After 3 months without riding my saviour came, a rather large (and late arriving package) turned up at my door. All possibility of making an unboxing video was abolished as I tore away the duct tape that stood between me and my brand new 2012 Kona Entourage. My immediate impressions on opening the box were of great enthusiasm and excitement and this didn't stoponce I rolled the bike out and began assembling the various detatched parts. Chain Reaction sent not only the Kona however, also a pile of free crc goodies. So time passed most of which consisting of deciding on handlebar angles and a suitable shock preload but eventually I got to a stage where I felt comfortable on the bike.
Well there we go I've said it; comfortable is a perfect word to describe the feeling of the geometry of this bike, once stepping on the pedals you'll find it very easy to adapt to the bike and the 170mm of plush coil suspension are very forgiving on your first few rides meaning you can get used to the bike very quickly. Upon inspection of the cockpit we find Kona's very own 780mm downhill bar which is complemented by a matching stem and an array of SRAM equipment, namely Avid Code R brakes and a SRAM x5 shifter. The stock Kona grips are rather bland and after one ride I realised that there was no threading on an otherwise functional looking bar end clamp, this didn't make any difference to me because I already had planned to change the grips immediately. The wheelset is bombproof, it isn't light but if you can manage to break a wheel then you deserve a medal. The 2.5" of Maxxis rubber front and back are pretty standard these days so I should'nt need to comment.
Now onto the squishies. It's a well known fact that the damping unit it Rockshox Domains isn't the greatest ever produced and this leads to a false fear that the ride may be bad however, straight out of the box the Domains are plush, of course they don't incorporate many of the features that the more expensive forks have although the essential rebound facility is found in the usual place on the bottom of the fork beneath the beefy 20mm Maxle dropouts. Most of the same can be applied to the rear shock, the Van is by no means Fox's greatest feat however, it does provide a surprisingly plush ride and easy to use preload and rebound settings. The drivetrain is quite standard, the previously mentioned SRAM shifter is laced into an x7 short cage rear mech which when aligned well provides near instant shifting through the 9 gears. Up front there is a pair of FSA Moto cranks which a paired with a 34t single chainring provide very good transfer between your feet and the rear wheel whilst still allowing gears suitable for short climbs. Holding the chain in place is the E-Thirteen Freechucker guide, a robust and simple chain device that functions admirably. Beneath your feet again, are Kona's basic downhill pedals which are more than you would expect from stock pedals. The seat is a slim WTB/Kona branded seat and is unsurprisingly uncomfortable but you won't be sitting down much, Kona have again used their self branded seat post which is VERY long, after some debate I cut 2 inches off mine and it's a vast improvement.
Overall the 2012 Entourage is a wonderful bike, the geometry and component spec are insane and this shows through in their team rider Graham Agassiz who swears by the Entourage. At it's current (11th September 2013) price on Chain Reaction it's a steal too for a complete bike. I'd assure anyone considering buying one to go for it, you won't regret it.
Here are a few photos of mine so far: