Kona-RIde-2017-7091After hosting our dealer product launch in our hometown of Bellingham for the last six years we decided that a change was due, when Kona founder Dan Gerhard suggested the British Columbia riding Mecca of Squamish no one batted an eye. Squamish’s Executive Suites hotel served as the base of operations for the launch, as well as the departure point for all rides. Its central location and immediate proximity to Squamish’s world class trails, black top and gravel made it the perfect spot. The casual daily black bear sightings could not have been planned any better.
Presentations were an outdoor affair. Squamish had been having a rather lackluster summer until the Kona team rolled into town. Each cloudless consecutive day of the launch week was hotter than the one prior, culminating in 82º on the Friday and the outdoor hotel pool being occupied almost constantly. Kona-RIde-2017-6462
Kona founder Jake Heilbron and the product group ran through Kona’s 2017 road and MTB product line and our vision for the future to the hundreds of dealers who had made the trip from across North America and from just down the road. Kona-RIde-2017-6475
“The road gap was this big”. Gravity Product manager Ian Schmitt introduces the 27.5 Operator to eager dealers.
Kona-RIde-2017-6551After the 2017 product presentations sales reps and product managers made themselves available to the dealers to answer any questions before the day’s demo rides kicked off. It’s a time for Kona staff to run through product spec, pricing and help dealers choose the best bikes for their market, as well as size up the competition for what games that evening may bring.
It’s business time at Kona Ride 2017. Our new plus sized Honzo’s and Kahuna’s drew a lot of attention from the dealers in attendance.
As did our stunning (even if we do say so ourselves) 2017 cross and road bikes.
Kona-RIde-2017-6642But the reality is that most dealers were here to put the “Ride” in Kona Ride 2017. The main goal for most dealers?  To sample as many bikes as possible on the terrain they were intended for. Getting time on the bikes with the reps and product managers better informs their product knowledge and also enables the dealer to offer the Kona customer a bit of an inside scoop on products that have only just shown up on the showroom floor.
Kona-RIde-2017-6652Longtime Kona employee and Squamish local Trevor Porter (not pictured) had put together a short sharp and technical MTB test loop that put both the dealers and the bikes through their paces.
Steep punchy climbs.
Followed by more steep punchy climbs.
Followed by more optional steep punchy climbs.
…Were rewarded with some flowy and fun descending. Kona-RIde-2017-6876
The Sutra Ltd was a massive hit when it was introduced last year. The 2017 version scored well again the increased tire clearance and knowledge that the bike can handle almost anything drew post ride comments like the following  “I liked EVERYTHING”, “stable handling with the big tires, great brakes”, “amazing versatility so FUN”, “bike is so forgiving, soaks up the trail” and “scores 9 out of 10”
It wasn’t all fun and games though…
There were actual fun and games! USA sales reps Angi Weston and Joe Hamilton dreamed up an obstacle course that our 2017 Unit’s and our dealers would have to tackle. The 2017 Unit rocks plus sized tires, one gear and five bottle cage mounts for serious bike packing adventures. As it turns out it can handle jumping into golf sand traps at high speeds, being chased by crazed women and having frisbees repeatedly thrown at its spokes. It can even handle going for a dip in a Canadian goose poop filled lake…more than once!
Kona-RIde-2017-7216At first look, the obstacle course seemed innocent enough.
At first look….
Upon your second and third look that innocence may have gotten lost somewhere in that lake.Kona-Ride-2017-8741
Yup, the innocence was most definitely lost!
And somehow we also managed to squeeze a media launch into all of this. Journalists from Bike, Dirt Rag, PinkBike, NSMB, Mountain Bike Action, BikeRumor, MTBR, Freehub magazine, Peloton, Cyclocross magazine and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News all made the trip up to sample our 2017 range and a bit of Squamish life.
We didn’t take it easy on them and neither did the sun. Climbing to the top of Squamish’s trail network in the heat of the day was true baptism by fire, but the waiting cooler full of refreshments and descent back to the hotel more than made up for the hot climb. Most of the media in attendance have published their accounts (you can follow the above hyperlinks to check their coverage out).
Until next year.