operator

Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena – Full Film

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.

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Credits:
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

Graham Agassiz in Digging for Galena: Trailer #2

At the turn of the century the wilderness surrounding Retallack Lodge teemed with fortune seekers, their lives bound to the rich ore hiding deep underground. We unearth those jewels in the creation of Texas Peak, a trail to end all trails. Watch the story unfold February 24, 2017 as we launch “Digging for Galena,” starring Graham Agassiz.

Credits:
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

Digging for Galena – The Story of Texas Peak

For thousands of years we have been scratching through dirt and rock looking for both sustenance and fortune. Over a century ago, pioneers carved deep into the mountains of B.C.’s remote Kootenay region, risking ruin in exchange for an ore rich in silver, zinc and lead. They were Digging for Galena.

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In 2010, Retallack Lodge, a backcountry skiing operation in the heart of Galena country, started carving mountain bike trails through their 1.5 million acre tenure. Instead of precious metals, though, they discovered great veins of perfect black dirt.

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Today, exploration and adventure comes full circle with the building of Texas Peak, one of the most adrenaline-packed gravity trails ever created. Using the experienced Retallack Trail Crew, led by freeride legend Mike Kinrade, with input from Graham Agassiz, Texas Peak drops off of its 8,300-foot namesake summit with spectacular verve, flowing through pristine wilderness, past remnants of the pick and axe pioneers of over a century ago.

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Join us as we take you on a journey that blurs the lines between here and yesteryear, a story of risk, adventure and great reward. Watch it everywhere, February 24, 2017.

Credits:
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

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Kona Gravity Rider Tegan Molloy Wins Australian National Series Downhill at Thredbo

Tegan Molloy has just come off the top step of the podium at the second round of the Australian National Downhill Series. With a second place at the first round, Tegan has a solid shot to claim the overall series title at the third and final round at Mt. Beauty, Victoria later this month. Here’s her report from Thredbo with some photos from RF Photographics

This weekend saw Thredbo Resort host round two of the Australian National Series on my home trails. Practice kicked off on Friday with a bit of a slow start as I already knew the track quite well I had a bit of a late start to practice. On my fist run I clipped a rock and had a big crash, I sat it out for a little while before having a few cruisy runs to finish off the afternoon.

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Photo: RF Photographics

Saturday rolled around and it was time for seeding. After three solid practice runs, I felt ready to race. For seeding the plan of attack was to throw down a solid run as there was a possibility that the seeding run could count as a race run due to high winds expected on race day. I was really happy with my seeding run, I hit all my lines and rode as smooth as I could trying to stay out of all the holes, crossing the line as the fastest qualifier. This meant that for racing I would be out of the gate last.

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Photo: RF Photographics

Sunday morning started with a short practice session and then it was straight into racing. I had two runs just to check out the track and see how it was holding up after the last few days. The track was so dusty and blown out, some of the roughest conditions I have ever experienced at Thredbo. My race run was wild, swinging off the back through the rough sections and pedaling where I could to try and make up time, I crossed the line as the fastest rider with a new personal best time, over eight seconds quicker than second place. I was stoked to have such a good run in front of a home crowd and come away with a new PB.

One week off before I head to the third and final round in Victoria, which will be the ultimate showdown between Danielle and I as we battle it out for the overall.

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Photo: RF Photographics

BikeRadar on the Kona Operator DL – “Hugely competent and confidence inspiring…”

BikeRadar‘s Jon Woodhouse joined us at Retallack Lodge for our Operator launch. His takeaway?

“The new Operator is a bundle of fun, with the new rear suspension curve being particularly praiseworthy. Wind it up to speed and it’s hugely competent and confidence inspiring, with a change of direction that belies such a long travel machine.”

Read more at BikeRadar.

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Connor Fearon and Graham Agassiz Rally the 27.5 Kona Operator at Retallack

The word is out: we’ve got a new Operator.

That word was out long ago. If you truly want to develop upcoming technology in race situations at the UCI Downhill World Cup, you’re going to show some of your cards. And if you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve been developing this bike for the past two seasons under Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon.

You probably also know that the Operator is the bike Graham Agassiz sends to stratospheric heights at the FEST series and at Red Bull Rampage. Aggy and Connor push their Operators to the limit in different ways, and we needed to build a bike that was suited to their needs as much as it was to the privateer racer’s or to those banging laps in the bike park.

In creating a new Operator, we wanted to retain the traits that riders like Aggy really love, while continuing to develop the bike that Connor needs to compete at the top level. It’s gotta be agile. It’s gotta be planted. It has to be fun to ride, and it’s gotta rip around corners. In short, it’s gotta ride like a Kona.

