Japanese Kona rider Naoki Idegawa’s Process 27.5 CR DL pulls double duty as both an enduro race bike and a lightweight DH rig. The bike is well and truly dreamy in both configurations. His motivation for building the DH version? Well, some of the short courses on Japan’s DH circuit don’t really warrant a full DH bike so Naoki transforms his Process to DH mode for the occasional race.
This is the Process in DH Guise. Magic Mary’s mounted up on Mavic Deemax hoops with a full XTR/Saint groupset and no dropper post.
Outback he’s opted for a short cage Saint rear mech and a DH cassette. The rear damping is looked after by the ever-popular Fox Float X2 Factory rear shock.
SDG’s Sam Hill pro-model seat is attached to the rigid post. Up front, Naoki is rocking a 35mm Renthal Carbon Fatbar mounted to an Apex stem.
Fox Factory 36’s to match the Float rear.
Now, these little green bolts attached to the Saint brakes and shifter are Ti, Naoki has a thing for Ti bolts as you are about to see.
Saint calipers and floating Shimano rotors… and Ti bolts.
More Ti Bolts.
Cane Creeks deluxe 110 headset and… More Ti Bolts.
Even the XTR cranks didn’t escape the ti bolt retrofitting.
On Enduro days, the wheels are swapped out for a set with Minions front and rear and a wider range cassette. The derailleur is upgraded to an XTR version and the rigid post gets swapped out for a Fox Transfer post.
Japenese riders (and all those who drive on the left side of the road) love the ability to run the rear brake line on the right of the frame, clean cable routing is important when building a dream bike.
Trans-Cascadia is a blind-format, backcountry enduro race held in the wilder corners of the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Mountain Range. Previously held in Oregon, the fourth-edition of the event made its way north to the deep corners of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in south-central Washington State. This year’s edition included a heavy-hitting cast of gravity heroes, including international stars Greg Minaar, Steve Peat, Loris Vergier and more. Factory rider Spencer Paxson was on site to represent not only for Kona, but for his local heritage, having grown up just over the hill from where the race took place. For Spencer, Trans Cascadia was a full-spectrum experience of modern mountain biking, from exploration to advocacy to participation. From helping vet the quality of the routes to volunteering in pre-race work parties to finally racing the event, Spencer shares with us his special account from this piece of MTB goodness.
I credit the terrain around Trout Lake, WA and the greater Gifford Pinchot National Forest for inspiring my deep connection with sport and the outdoors. When I was informed that Trans Cascadia would be venturing to this area for 2018, I leapt at the opportunity to help out. From writing letters of support to the local USFS districts to participating in trail work days, my connection to the region gave me the sense that I owed a concerted effort to support the Trans Cascadia crew and their terrific event. My family’s history goes deep with these forests, including four generations of a family-owned timber and sawmill business and many years of my grandfather and father flying surveillance patrols for the US Forest Service. Not to mention my own experience growing up in these hills. Now, as the economic landscape continues to evolve, it is inspiring to think of mountain biking becoming a more important part of the recreational activities in the area. What better way than to usher it in with revamped trail systems and a world-class event!
I never dreamed I would share these trails alongside 100 other like-minded mountain bikers, let alone legends of the sport whom I’ve looked up to throughout my cycling career. To be clear, this was the zone where I would often go to be solo, or perhaps accompanied by a stalwart family member or friend. I even performed my marriage proposal on one of these trails! This was the zone where I fostered my “benign masochism” on long rides and bushed-out loops with heinous amounts of vertical ascent and frequent hike-a-bikes. But the reward of alpine vistas and remote singletrack was always worth the effort. Fast-forward a decade-and-change later and there I was sharing the same routes with a dozen good friends, trading high fives and trail snacks with the likes of Steve Peat and Greg Minaar, and being able to reassure others with local knowledge of: “don’t worry, it’s almost the top”.
