We recently received this spot of feedback from Neil Adams, a longtime mountain bike industry guy and shredder who currently works at The Path Bike Shop in Orange County, CA. Neil sells lots of brands beside Kona, and his “reflections” are most welcome, we’re very proud of the Hei Hei Supreme and all it’s capable of.
Once Kona “released” this bike at Sea Otter it has been on my short list of bikes to try…not that I need another bike but 29″ at 100mm travel does have a open slot in my garage 🙂
To the bike. I did read some reviews online where the feedback was ok, not stellar but ok. Obviously I wanted to make my own judgements since this is one of the brands we carry that I have not spent a lot of time on, except of course for my Raijin which I love! I pretty much ran this 18″ straight out of the box. Only change was setting up the tires tubeless since the Easton rims are UST ready…not that the Maxxis Ikon is a UST tire so its not recommended but I wanted to run some low pressure so I took a chance.
To the ride. Flat sections/bermy stuff- this bike rips! Excellent trail manners. The short chainstays made it easy to loft the front and the 13″ BB felt planted in the turns and corners…dare I say just like a Tallboy?
Climbs- this is where I wanted to see if the other online reviews were correct and I have to disagree. Perhaps I had the sag set up perfectly but with the CTD in C it was rock solid on out of the saddle efforts as well as seated. In fact when I came to the 2nd and 3rd uphill I left the shock in T and went for it. If anything the Ikon gives up before the supsension did. Quite pleased with the uphill prowess, never felt a lag and it just goes! The walking 4 Beam linkage was impressive, only thing I noticed was the amount of travel does tend to “end” but that was more apparent on the DH sections.
Down- 3 different “downhill” trails. First one is a bunch of fun berms with small table tops and ending with some fun swoopy turns. Bike felt dialed, very good manners once the wheels left the ground and pushing it into a series of quick turns. For all 3 sections I did lower the saddle and I think for a true all out attack I would have used a more aggressive front tire but that is a personal thing. Second downhill section is a wide open run with some great corners. Bike was nice and planted throughout and I think I made the mistake of getting back a bit which let the front tire wander, not so fun lol! Third down is a favorite as it descend along a ridge so you can pretty much see from top to bottom, pedal as much as you dare and let it fly/float over the rocks…which I did and even pointed it into the rocks to see how the front would handle it. Again a tire change would have made me more comfortable but it was just fine.
So without doing my usual demo bike changes of wheels and tires, saddle, grips, bar and stem I have to say the Hei Hei Supreme out of the box was a solid fit, kudos to the guys at Kona for draping some great products on this rig and offering a well balanced carbon trail killer!
Overall impression for me? I want one! Add a wider handlebar, dropper post and a meaty front tire and ride the crap out of this bike so with that in mind can the guys at Kona get me a 19″ in time for the Dville Classic:)?