In all cases the new Operator needed to be durable and well-built: a bike that our top riders could smash on race courses and big hits, day in and day out. Our riders and our bike park partners need to have confidence in a bike that will hold up, lap after lap, for more than just one event. Our bikes have been evolving for nearly three decades, and the new Operator is another step in that lineage. The evolution of a bike that can compete at the top level while still being the bike you’d choose to ride on your day off.

Two years in a row we’ve had Aggy and Connor join us at Retallack for test sessions on the Operator. For these two, whose schedules rarely coincide, coming together at Retallack is a bit of a celebration. Aggy’s spent a lot of time riding and building in Retallack’s high mountain terrain and Connor has fallen in love with the place. While they may both compete at the top level in their respective disciplines, the pure joy of ripping amazing trails on a bike you love is undeniable.

2015_08_bj_konaretallack-3051Retallack Lodge has etched itself high up in both Graham Agassiz and Connor Fearon’s top riding locations. Both riders have made multiple trips to this Kootenay, BC mecca of riding. The fun and playful riding styles both riders adopt when hitting the trails there just make you want to grab your bike and ride.

kona_275_operator_02-newAlthough Retallack has its fair share of alpine riding much of the good stuff can be found deep in the fir, spruce and hemlock lower down. Aggy in the trees.

untitled-3067Not at all fazed by the classic “one more time” Aggy and Connor ponder that fact that they have yet again been stitched up by the filmers.

2015_08_bj_konaretallack-3021_27-comp-v2Speed and Style: a Retallack hip, two ways. Yum.

untitled-2936Aggy leads Connor through a set of Retallack’s perfectly sculpted subalpine booters.

untitled-2679Retallack’s tight and technical trails received a masterclass from Aggy and Connor as the pair kept things low and extremely fast for the cameras.

untitled-2600With Connor firmly locked in his cross hairs, Aggy gets barreled in BC interior loam.

rampage-compRed Bull Rampage and Aggy are always a recipe for some of the tastiest lines and burliest moves. The big mountain freerider is a crowd favorite, but more importantly is highly regarded by his peers for his line selection and steeze.

rampage16_aggy_byadl5021There are not many riders out there that can manhandle a bike as effortlessly as Aggy.

rampage16_aggy_byadl-3471The 2016 Rampage blank canvas and its new format was welcomed by the riders, including Aggy, who teamed up with good friends James Doerfling and Kurt Sorge to build one of the rowdiest and most creative lines on the hill. Lofting above spectators and fellow competitors’ lines, Aggy pilots his 27.5 Operator on one of his final practice runs.

wc_leogang_practice-3314-copThe Dream Team. Kona Gravity Team mechanic and manager Mathieu Dupelle and World Cup racer Connor Fearon’s involvement in the development of the new 27.5 Operator platform has been absolutely vital. The feedback and input provided by the two helped Ian Schmitt and the product team produce not only a bombproof World Cup racing machine but also helped Connor finish the 2016 World Cup season on the podium!

wc_cairns_finals-4193The journey for the podium was a long one for Connor and the Operator, one that began at Lourdes in France where Connor kicked things off with a solid eighth place. His lucky 13 number plate replaced with a single digit, Connor then headed for his homeland of Austraila for the second round where, due to a slipped pedal on the final straight he finished in 12th place. His teammate and mentor Josh Button, however, rode Connor’s 2015 27.5 Operator prototype on to the Podium, shocking the field with a solid fifth place finish.

during the 2016 UCI MTB World Cup at Leogang, Austria.If there is one sure thing when it comes to racing World Cups in Europe, it’s that no matter what the forecast says, there will be rain. Leogang this year was no exception with the weather swapping constantly between full blown sunshine to a muddy and boggy rainfest.

wc_leogang_practice-8686After a tenth place at Fort William, Connor kept things low fast and stylish at Leogang wowing photographers and spectators as he piloted his Operator to yet another top ten finish, this time in eighth place.

wc_lenzerheide_practice-3100The track at Lenzerheide for round five of the World Cup would prove to be a near perfect match for the Operator and Connor’s aggressive riding style. With the single number nine back on the bike, Connor would demolish most of the field in a stellar run and find himself standing on the podium in fifth place as a reward.

wc_msa_finals-8235Round six brought Connor to Mont Sainte Anne on the east coast of Canada. The popular course proved as challenging as ever and a real mix up of riders finishing in the top 20 would assure that Connor would retain his season-high position of fifth heading into the final round in Andorra.

