David Blaine himself would be impressed: a mountain bike with 4 inches of rear travel that can scale to 6 inches when needed and responsive, shifting frame geometry. The Kona Abra Cadabra packs Magic Link technology onto an ultra-lightweight scandium frame for a truly fantastic ride (according to Kona, the scandium frame is as light as titanium, more durable than carbon, half the weight of steel, and five times stronger than aluminum). I got a chance to speak with the creator of Magic Link on Tuesday and not only that – I got to experience the ride myself (and it was sweet!).
First, a bit about Magic Link. Brian Berthold started with a clean slate when he designed Magic Link and asked himself this question: Why can’t I have a plush bike that is just as good at climbing as it is at descending? After many design iterations, Berthold came up with a design that allows the suspension to tune itself depending on conditions. That means the rider doesn’t have to harsh the ride while fiddle with levers and valves every time he crests a hill or starts a climb (perfect for those who ride lots of “rolling” terrain).
The course at Bootleg Canyon was the perfect place to test the Abra Cadabra thanks to the quick dips mixed with moderate length climbs and descents. Now I’m a pretty dedicated XC rider and I typically shy away from mid-to-long travel bikes but this is a plush bike that any XC rider will appreciate. Climbing felt ultra-efficient thanks to steep head and seat angles that kept me more upright than I expected. Pedal bob was virtually non-existent.
On the descents the Magic Link automatically adjusted the bike geometry for a steeper, slacker head angle with longer suspension travel. Bombing down the steeps I felt like a much better rider as the suspension soaked up progressively larger ruts and rocks. The amazing thing is how I could feel the suspension and geometry changes taking place as I bottomed out on gullies and transitioned into short, steep climbs.
The Kona Abra Cadabra is one of those bikes you have to try for yourself to fully appreciate (the demo lines for the Abra Cadabra at Interbike were some of the longest we saw). It’s unlike any other suspension set-up you’ve ridden – it’s like magic!
Note: the Kona Cadabra also features the Magic Link suspension system minus the pricey scandium frame.