Kona Process 153 DL

Road Trip: Kona’s Gravity Team Rider Leah Maunsell Heads to France

We got the Ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff and drove straight for 11 hours to Morzine for a few days to break up the journey on the way to French Enduro Series. We caught the last day of Crankworx Les Gets and then rode in Morzine for the next four days. It was the perfect start to our road trip. We even fit in one of BikeMorzines infamous chain-less Mates Race’s, where Leah managed to grab third place!

We then drove another 7hr to Val d’Allos for the French Enduro Series.

We arrived on Friday night, pretty tired after a long day of driving, to set up camp for the weekend. It was a much earlier start on Saturday morning than we are used to in Ireland and the French also run with a completely different format which I found really interesting.

Saturday morning leaving the race village at 7.30am – Stage 1, (20 mins approx.) one practice run and two race runs
Stage 2, (12 mins approx.) one practice run and one race run

I was really enjoying the stages and happy with my riding but as I wasn’t seeded I was catching and having to pass a lot of riders but I just used this as motivation to do well in order to be seeded for the Sunday. I got a flat on my second timed run which wasn’t ideal costing me some time but I was happy to be sitting in 4th in a stacked Elite Women field after day one!

Sunday – Stage 3, (13 mins approx.) one practice run and two race runs
Stage 4, (5 mins approx.) one blind race run

The stages on Sunday morning were tough. Lots of off camber climbing and traversing at the beginning to keep you on your toes! I got in to it after the practice run and was happy with my runs. The blind stage was the shortest stage of the weekend and also the most gravity fed! I was really excited for this stage but unfortunately I had a mechanical and lost a position. But how could you be disappointed after a weekend in the French Alps with six timed runs and over 1hr 20 timed racing! That’s a lot of bike time when you are used to the Irish hills! I didn’t have the best weekend result wise, but now I am raring to go for the Enduro a World Series in Milau next weekend!

Leah Maunsell has a Craic at the Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series

This weekend’s racing was round two of the Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series. It is a series run by local clubs and having the craic is a priority. The one day blind race format is unique in that riders do not get to practice in advance, but can attempt the three stages as many times as they like before the cut-off time (usually a maximum of two attempts per stage). The technical standard of the trails and venues is on a par with national enduro competitions so it is a great pre season warm up! It was the driest Irish race of the year so far!

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You can also run the stages in which ever order you like. So judging by track freshness and conditions I decided to do stage 3 first as I thought it would cut up as the day went on. I didn’t have the best start to the day as I had a bit of undergrowth lodge itself in my jockey wheel which jammed up solid so when I tried to put the power down to pedal hard it sent the chain into the spokes behind the cassette. It wasn’t a quick fix causing me to stop and remove it taking a few minutes. After losing so much time I decided to just cruise down the rest of the stage to check it out for my next run. Back up for a re-run straight away and I was happy.

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Next was stage 2, the shortest of the three stages but not without a few kicker climbs. I was happy with how the stage was going until near the end when I heard a really loud hissing from the rear tyre… Dammit a puncture. Back up again to repeat this stage. It wasn’t the best start to day but luckily things got better from here.
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Last stage, stage 1. This was a longer, more pedal heavy stage. I was happy with how this stage went for me but I decided to repeat it anyway because I had lots of time before the stages closed and hoped I could go faster on the second run.

So all in all, even after a few mishaps early on, I was still able to keep it together in my second runs to take the win! Thanks to everyone for their encouragement all day keeping the spirits high. You can’t beat local races for the craic. Cheers Kona Bikes for the awesome Process 153DL.

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 Super Grassroots Rider Cory Rimmer Wins Brevard Enduro in North Carolina

So this year I have changed my focus a bit, from XC to enduro racing. With limited time to train for longer endurance events and stage races, enduro racing fit perfectly with my schedule. The transition hasn’t been a easy one however, I’ve had to work on my jumping skills and reading the trail at much higher speeds, but mainly I’ve had to work on my mental game the most. If you want to do well at an enduro race you have to be mostly mistake-free, but there is a fine line between going too easy and pushing too hard and crashing. This is a balance I’ve struggled to find until this past weekend in Brevard, North Carolina.

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The Brevard Enduro put on by 3rd Coast Enduro Series was a race I was really looking forward to. I was familiar with the terrain, but due to the high amount of traffic the trails are getting these days, lines are constantly changing. I had pre-ridden the Thursday before and was feeling good about my riding and line choices. Pre-riding also gave me the chance to dial in my Kona Process 153 DL. Due to the rough tracks and high speeds I had to increase the air pressure in my fork and slow down the high speed rebound on my CaneCreek DoubleBarrel Air shock to control the high speed hits. I also switched out my tires to a Maxxis High Roller II with DH casing in the rear and a Minion DHF WT with DoubleDown casing in the front. I took no chances, as the tracks were 95% downhill and very rocky.

Stage 1 was Black Mtn Trail to the bottom of Avery Creek Trail. Everyone was thinking it was going to be a wild day as it had rained all night and things were a little greasy on the climb up. However to my surprise, once I started the stage the trail was in great shape! The tires were digging in great and really boosted my confidence. With the downhill casing tire on the rear I was able to forgo the traditional line that snaked through the rock gardens and was able to just point and shoot right on through. This made for some wild times, but I was able to hang on all the way to the bottom.