UCI MTB World Cup, Valnord, Andorra.After qualifying in Andorra Connor was just a single point ahead of his nearest rival in the hunt for finishing fifth overall in the 2016 World Cup Series. Connor would ride his Operator onto the platform in fifth place that day and solidify his and the 27.5 Operator’s standout season, finishing the overall in fifth place.

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27.5 Operator Technical Details

The 27.5 Operator sees a number of changes which continue the evolution of our long travel platform. To retain the snappy and lively feel we’ve put a 423mm chainstay on all sizes, increased the reach across the board, and combined this with a 63º head angle. The Beamer suspension design has been updated with a more progressive leverage curve for increased bottom out resistance and a raised main pivot for improved pedaling performance. With bearings in all suspension pivots, and now in the upper shock mount as well, the new Operator will continue the legacy of Kona’s legendary durability.

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Supreme Operator

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Novatec Demon
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage RC
Crankset: SRAM XO1 DH
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 DH 7spd
Cockpit: ODI Flight Control bar, ODI Adjustable stem, Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 3C 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: WTB High Tail

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Operator DL

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Mavic EX729
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer RC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage RC
Crankset: Shimano Zee
Drivetrain: SRAM GX 10spd
Cockpit: Kona DH bar, Kona Direct Mount stem, Kona Slog grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide R
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 3C 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: WTB Volt Sport SE 250

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Operator

Frame Material: Kona DH 6061 Aluminum Butted 200mm Travel
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: Sun Ringle MTX 33 Sleeved
Suspension Platform: Beamer
Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
Fork: RockShox Boxxer RC 200mm
Shock: RockShox Kage R
Crankset: RaceFace Chester
Drivetrain: SRAM X7 9spd
Cockpit: Kona DH bar, Kona Direct Mount stem, Kona S-LOG grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide R
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 27.5×2.5″
Saddle: Kona DH

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For more information on the 27.5 Operator and the rest of our 2017 bikes, head to konaworld.com.

Dirt Rag’s First Ride Review of the 2017 Kona Operator from Retallack

Dirt Rag was among the media outlets we hosted at Retallack Lodge for the launch of our 27.5 Operator, and editor Eric McKeegan noted the bike’s potential:

“The Operator feels most at home in full attack mode.”

“With all of Kona’s Gravity athletes on stock Operator frames, there is obviously plenty of performance here to be unlocked.”

Read the full writeup at Dirt Rag.

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An Update from Aggy – “On any other day I wouldn’t have dropped in…”

Graham Agassiz has been chasing the top step at Red Bull Rampage for years. The steep and loose Utah desert terrain suits Aggy’s big mountain style, and in addition to the FEST series jams, Rampage has been a big focus for him for the past few seasons.

In 2013 Aggy qualified in 1st place and nearly stomped a finals run that would have surely been a contender for first. In 2014 he repeated the qualifying performance, yet again solidifying his position as one of the riders to watch at this event, but a knee injury during practice kept him from the finals. In 2015 he was the top qualifier for the third year in a row, and strung together a run that landed him in 3rd place in the finals. Close, but not quite. And so the chase continued.

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Aggy’s run began with this massive chute. Photo by Ale di Lullo.

Rampage, as you might gather, is a fickle event. Every athlete who is invited to Rampage is riding a fine line between the run of their life and waiting until next year. After a week of hard labor prepping their line, every single element of a rider’s run is calculated, and those who stand on the top of the box link together a clean top to bottom run with style and amplitude. On those last two, Aggy’s got it.

With his performance in 2015, Aggy would have been pre-qualified for this year’s event, skipping the extra competition runs that he’d been forced to do the past three years. As it turns out, Red Bull changed the structure, and the rider list was invite-only. Of course, Aggy was on that list.

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Arguably the most stylish rider at Rampage, and a fan favorite because of it. Photo by Ale di Lullo.

Last Friday, Graham Agassiz was on the run that very well would have taken him to his first victory at Rampage when he went down hard on a huge 360 stepdown. He was taken to hospital in St. George, Utah, and diagnosed with a broken pelvis and six-to-eight weeks’ recovery. From there he transferred to Kamloops hospital, where we caught up with Aggy for a first-hand account of the crash. Here are his words:

My run was feeling really good, though I was getting blown once I got to the mid ridge section of the line and at that point was almost on autopilot just trying to hang on and get down the mountain.

