Kona Super Grassroots rider Caleb Holonko has the opening segment in We Are One Composites’ new team video, riding his Operator on some of his hand-built trails. With six riders and filmer Max Berkowitz let loose to be creative, this is a good one!
Thanks, in part, to a crazy start to the season the 2017 UCI DH World Cup is shaping up to be one of the more exciting events in recent memory, and Connor Fearon is right there in the mix. Just three rounds in he’s sitting comfortably in the top ten and despite the fresh names surrounding him, this is, without a doubt the fasted World Cup Field ever. On Sunday morning Connor rode to his third top ten result of the season, solidifying himself as a real contender this year.
The course at Leogang had been drastically changed from recent years, changed from the course where Connor finished in second place. The rocks (and some roots) were now gone from the track and riders had to do battle on what some deemed as a pure bike park track, one rider even rode practice on hard tail to prove that point. The lack of technical features on the hill meant that times would be tight and any errors would be costly. Connor rode a consistent race run that was by no means conservative, but it was void of some of the risk and flair we’ve seen earlier this season from the guy many on the circuit believe to be the fastest corner destroyer in the business.
His days efforts would be rewarded with a solid 10th place, which see’s him now sitting eighth overall in the standings with four rounds to go. And if you like stats, this race marks ten World Cup events in a row where Connor has finished in the top 15, eight of those being in the top ten.
“I’m happy with how the weekend went. 10th is good, the track doesn’t suit me as well as it did a few years ago. There’s a lot less turns and fewer tech sections. The track is basically a flow track for 80% of it now. I think I was capable of a better result, I just didn’t risk it enough which you need to do on a easy track like this. But I’m leaving full of confidence and looking forward to Andorra.” Connor Fearon
After a conservative qualifying run that landed hin in the 55th spot Josh Button was ready to show everyone what he was made off and back up that amazing Cairns 5th place podium. Unfortunately for Josh, a heavy crash took away that chance, he stormed on like a trooper and managed to finish his race run, crossing the line in 73rd, more motivated than ever!
Magnus Manson, coming off some solid results Stateside, suffered a rotor bending crash in his qualifying run that meant his bike would not move, after bashing it into shape he managed to get it down the hill but not in enough time to make the top 80. It’s just a matter of time before Magnus pieces together an Elite World Cup event and reminds us of the speed and style we all saw when he was a junior. The guy was winning practice at Leogang thats for sure!
At Kona, employees don’t have company cars, but they gave me a staff bike, which is more expensive than my car in France. Not too bad.
Photos and words by Sophie Bossier.
I’ve been an intern at Kona, in B.C., for two weeks now. In last week’s article I told you about the advantages of working in the bike industry. At Kona, in particular, I have the privilege to take any bike I want, when I want, for my weekend rides or as a commuter bike. But the bikes I really love are the downhill bikes.
As the opening weekend at the lift-accessed bike park in Whistler approached, Kona suggested I take a staff bike, which was thrilling for me. I could choose any one, and – of course – I chose an Operator, in my favorite color, which I will be able to bring back to France. After a few weeks’ riding I’ll do a brief review of my feelings and experiences with my Operator. Don’t hesitate to follow my futures articles if you have interest in this bike!
Whistler Mountain Bike Park is like Disneyland for riding enthusiasts. Everything is bigger, higher – more trails, more jumps, more thrills. The trails are considerably more maintained than our French ones, and it feels good to ride on smooth and well-shaped trails.
There are trails for every taste. For big jumps, speed, and big thrill enthusiasts, go ride and whip the A-Line. For girls like me, who are afraid of these crazy riders who do backflips and ride the A-Line without braking at all, Crank-It-Up is for you! Anyways, if you like rock gardens, roots, berms… you’ll find your paradise here.
And I’m not talking about the village, the center of Whistler. It’s so huge. Shops, everywhere. You have both stereotypes: the first one is the girl who loves shopping, and the second is the girl rider who always wants new bike gear. Now, imagine me in Whistler’s streets – for once, my boyfriend is not reluctant to accompany me on my shopping.
After a season in Whistler, I will have tried so many different kinds of trails that I will be able to ride everywhere – or at least, I hope. I have a real desire to improve my skills. And from my weekends in Whistler, my daily rides during the weekdays, and my work at Kona, I live bike, I think bike, I work bike, I dream bike. It’s crazy – and it’s a change compared to my weekly ride when I was in France. One thing is certain: when I return to France, nothing will ever be as it was.
My Work at Kona Bikes
In last week’s article I told you about my colleagues. I work closely with the marketing team. But what’s marketing, you may say? The marketing team here at Kona works on a wide variety of different projects. On the surface level, you would be able to see that they manage the Cog blog, where I am publishing my articles, as well as Kona’s global social media channels. They write and photograph and make videos throughout the year, and also do communication for employees, dealers, and customers. They answer all of your requests too. And many other things I will discover in the next few months.
On a daily basis, I help them on the social media and the blog. With my fran-glish, it’s a little bit complicated, but some of my posts are liked by more than 3,000 followers, it’s not too bad. I have fun playing with Kona’s Instagram: I can test and learn with an account followed by more than 80k followers. I enjoy that lot!