Speaking of more meet-and-greet, the video above captures perhaps the best “nice to meet you” moment I’ve ever experienced. If you follow the big mountain ski world, you’ll get a kick out of it. If not, the running commentary is entertainment enough.
For all the fun that was had, the week was not without a healthy reminder of the fragility of pleasure and the sheer remoteness of the place we were riding. On Day 1, a long time fellow pro racer and friend dropped in ahead of me on Stage 2 and ended up losing control and impacting a tree. I had given enough of a gap on the high-speed stage that I didn’t notice that he had sailed off into the woods until after waiting at the bottom when he was nowhere to be found. After a few riders passed without seeing him, I notified the stage timers and medic and ran back up the trail. Sure enough, my friend was a few minutes run up the hill and laid out on a gentle slope below the trail. The thought that I had ridden past him without seeing gave me a pit in my stomach. A medic and I arrived on scene at nearly the same time and began to administer care (I have my WFR precisely because of these backcountry activities…it’s not much, but it’s far better than nothing). As difficult as it was to see a friend in so much distress, and as scary as the uncertainty of injuries was in the first hour, it was amazing to witness the clockwork of the Trans Cascadia medical crew and staff as they switched-on to expert care for my friend while keeping the rest of the event running smoothly and out of the fray. I can’t speak highly enough of the medical crew and organizers for rallying the way they did to ensure safety and care. After three tough hours, my friend was able to get up and move out on the back of a motorcycle. As for me, I coasted out the last two stages of the day, race brain totally fried.
Thanks to Day 1’s strong reminder of two-wheeled hubris, I had the mind to savor and respect Days 2-4. We were still deep in the woods, and any serious incident meant a long wait and (likely) helicopter ride at best. That said, topic for a future piece is the phenomenon of continued risk-taking in the wake of incident. There are so many angles to open up on that topic that I’ll save it for later, but suffice it to say, I didn’t feel like I slowed down despite the experience of my friend’s crash. And I wouldn’t have gone any faster, either. F#@(%…it felt fast!! And on average I was still 3% off pace. I’m happy leaving that remaining sliver to the forest gods. That said, over the next three days I managed to eke out a top-3 and a few top-5 stage placings, which seemed remarkable to me (and scary/exciting?). Maybe everyone else slowed down? Whatever the case, the local pride probably had something to do with it. Witnessing everyone’s enjoyment of the trails and terrain gave me that special form of joy that comes from sharing with others. In that way, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to have my ass handed to me on fairly familiar trails than by the likes of the international gravity stars in attendance.
In the end, we grimy bunch of mountain biking adults spent 4-days feeling like 19-year-olds with no curfew, no homework, and European drinking privileges. Our cups runneth’d over. I bathed in cold streams and lakes each evening, ate delicious food, and shared lifetime good laughs and high-speed trail sensations with old friends and new ones. As for the racing part, I got myself to 9th place (FULL RESULTS HERE). The morning after the race, a bunch of us loaded into a truck and started the long drive back home. On the way we stopped in sleepy little Trout Lake. There was the gas station and cafe as it always had been each morning before school started, the mountain looming over the valley. I was a visitor in my own home this time, but there was a new twist that felt good. It had been put on everyone else’s map, and in this capacity, it felt really good to share it. I hope people come back. I certainly will!
Thanks for reading.
Photo credits: Mike Thomas and Chris Hornbecker
Some of you may have seen Richard’s beautiful one-off custom painted Process 153 CR DL on Pink Bike’s Instagram feed recently. Well, we’d spied it a while back and asked Rich if he could shed any light on what drove him to build and custom paint his brand new G2 Process and send us a few more detailed images. Luckily for us (and you) he obliged and sent this set of fantastic photos and a complete build list as well as his reasoning and motivation for the build.
My previous bike was a 2015 process 153 with an Ohlins coil and I loved that thing so much. It, unfortunately, had plenty of dents and the like from its share of tomahawks and crashes and late last year I ended up breaking it. It wasn’t even a choice, I went and ordered the ’18 carbon frame immediately to replace it.