After a long transfer and a bit of hike-a-bike with some incredible views, I arrived at stage 2 known as “Upper Black”. This would be the shortest stage at just over four minutes, but was easily the hardest one. It starts off with some fun singletrack with high-speed corners, and then quickly gets you pointed down with some rough rock chutes. As you descend, you gain a lot of speed as you approach the most challenging part of the track. You enter a series of three to four foot drops with landings which can best be described as rocky ditches. Not much of a line as you send off the drops, I just held on and cashed in my luck that I had been accumulating all my life. After some pucker moments I was spit out to scan my chip and finish the stage.

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After telling war stories and describing our near misses with the ground, we all made the short transfer to the third and final stage also known as Middle and Lower Black Mtn Trail. This would be the longest stage of the day at just over seven minutes. At the start everyone was still trying to recover from the arm pump of the previous stage. This would play a factor with my run, as I was barely able to hold the bar at some points. While the upper section was mainly blowout rocky trail as it is tight and steep, the bottom section was more groomed and had more pedal sections. The bottom section also had some smaller jumps that became much more difficult because at that point I was just a blown up blob on a bike trying to make it to the end. Barely able to hang on I had made it to the final scanner and rolled back to the start/finish area.

I had to leave for a collegiate race nearby before awards started and this meant I left before I knew how I had finished. I found out from a friend the next day that I had won the race overall! I was blown away and extremely stoked for my first ever enduro win. The tracks were some of the best all year and the talent ran deep in the pro field, so getting a win here was awesome and a big confidence booster! With two races left in the series, I’m sitting 3rd overall, so now with a win under my belt I will be looking to finish the year out strong!

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.

Leah Maunsell reports from Round 3 of the Enduro World Series in Carrick, Ireland

Taking the win here in the U21 women last year had its pressures, with all of our crazy Irish fans expecting a repeat result again this year. On the other hand, I had so much support this weekend with people cheering me on all the way up every transition and down every stage.2016-Ireland-Race-2920

Not long after sprinting off the line of Stage 1 I had a mechanical. I wasn’t able to fix it mid stage so I had to ride the whole of stage one chainless. I pumped everywhere I could and rode smooth. I had to run the end of the stage because of the uphill. It wasn’t an ideal start being 37 seconds behind but I knew I still had six long stages to fight for some time back.

I had an over the bars at the start of Stage 2 but I still managed to get back 3 seconds.

Heading up to Stage 5 after lunch I was 23 seconds off the lead. I attacked Stage 5 hard and got back 20 seconds leaving me with a time fast enough for top 6 in Elite Women.2016-Ireland-Race-2923

Coming into the field at the finish was nerve–racking sitting in the hot seat and watching the times appear on the board one by one! I was stoked to find out I had taken the win in U21 Women by 11 seconds! ‘

Jonathan punctured on stage 2 like so many others in the sharps rocks, he keep it going sending everything all day for the massive home crowds, but incurring a lot of time penalties after running late for two stages he was out of the running!

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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.

Process 153 DL Makes the 2016 Dirt 100 List “Process bikes have a fully upbeat mindset and as an all-rounder will serve you well”

We don’t want to brag, but we are pretty excited about once again making it into the highly coveted DIRT 100 product list for 2016 with the 2016 Process 153 DL. The Process range first featured in the Dirt 100 back in the 2013 edition, the fact that it’s still in the mix today and raved about by journalists the world over is a pretty good indication that if you haven’t ridden one by now, you should!

http---coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com-dirt_new-wp-content-uploads-2016-01-MG_2504-Giant-Reign-1  The Process range of bikes are without doubt the most inspired bikes that Kona have ever produced. The flamboyant Stinky’s and Stab’s of the late nineties and early part of this century might well have grabbed the imagination and turned the eye with their graphics but the Process bikes are grounded in hard charging fashion and have stepped up to the mark big style no more so than the Kona Process 153DL.

You could argue that Kona had made their mark having shone so brightly in 2004 and 2005 when Fabien Barel won two World Downhill Championships for the brand from the top left hand side of America, yet the Process has definitely become the star of the fleet.

http---coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com-dirt_new-wp-content-uploads-2016-01-MG_2491-Giant-Reign-1The Process bikes from the 111mm bike through to the 134mm and up to this the 153mm feature low standover, short chainstays and longish front centres with a short stem as an integral part of each bike out of the box. This all adds up to a lively ride, and a balanced ride, they are bikes built for charging and stand up to whatever is thrown at them.

More than this, the Process features one of the most durable swingarm’s in the business and superb damping characteristics in its all-aluminium chassis. This has been achieved through the efforts of designers who are riders through and through, searching for the ultimate riding experience. That might well sound cheesy and manufactured for marketing but Process bikes have a fully upbeat mindset and as an all-rounder will serve you well, certainly one that’s in it for the long term.

http---coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com-dirt_new-wp-content-uploads-2016-01-MG_2494-Giant-Reign-1Testimony to this is frequently found when we take 150/160 bikes out for either uplift sessions or longer day rides. Nearly every time the Process is the bike that is fought over.