James Rennie

Process 153 DL Makes MTBR’s Best Mountain Bikes Under $3000 List

“It’s truly ready to shred straight out of the box.”

The folks over at MTBR.com have put together a list of what they consider to be the best value mountain bikes under $3000 and unsurprisingly the Process 153 29 made the cut. We’ve posted their reasons for including it below.

Yet another great option for trail smashing fun, the Kona Process 153 AL features 160mm/153mm of travel front and rear, a wide range SRAM NX/GX Eagle blended drivetrain, and the option to choose between 27.5 and 29er wheels. We’re big fans of the bigger wheel size for their monster truck roll-over capability. But if you ride a lot of tight, techy trails, or just prefer a little more playful ride, the 27.5 model may make more sense. Either way you’ll benefit from a slack 66-degree headtube angle, short 425mm chainstays, and Kona’s proprietary Beamer independent suspension design that’s progressive off the top, which helps the bike stay higher in the travel and recover more quickly from big hits. This bike also comes stock with a dropper post, meaning it’s truly ready to shred straight out of the box.

James Rennie Finds the Silver Lining at the Vedder Mountain Enduro

Words by James Rennie. Photo James Cattanach 

When racing, sometimes things don’t go to plan. You can do everything you can to make sure your bike and body are in tip top shape, yet the result at the end of the day shows none of that effort. The first two races of the 2017 season for me certainly haven’t gone to plan!

The 2017 season kicked off with the Pemberton Enduro which is always a favourite of mine, even if I haven’t had the best track record there. This year the PORCA team laid on another great course with a mix of new trails and old favourites. I however got a little too excited in practice and found myself nursing a very bruised and swollen hand which forced me to pull out after the first stage. You win again Pemberton.

After a week of rest and ice my hand was almost back to 100% and ready for the first round of the Canadian Enduro Series at Vedder Mountain, this race also doubled as the first round of the North American Enduro Tour which meant the pro field consisted of 40 riders!

If you haven’t been, Vedder Mountain is a must ride. Its plentiful amount of dirt alone is worth the trip. The course this year was much the same as last year with the addition of a short loam trail to start the day off. This was then followed by the same 3 stages as last year which in total would add up to over 30 minutes of racing with the last stage getting close to the 15 minute mark!

The day started well for me as I fired into the first short stage and found a good flow on the bike, this stage probably wouldn’t decide the race but it was a nice warm up for what was going to be a rather long day. I posted the 4th fastest time on the stage and felt in good shape for stage 2.

Stage 2 would prove to be my undoing. After riding the steep top section fast and in control I started to build some good speed and hit the short climb a few minutes into the stage with a good amount of pace. I then entered the tight middle section and felt great but managed to snag my derailleur exiting a rut, I thought I had got away with it until the cage started to fall to pieces about 30 seconds further down the trail.

At that point I conceded defeat and contemplated rolling back down to the car, my day done, but after watching a few of the guys rip past me I thought ‘this dirt is too good not to ride’ so I hustled a chain breaker and binned by broken drivetrain at the feed station. I raced the rest of the day chainless and even managed a 19th place finish on the 3rd stage even though I had to run and push through a flat and soft lower section.

All in all it wasn’t a total waste. The trails were running perfect and I finished the race having ridden all the stages surrounded by good group of people (some of which even pushed me up the hill), hard to complain really.

Kona Supergrass rider James Rennie finds redemption in Whistler this weekend

This year has seen a number of North American Enduro Tour (NAET) races in the Sea to Sky corridor, the last of which being the Whistler Fall Classic held this past weekend. I was keen to get a bit of redemption after a less than ideal Enduro World Series race in Whistler a month earlier, I wanted to attack the stages rather than become the passenger I had been at the EWS.

