Kona Dream Builds

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.

Check Out the Kona Gravity Team’s Custom World Championships Operators!

Photos by Boris Beyer.

As has become tradition at this time of year, Kona Gravity Team manager Mathieu Dupelle has been working hard on custom graphics for Connor Fearon, Anthony Poulson, and Magnus Manson in anticipation of this weekend’s 2017 UCI Downhill World Championships.

The Operator frames that the Gravity team rides are the same frames that you can buy at your local shop or through Kona Ride Online – and we’re happy to announce that the new Operator models with trunnion-mounted metric shocks, revised leverage curves, and updated spec and graphics are now available for purchase

Head over to Konaworld.com to check out the new Operators, and peruse Connor, Anthony, and Magnus’ bikes below…

Connor Fearon – Team Australia

Anthony Poulson – Team Canada

Magnus Manson – Team Canada

Kona Dream Builds: Un Sutra pas comme les autres

Mathieu Cloutier de la boutique Le Pédalier à Québec nous présente sa nouvelle bécane! Et on peut dire que le montage de son Sutra transpire l’amour de la bicyclette…

“Il y a deux choses qui me passionnent dans la vie: les vélos et les voyages. On comprend donc que les vélos de cyclotourisme occupent une place spéciale dans mon cœur. Après avoir essayé un Sutra l’année dernière je savais que j’allai encore devoir acheter un nouveau vélo.

Quand j’ai vu le Sutra 2017 j’ai eu le coup de foudre et j’ai toute de suite su qu’il allait être mon compagnon pour mes prochaines aventures. Avec ce vélo je voulais une bécane qui pourrait m’amener au bout du monde, tout en étant fiable, stylée et intemporelle.”

“J’ai décidé d’utiliser le cadre du Sutra standard car la peinture me plaisait. Kona porte toujours une attention particulière à leurs vélos mais le Sutra est particulièrement réussi. J’ai rarement vu une couleur aussi riche et profonde sur un vélo de production. Si vous avez la chance de vous rendre dans une boutique Kona pour le voir au soleil, le détour en vaut la peine!

Pour les roues, aucune question à se poser – un montage custom s’imposait. J’ai donc monté des jantes Velocity Atlas 36 trous qui résistent à toutes les épreuves, avec des rayons DT Swiss montés sur des moyeux Hope Pro 4. Ensuite, un Bearing scellé corps de casette en acier, capable d’endurer les pires conditions – donc idéal pour le touring.

J’ai choisi un pédalier Sugino Alpina triple. À mon avis un des crank’ les plus solide sur le marché avec, en bonus, un look classique indémodable. Les 3 plateaux me donnent tout le gear range nécessaire pour me trimbaler aux sommets des plus hautes montagnes tout en me permettant d’être rapide lors des descentes!

Coté transmission, bar ends shifters pour leur simplicité et leur fiabilité, une mécanique arrière XT et une de mes pièces favorites sur le vélo: un dérailleur XTR première génération neuf – qui pour une raison inconnue avait été oublié au shop. Old school bling!

 

Pour les freins, j’ai choisi les vénérables Avid BB7 mécanique. Tellement fiable, facile d’ajustement, pièces faciles à trouver, c’était pour moi un “no brainer”.

Head set Chrisking – il parait que si on en prend soin, il dure toute une vie. J’ai décidé de vérifier par moi-même. On s’en reparle dans 20 ans, haha.

Potence et tige de selle Thomson pour le cockpit.

Rack Tubus. Aucun rack n’a fait le tour du monde plus souvent. Simple efficace et avec une garantie à toute épreuve.

Pneus Panaracer Passela PT – des pneus solides, confortables, durables et le plus important: à flanc beige!

Finalement je conserverai ma vieille selle Brooks B17 qui garde mes fesses contentes comme aucunes autres selles et ce, peu importe le kilométrage fait dans la journée.”

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 Dream Builds: Clayton’s Purple Rain Process 111

Words: Clayton Wangbichler Photos: Abner Kingman

Roughly eight years ago, I walked into a bike shop with the simple aim of getting brake pads for a Walmart hardtail I was borrowing from a buddy. Next thing I knew, the shop owner was trying to pitch me a great deal on a new bike. One thousand dollars for a brand new, size-small Kona Stinky.

It didn’t make any sense for a broke college student who was six feet tall, but I couldn’t pass up the deal. I walked next door, applied for a credit card, bought the bike and traded in the hunk of Walmart steel for a set of pedals to ride home on.

I returned to the shop the next week to ask some maintenance questions and found the space to be empty, doors boarded up and no signs of life. Turns out the owner was being indicted for tax evasion and had been liquidating his shop before leaving the country. The deal now made sense. I’d give the shop owner his plane ticket to freedom and he had provided me a lifelong love for Kona. Fair trade.

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Need a visual? Here is how I got into riding on that very bike back in 2009. Pro-Tec helmet, pink short shorts that eventually ripped mid-air, Vans that always folded around the pedals, and my buddy Cory always doing lunges in the background.

