Caveman-distThere’s no chance I’m going to Europe to race ‘cross this winter, so I’m left to look forward to the upcoming MTB season. I’ve been nerding it up over bikes and just finished putting together (actually, Jeremiah at the shop did most of the work) yet another MTB…because everybody needs to own five full-XTR-equipped bikes. (What’s happened to me? I’m making myself sick!) But ever since I gave my 2005 Dawg Deluxe to the aforementioned Jere, I’ve been without a “trail bike”—or whatever these longish travel bikes are called nowadays.

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I loved my Dawg and took him on both short and long walks through inappropriate bike race courses. He reigned undefeated at every local short-track and cross-country entered, and one hot summer day in 2006 he scored a hat trick by winning not only a ST and XC at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl but a downhill, too. He was a good Dawg.
But then last summer Kevin Noble—Kona’s national sales manager, for lack of a better term—stopped by the shop on his way back to the 45th parallel to drop off his prototype One20 Supreme for sale by consignment. The Grinder—now there’s the better term—got me thinking: the One20 platform is really lost in the line-up but for no good reason. Here is a bike with as much travel as Old Blue but geometry damn-near identical to my current race bike, a 2009 Hei Hei Supreme. I figured I could have a bike with twice the travel at close to the same weight, so for the first time since the Dawg I actually bought a new pet—a stock 2009 One20 Supreme! I promptly disassembled it, keeping the frame, headset, fork, and rear shock; on went the XTR group from my team-issue hardtail, and—I was right—the finished product is just under 26 lbs., pedals and bottle cage and training wheelset with tubes included. My preferred tubeless race wheels will cut another pound.

Thanks to a fork with lockout and an RP23 (I just can’t ride a dual-suspension bike without it; in fact, I don’t really know how to ride suspension, given my shocks are usually locked anyway!) tied to Kona’s super-stiff magnesium rocker-arm, the bike is quite rigid when pedaled hard out of the saddle on the street and up steep hills. I love this thing: it suits my riding style thanks to its relatively short wheelbase and steeper head- and seat-tube angles. Really, it seems like a five-inch-travel Hei Hei. I think I have a new pet.