpit items as well and those silver Industry9 hubs we laced to Velocity blunt SS rims. Got to represent NC as much as we can with our custom builds (the color is also very Carolina sky blue). The Flite saddle is my favorite touch.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAM


Dirt Rag Post Their Big Honzo DL First Impressions “It was clear that the Big Honzo was made for big fun”

With 2.8 inch wide Rekons from Maxxis, wide bars and a dropper post, it was clear that the Big Honzo was made for big fun. Built around the 6061 aluminum frame, this bike is as tough as it is a good time.

Dirt Rag have just posted up their First Impressions of our their latest review bike, a Kona Big Honzo DL. Its a brief look at this do-it-all fun loving machine and you can check out their initial thoughts here. The full review will be dropping in issue 203 of Dirt Rag due out Early February

Kona Dream Builds: Mark’s Honzo ST Lifer

Mark posted this sweet looking Honzo ST to our Facebook page a few weeks back. We just had to get a few more photos of it so we could share it with you in all its purple glory!

“This is my do it all shred sled from enduro racing to the ultimate goal of racing Colorado Trail race event. This is the first bike I ever had the honor of building from the ground up. This is also the first bike I have owned that I plan to have in my arsenal for the rest of my life.”

How cool is Marks us of an old inner tube to keep the seatpost QR junction clean?

Winterized: Part 3

Welcome back to Winterized, our unofficial guide for how to make riding in the winter suck significantly less. We’re taking tips from Kona employees and athletes on how they manage to stay warm and dry(ish) in the dark, dank months. So, grab a toddy, stoke your fire, and check out the next iteration of Winterized!

 

Name: Trevor Torres
Kona gig: Warranty Service/Demo Manager
Bike of choice: Honzo with Maxxis Minions
How Trevor gets Winterized:

“I like to wear insulated gloves 40 and below.  Not waterproof as they always end up soaking from the inside, but ones with high breathability.
I also like to have a bin with dry warm clothes, towel, and shoes for after the ride.”

Name: Lacy Kemp
Kona gig: Communications Manager/New Kid on the Block
Bike of choice: Process 153 CR/DL
How Lacy gets Winterized:

“I ride a ton in the winter-mostly at night, and mostly alone, so no one hears me complaining about my numb hands. Speaking of numb hands, I’ll start with that. Apparently, I have terrible circulation, so keeping my hands and toes warm is a huge challenge. My saving grace has been Hot Hands Toe Warmers. I use them in my shoes (on the top of my toes) and shove them in the backs of my gloves when things get super cold. I prefer the toe warmers because they are flatter and have an adhesive so they don’t slip around. These things have turned what would have been a miserable day into so many good rides. Buy them in bulk from Amazon for the best deal.

Living in Bellingham means we have a lot of wet to deal with. Getting a good fender setup can be critical to both your vision and keeping your bike cleaner. There are lots of cool companies, but we have a new local company I’m excited about. Ground Keeper is by a Bellingham’s Keely Shannon, who is also part of the brains behind the super artsy Made Rad by Tony name. So, my Process looks awesome even when it’s muddy outside, I’m supporting a local business, and my face and bike are happier.

Another thing I do is deflate my tire pressure juuuuust a wee bit on those super wet days. I’m still learning what pressures work best for me, but with my Minions front and rear, I’m tinkering with around 19ish PSI. I’m a light rider so it’s definitely helpful when the tires grip the grease a bit better with softer rubber.

Lastly, if I’m riding with a pack, I’ll often take an extra jersey and pair of gloves to change into at the top of a climb. Nothing sucks more than dropping into a big descent with a sweaty, cold jersey and wet hands.”


Name: Joey Melweski
Kona gig: Warehouse Manager
Bike of choice:Process 153 CR/DL
How Joey gets Winterized:

“What I like to do to make winter rides more enjoyable:

1. Happiness is a warm rum. Depending on the ride, I’ll fill up a flask with a hot toddy or hot buttered rum.  Not only do they taste amazing, it warms up your insides, acts as a hand warmer and gives you some liquid courage!

2. Leave a towel and extra set of clothes in your car. Just knowing they are there when you get back to your car can make a ride more enjoyable.

3. Extra gloves. If it’s cold and rainy, the last thing you want is cold hands. Bring an extra set to change into before you drop in.”


Name: Matt Hoffmeyer
Kona gig: Kona Bike Shop Manager
Bike of choice: Honzo set up as a steel singlespeed or Honzo CR DL.
How Matt gets Winterized:

Things like how to keep your feet dry and hands warm…. Merino Socks when cold and damp. Showers Pass Waterproof socks for the really cold & wet rides.

The best tires to run…Past couple winters I have been a big fan of the Schwalbe Magic Mary Front and Rear, but this year I am giving the Maxxis Shorty a try.

The best winter snack is a flask of bourbon

I like to use Gore Tex Shorts & Jacket. I currently have 7mesh shorts and would recommend them to anyone.

Just get out there. Once you do you’ll be stoked and have fun. Rope as many friends into your ride, and make it happen on a regular basis.

 


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.