Process

Kona Dream Builds: Clayton’s Purple Rain Process 111

Words: Clayton Wangbichler Photos: Abner Kingman

Roughly eight years ago, I walked into a bike shop with the simple aim of getting brake pads for a Walmart hardtail I was borrowing from a buddy. Next thing I knew, the shop owner was trying to pitch me a great deal on a new bike. One thousand dollars for a brand new, size-small Kona Stinky.

It didn’t make any sense for a broke college student who was six feet tall, but I couldn’t pass up the deal. I walked next door, applied for a credit card, bought the bike and traded in the hunk of Walmart steel for a set of pedals to ride home on.

I returned to the shop the next week to ask some maintenance questions and found the space to be empty, doors boarded up and no signs of life. Turns out the owner was being indicted for tax evasion and had been liquidating his shop before leaving the country. The deal now made sense. I’d give the shop owner his plane ticket to freedom and he had provided me a lifelong love for Kona. Fair trade.

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Need a visual? Here is how I got into riding on that very bike back in 2009. Pro-Tec helmet, pink short shorts that eventually ripped mid-air, Vans that always folded around the pedals, and my buddy Cory always doing lunges in the background.

Since then, I’ve owned and ridden a handful of Konas. Process 111, Process 167, CoilAir, Jake the Snake… I rode them because of the simple fact that I knew they wouldn’t let me down. I didn’t know the folks who were masterfully materializing bikes at Kona, but I knew I shared with them a common view of what makes a solid bike. What makes a bike fun, where it needs to be strong, how it needs to corner at speed and what should be expected of component spec. I knew all their bikes were made with speed in mind, because that is where Konas have always performed best. Pinned, through hairy sections of trail.

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Buried in last winter’s West Coast snowpocalypse, I needed a way to satisfy my two-wheeled addiction without being able to actually ride. I figured it was time to give my Kona some one-of-a-kind love. The direction I went with it was born out of nostalgia. When I was about six years old, my dad bought me my first dirt bike after years of riding three wheelers. He restores classic cars and told me he would paint it any color I wanted. Any color. I chose purple and without my input he added a pink pearl that glistened in direct sunshine. I’ve owned a few dirt bikes over the years, but none provided me the same elation I experienced while riding the purple machine that shined pink in the California sun.

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But let’s be clear, the paint job alone wouldn’t provide the experience that my first dirt bike did. After my previous job provided me the opportunity to ride about sixty bikes in the last three years the Process 111 proved itself to be an incredibly capable short-travel 29er that didn’t come with some painfully unattractive price tag. Suited for daily trail laps while also proven to handle 30-foot senders. Built stout, yet comfortable for gruellingly long days in the saddle. I love this bike, so it only made sense that I show her the same love she’s shown me. The purple theme is a personal throwback to the endlessly blissful days I had on my first custom painted dirt bike.

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Once Kona got wind of the build, it only took a couple emails for Gavin Stewart, Industrial Designer at Kona, to get stoked on creating some customs decals. “Subtle, yet poppy” was probably the most confusing direction I could have provided him, but he nailed it. Thank you, Gavin. You’re a wizard of design. Our graphic designer at WTB, Joey Hale, also put together some color-matched rim graphics for me and next thing I knew I had the baddest looking bike on the block. Infinite thank yous to the Kona and WTB crews for making my dream a reality.

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James Rennie Finds the Silver Lining at the Vedder Mountain Enduro

Words by James Rennie. Photo James Cattanach 

When racing, sometimes things don’t go to plan. You can do everything you can to make sure your bike and body are in tip top shape, yet the result at the end of the day shows none of that effort. The first two races of the 2017 season for me certainly haven’t gone to plan!

The 2017 season kicked off with the Pemberton Enduro which is always a favourite of mine, even if I haven’t had the best track record there. This year the PORCA team laid on another great course with a mix of new trails and old favourites. I however got a little too excited in practice and found myself nursing a very bruised and swollen hand which forced me to pull out after the first stage. You win again Pemberton.

After a week of rest and ice my hand was almost back to 100% and ready for the first round of the Canadian Enduro Series at Vedder Mountain, this race also doubled as the first round of the North American Enduro Tour which meant the pro field consisted of 40 riders!

If you haven’t been, Vedder Mountain is a must ride. Its plentiful amount of dirt alone is worth the trip. The course this year was much the same as last year with the addition of a short loam trail to start the day off. This was then followed by the same 3 stages as last year which in total would add up to over 30 minutes of racing with the last stage getting close to the 15 minute mark!

The day started well for me as I fired into the first short stage and found a good flow on the bike, this stage probably wouldn’t decide the race but it was a nice warm up for what was going to be a rather long day. I posted the 4th fastest time on the stage and felt in good shape for stage 2.

