Ray’s Women’s Weekend

Words and photos by Kona Ambassador Shae James.

Nothing says bike privilege like living in the PNW, and winter is the greatest example. We get really snowed out from riding for only about a month out of the year. The other couple of months of winter? It’s miserable, but not impossible. It can be wet, it can be cold, but nothing that could fully get in the way of cracking at least one smile during a ride. Because that’s all it takes to mark a ride worth it.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

That being said, have you ever had an epic pow day on your bike? Can you see it? Six inches of cold, fresh snow for you to shralp and slip and grip. A trail you’ve ridden before, becomes full of endless possibilities. The smooth, white finish on the trail lets you forget the obstacles lurking underneath. A confidence gets built up with every move, until a slide of your wheel reminds you just how ridiculous this is. Whose idea was this, anyway? You’re a genius.

The high of my snow day lasts a couple weeks. As I slowly come down from it, I try to maintain the boost with a temporary hit of ski days and sledding on our homemade trike sled. As the trails become unrideable, I start to think if only there was a place that was impervious to weather. A place you could ride all year long, unaffected, and progress in the bike world’s slowest months. Turns out, that place exists in Cleveland, Ohio. And thanks to Ray’s Women’s Weekend and Radical Roots MTB, I had an invite. So, I headed to Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

It’s hard to put Ray’s MTB into words, other than it’s really frickin cool. They somehow have encapsulated the skate rink vibe, the skate park vibe, and the mountain bike vibe into one cohesive package. It’s old school, but it’s new school. It’s sketchy, but it’s dialed.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Coming out of the woods, and into the woodwork, it took me some time to adjust. But once I got acclimated, I had so much fun riding this place. I learned more than I thought possible in one weekend event, about bikes, myself, and my riding. Part of this is credited to the actual park, but the other part is definitely because of Ray’s Women’s Weekend. I had the unique first timer experience of attending Ray’s W.W. as both a student, and an assistant coach. I was quickly adopted by the amazing coaches into their tight knit circle of hilarity and professionalism. These women are an inspiration. They are decorated athletes that really love teaching their discipline. I was amazed at how well organized the event was, and also how much there was to learn. I wish I had been able to attend more classes, but with a full work load of assisting, I was so grateful to have the opportunity to jump in on any classes at all. Covering all my bases, I took a jumping class, a foam pit class, a cornering lesson, and had a very humbling intro to BMX. By the end, I was impressed. This event is definitely geared towards learning, and it shows in the progression of its disciples.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Heading back to the upper left, life gets busy and the sun comes out. Unfortunately, the leftover snow is relentless. It lingers well past any form of welcome. Before you worry, I’ve got another trick up my sleeve. Eager to apply what I’ve learned to dirt, I head to a friend’s front yard. Known to many as The Bike Ranch, my friend Steve lets me cruise around his hard work. Between the comfort of a fire pit, and the effort of riding laps, the cold can’t catch you in here. Even though the remnants of snow is lurking just a few feet outside the invisible walls of the Ranch. As long as you keep riding, you’ll beat it. So, keep riding.

Kona Dream Builds: Murray’s Shonky is a Weapon of Dirt Destruction

We’ve already seen one extremely rad Shonky build come out of UK dealer Harts Cyclery. Well now it’s official. With Murray‘s bike, Harts is now two for two. These guys definitely hit it out of the park with this classy Shonky ST.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Murray’s weapon of a bike has some seriously cool touches that add up to one crazy light dirt jumper/park bike. The whole thing weighs in at just 25lbs 8oz (11.56kg) and that might due to these Race Face SixC carbon cranks.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

The back end is slammed (would you have it any other way).

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Hope’s burly Pro 4 trials hub handles the single gear.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

More Hope matchiness up front with another Pro 4 hub. This one is bolted to a set of Rock Shox Pike DJ’s

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Keeping it UK, Murray has kept the Hope theme going with the rims and opted for a set of Hope Tech DH hoops. These are shod with Maxxis DTH tires front and rear.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Stopping is a classy affair and another spot where saving weight has kicked in. There are no parts bin stoppers here. Murray has opted for a SRAM Guide Ultimate (the one with the carbon lever) rear brake with a 140mm rotor.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

That’s enough brake line there for at least two bar spins or tailwhips. Looks like Murray is planning on getting zesty on this thing.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Oh look, more Race Face. The cockpit is running the Canadian brands legendary Atlas bar and stem combo.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Out back you will find even more weight savings courtesy of Race Face. The SDG I-beam saddle is attached to a cut down Race Face SixC carbon seat post.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG

You can’t tell us that you aren’t going to dream about this serious whip tonight. I can’t think of a single thing I’d do differently (well maybe some Maxxis DTH’s instead of the Ikons). I’m salivating just typing this up.

