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Kona Pushes for 2014

A Rocker Haircut

Words by Cam McRae.
July 11th, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, Kona’s been pushing hard for the last couple of years. After what seemed like a decade of standing pat or messing around with ‘Magic’, Kona has embraced change and gone back to some of the unconventional thinking that made them such a rad punk rock company to begin with. They’ve pulled out a carbon DH bike but built their new Enduro models (27.5 and 29 only – RIP 26) out of alyoomineeum. The bikes look clean and fast and low slung. Nothing like a 2002 Stinky. How do they ride? We’ll have to wait and see but good looking bikes always ride better don’t they?
Here’s what Kona has to say along with some images.

Challenging tradition with an Enduro/Trail geometry re-think.

Most Trail and Enduro bikes are still subject to the traditional fit and sizing that mountain bikes took from road bike sizing. The ideas that seat tube length defines the size, and stem lengths increase with the frame size no longer makes sense, now that Enduro riders pedal their rigs like XC bikes and descend them like DH bikes. We re-thought the equation with a holistic approach; stem-length, reach, top tube length, chainstay length, front center, and wheelbase, all relevant to the fit, form and function of the modern mountain bike. The results are bikes that shred up and down, across an entire universe of rider preference and trail type.

 the Process 134 DL seen above has 650b wheels but only 134mm of travel. That's 5.27559" For $3799.

the Process 134 Deluxe seen above has 650b wheels but only 134mm of travel. That’s 5.27559″ For $3799.

Kona is touting short stems, longer,lower top tubes, short stays and slack head angles. The 134 is raked to 68 degrees and every size comes with a 40mm stem.

Kona is touting short stems, longer,lower top tubes, short stays and slack head angles. The 134 is raked to 68 degrees and every size comes with a 40mm stem.

Kona is calling their suspension config Rocker this year. A yoke attaches to the shock and allows it to push around the seat tube.

Kona is calling their suspension config Rocker this year. A yoke attaches to the shock and allows it to push around the seat tube.

134geo

Process 134 Geometry

When it came to designing the ultimate platform of bikes for technical off-road riding, we saw the need to develop a versatile product line to fit the needs of every definition of Trail and Enduro riding. Our prime design directive was to find the best possible balance of geometry, travel and wheel size. As a result, we came up with some very specific travel numbers that complement the design, wheel size and intended use of specific models. The results are our three Process bikes: the 111, 134 and 153.

The Process 153 Deluxe. Aluminum frame, 153mm (6") of rear travel and 650.5" wheels. Or 27.5b if you prefer. Matched with a 160mm Rock Shox Pike fork.

The Process 153 Deluxe. Aluminum frame, 153mm (6″) of rear travel and 650.5″ wheels. Or 27.5b if you prefer. Matched with a 160mm Rock Shox Pike fork.

The most travel you are going to get out of a Process - and the smallest wheels. Yep. 650b.

The 153 is the most travel you are going to get out of a Process – and the smallest wheels (*not so small).

Knolly was the first company I saw using a linkage that straddles the seat tube. Specialized does as well. Kona did not opt for a Horst Link placement of their pivot despite the expiry of that patent on April 23rd 2013.

Knolly was to my knowledge the first company using a linkage that straddles the seat tube like a… er – yoke. They have a patent that says so anyway. Specialized uses a similar strategy. Speaking of Spesh, Kona did not opt for a Horst Link placement of their pivot (on the chainstay) despite the expiry of that patent on April 23rd 2013.

153geo

Process 153 Geometry

111_detail

And for the big wheelers, the Process 111 DL for $5699. 29″ hoops and 111mm (4.37″) travel.

The triple 1 Deluxe is the most blinged out Process with XX1, XO Trail brakes. Do wagon wheelers have more cash? Posher taste?

The 111 Deluxe is the most blinged out Process with XX1, XO Trail brakes. Do wagon wheelers have more cash? Posher taste? Will riders pay almost 6K for an aluminum frame that isn’t made by a boutique brand?

Process 111 Geometry

Process 111 Geometry

The next step in Kona’s long tradition of DH bike technology.

While it’s important to note this is the first time we’ve used carbon in a Gravity application, that’s not all we’ve done here. We made subtle tweaks to the geometry and leverage rate curve, noticeably increasing the balance, predictability and maneuverability of the new 2014 Operators. The new frame features a UD Monocoque Kona Carbon DH front triangle and 6061 Aluminum rear, with a host of other design features that make these bikes incredibly stiff laterally, blazing fast, and super light.

The Operator Supreme. Of course it's carbon. $6999 of World Cup-ready DH action (according to Kona).

The Operator Supreme. Of course it’s carbon. $6999 of World Cup-ready DH action (according to Kona).

2014 Operator Geometry

2014 Operator Geometry


Let us know if you’d like some more info on these or other 2014 Konas and we’ll do our best to hook you up.

  • awesterner

    I really want to try the Process 111. 68HA with 16.9 stays, longer front centre….should be a fun bike.

    “Will riders pay almost 6K for an aluminum frame that isn’t made by a boutique brand?”

    A Kona XX1 for $5600?
    A thousand dollars cheaper than a Tallboy Aluminum with XX1 (no Reverb)
    A couple thousand dollars cheaper than a Tallboy LT Aluminum with XTR build.
    etc…
    It may not be boutique but hot damn, judging by the specs, that’s a snappier shorter Satori. That’s a win in my books.

  • cam

    Santa Cruz? You are saying they are no longer a boutique brand? I guess they are just starting to bridge the gap between boutique and big player – but they only make mountain bikes and all of them would qualify as high end if you take a broad view. They don’t make kids’ bikes, commuters, road bikes nor cyclo cross bikes like Kona does. I guess it could be argued either way but my guess would be that everyone who dropped large cash for a carbon Bronson this year thinks of Santa Cruz in a warm, fuzzy exotic way. Which is one reason they are willing to pay a premium.

  • awesterner

    Actually I was comparing them as a boutique brand, with a more realistic apples to apples frame and build spec. Curious though, looking at the Process decals on the top tube….why would they need to put ’111A’? Maybe an upcoming 111C :-)

    I think Kona is doing a whole lot right these days. I picked up a used Satori frame and fox 34 on a whim this year to try the 29er thing out. To be honest my seriously boutique Mojo HD is hanging more than rolling. The Kona handles very well, and is a fantastic bike, and quite quick, even on the Shore;-)

  • DownForFun

    I am sure hoping that the seat tube length in the geometry chart is wrong for the XL sizes. An 18.3 inch seat tube seems a little short for a bike with a 26 inch top tube. I would be right at the max line of a 410 post (6″5′ 36″ inseam) and I’ve cracked 3 20″ frames at the seat tube/top tube junction with less exposed post. Going to 22″ seat tubes has stopped that on my last few frames.

    Not a big fan of the short head tube either. That is something I have always like about Kona’s is they have always had long head tubes so I don’t have to add a ton of spacers to get a comfortable riding position. Of course, that is my personal bias and it seems most companies like to spec short (in my opinion) head tubes even on the larger sizes.

    My Satori has been a kick ass bike and the best 29er full suspension I’ve had so far.

    Like the look of the new design as long as they keep a longer travel 29er fully in the product line.

  • CoilAir

    Good observation on the “A” on the frame decals. A 153C would be just fine thankyouverymuch.

  • cam

    Mid season carbon release? I’ll come to that party!

  • menehune

    Any peeks at the 2014 Explosif?

    I’ve had one on order since the end of May and am excited to see the paint!

  • menehune