Operator 275

“An Absolute Hoot” – NSMB.com on the 2017 Hei Hei Trail and 27.5 Operator

NSMB.com‘s Tim Coleman joined us for our 2017 Operator and Hei Hei Trail launch at Retallack in late September. Tim is an experienced downhill racer and as a result his reviews often look for the traits that make a bike suitable for timed runs. He’s also extremely detail-oriented, as you can tell by the quotes below:

“The Hei Hei Trail has less travel and is not as aggressive as the bikes I normally ride. I’m always on the hunt for more travel, a longer wheelbase, and coil sprung everything. In many ways, the Hei Hei Trail is the antithesis of the bikes I gravitate towards. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the rowdy Retallack trails on a pinner trail bike. I was very wrong.”

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“The new Operator DL 27.5 is living proof that you don’t need the fanciest bike on the planet to have an absolute giggle on the trail. The Operator begged to be smashed in to corners, do power wheelies out, and generally cavort around the mountain with a stupid grin plastered all over your face.

While I personally would like a longer bike, with longer chain stays, I think the geometry choice Kona has made is smart. It might not be 17 feet long, or optimised for the nastiest World Cup DH tracks, but how many of us can truly ride bikes that long? For the vast majority of us that just want to do skids in the bike park with our mates, the Operator is an absolute hoot.”

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Head over to NSMB.com to read Tim’s thoughts on the 2017 Operator and on the 2017 Hei Hei Trail.

Rampage is Today!

Later this morning, the world’s top freeride mountain bikers will realize the days of hard work they’ve put into crafting carefully selected lines at the sport’s biggest spectacle, Red Bull Rampage. Kona Gravity riders Graham Agassiz and Antoine Bizet are among the 21 invited athletes, and both have been toiling on perfecting their line with their build crew and pre-riding as much as possible to prepare for today’s final.

We caught up with Aggy and Antoine on a quick pre-Rampage conversation. Read on below to see how they prepare mentally and how they’ve set up their Kona Operators for the big day with some more practice photos from Ale di Lullo. And at 9:30 am PST, tune in to RedBull.TV to watch the big event.

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Kona: Did you manage to get your line dialed in and fully built top to bottom?

rampage16_aggy_byadl-2924Aggy: Yeah, yesterday was pretty aggressive out there, but at the end of the day I managed to get in a full top to bottom run. It wasn’t pretty but we did it!

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Antoine: Yes, I rode my line top to bottom yesterday, and I rode the middle section many times working on a few exciting tricks!

Kona: Can you tell us anything interesting about your bike setup for Rampage?

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Aggy: Well yeah, I’m running a 2.8 Minion front tire on my rig.

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Antoine: I set up the suspension super hard, much harder than you would for a bike park for example. Other than that, there’s not that much else I’ve done to it – my bike is exactly like I normally ride it, so that’s simply perfect. I rode it a lot over the past few days and feel so good on it.

Kona: And do you have any pre-Rampage rituals? What song gets you in the zone?

rampage16_aggy_byadl-2508Aggy: I have a couple, but I’d like to keep those to myself.

rampage16_bizet_byadl-1734Antoine: I love to eat apples and Babybels during my Rampage trips! It’s a “no reason” ritual that has happened for the last three years. My shoulder is sore from some big hits I took during training so I’ll warm it up with gym and physio.

And about the song… that’s THE question! I listen to way too many different things, I love French speaking songs, rap, rock or reggae I love them all. Then I can listen to stupid radio music or revolutionary ragga songs… these days with my diggers we listen to a lot of loud songs by french rapper Nekfeu. He’s from Paris like me and he’s killing it!

Kona: Good luck out there boys! Everyone at Kona will be cheering for you!

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Aggy and Bizet Get the Wheels Turning at Red Bull Rampage 2016

Ale di Lullo‘s just sent us through some images from the first day of practice at Red Bull Rampage. Kona Gravity team riders Graham Agassiz and Antoine Bizet are in the final stages of getting their lines prepped for Friday. Aggy’s just built up a fresh 27.5 Operator which we’re getting the first look at right now, and Bizet’s taken his Operator upside down already. Scroll down for a few photos – we look forward to seeing more over the next couple of days!

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Bike Magazine Reacts to Our New Operator and Hei Hei Trail from Retallack – “Showing off these two very different bikes back-to-back was genius”

Bike Magazine’s Anthony Smith joined us for our Operator and Hei Hei Trail launch at Retallack Lodge last month. While he was at first curious about our choice to launch a bike with the Hei Hei name at a place known for its technical terrain, his tune changed quickly once he got on the bike.

Head over to Bike Mag to read Anthony’s thoughts on the new bikes.

“Kona’s plan – intentional or not – of showing off these two very different bikes back-to-back was genius. After getting up to speed on the big bike, my misconceptions of what the little bike was capable of were left completely smashed.”

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Pinkbike’s First Impressions of Our 2017 Operator – “inspires confidence if you’re willing to grab the bull by the horns”

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“It wasn’t long before squaring up corners and dropping the back end into compressions became the name of the game as I looked for bonus fun on the trails. Breaking loose proved difficult, with a combination of the conditions and the bike’s ability to track tending to keep it on rails. The suspension set as it was demanded higher speeds and harder hits — add to this the stout frame, especially through the rear, and you’ve got a bike that begins to show its downhill World Cup influence. The frame is not as forgiving as others, but the result is something that inspires confidence if you’re willing to grab the bull by the horns.”

Pinkbike‘s AJ Barlas has just published his First Ride review from our 2017 Operator launch at Retallack, BC. He quickly got up to speed on the new platform and clearly enjoyed his time with us in the damp Kootenay mountains. Read the full article over at Pinkbike.

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Kona’s Gravity Team hit round two of the UCI World Cup in Cairns.

South Australian based Kona rider Connor Fearon and fellow countryman Josh Button have wasted no time getting up to speed in the humid tropical rainforests of Cairns. You may remember last years event turned chaotic (and a tad comical for for some) when a tropical cyclone rolled through town, drowning the pits, riders and the media a like in a heavy deluge of biblical proportions. Well it seems after a dry track walk on Wednesday, the predicted rains have arrived for this the second UCI visit to Cairns, and they made for an exciting timed practice. “Track here in Cairns is sweet unless it’s pissing down with rain, which is half the time it seems like! – Connor Fearon. Qualifications are tomorrow (well today in Australia) and here looking forward to seeing Connors number nine plate to move even lower. You can show the riders your support by following them on Instagram and letting them know your backing them! Connor Fearon can be found here and Josh Button here.

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Everything in Australia can kill you… Except this freaking huge spider. Photo Duncan Philpott

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Connor Fearon is stronger than you. Photo Duncan Philpott

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After a solid result last week Connor has dropped his starting position into the top ten. He’s now rocking the nine plate. Photo Duncan Philpott

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Orange is the old Green. Josh Button getting to grips with the track and a new bike. Photo Duncan Philpott

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Josh Button hitting berms for dayz. Photo Duncan Philpott

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Who wants to see this number decrease even further?  Photo Duncan Philpott

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Those roots are going to be slippery when wet! Photo Duncan Philpott

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