Caleb Smith | KONA COG
Caleb Smith | KONA COG

Kona Dream Builds: Show and Shine, Jai Motherwell’s Timeless Shonky ST

The new Shonky ST hasn’t been out there in the wild all that long, and we’ve barely seen any make it to the Cog. Most recently we featured Danny Stewarts bike and there are some pretty cool team builds out there as well under Aggy, Connor, Caleb and Soren Farenholtz. But Jai Motherwell‘s Shonky ST, that we saw complete for the first time yesterday, well and truly takes the cake. I know your asking just how different can you even build a Shonky, it’s just a dirt jump hardtail. Well as you’ll see in this flawless build, it’s by using dedicated, trusted and straight up sexy components and opting for a less is more approach. Let’s dig in.

At one time Marzocchi owned the dirt jump fork market. Right now though, if your DJ build is not sporting a Pike DJ… Well, you better start saving.

Black on Black decals keeps things stealth. What’s that out of focus hub hiding in plain sight?

If you guessed some Profile Racing Elite hubs you’d be spot on. If you don’t know, Profile Racing is the Chris King of the BMX world, USA made, bomb proof and just a little bit pricey, but just like CK stuff, you’ll be handing these hubs down to your Grand Children. And you may notice its a non-disc hub… No chance of ever of adding a front brake to this wheel.

Oh yes! More Profile Racing sexiness. This time it’s their famous three-piece Elite Crankset. Profile racing produced their first 19mm 48 splined, Chromoly three piece race crank way back in 1979. Very little has changed all though the MTB version features a 22mm axle, and Jai is running a 170mm length crank.

Jai is sporting the Profile Racing Sabre Universal Spline Drive Sprocket in 28t. And hot damn that black chainring and polished crank look so damn good together!

Outback you’ll find a 12T cog…

…Attached to more Profile Racing goodness, this time though, the Elite hub will take a disc rotor. Both front and rear hubs are laced to Stans Flow MKIII rims and shod with S&M Speedball tires.

Jumping up to the cockpit you’ll find some Deity Black label bars with a 38mm rise and 750mm in width.

They are attached via Deity’s Cavity stem in 35mm length.

SRAM’s classic Elixir XO Trail handles braking duties.

Those sure look like Ti bolts to me.

Cane Creek’s long lasting and tough 110 headset ensures the bars stay spinning smooth.

Deity’s Pivotal Frisco DJ saddle keeps things tidy and low.

And it all finishes with a set of our new Kona Wah Wah II composite pedals.

Would you do anything different?


Kona Rider Elliot Smith Qualifies for Red Bull Pump Track Championship Finals

This past weekend in Wellington, New Zealand, the second round of the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship went down and the country’s capital lived up to its reputation of being pretty darn windy. 178 days a year the wind gusts at or above 39mph (63 km/h) in Wellington, and Saturday was one of those 178 days. The wind started off as a northerly and then pulled a 180 around lunch time to finish the day as a southerly. Despite the wind, riders put down some blazingly fast times around the small but well-designed Velosultions pump track. Competitors from as far as Christchurch in the South Island had made the trip, but a win was not going to come easily.

After laying down the 12th fastest qualifying time, local 16-year-old Elliot Smith rode his Kona Shonky though the 32 strong knock out rounds, besting both elite BMXers and fellow mountain bikers. After a day of hard racing (and quite a bit of play in practice), Elliot would finish off in fourth place, qualifying for the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship finals later in the year at an undisclosed location in Europe.

Life in The Loops With Soren Farenholtz

Words and photos by Dylan Sherrard

It was only a few short years ago when Soren Farenholtz found himself falling in love with biking. In the spring of 2014, he and his childhood friends would spend their days digging small jumps behind his house, converting the family treehouse into their bike store, ‘RAD REPAIR,’ and generally “grommin’ out,” as Soren says it.

And as the story so often goes, imagination and a thirst for adventure lead Soren and his friends to longer days of exploring the edges of their neighbourhood in search of bigger jumps and longer trails. It was during one of these outings that Soren stumbled across the Kamloops Bike Ranch, completely by chance.

“I was blown away,” Soren recalls, “I saw kids riding all these huge jumps, and I thought it was just nuts. I remember thinking I was going to fall off a cliff or something. I was scared at first.”

Soren returned home that night, unable to shake the sights of the Bike Ranch from his imagination. He went back to the Ranch soon after and began picking his way through the smaller jump lines. Within a few visits, he was riding through a whole six-set, making new friends, and finding a place in the scene of older, more experienced riders.

