kona bikes

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.

Kona Dream Builds: Graham Beaumont’s Hei Hei DL

We spied this gem of a Hei Hei DL on Instagram a while back and just had to share it. It turns out that the bike belongs to UK Super Grassroots rider Graham Beaumont. Graham has a penchant for all things anodized (hence the insane amount of Hope Tech bling) and is a mountain bike guide and coach in the Lake District and he has fallen completely in love with this do-it-all bike.

If you’ve got a custom Kona you’d like to share, hit us up on the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram or send us an email at dreambuilds@konaworld.com.

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Super Grassroots rider Nathan St. Clair Reports on his First DH Race of the Season

Kona Super Grassroots DH racer Nathan St. Clair lined up for his first race of the season at Race 1 of the Downhill Southeast Series Race at Bailey Mountain Bike Park. The field was stacked with local rippers as well as some World Cup regulars. Check out his race recap below and be sure to check out his blog and Instagram for regular updates. (more…)

50 Rad Seconds of Alexander Kangas

Swedish Super Grassroots Enduro racer Alexander Kangas teamed up with Mountainbike STHLM to work on these two rad videos. The above is a very cool little shredit (that would be shred-edit) featuringAlexander railing his new 2017 Kona Process 153DL on his local trails, and then the below webisode takes a look back at his 2016 season.

There are subtitlesles available for the below video, so a solid understanding of the Swedish language might come in handy.

Kona Dream Builds: Joonas’ Explosif

Today we’ve got a little bit of “you can also get it in Ti” Tuesday for you, featuring our steel Explosif.

Like many in the Northern Hemisphere, our Finland-based in-house filmmaker Joonas Vinnari is stuck under a ton of snow right now. Desperate to ride, he ordered up a pair of WTB’s 2.8″ Trailblazers and fattened up his classic root beer-flavored Explosif. It’s no Wozo, but the 2.8s have enabled Joonas to get the pedals turning this winter – and by the looks of it, he’s having a great time!

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While Joonas was able to squeeze the 2.8″ tires into the Explosif frame on the narrower rims he’s running, it’s not something we can officially recommend. For warranty and safety purposes, the largest tire we can recommend in the Explosif frame is a 27.5×2.5″.

If you’re curious about 27.5+, we have four bikes designed with the larger tire clearances needed to get the most out of wide rims and high volume tires: the UnitBig Honzo DL, Big Honzo, and Big Kahuna.

We’re just getting rolling on some regular Kona Dream Builds features here on the Cog. Do you have a rad Kona you’d like to show off? Use the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram and hit us up to submit your bike to be featured here on the Cog.

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Peloton Magazine Reviews the 2017 Kona Sutra LTD – “The Sutra is such a capable bike it could be your only bike.”

Peloton Magazine has just published their 2017 Adventure Issue and it features a great review of our drop bar quiver killing Sutra LTD.

Reviewer Ryan Yee seemed rather enamored with the bike, claiming that “the Sutra is such a capable bike it could be your only bike” and “the Sutra LTD is a bike with a fun factor that’s off the charts.”

A high-resolution JPEG of Ryan’s full review is available here or by clicking on the image below.

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Digging for Galena – The Story of Texas Peak

For thousands of years we have been scratching through dirt and rock looking for both sustenance and fortune. Over a century ago, pioneers carved deep into the mountains of B.C.’s remote Kootenay region, risking ruin in exchange for an ore rich in silver, zinc and lead. They were Digging for Galena.

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In 2010, Retallack Lodge, a backcountry skiing operation in the heart of Galena country, started carving mountain bike trails through their 1.5 million acre tenure. Instead of precious metals, though, they discovered great veins of perfect black dirt.

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Today, exploration and adventure comes full circle with the building of Texas Peak, one of the most adrenaline-packed gravity trails ever created. Using the experienced Retallack Trail Crew, led by freeride legend Mike Kinrade, with input from Graham Agassiz, Texas Peak drops off of its 8,300-foot namesake summit with spectacular verve, flowing through pristine wilderness, past remnants of the pick and axe pioneers of over a century ago.

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Join us as we take you on a journey that blurs the lines between here and yesteryear, a story of risk, adventure and great reward. Watch it everywhere, February 24, 2017.

Credits:
Cinematography and Editing by Mind Spark Cinema
Written and Directed by Mitchell Scott
Starring Graham Agassiz
Produced by Retallack Lodge and Mitchell Scott
Sponsored by: SRAM, Kona, and Retallack Lodge

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My Kona – Dew

At Kona, we’re all passionate about the bike. Whether it’s bombing around the trails of Bellingham, lighting up the CX scene in Seattle, or spinning out a commute in Europe. We’re fortunate to have a gold mine of a rad people within the company that are as diverse as our family of bikes. They’re fathers, mothers, advocates, promoters, band members, sportsmen, sports fans and metal heads. They’re all an integral part of Kona and the Kona experience.
We want to celebrate the individuals, and at the same time give a look behind the scenes at Kona. These are our employees, their bikes, and their lives.

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If the character of this episode already looks familiar to you, it’s probably because he has been a member of the Kona family since 1990 and is the star of our video series The Dew Files. For this chapter of the My Kona series we travel to the Southern Interior of British Columbia to the sleepy town of Penticton to learn more about one of the biggest personalities at Kona, Dew.

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Pinkbike.com review the 2016 Process 134DL “Kona have packaged up a slice of the Pacific Northwest’s riding style for the rest of the world to experience and enjoy”

Rachelle Frazer from Pinkbike.com has been riding a 2016 Process 134 DL for the last few months now and her in-depth review is online now and its a pretty darn through write up that leaves few questions unanswered. You can click here to read the the full report.

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“Kona have packaged up a slice of the Pacific Northwest’s riding style for the rest of the world to experience and enjoy in the 134 DL. It’s no featherweight, but the DL climbs well enough that you could go and race your local enduro on it. More importantly, you will be getting the most of descending while having a lot of fun. If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us don’t need 160mm+ of suspension for our local trails but if you still want to get a little sendy, the 134 DL has a bulletproof frame, a lifetime warranty, is ready, obliging and will cost you less than a beat up Subaru.”Rachelle Frazer

Third times a charm. Becky Gardner’s Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals report.

Last weekend I traveled with Fort Lewis College to Snowshoe Mountain located in West Virginia. It took three flights and a three hour drive but the twenty-something of us made it to the mountain late Wednesday night.  Growing up on the east coast and enjoying the rowdy and rocky nature of the courses which play to my strengths, left me in anticipation for the weekends race.

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All Photos: Max Thilen

The next day we walked the course and to my surprise we were given a relatively smooth track with a massive pedal section that appeared to be much faster and less technical than most east coast courses I’ve encountered. Although at first glance the course seemed easy, Fridays practice showed us just how tricky the fast paced track was once you were up to speed.

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Quick turns and fast straightaways had everyone feeling pretty awkward and slow. I told myself to take it easy in seeding later that day and just see where my time would put me. My seeding run went smooth and as planned with a couple encounters from other racers, but still put me in the top spot going into race day. 

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Saturday’s downhill race was late in the day and the gloomy sky showed signs of rain. However the trails stayed dry and my run went as planned as I came down in 1st landing my third National Downhill title. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to race and attend Fort Lewis College and I’m stoked on being the National DH Champion for three years in a row. However my achievement wasn’t the only highlight of the weekend, the rest of the team crushed it in their events as well giving us the overall team win and crowning Fort Lewis College as the Division I National Champions. 

You can follow Becky on her Blog here.