My Most Important Work
Then, the most important part of my work for these first weeks is to translate in its entirety the writing for the 2018 website into French. It’s super cool and one of the perks here is that I can have a look at all the new models for 2018, which makes me dream, sweet!
But don’t get me wrong, translation is not an easy job! Even if I’ve done a lot of translation in my studies at school, it’s always more difficult when it’s the reality, for a real website, and it’s complicated. For example, how do you translate singletrack, or shred, or flat mount into French? If you have an answer, I would be pleased to receive it, haha.
In English, one word can mean a lot of things. In French, we like to describe things precisely. For one word in English, you’ll have sometimes six or seven words in French. As a result, to maintain the same number of words in accord with the room dedicated for it on the website, you have to make some choice, or sometimes change the sentence completely to keep the main idea in a different sentence.
In a nutshell, you will understand the website, so enjoy it – maybe even be a bit indulgent. It will be nice that your 2018 Kona website will be translated into French and German and Spanish. You’ll be able to spend even more time on it to read the description of your favorites bikes, in your language.
Kona Grassroots rider Roos Op de Beeck has won the Elite Women’s Belgian National Downhill Championships in Bouillon in Belgium’s Ardennes region. Besides winning the national title she took also the overall win in Bouillon in the Lotto DH1 series. Having won the first round of the Lotto DH1 series in Chaudfontaine, Roos is the overall leader in the series. Congrats Roos!
Photos by Luc Delhaye.
“Whether you spend $3,200 on the baseline model or $7,500 on their highest end build, you still get a durable, well-thought-out machine with good geometry, a solid suspension platform, all in a mega-stout package that should take a beating for many seasons to come.”
“Kona’s updated Operator DL is a solid downhill bike with a build that strikes a nice balance between performance and budget.”
Read the full review at Vital MTB!
Dirt Mountain Bike has just posted their long term review of Operator. With notes on the history of our race-ready downhill machine, Ieuan Williams gets into just what our lineup of DH shredders is capable of.
“The RockShox Kage rear shock together with the suspension system is a real gem of a pairing – smooth, supple over harsh high frequency terrain but also has a progressive curve to help deal with big hits without blowing through the travel. We totally love it.”
“We rate this bike highly and the ride characteristic offers superb traction together with a silent ride.”
Read the full review at Dirt Mountain Bike!
If the videos featuring Graham Agassiz and Connor Fearon weren’t enough to put Retallack Lodge on your bucket list, immerse yourself in the story of a few days in the life over at Pinkbike. Swing a leg over one of Retallack’s fleet of Operators and bang off a few laps. Play some neglin at the bar. Rest up in the hot tub. We’re booking our tickets now…
If you’ve been following early season DH news, you may have caught wind that young BC ripper Magnus Manson is riding a Kona Operator this season. And just this past weekend at the NW Cup race in Port Angeles, Magnus has taken his first win aboard the Operator.
Eric Ashley was at the race shooting photos, and wrote an in-depth race report which you can check out over on Pinkbike. Watch the recap video below and read all about Magnus’ season plans in his Getting to Know article.
Photos by Eric Ashley.
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.
First up was the Operator. No, unless you’re Aggy, you can’t buy this colorway.
Long time sponsor SRAM kitted out Aggy’s bikes with the finest components while Crank Brothers Stamp pedals propel this black beast.
Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup. No need for a SRAMnation custom sticker kit here.Sorry, that white on black looks so damn good.If 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.
The Maxxis rubber is mounted to these sweet Novatec Demon wheels. New for 2017 is Aggy’s partnership with Kore. His bikes will be running Kore saddles, seatposts, stems and bars. While Sensus takes care of the grips.
Oh, and that head badge! You may have caught a glimpse of it in the fork photo, but here are a few more details. 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. Also new for 2017 is a partnership with Chris King for headsets.
The 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.
Rock 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.
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.
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.
SRAM’s XO Eagle drivetrain and MRP’s 1X guide keep things in place and moving forward.
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.
Kore + ODI + Chris King = Pure Radness
Chris King, keeping the Process 167 alive, Jah Rastafari.
That’s a few truckdrivers and tail whips right there.
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!
We’re always stoked to see custom Kona builds pop up on Vital MTB‘s Bike of the Day. This time it’s Schmitty’s Operator DL, where Schmitty’s Law is invoked: “Whatever can go orange, will go orange”. Hey Schmitty, you know we make an orange Operator frame too, right?!
See the full specs and a few more photos at Vital MTB.
From the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains above Retallack Lodge comes a new project from Graham Agassiz and Mindspark Cinema: Digging for Galena is a short film exposing the new Texas Peak trail through parallel storylines of exploration and adventure. Grab a cold one, sit back, and enjoy a great short film…
For thousands of years we have been scratching through dirt and rock looking for our fortunes. Over a century ago, pioneers carved deep into the mountains surrounding Retallack Lodge, risking ruin in exchange for an ore rich in silver, zinc and lead. They were Digging for Galena.
Today, exploration and adventure comes full circle with the building of Texas Peak, one of the most adrenaline-packed gravity trails ever created. Join Graham Agassiz as he takes you on a journey that blurs the lines between here and yesteryear — a story of risk, adventure and great reward.
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