The race was to consist of 4lift-accessedd stages spread across the mountain, starting with Top of the World for the first stage. This is a trail I have never seemed to get on with, it’s hard to find flow and always very physical, in essence a perfect enduro race stage. I managed to find that elusive flow at the top and wasn’t blowing too hard up the first short climb (even into a head wind), and still felt good blasting the water bar filled road, which is usually my least favourite section as it really punishes you when you are tired. I kept the flow right down to the bottom turns and finished the stage strong in fifth. Not a bad start.

Stage two was held in the bike park and followed a similar route to the middle section of the infamous EWS final stage. I once again started strong only making a small mistake in a tight turn about halfway down. I tried to keep my fingers off the brakes in the fast open sections and kept my speed up in the turns as much as possible. I was once again happy with how I rode finishing the stage in sixth.

It was then back up and across to Creekside for what many considered the toughest stage of the day, BC’s trail. This is another trail that has been used many times in the EWS and is seemingly tailor made for enduro racing. It’s a great mix of steep tight technical sections and flatter rough section where carrying speed is a must. I knew the key down this trail was not to get ahead of myself and to be smart about line choice while still letting off the brakes where possible. I rode the stage well, nailing some crucial lines I had spotted in practice. I was happy to finish the stage in fifth.

The final stage of the day was a short descent down ‘Big Timber’, a little known trail that starts off tight and fast before getting into some technical manouveres and climbs before firing down into a high speed finish. Other than missing a line at the top I rode this stage well althought felt a little slow when things got tight. I finished the stage in seventh.

All in all I finished the day in fourth. My best result of the year! My goal coming into the weekend was to ride smart and keep air in the tyres and I did just that! My last race of the year is the final round of the BC Enduro series at Sun Peaks, see you there.

Kona Super Grassroots rider James Rennie heads to Kamloops for round three of the BC Enduro Series

Kamloops hosted the 4th round of the BC Enduro series, another new location for the series this year. The race was held at Harper Mountain, offering around 800m of vertical drop with all trails offering up some great speed and flow along with some technical steep sections.

The race consisted of four stages, stages one and two would be around the 10 minute mark, stage three, a short flow trail and stage four, a short grass slalom to finish. After a hot day of practice it was evident that the race would be mostly decided on the first two stages, both of which consisted of some super fun trail, but they would also be taxing on the body with considerable flat sections in both stages.

Race day dawned and it was a scorcher with the temperature around 34 degrees, hydration would be key throughout the day especially with two long climbs back up the mountain. The total climbing for the day would be around 1600m.

1Q8A7944After a short climb up to stage one, we realized we had left too early and ended up waiting for around an hour while the rest of the field started the course. While waiting someone heard a hissing noise coming from my bike, it turned out that while my bike was hanging out in the sun a hole in the rear tyre (which must have sealed the day before) had opened up. I quickly had to chuck in a tube in and pump it up as hard as possible as my track record while running tubes is dismal.

Stage one started off well as I just tried to stay smooth and conserve as much energy as I could as the stage would be the longest of the weekend. Things went well but I felt very tired and felt like I didn’t have much to give on the pedals, most noticeably in the flatter section near the bottom of the track. I was almost at the finish line when I clipped a small rock with the front wheel and saw the distinctive spew of sealant come out of the front tyre, I quickly pulled over and forced the sealant to the hole as I had no spare tubes after using it before the stage. I finished the stage in 15th a long way back from the leaders.

After a long hot climb back to the top of the mountain it was time for stage two, luckily my front tyre had sealed up and seemed to be holding air. Stage two started off rocky and tight before flattening out and finishing with some flowy corners that would rival Whistler Bike Park for deepest braking bumps. I just put together a clean run, once again feeling very fatigued finishing the stage in 11th.

Another long climb back to the top of the mountain led us to stage three, a short new flow trail with lots of jumps and turns. As the stage was short I laid down as much heat as I could, finishing the stage in 8th only a few seconds back from the leaders.

The last stage was a short grass slalom, not a stage that the race would be won on but a fun way to finish the race. I finished the stage in third.

Overall I finished up the day in a disappointing 12th after my troubles on the first stage. The race may have been my favourite of the year, the trails were awesome and the day was a great test for all riders. Thanks to the BC Enduro team for putting on yet another stellar event!