I’d been waiting for an excuse to send something to my friend James Terrani of Archetype Paint Studio so a new bike seemed perfect (especially since two of my riding buddies ended up getting the same one). I was pretty set on purple from early on but it wasn’t till James showed me some samples of candy and transparent things he could do we were able to go a little further. The whole bike is one color, he created a subtle fade on the front triangle layering the transparent paint and then did a lot more layers to get the rear end as dark as I wanted it. (I was a big fan of the old Process paint jobs with a colored front and black rear triangle).
I couldn’t be more stoked on how the paint came out. The only new bits on the bike are the Ohlins shock, because it’s a new size and mounting this year and then the gold i9s hubs to Spank Oozy 350 rims to finish it off. Mostly the other bits moved over from the old bike, even the head tube badge and I’m still rocking my OG Wah Wah pedals.
Rear Shock Ohlins TTX 22 coil
Fork Rock Shox Pike
Headset Cane Creek
Handlebar Giant contact SL
Brakes Shimano Zee
Shifters Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Cranks Shimano XT
Chainrings / Sprocket Shimano XT 32t
Bottom Bracket Shimano
Cassette / Rear Cog Shimano
Pedals Kona Wah Wah
Rims Spank Oozy 350
Spokes DT Comp
Front Tire Vittoria Martello DH / Cushcore (THE BEST)
Rear Tire Vittoria Martello DH / Cushcore
Seatpost KS Lev Integra
Weight Not light
Scott Mackay is most definitely a product of his environment. Growing up at the base of Mt. Seymour on Vancouver’s famed North Shore, riding and skiing has been a part of his daily routine for as long as he can remember. For Kona dealers and colleagues that have the privilege to ride with Scott on his home trails – or any trails for that matter – they are served a master class of bike handling and style with a side of humility. Scott lets his riding do the talking and we think you’ll agree…
Part-time trail builder and part-time ice cream slinger (and Squamish BC local) Matt Harris had a long time to ponder his 153 Process AL 29 build. He sold his old 27.5 model before we announced the G2 Process, and he spent the last few months waiting for the frame only version to arrive in Canada. Relegated (that’s not a bad thing) to his steel Honzo, Matt was constantly plotting just how rad he could make this bike. The result, as we are sure you’ll agree, was well worth the wait.
The drivetrain is truly custom. Race Face Next SL carbon cranks transfer power to a One Up Switch chainring. Out back, an XTR rear derailleur mates to a One Up’d 45t rear XTR cassette.
A Rock Shox Lyrik, with its flawless Charger damper, keep things plush up front, while weight is saved with One Up’s toolless front axle. Saint brakes provide ample stopping power while Industry Nine hubs laced to carbon rims keep things rolling fast and smooth.
Bike Yoke’s Revive 185mm dropper post’s are starting to pop up more and more these days. Matt’s inclusion is one of the first we’ve seen on a Process and hot damn it looks nice. The only thing carried over from Matt’s previous build is that well broken in Chromag Trail master saddle.
A little custom detail from one of Matt’s day jobs reminding him that those trails don’t build themselves.
Remmeber those Saint calipers? Well, they are hooked up to these XTR levers for straight-up sex appeal. The levers and Easton Grips are all mounted on a classic Chromag 35mm BZA bar via a sweet Chris King stem and Race Face Atlas 35mm stem.
A sweet gold colored One Up EDC top cap provides a home for Matts EDC tool and rounds of this perfectly executed Kona Dream build.
Josh Cooper is the lead mechanic at Epic Cycles, a bike shop outside of Asheville NC and rides mostly in the backcountry of Pisgah National Forest, famous for its technical terrain and rugged character that can be demanding on equipment. He built up his bike to be light and comfortable enough for all-day rides yet burly and strong enough for the terrain he has in the area.
