Known for being a party lovin’ US company that supports some amazing athletes and employees alike, Kona brought all of their fun and enthusiasm with them to Eurobike this year. The company showcased new bikes alongside iterations on their vast catalog of trail tools. Their display booth was a classy Pacific Northwest style cabin that nearly any mountain biker would love to bunk in for the weekend.
Process 153 CR 29
Piloted by pro riders like Ireland’s XC, Enduro, and DH champion Leah Maunsell, Kona’s Process 27.5 and 29 AL are clearly some sharp knives. The new 29″ carbon fiber version sports all the same geometry specs as its alloy predecessor, with a 66° headtube angle, 475mm reach (size L), whip-ready 425mm chainstays, and sturdy footing with a 1218mm wheelbase (size L). The Boost rear end offers space for 2.4″ tires, though the DL model comes with a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3″ tire out back. A Rockshox Deluxe RT trunion mount shock provides the 153mm of rear travel for the top build, and a 160mm Rockshox Lyric with boost spacing takes care of squish up front.
As with most Kona frames, the Process 153 CR will be offered in a “bells and whistles” DL version and a standard build. The DL version will stop with SRAM Code RSC brakes and 200mm rotors, and charges forward with the X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. For all-mountain and enduro riders looking for a race-ready bike on big wheels, the Process 153 CR is on its way.
Big Honzo CR DL 27.5+
In the world of hardtails designed for all-day fun, Kona has you covered. Their lineup of steel, alloy, and carbon Honzo bikes ranges from a blingy 120mm carbon XC race bike to a shiny chrome-covered steel adventure wagon.
The “Big” Honzo is the 27.5+ iteration of the hardtail trail platform, now available with a carbon frame and their top DL build. The build spec includes a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Rockshox Pike RC Solo Air 120 fork, SRAM Guide R Brakes, WTB KOM Trail i35 TCS rims, and dual Maxxis Recon 27.5 x 2.8″ tires.
At first glance, the amount of tire and mud clearance between the stays and the meaty 2.8″ tire really stands out. The folks at Kona didn’t mention a maximum tire width for this frame, but it looks like a 3″ balloon may be worth trying if you want max traction.
With an impressive 30-year history of building bikes, the folks at Kona decided to celebrate with this mirror-finished steel 29″ Honzo. The bike is ready to roll as a single-speed or geared setup, thanks to standard sliding rear dropouts. If you’re looking for a hardtail that resembles the 80’s BMX you always wanted or wish you still had, get on it. Kona produced just 201 of these bikes and they are selling quickly.
Operator CR 29″
Kona’s World Cup downhill team has been testing the new 29/27.5″ version of their popular Operator DH offering, and the bike is nearly ready for the rest of us to enjoy. With flip chips and adjustable dropouts, you can choose between 29″ or 27.5″ diameter wheels to best suit the track. Swapping between wheel sizes does require a second fork with proper tire clearance, but that’s still far less expensive than owning two complete DH bikes.
In addition to wheel size options, the frame has 15mm of rear dropout adjustment and 10mm of reach adjustment.
The build on the new Operator CR 29 includes a SRAM GX DH 7-speed drivetrain, SRAM Code R brakes, a Rockshox BoXXer Charger 2 Debonair Air fork, Rockshox Super Delux Coil RC trunion mount shock, dual 29 x 2.5″ Maxxis DHF tires, and loads of other race-ready components.
I have yet to own a proper downhill sled, but the customizable ride characteristics and bombproof build on the Operator have my interest piqued.