Since then, I’ve owned and ridden a handful of Konas. Process 111, Process 167, CoilAir, Jake the Snake… I rode them because of the simple fact that I knew they wouldn’t let me down. I didn’t know the folks who were masterfully materializing bikes at Kona, but I knew I shared with them a common view of what makes a solid bike. What makes a bike fun, where it needs to be strong, how it needs to corner at speed and what should be expected of component spec. I knew all their bikes were made with speed in mind, because that is where Konas have always performed best. Pinned, through hairy sections of trail.

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Buried in last winter’s West Coast snowpocalypse, I needed a way to satisfy my two-wheeled addiction without being able to actually ride. I figured it was time to give my Kona some one-of-a-kind love. The direction I went with it was born out of nostalgia. When I was about six years old, my dad bought me my first dirt bike after years of riding three wheelers. He restores classic cars and told me he would paint it any color I wanted. Any color. I chose purple and without my input he added a pink pearl that glistened in direct sunshine. I’ve owned a few dirt bikes over the years, but none provided me the same elation I experienced while riding the purple machine that shined pink in the California sun.

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But let’s be clear, the paint job alone wouldn’t provide the experience that my first dirt bike did. After my previous job provided me the opportunity to ride about sixty bikes in the last three years the Process 111 proved itself to be an incredibly capable short-travel 29er that didn’t come with some painfully unattractive price tag. Suited for daily trail laps while also proven to handle 30-foot senders. Built stout, yet comfortable for gruellingly long days in the saddle. I love this bike, so it only made sense that I show her the same love she’s shown me. The purple theme is a personal throwback to the endlessly blissful days I had on my first custom painted dirt bike.

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Once Kona got wind of the build, it only took a couple emails for Gavin Stewart, Industrial Designer at Kona, to get stoked on creating some customs decals. “Subtle, yet poppy” was probably the most confusing direction I could have provided him, but he nailed it. Thank you, Gavin. You’re a wizard of design. Our graphic designer at WTB, Joey Hale, also put together some color-matched rim graphics for me and next thing I knew I had the baddest looking bike on the block. Infinite thank yous to the Kona and WTB crews for making my dream a reality.

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Kona Dream Builds: Aggy’s 2017 Custom Kona Quiver

With the second Fest Series event about to get underway in Oregon this week, we thought it was high time we showed you what Aggy and the Kona graphics department have been working on to get his quiver ready for a summer of shredding. Graham’s needs were simple: a color scheme that would go with whatever Dakine kit tickled his fancy and it needed to be bold and simple.

What could be more simple (and badass) than white on matte black? We set to work having a complete set of Kona frames painted and decaled in Aggy’s new custom livery – and as you’ll see a few pictures down, we also added a special one-off head badge to his fleet. The frames showed up last week and Graham drove down from Kamloops to our Vancouver office to meet up with Gravity team mechanic Mathieu Dupelle and assemble his new fleet.

Aggys-bikes-2017-4302First up was the Operator. No, unless you’re Aggy, you can’t buy this colorway.

Aggys bikes 2017-4319Aggys bikes 2017-4300Aggys bikes 2017-4293Long time sponsor SRAM kitted out Aggy’s bikes with the finest components while Crank Brothers Stamp pedals propel this black beast.Aggys bikes 2017-4295

Aggys bikes 2017-4318Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup. No need for a SRAMnation custom sticker kit here.Aggys bikes 2017-4316Sorry, that white on black looks so damn good.Aggys bikes 2017-4317If you were paying attention at last year’s Rampage you would have noticed that Graham was running this massive 2.8″ Maxxis Minion DHF front tire. It wasn’t just for Rampage – he’s stoked on this tire and it’s landed on the new bike.

Aggys bikes 2017-4327The Maxxis rubber is mounted to these sweet Novatec Demon wheels.Aggys bikes 2017-4315Aggys bikes 2017-4289 New for 2017 is Aggy’s partnership with Kore. His bikes will be running Kore saddles, seatposts, stems and bars.Aggys bikes 2017-4314 While Sensus takes care of the grips.

Aggys bikes 2017-4312 Oh, and that head badge! You may have caught a glimpse of it in the fork photo, but here are a few more details. Aggys bikes 2017-4298 The Aggy wolf originally showed up on a t-shirt a few years back. To honor Aggy’s custom rigs and custom head tube decals we decided to re-release the t-shirt. If you’re keen you can find it in our Webstore here.  Aggys bikes 2017-4296Also new for 2017 is a partnership with Chris King for headsets.

Aggys-bikes-2017-4332-2The next bike to roll out of the Kona basement workshop was Aggy’s trail ready Process 153DL. Complete of course with the best parts available from SRAM, Kore, Chris King, Novatec and Rockshox. It’s the same frame that you can buy off-the-shelf – it’s just the badass custom color scheme and the rider that sets this bike apart from yours.