Stage 2 would prove to be my undoing. After riding the steep top section fast and in control I started to build some good speed and hit the short climb a few minutes into the stage with a good amount of pace. I then entered the tight middle section and felt great but managed to snag my derailleur exiting a rut, I thought I had got away with it until the cage started to fall to pieces about 30 seconds further down the trail.

At that point I conceded defeat and contemplated rolling back down to the car, my day done, but after watching a few of the guys rip past me I thought ‘this dirt is too good not to ride’ so I hustled a chain breaker and binned by broken drivetrain at the feed station. I raced the rest of the day chainless and even managed a 19th place finish on the 3rd stage even though I had to run and push through a flat and soft lower section.

All in all it wasn’t a total waste. The trails were running perfect and I finished the race having ridden all the stages surrounded by good group of people (some of which even pushed me up the hill), hard to complain really.

Got Mud? Ryan Gardner and Alexander Kangas Embrace Yet Another Wet EWS Round in Madeira

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Alexander Kangas chases Ryan Gardner down one of Day 1’s slippery stages during the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal. Photo Sven Martin

California-based Kona enduro pro Ryan Gardner and Swedish Grassroots rider Alexandre Kangas have made the trip to Madeira, Portugal for round 3 of the Enduro World Series. The pair headed out today to practice on stages 1 through 4. “It’s crazy how different each trail is as you work your way down the mountain.” Ryan is not alone with his statement here, as both riders note that every stage is like an entirely different ecosystem, each containing differing terrain as the race drops from the alpine to sea level.

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Alexander uses his tires to soak up that pesky mud during the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal. Photo Sven Martin

It seems like every Enduro World Series event of late has been battling the elements. Riders who were early to arrive to stop three in Madeira have been enjoying dry weather and riding this past week. But it seems as though the EWS might just be cursed, the moment the official practice kicked off earlier today, the rain arrived.

Looking at the forecasted weather though, it does look like we will see a reversal of the first two rounds, with overcast and sunny days on the horizon. Always looking on the bright side, Ryan was quick to point out that it wasn’t wet all day. “First day of practice was full on! We had a good bit of rain on the higher elevation stages (1+2), but the sun was shining on and off once we made it down to the lower ones.”  Alexander echoed his sentiment “I’m very happy with how the day went, I felt fast and strong all day, the rain made it tricky here and there, but I think it will make for some good racing come the weekend!”

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Ryan Gardner finds off camber gold/loam. Photo Sven Martin

After today’s practice, both riders are pumped for the weekend’s race days, stages three and four in particular. As Ryan puts it “Stage 3 is super gnarly with slippery rocks up top and high speed rough sections down below. The final stage of day one (stage 4) is completely different with deep ruts and good dirt. My process 153 is doing a phenomenal job eating up the chunk add I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow’s practice brings! So far this island is incredible!” Alexander agrees “The first day of practice was great but challenging, we had rain showers on most of the stages today which made things super tricky! Stages 3 and 4 are in my opinion the best, but they are also the most challenging ones!”

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Photo Sven Martin

With tomorrow’s practice looking it might be free of rain, things should go a little smoother for the two Process 153 riders.

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

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During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

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Kona Dream Builds: Aggy’s 2017 Custom Kona Quiver

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.

Aggys-bikes-2017-4302First up was the Operator. No, unless you’re Aggy, you can’t buy this colorway.

Aggys bikes 2017-4319Aggys bikes 2017-4300Aggys bikes 2017-4293Long time sponsor SRAM kitted out Aggy’s bikes with the finest components while Crank Brothers Stamp pedals propel this black beast.Aggys bikes 2017-4295

Aggys bikes 2017-4318Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup. No need for a SRAMnation custom sticker kit here.Aggys bikes 2017-4316Sorry, that white on black looks so damn good.Aggys bikes 2017-4317If 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.

Aggys bikes 2017-4327The Maxxis rubber is mounted to these sweet Novatec Demon wheels.Aggys bikes 2017-4315Aggys bikes 2017-4289 New for 2017 is Aggy’s partnership with Kore. His bikes will be running Kore saddles, seatposts, stems and bars.Aggys bikes 2017-4314 While Sensus takes care of the grips.

Aggys bikes 2017-4312 Oh, and that head badge! You may have caught a glimpse of it in the fork photo, but here are a few more details. Aggys bikes 2017-4298 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.  Aggys bikes 2017-4296Also new for 2017 is a partnership with Chris King for headsets.

Aggys-bikes-2017-4332-2The 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.

Aggys bikes 2017-4356Rock 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.