And although it’s been just a few short years, Soren already appears mature on a bike with smooth and effortless style in every regard. He rolls around the Ranch with a heavy flow and ease, a deeper bag of tricks than we’ve ever seen for a Kamloops kid, and a level-headed attitude that makes you want to be around him.

The summer of 2017 was a season of huge progression for Soren, which saw that bag of tricks padded to the brim. He learned every 360 variation you can imagine, backflips, 720s, and anything else you can add a barspin to.

Soren’s rapid progression matches the rapid pace with which his generation digests media content. They are growing up in a social media world where they have, in their pockets, the tools to manufacture their own content, dictate their own image, and see things the way they want to see them.

“Insta is more, like, I look at it more than actual edits,” Soren confesses. “It’s easier, watching friends who live in different towns. It’s easier to scroll through. And making my own edits is fun. Not as many people see a big edit on a website. But all the followers see it on IG, and comment, and it gets me stoked to know my friends are watching.”

That style of constant, yet casual, production, makes weekly progression feel normal. Soren can watch what his favourite riders are doing, practice it on the airbag, move from the airbag to a trick jump with a soft landing, and dial it in. He can watch himself in slow motion, adjust his approach, and then take it to any other jump in the park, all in the span of a few days.

Despite such a rapid and progressive learning curve, Soren maintains that style is paramount.

“I don’t really see the point in having a trick unless you really have the trick, you know?” Soren mentions in regard to the routine he tries to keep in tune with.

He doesn’t want to be one of those riders that can whip out anything in their imagination, but only on a soft trick jump. So most days at the Ranch, Soren rattles off a trick list in a certain sequence and reaps the rewards of repetition, always pushing to make it feel easier. Soren wants his tricks to feel dialled, and to feel attainable on any jump, at any time.

“I’m so much less likely to get injured that way,” adds Soren, “having that air awareness of every little detail of a trick, and knowing how to bail from it feels really important for learning.”

 A wise note for a young lad on a tear.

But trick lists and the topic of self-preservation are not the only areas in which Soren displays fleeting moments of wisdom beyond his years. He’s also quick to note his appreciation for the Kamloops community and the Bike Ranch he rides every day.

“I wouldn’t be into riding the same way without the Ranch,” says Soren. “It’s so crazy that we can just go there and ride for free. I mean, if it cost, say twenty bucks to go and check it out, I probably wouldn’t have ended up riding there by accident. Brad makes the place truly dialed, but me and my friends all feel responsible to look after the jumps, too.”

“Kamloops is such a good town,” Soren continues. “Some of my older friends are moving away for school and work and stuff, but it’s still such a good riding scene. Kamloops is a legendary biking town. My friends and I, we’re all into more tricks. I think Kamloops is used to seeing all the big hits. We don’t go as big, but we’re riding with tricks that are a little more technical. I think it’s cool to be part of a younger generation sort of making our own chapter. Doing it our way.”

Soren finds confidence and inspiration in abundance, living in a town where many happy careers and healthy lifestyles have been found in mountain biking. 
At just fifteen years young, with such a deep bag of tricks and such a level head on his shoulders, Soren Farenholtz is a Kamloops grom truly poised to blow it up big time. And the most exciting aspect is that he doesn’t really care to be caught up in the hype around any of that.

Catch Soren on Instagram.

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

Aggys bikes 2017-4344

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.
Aggys bikes 2017-4338

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.

Aggys bikes 2017-4369

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!

Kona Dream Builds: Elliot’s Shonky AL

14 year old Elliot Smith had a chance last summer to ride Connor Fearon’s Shonky as Kona’s World Cup downhiller was passing through Squamish en route to Crankworx Whistler. The bike and the experience clearly planted a seed within the young rider, and after spending the last four months saving and calling in favors from some very good friends, Elliot finally managed to piece together this very rad 2017 Shonky AL.

The frame is our classic Shonky in the 2017 metallic blue and gold colorway. The MRP Slope fork, Stans Flow MK3 wheels and Vee Rubber MK3 tires are the real standouts of the build. That said, a lot of time spent on Pinkbike’s buy and sell forum and on Craigslist revealed a legit Kona Pivotal saddle and a 31.6 Macneil post. The retro Elixir brake does the job slowing down the rig and the Spank half link chain rounds out the build and every 14 year olds must have dirt jump accessory.

Have a Kona Dream Build you’d like to share? Check out our How-To post and send it in, and feel free to share your rides on the Kona Dream Builds tag on Instagram.

20170127--Kona-Shred-7225 20170127--Kona-Shred-7224 20170127--Kona-Shred-7223