It’s always great to know more about the people who create, design and give birth to the bikes we ride. The italian magazine 4bicycles MTB has just published an interview of our ebike, gravity and kid’s bikes product manager Trevor Porter.

You can read the interview from Cristiano Guarco in italian here. If you don’t understand “La Dolce Vita”, here is the english version !

4bicycles MTB: “Hi Trevor ! Can you introduce yourself ?”

Trevor Porter: “Hello my name is Trevor Porter and I’m the Product Manager in charge of ebikes, gravity, and kids’ bikes here at Kona. I used to race DH at the elite level and I’ve been to and raced seven World Championships with the Canadian National Team, the first one way back in 1995.  I’ve also raced many World Cup and national level DH events. I retired from full-time racing in 2004 after winning the Masters DH World Championships in Bromont, Canada. I’ve grown with DH and seen it evolve firsthand from V-brakes and 100mm travel, to where the sport is today. When I was a sales rep for Kona I was always involved with the product team, testing and providing feedback on products. Four years ago I moved full time to my current position as a product manager.”

4bicycles MTB: “How much has the Remote Ctrl eMTB influenced the development of the Remote 160?”

Trevor Porter: “We’ve definitely learned a few things, that helped in the design of the Remote 160. One thing was the lower motor cover, on the Remote Ctrl it was aluminum, I had tested a few other bikes that had a plastic type, they were good but I felt we could make ours better again. On the Remote 160, I looked for a material that had some give and flex but was strong.  We came up with a TPU combination similar to a ski boot material that is very flexible and absorbs the impacts if hit.  So far it’s been the most durable version we’ve made and it’s worked out really well. The Remote Ctrl is a great all-around bike, but riders still wanted more.  We wanted to get closer to the ride experience of a Process, so we followed the geometry as closely as we could. We shortened the chainstays considerably and slackened the headtube 1 degree compared to the Process. Once we started testing, I was able to confirm we achieved our goals on the new bike and how it preformed.”

4bicycles MTB: “What were the targets in the development of the Remote 160?”

Trevor Porter: “We were looking for that balanced ride feel, and it being able to fit two different wheels sizes.  We wanted to avoid using frame bumpers or headset stops for fork crown conflicts with the downtube and we where able to pull that off.  And we wanted much shorter chainstays, we managed 435mm, which is just 10mm longer than the Process 153 models.”

4bicycles MTB: “What challenges did you face?”

Trevor Porter: “One of the bigger challenges, as mentioned above, was trying to avoid the use of a headset stop or downtube bumpers. Another challenge was designing the bike with shorter 435mm chainstays and still having tire clearance for both wheel sizes (27.5x 2.8” and 29x 2.5”). Also designing around the motor size to get the kinematics we wanted was a bit of a challenge.”

4bicycles MTB: “What would you like from the manufacturers of engines, batteries and management software in the future?”

Trevor Porter: “We are very happy with the current direction Shimano is heading.  I think the 504Wh battery is a great all-round battery, it will be interesting in the next few years what the standard OEM size will be as there are 504, 640 and up to 700 on some bikes. I’m not sure bigger is always better, balancing somewhere between 500-600Wh with a range extender option would be on my wish list. Balancing that battery weight and size into the designs for optimal performance means sacrificing something—if you have more range, then there is more weight, or go lighter weight and have less range. It will be interesting with these new ebike events like EWS-E and how much they might drive battery range and performance.”

4bicycles MTB: “How do you see the future of the pedal-assisted bicycle?”

Trevor Porter: “I see it continuing to grow, but some areas have their issues to work through as formal policy develops and people develop a real understanding of what a class 1 ebike actually is and isn’t. With more public education and awareness perspectives will change. I think ebikes can help grow the sport as a whole, bringing new people to cycling or people who don’t have the time but want to ride, it’s already starting to replace shuttling and bikepark riding.”

4bicycles MTB: “Do you think that some categories of «regular» MTBs are destined to disappear? And if so, which ones will be replaced by eMTBs?”

Trevor Porter: “I hope not, I love riding many different bikes, and find they all complement each other.”

4bicycles MTB: “Can you anticipate Kona’s plans in the eBike world?”

Trevor Porter: “We will continue to grow the segment and produce bikes that make sense for Kona and our customers, and I hope we can help shape the future and push what ebikes are capable of.”

Thanks to Cristiano Guarco and for the interview!