As soon as I initiated the spin off of the lip it felt like it was going to come around perfect, I remember thinking to myself “I can’t believe I’m about to stomp the biggest move of my life!” But, as soon as I got to 270 degrees in my rotation I could see my landing strip and I could tell right away that I was slightly off of my mark.

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The actual drop that took Aggy out. Nobody, not even his fellow competitors, was expecting him to 360 this. Photo by Ale di Lullo.

By the time I completed the spin it was too late, I clipped the overhanging rock shelf only two feet to the right of the top of the landing. This then immediately ejected my bike from beneath me, where all I could see was this big boulder protruding from the right side of the landing where all my momentum was being thrown into.

The initial impact was beyond aggressive, as the right side of my torso then slammed and wrapped around this rock, and then I continued to get tossed down the rest of the landing, ragdolling to the bottom. The rush of pain that flooded my body was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I quickly checked to make sure my legs were still working which was a huge relief, but once that wave washed over me I knew it was bad.

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Aggy was thankful for the on-site treatment provided by Red Bull and H5 Events. Photo by Ale di Lullo.

The pressure of competition definitely played a role in this incident. Looking back I went against all of my knowledge and experience of what I know can happen in these scenarios with the wind. On any other day I wouldn’t have dropped in.

The anticipation of watching from thousands of miles away, of knowing our rider was capable of laying down a winning run and seeing him go down was gut-wrenching. We wish Aggy a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the bike soon.

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Upside-Down and Inside-Out: Antoine Bizet on His 2nd Place at Rampage

Antoine Bizet went into this year’s Red Bull Rampage with something to prove. You see, last year, he nailed his whole run before going down on a double backflip attempt that put him off the bike for the next eight months. Bizet returned to the Utah desert with a positive attitude and the desire to simply put down solid runs and get scores on the board. Of course, once the wheels were in motion, redemption on the double backflip was in his sights…

Photos by Ale di Lullo.

Bizet on Preparing, Both Physically and Mentally…

This year I made sure everything was perfect on my line. I trained a lot and waited for the wind to be perfect to drop. I was still pretty stressed before my first run, even if I knew my line perfectly it’s a terrifying event to be at the top!

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On Aggy’s Crash…

A bunch of us riders were watching his run from the top ridge and as soon as he crashed everyone hated it, yelling big and long “nooooo”, grabbing our heads, couldn’t believe what we just saw. It showed that we’re more a bunch of friends than competitors against each other. He was on a winning run for sure! It was beautiful and terrible at the same time. We felt better when we saw the ambulance coming to get him – we knew that if it had been a really bad injury, the heli would have come. After this we got back to the contest hoping he’d be good, and kept this crash in our heads like a reminder that things can go wrong so quick. Wishing a good recovery to my teammate.

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On What Could Have Been…

My goal in the first run was really to make it to the bottom in a simple, fast and massive way, and get redemption on last year’s crash. I had a few things to add for my second run, but it was hard to choose – I didn’t want to do too much and crash! I was planning to flatspin 360 the step down right after my double flip, but I landed too low on the no-hander above. Because of that I didn’t send the double flip and then knew it wasn’t a 1st place run, so just flipped the step down for the fans and made it to the bottom in one piece. That was my main goal!

On the Wind…

The second run was actually less windy than the first one. If conditions weren’t perfect I don’t think I would’ve sent it knowing I was 2nd.

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On Finding Out He’d Clinched Second…

I thought there were a few riders who might able to beat me, but at the top I saw the big fishes going and I realised it would probably stay. What a sick feeling! It felt crazy of course! I didn’t come in a competitive mindset this year – I just wanted to have a full run, something I hadn’t done since my first time and first second place at Rampage in 2012.

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On Dropping in Knowing He’d Already Landed on the Podium…

I knew I could add things and Brandon was only 3 points away from me, so as conditions were good I went for it and I’m glad I did – I’m one of the only riders who made it twice perfectly to the bottom! After that I just was enjoying every little part: signing shirts and taking pictures with fans for a long time and enjoying all the smiles and congratulations of friends and fans… and the after party… oh man! I missed it all!

Follow Antoine on Instagram.

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“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.

A Taste of the New 27.5 Kona Operator

The new 27.5 Kona Operator was developed on the World Cup Downhill circuit under Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy over the past two seasons and it’s now ready to be unleashed. We have been gathering footage over this development process including two trips to Retallack Lodge with Connor and Kona Gravity teammate Graham Agassiz, and this is our first taste of what’s to come. Head to konaworld.com for all the details on the 2017 Operator and stay tuned for a full feature…