Aggys bikes 2017-4350 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.Aggys bikes 2017-4349

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Aggys bikes 2017-4342 Aggys bikes 2017-4336 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.
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SRAM’s XO Eagle drivetrain and MRP’s 1X guide keep things in place and moving forward.

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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.

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Kore + ODI + Chris King = Pure Radness

Aggys bikes 2017-4366 Chris King, keeping the Process 167 alive, Jah Rastafari.

Aggys bikes 2017-4363That’s a few truckdrivers and tail whips right there. Aggys bikes 2017-4367

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!

Dirt Magazine Raves About the Kona Process 111 in the 2017 Dirt 100

“Take a test ride and you’ll taste the magic.” That’s what Dirt Magazine has to say about the Process 111 as featured in their annual roundup of the best products in mountain biking.

In the video below you can watch Leuan Williams absolutely shredding the Process 111 on home turf. Leuan joined us at our Retallack launch last year and went home with his very own Kona Humu frame after being nominated for the MVP award there.

“This is a bike that featured in the 2014 Dirt 100 (the year that 29ers really started taking hold for us) and had a winning formula from day one. Now Kona have slackened the head angle to 67.5 degrees and added length to the (already long) top tube, creating a more up-to-date layout than before.”

Check out the video, and read the full review with glam shots over on the 2017 Dirt 100.

Kona Process 134 DL “An Obvious Winner” on Pinkbike’s “5 Trail Bikes Ridden and Rated”

Pitted against bikes that cost two-to-three times as much in Pinkbike‘s recent article, our Process 134 DL comes out “an obvious winner” for riders who like their trail rides on the descending side of the spectrum or maybe even with a side of chunk and a bit of airtime.

“There’s an obvious winner when it comes to trail rides that include any type of challenging descending: the Kona 134 DL, of course. She ain’t light, which is partly due to the 134 DL’s price point, but I’d rather have a chunky bike with sublime handling than a lighter weight one that has me on my tippy toes anytime things get serious. Sure, the black Kona isn’t made out of carbon fiber – although they’re likely working on a version that is – but it simply doesn’t matter how much a bike weighs or what it’s made out of when it’s this much fun to ride.” – Pinkbike

Read the full story at Pinkbike.

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Mountain Bike Action Review the Process 134 “It really proved itself to be the best all-around rig.”

The March issue of Mountain Bike Action is out now and it features a massive Trail Bike Shootout, wouldn’t you know it, the 2016 Process 134 (spoiler alert) came out on top. Click HERE to read the full review and be sure to check out their latest issue, available where good magazines are sold as well as online.

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My Kona – Trevor Porter

Allow myself to introduce… Myself.

Kona is a company packed with amazing and talented people. People with families, people with cool interests and as you probably guessed, a whole bunch of people that ride.

We want you to meet these people face to face, to get to know them and have a look behind behind the scenes and to see what makes everyone here tick. The best way to do that? Throw a party, dump your keys in a bowl at the door and don a name tag.

After a bit of an internal discussion it was decided it would be best if we just opted for the name tag part of that equation and kicked the bowl of keys to the curb. Instead, we’d like you to join us at a virtual mixer. The My Kona video mixer.

To kick things off in our new My Kona series of videos we’d like to introduce you to Trevor Porter. Trevor works out of our Canadian office. Like most of us at Kona he handles a few different responsibilities. Trevor is the sales rep for British Columbia, works in the Kona Product Group and takes care of Canadian SuperGrass riders. But he can tell you all that (and more) in person.

Bike Magazine hearts The Kona Process. Again!

Wow. The folks over at Bike Magazine just can’t seem to get enough of our Process range of bikes. Vernon Felton, Bike’s web-editor and one of the main reviewers has just posted up his pick of products and tech developments that made 2015 and sitting right at the top of that list, the Process 153. Thanks Bike, we think the Process rocks too! Check below for Vernon’s words of wisdom or head to bikemag.com for the full post.

Kona Process 153

It’s not made of carbon. It’s not the lightest bike in its class. It doesn’t even have a particularly “rad” name. I couldn’t care less. Kona just killed it with this one. Hate me all you want for calling a $3,500 bike “affordable”, but when it comes to bikes that can truly perform at the highest levels for a couple seasons without some kind of thousand-dollar upgrade, well the pickings are mighty slim these days. The Process 153, however, ticks off all the boxes: quality frame, stellar geometry, great suspension, an excellenct dropper post, decent wheels and brakes and, here’s the kicker, the Process 153 is ridiculously fun to ride. Other companies have done the long top-tube, short chainstay formula in the past–plenty of companies, in fact–but Kona hit that geometry formula out of the park. You could spend more and get a lighter version, but the Process 153 motors up hills reasonably well and takes no prisoners on the way done.