I now have a well earned break from racing after 6 weekends in a row. My next race will likely be in August for the NAET round in Squamish.

Kona Super Grassroots Rider James Rennie reports from Round 2 of the 2016 BC Enduro

Round 2 of the BC Enduro Series was held in the Fraser Valley at Vedder Mountain, a new venue for 2016. Many would overlook Vedder for more popular Sea to Sky riding destinations, but recent trail work and a large local scene have made Vedder a ‘must ride’ in my books.

The race consisted of 3 stages, 2 of which were in the 10-13 minute range, some of the longest we have ever raced in the BC Series.

Stage 1 started with a steep loamy descent followed by some fast flowing turns and jumps before tightening up into a fresh cut section which could easily catch riders out, things then opened up into more established flatter trail into the finish.

Stage 2 was a ‘Secret Stage’ a new feature to the series, riders could walk it prior to racing but would only get to ride it during the race. This was an amazing stage filled with loamy turns and rollers, huge thanks to the trail builders for this one!

To finish, Stage 3 started from the top of the hill and descended all the way to the lake, encompassing all types of terrain on the way down. A fantastic way to finish the day!

fv2James Cattanach www.james-cattanach.com

After heading up the amazing climbing trail it was time to hit Stage 1. I rode fast and smooth in the steep top section and tried to limit mistakes where things got tight. I rode well and was happy to finish 6th on the stage. It was then a steep climb back up to the secret Stage 2.

Dropping in it was evident that it was going to be a blast! I tired to stay off the brakes where possible and rode nice and conservative to ensure I didn’t lose the front in any of the deep loam resulting from the earlier riders. I finished 7th, only a few seconds back from the leaders.

It was then a shuttle back to the top for the massive descent Stage 3 had to offer. I was keen to push hard to test my fitness and try and get myself as far up the order as possible as the stage time would equal almost half of the total race time. I rode great at the top and held good speed through the flatter sections and charged up the two early climbs. Things came unstuck however further down the trail as I clipped a pedal midway through a technical climb sending me awkwardly over the bars losing a lot of time. I tried to salvage what I could but ended up hitting a tree further down the course losing even more time. I was disappointed with myself after this stage, not because of the result but because I didn’t get to see how I stacked to the others on the long descent.

After all was said and done I finished 7th, it’s great to see an even deeper Pro field this year and it makes me want to work harder to get that podium spot!

Huge thanks to the BC Enduro team and FVMBA for putting on the event!

Kona Super Grassroots riders report from Round 1 of the 2016 EWS in Chile

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Ryan Gardner during practice on Day 1 of 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

Kona Super Grassroots enduro riders Ryan Gardner and James Rennie made the decision this year to take their Process 153’s and tackle a bunch of EWS rounds, both riders figured that kicking things off with Round 1 in Chilé, South America was as good a place to start as anywhere. Over the four epic days, between practice and racing, Ryan and James rode over 120 miles and climbed over 20,000 feet. Both coming from full time work at their respective homes, the two posted some solid results over the weekend. James’ first stage result of 32nd being one of them and Ryan’s consistency, which placed him in the top 50 (surround by full-time sponsored professionals) being his. Unfortunately for James, a very similar top 50 result was thwarted as he snapped his chain powering out of the very flat stage six start. Both Ryan and James have fired through their race reports, read on to hear about round one of the Enduro World Series went from their perspectives.

