Kona Operator Carbon

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Kona Operator Carbon
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Posted: Feb 4, 2015 at 18:52 Quote
Anybody rode the carbon Kona Operator? No full reviews or impressions from owners.

I like the 26" wheel size, short chainstay, good length, is a reasonable price and has the potential to be light.

Unfortunately I am not able to test ride on a trail prior to purchase and I am worried about brake squat / suspension lock. Enjoyed my Norco Aurum, until it was stolen last season.

Could definitely get an Aurum again, but I thought I should consider other bikes.

What are your thoughts or experience?

Posted: Feb 5, 2015 at 10:30 Quote
I have a 2015 base model operator, but just a disclaimer, it's my first DH bike. That said, I bought it for the the same reasons you're talking about. I wasn't able to find a carbon bike that had a better build for the price and it looks great. It can be very light, just get rid of the wheels. I laced up hopes to 823s and lost 2lbs of wheel! It's at 37lb flat at the moment and very balanced too. More importantly, as you mentioned, is the geometry. My last bike was a process 153 and love the long, low front and short rear they employ on their bikes. I'm 6'2 and was worried about having a cramped DH bike with "outdated" 26s but it couldn't be further from the truth. The bike fits me great and rides like a dream, everything just feels right. Even after a year on 650b, Im not sure if I'd be itching to jump up wheel sizes on a DH bike. Kona nailed it, and didn't compromise just to cram bigger wheels and appease the masses (like their 167) let me know if there's any other info I can help you with.

Posted: Feb 5, 2015 at 20:10 Quote
Thanks.

Ya, I heard the wheel are really heavy. Surprized the 823s made a difference though, as they are practically the same weight.

Posted: Feb 18, 2015 at 19:47 Quote
MainerH555 wrote:
Anybody rode the carbon Kona Operator? No full reviews or impressions from owners.

I like the 26" wheel size, short chainstay, good length, is a reasonable price and has the potential to be light.

Unfortunately I am not able to test ride on a trail prior to purchase and I am worried about brake squat / suspension lock. Enjoyed my Norco Aurum, until it was stolen last season.

Could definitely get an Aurum again, but I thought I should consider other bikes.

What are your thoughts or experience?
If you liked your aurum but want to go carbon wait for the new aurum Wink

Posted: Feb 18, 2015 at 21:56 Quote
The Aurum and the Operator are completely different bikes as far as geometry. Aurums are long, more dedicated race bikes. Operators are designed with a bit more playfullness in mind.

I prefer the operator, I've messed around on both a carbon operator and an aurum, but the operator seemed more in line with my riding style (I have the precept 200, which has very similar geometry, mainly got it because i didn't want carbon and I wanted a lifetime warranty)

Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 8:40 Quote
Looks like carbon is only warrantied for 3 years, where aluminum is warrantied for life if registered.

Compared it to Norco and Specialized and they are lifetime, but limited by a lot of things like crashes or misuse.

Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 10:59 Quote
Hello.
At first, please excuse my non-perfect english.
I'm 70 kgs and 1.80m high. My first DH bike was a Demo 8 size medium I bought on january 2011. I loved it. I own an Operator since june 2014. I swapped all the components from the Specialized to the Kona. I don't have the exact weights, but the Operator isn't much lighter than the Demo.

Kona Operator. 17.00 kgs

Specs :
Operator carbon 2014 size large
Boxxer team, medium spring, high top crown
Vivid R2C, 450 spring
Renthal fatbar, 38mm height
RF atlas DM, 30 mm lenght

Important : the stock headset on the lower end 2014 Operator is shitty and you could blow the headtube. I quickly installed a high end Hope which is a must have.
The room around the tire at chainstays and seat stays is tight and you could have mud problems in case you ride big tires on sticky mud. ( not every day, don't worry )
I did not have any issue of any kind since I got the Kona.

Riding :
The bike is pretty long and the cockpit is high, so the bike rides well on fast steep tracks. On flat and technical tracks, the bike isn't very playful. It feels like a race bike. More race oriented compared to the Demo.
On rock gardens, and destroyed tracks, the bike rides amazingly well.
Riding jumps, the bike is stable and predictable but the rear suspension feels pretty linear and it seems easy to bottom out on heavy landings, the reason why I use a quite hard spring. For comparison, the Demo feels more progressive. With a 450 spring, it's almost perfect.
There is brake squat, but not as much as I have expected. The bike does brake correctly, but is not as great as the Demo.
That said, I ride a long size, with a long reach and a long wheelbase.
A friend had a medium, broke the headtube ( because of the shitty headset ) then got a large. He quickly said the medium is super playful and fun, and the large is stable and predictable.

Overall, it is an awesome bike. Super stoked.

Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 19:55 Quote
Thanks for the great post.

Why did you switch from the Demo 8?

Sounds like your buddies headset was not properly installed - poor fit or not using carbon paste. Regardless, that's good to keep in mind.

Posted: Feb 20, 2015 at 0:26 Quote
I switched because I had frame problems with the Demo.
The rear triangle was misaligned ( like pretty much ALL aluminium demos, both 26" and 650 b ) and it was being worse and worse. Some of the bearings were dead after 10 days of riding.
It was time to change.

I had a great price for the Kona, I paid the brand new complete bike 2800 € instead of 3700 €, so the decision was easier to make.

Posted: Feb 28, 2015 at 7:38 Quote
I have a 2015. Feels awesome so far. Was worried about the industry going to 27.5 ns going with a 26, but I think I made the right choice. This bike rips. Who needs 27.5...

Posted: Mar 4, 2015 at 12:11 Quote
Pulled the trigger on the 2015 Operator.

Surprised how difficult it is to manual or do skiddies, even with the short chainstay. I suspect it is due to the long wheelbase and reach.

Can't wait to take her to a proper DH trail.

Posted: Jun 22, 2015 at 20:59 Quote
Doing manuals and skiddies just fine now. Just needed to get use to the longer wheelbase.

Wheelbase is coming in handy on the rough stuff though. Much more comfortable than my Aurum 6 was.

Not noticing any brake squat or loss of grip when braking in the rough. And this is even with a heavier rear spring.

Awesome bike, no regrets. Although, the Avid Code R brakes might have to go. They work but they don't have the power or fade free of the Saints I had previously.

Posted: Oct 28, 2015 at 6:34 Quote
I just got a good deal on a brand new 2015 Carbon Operator. Wish me luck.

Posted: Jun 6, 2016 at 17:14 Quote
How are people feeling on their 14-15 Operators?

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 7:58 Quote
I got my '14 Operator when it first came out. Still going strong frame wise. I'm not the fastest rider but I've done a few races on it, hit some decent sized gaps and had 0 issues. Almost nothing stock left on it apart from the frame and brakes and forks, even they've been upgraded with the charger damper lol.

2013 Kona Operator


Mt. Buller International road gap.

Recently got a titanium spring and shock bearing for it too. Just need to get some fresh pics.

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