“Asheville is home to some incredible component manufacturers like Cane Creek and Industry Nine so I tried to highlight those local parts in my build. This bike is the most fun ride I’ve ever had and when I ride it I feel like I can ride anything. It has really opened up my potential as a rider and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”
Here’s some specs and key details:
Frame: 2018 Process 153 Carbon Large
Fork: Cane Creek Helm Air 160 w/custom gold stickers from Cane Creek- Perfect match
Wheels: Industry Nine Enduro 305 – made right across the street from my house
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 11 speed – tried and true.
Cassette: E*13 Trsr 9-46 – Light weight and massive 512% range
Chain: KMC X11 TiNitride Gold
Cranks: Raceface Next R with Wolftooth 32t Oval ring. Wheels Mfg BB.
Brakes: Shimano XT 180/180
Handlebar: RF SixC 35
Grips: Ergon GE1
Seatpost: KS Lev Intergra 175mm w/ Cane Creek Dropt Lever. Could not resist Salsa Gold Clamp.
Headset: Cane Creek 110 Gold
Pedals: Shimano XTR
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.6F/2.3R
Shock: Stock RS Deluxe – I’d like to try the Cane Creek Coil[il] when it is available in metric sizing
Weight: 31 lbs
[R]evolution Magazine Reviews the Process 153 CR DL “The main reason I dug the Process so much? Plain and simple fun!”
[R]evolution Magazine founder and all-round ripper Matt Holmes recently had a chance to test our new Process platform for the legendary Aussie magazine. It seems the new Process 153 CR DL may have just won him over.
“The Process is incredibly playful on the downs and deceptively fast. It’s DH and freeride roots are firmly embedded in its DNA, and as a result, it’s more than capable on big terrain, taking on big drops or gaps with no qualms.”
You can Check out Matt’s full review for Revolution on their website here.
It’s January. Typically, in the Pacific Northwest that means we’re drinking way too much coffee to stay warm, we’ve wrapped ourselves in Gortex and wool to stay dry, and we spend just as much time cleaning the mud off of our bikes as we do riding them. This is a familiar song and dance to me. Wake up, stare outside at the pitch black pelting rain and make an impulse decision on whether or not to trudge my way through another wet, soggy, coldAF ride. I’m about 50/50 on this one. Some mornings I do it because it’s the only time I’ll have to ride on that particular day. Other mornings, I convince myself that the extra 90 minutes of sleep is great for my sanity and crawl back into my bed cave.
However, each January there also seems to be this little nugget of magic that pierces through the seemingly impermeable thick gray blanket of wetness and bestows upon us a few gloriously sunny days. To the locals, these days are known as “Holy-shit-it’s-summer-in-January!” days. They are treasured the way a mother treasures her child’s first pair of shoes. They’ll be talked about throughout the rest of the dreary wet season (aka, until the sun shines again on July 5th). We’ll even reminisce about them next January when we get another round of gloriously brilliant golden light and crisp bluebird days.
This past dose of sunshine was felt all along the west coast as my Instagram feed slowly dissolved from muddy shins to gorgeous rays of light bursting through the trees on Mount Seymour on the North Shore, endless island views from the mountain tops of Bellingham, to golden-hour panoramas from the hilltops of Seattle and beyond. One thing is for sure, when the weather gives you roughly eight months of dark, cold and wet conditions, we definitely learn to take advantage of the sunny days whenever we have them.
Here’s to more random gorgeous days in the winter! Until then, I’m going to go wash the mud off of my bike from last night’s rain ride.
*Header image by Scott Mackay
Mountain Bike Action Reviews the Process CR DL 27.5 “The Process tracked the trail like a cheetah chasing a gazelle”
“On wide-open, high-speed trails, the Process tracked the trail like a cheetah chasing a gazelle. The only difference was it could also hunt down any bonus lines it could find along the way. It’s a quick but confidence-inspiring bike.”