Aggys bikes 2017-4356Rock Shox’ legendary Lyrik sits up front, while the Process rolls on Novatec’s carbon Factor wheels and the ever-reliable Maxxis Minion DHF, this time in 2.5 WT flavor.

Aggys bikes 2017-4350 Sram’s new Guide Ultimate, with just enough carbon to slow things down. Kore again looks after the bar and stem. Wolfie has his eye on you.Aggys bikes 2017-4349

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Aggys bikes 2017-4342 Aggys bikes 2017-4336 Crank Brothers’ new low profile Stamp (and the Mallet DH) pedal is the choice of the entire Gravity team this year. Aggy, Connor, Josh, Anthony and Tegan will all be repping the California brand’s wares.
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SRAM’s XO Eagle drivetrain and MRP’s 1X guide keep things in place and moving forward.

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Aggy’s Shonky got the blacked out treatment too. The Maxxis DTHs, the Pike DJ, and that Chris King headset make this low-key dirt jumper simply drool-worthy.

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Kore + ODI + Chris King = Pure Radness

Aggys bikes 2017-4366 Chris King, keeping the Process 167 alive, Jah Rastafari.

Aggys bikes 2017-4363That’s a few truckdrivers and tail whips right there. Aggys bikes 2017-4367

Aggy didn’t quite finish building his Brocess 153 slope bike, nor his Carbon Honzo XC whip, but you can bet we’ll bring you a look at those when they are complete. In the meantime, you should follow Aggy on his Instagram here and the Fest Series here to see one, some, or all of these bikes in action at the Black Sage Fest Series event in Oregon this week!

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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Kona Dream Builds: A Very Sweet Roadhouse from Belmar Bike Shop

A bike as rad as the Roadhouse deserves a bit of custom flair, and that’s just what Belmar Bike Shop in New Jersey has done with Alex’s bike. The Roadhouse already stands out from the crowd with its clear-over-raw finish and brass brazing on the Reynolds 853 steel frame, and yet they’ve managed to turn it into something even more striking. Here’s the story from Kyle at Belmar:

Back in September we got a call from Alex to see if we had the new 2017 Kona Roadhouse that had just come out. We hit it off right away due to our mutual lust for this bike. The bike had not become available yet so instead he came by just to meet us and check out the shop and the other Konas we have here. We talked him into taking our Sutra LTD demo bike out for the day to see what that big tire bruiser is all about. After putting back 30 miles on the Sutra he was hooked on Kona no matter what.

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That ride confirmed that although Kona is a known as a mountain bike company they really know what they are doing when it comes to their drop bar offerings – but Alex did not waver on his desire for the Roadhouse and nothing else. He stared me in the eye and shook my hand as hard as he could and said that as soon as the Roadhouse becomes available to call him for the order. That is normally great but it turned out this bike was even more limited than we knew and already had more customers who felt as strongly as Alex than the amount bikes Kona had coming in.

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By five months later I had assumed the math didn’t add up in our favor and the Roadhouses were all gone until next year. When Jordan at Kona called us in the middle of January I figured it was just to check in and see how things were going as he does every few weeks. This time he had unexpected news. Alex’s bike was in. Good thing I didn’t follow up with Alex to tell him I thought the bike wasn’t gonna happen!

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When I called Alex was shocked. The call came at just the right time, because with spring right around the corner he started to look around to see if there was a different bike out there that tickled his fancy. Looking for something similar just confirmed what he already knew: the Roadhouse is a very unique, very special bike and could not easily be substituted.

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Now that the dream bike existed and we finally had it en route he wanted to go the extra mile and make it a very classy affair. He wanted some accents that would make the bike pop. We went right for the solid brass Sim Works fenders and the same final touch I do to all of my own bikes, honey Brooks saddle and tape. Perfect.

Getting this thing together was a longer process than normal but it ultimately fell together like it was meant to be. We are very thankful to have such patient customers who love the same rad bikes we do.

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Follow along with Belmar’s great custom builds on Instagram! And 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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Kona Dream Builds: Elliot’s Shonky AL

14 year old Elliot Smith had a chance last summer to ride Connor Fearon’s Shonky as Kona’s World Cup downhiller was passing through Squamish en route to Crankworx Whistler. The bike and the experience clearly planted a seed within the young rider, and after spending the last four months saving and calling in favors from some very good friends, Elliot finally managed to piece together this very rad 2017 Shonky AL.

The frame is our classic Shonky in the 2017 metallic blue and gold colorway. The MRP Slope fork, Stans Flow MK3 wheels and Vee Rubber MK3 tires are the real standouts of the build. That said, a lot of time spent on Pinkbike’s buy and sell forum and on Craigslist revealed a legit Kona Pivotal saddle and a 31.6 Macneil post. The retro Elixir brake does the job slowing down the rig and the Spank half link chain rounds out the build and every 14 year olds must have dirt jump accessory.

Have a Kona Dream Build you’d like to share? Check out our How-To post and send it in, and feel free to share your rides on the Kona Dream Builds tag on Instagram.

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