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

James Rennie embracing the Spirit of Enduro on the first day of practice, because of the physical nature of the courses only one practice run was possible, creating any incredibly level field of riders where everyone was essentially racing blind. Photo Sven Martin

Round 1 of the Enduro World Series in Corral, Chile is in the books and it was everything that makes Enduro great. Huge days on the bike, far off places, friendly people, and rugged downhills all combined to make an awesome kickoff to the season. With Corral being well off the beaten path for most EWS racers, everyone came into the race with zero knowledge of the courses. Almost everyone’s first glimpse of the stages was during practice on Thursday and Friday and with the distance between each stage, only one practice run was possible. This made for nearly blind racing on tracks that never looked overly difficult, but made for some very tricky racing. Most of the courses started with tough corners and lots of pedaling before dropping into more technical descents. The super steep and physically demanding switchbacks on stages two and five claimed handfuls of riders both during practice and the race as fatigue began to set in. World class riders, even those known for their fitness, began to show visible signs of wear as the week wore on. However, the absolutely stunning backdrop of coastal Chile, and a backpack full of empinadas made the grinding climbs a little easier to power through.

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

James Rennie en route to a 32nd place finish in Stage 1 , during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

After a winter of racing cyclocross and doing big rides around California, I was hoping to meet the first round with a full head of steam and all the fitness I could ask for. Instead I was forced to meet the 120 miles and 20k feet of climbing over four days with a pretty solid cold that never quite let me feel like myself. With that in mind I told myself that I needed to just get through the weekend and not worry too much about placing. However, as any racer knows, it’s easy to get a little over excited and I pushed myself way too hard on stage one. I finally blew my hands off the bars in a hard g-out and took a digger. I got up as fast as I could and sprinted hard to make up time, only to blow out the very next corner in the loose dirt and dust. I finished off the stage and decided that it was probably better to dial it back a bit and be consistent and I managed to stay off the ground for the rest of the weekend. There were a few injuries including a compound fractured ankle that really highlighted the risks involved with riding as close to the line as you can on demanding trails with minimal practice. Enduro is continuing to come into its own and the consistent speed and concentration required to be a top international rider is truly impressive.

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Ryan Gardner trying not to get distracted by the insane views of coastal Chilé, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

The whole race experience was a blast as it was visibly clear how excited the people of Corral were to be hosting an international group of racers. Each transfer stage was made a little easier by the throngs of locals smiling and waving as we passed and the Spanish cheers echoing from along the steepest parts of the descent. It was also nice to share the climbs and recap the previous stages with new super grassroots racer James Rennie who was having a killer weekend (placing near the top 30 on stage one!) before getting unlucky on the last stage with a broken chain. I am personally super happy to have made the top 50 riders and place 5th fastest American. Not too bad for an office jockey with a cold! Next up is a day or two of rest and then on to Argentina this weekend for Round 2. – Ryan Gardner

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Vancouver based Kiwi, James Rennie, recovering after the first days racing at the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

James Rennie, Foot Out, Flat Out. Photo Sven Martin

After two long days of practice I was already feeling weary coming in to the first day of racing. The trails in Corral proved to have a good mix of everything, great dirt and high speeds seemed to be the main theme though. Day one went well for me, finishing the day in 60th after losing a whole of time on stage two. I was stoked with my first stage time though, where I finished in 32nd.

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

James Rennie Scandi flick though a Chilean switchback, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

Day two the weather was cooler making the climbs a bit more manageable. My legs felt great and stages four and five went well with both finishes around the top 50. After a longer wait at the top of the final stage my legs felt fresh, so fresh that I snapped my chain out of the gate and couldn’t get along the first flat section of the stage losing a whole lot of time. All in all it was a great weekend and the first EWS I have successfully finished! I ended up 73rd.

The Process 153 smashed it all weekend and it was great to hang out with fellow Kona Super Grassroots rider, Ryan Gardner. – James Rennie

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Ryan Gardner, keeps calm and consistent en route to his solid top 50 finish. Photo Sven Martin

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Look mom, no chain. James Rennie rode all of stage six from the start gate to the finish line chain-less. Photo Sven Martin

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

James Rennie getting all colour coordinated in some fresh 2016 TLD kit , during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile. Photo Sven Martin

, during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one Valdivia, Corral, Chile.

Ryan roosts some of the hero dirt in Corral, Chilé during the 2016 Enduro World Series, round one. Photo Sven Martin

Full Results can be found here.