Ah, the French Alps. The land of good cheese and great wine. It also happens to be home to two high alpine bike parks that are the perfect proving ground for the all-new Kona Process. This past September, Kona Super Grassroots riders Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ventured to Tignes and Val D’ Isere bike parks where lift tickets are free (no joke) and caught the perfect weather and autumn light making for gorgeous, and rather treacherous big mountain descents. Regnier’s weapon of choice is the Process 165, the perfect bike park, all around ass-kicking machine, while Kangas opted for the Process 153 AL/DL 29er, proving that big wheels love big descents.
Kona videographer Joonas Vinnari and photographer Caleb Smith were on hand to catch all of the action.
The Process line features seven new models that progress our goal to build a bike that not only descends confidently but also climbs exceptionally well. Be sure to check out the full Innovation story for complete details. The Process is available in carbon and aluminum and both 27.5 and 29″ wheels, ensuring a bike for every rider and a bike for every budget.
An adventure in the woods. Rustic trail. Real fast. Part race, part revelry, part trail stewardship, the Trans Cascadia is all about uncovering ancient trails, creating a valuable resource for those who like to share good times amongst friends going self-powered through the woods on two wheels. Our own Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson takes us inside a distinctive journey to the Old Cascades of central Oregon as part of the third annual Trans Cascadia, where he partook in four days of riding racing uncovered trail.
A long time ago, before any so-called mountain bikers roamed, a wide web of trail was built in these here hills…the Old Cascade Crest…in a land called now Oregon.
Trails once upon a time meant to move through the forests in order to skirt the flanks of fearsome mountains, to be with the land and to trade things like huckleberries. Later on, to move wagons and pack animals, or to spy forest fires. Eventually, trails just to have trails, to experience nature, and move through the forests.
Eventually the trails were lost, or forgotten. Signs marking the way had become one with the trees, and the path through the forest was no longer.
Until, one day, a party gathered in the woods to uncover these old trails and clear their way through the forest again.
“Mountain bikers”, they were called. These new trail stewards, those who value a certain way of going through the forest. Many came to rebuild, and then the rest came to ride the handiwork.
The goods are best when shared, yet kept secret enough. Undisclosed until the night before, queue cards are handed out in camp and studied under headlamp.
Like the operators of the old Santiam Wagon Road, the hosts treated their people very well and looked to every detail to make their stay comfortable. Much food is prepped for 100 people spending five nights in the forest. Special ingredients are added to stave off the inevitable loamatosis, which afflicts those who consume lush trail with such gluttony.
…and after dinner ceremony, neon dance revelry…
…and after neon dance revelry, neon sleep in the woods ritual…
…and come morning, the wheeled stables bring the steeds and their riders out the paved road and on to the primitive trailhead.
The ride begins along an old way through the forest. The trail is barely perceptible through the thick green moss. Walking.
A delicate balance across the creek to the next path. No pole vaulting required, just bike balancing.
Eventually out of the thick forest and up into the mid-alpine meadows, kept open long ago for living and hunting, the trail is barely perceptible through the golden grass. Old stone cairns mark the way, and clouds float.
Across misty, huckleberry-strewn ridge tops they go.
As the descent becomes ever closer, the excitement builds.
Dropping down through the fiery fall foliage.
Travelers were obliged by the swiftness of the trail to join in a train of shred. Unlike covered-wagon routes, these trails are as serpentine as possible.
The author foot out, flat out
A section of trail ripe with Loamatosis shredarensis
Airborne, peak sustained speeds in the section: 33.6 mph
Returning to covered-wagon speed, back uphill again, across the next section of the pass.
Trail snacks galore since 1873…
Along the Old Cascade Crest…
Really, it was like a dream. Repeat.
The author and his steed. Spencer ended up 7th overall aboard his 2017 Process 111, snagging a few 4th & 5th stage placings across 16 stages in four days, and over 25,000 ft of descending. Check out more of Spencer’s outings on his blog, or follow along his Instagram account @slaxsonMTB