Updated suspension, fresh frame designs and a sweet new park bike.
Kona started its 2012 debut by admitting that the seminal freeride brand had slacked off on its development for a few seasons. Whether that is true or not, this year Kona put its nose to the grindstone and cranked out a new gravity range for 2012 that indicates that raw riding enthusiasm is dripping from the veins of Kona’s design staff once again. Kona retains its rocker-link suspension design, but with new leverage rates and shock tunes, up-to-the-moment frame numbers and cockpit spec, what-I-want gearing choices, and frame designs that reflect the present evolution of contemporary all-mountain, park and World Cup riders. Kona gave Pinkbike a preview of its gravity lineup, along with some spy shots, and specifications covering select models from the All-mountain Coilair with its second-gen’ Magic Link, to the World Cup team-issue Supreme Operator DH racer. So, without further fanfare, here is Kona’s 2012 gravity ensemble in no particular order:
Entourage DeluxePurpose: Park/Freeride
Travel: 170 millimeters
Weight: 37.4 pounds
Price: $4499 cdnEntourage Geo
Hidden in the middle of Kona’s 2012 range is a sweet park bike called the Entourage. Its chassis is beautifully designed with an interrupted seat tube and curving lines. Short, 415 millimeter chainstays make the Entourage quick in the corners and remarkably agile both on the ground and in the air. We got some track time on the Entourage at Whistler and can say first-hand that Kona struck gold on this design. With its 65-degree head angle to keep the chassis stable at speed and the two best suspension components for park riding (Fox DHX RC2 shock and RockShox Lyric DH fork), the 170-millimeter-travel Entourage feels lightly balanced and confidence inspiring, and it all comes with a huge fun factor. Heck, the Entourage even climbs reasonably well for a big bike. If $4499 cdn is a bit rich for your wallet, Kona offers it in a more affordable version for $2799 cdn so almost everyone can play.Entourage Highlights:Components:
FSA Gap crankset/e*thirteen RS guide, SRAM X.9 shifting, Easton Havoc cockpit items, Avid Code-R brakes (200mm F, 180mm R), Fox DHX RC2 shock, RockShox Lyric DH fork, Maxxis High Roller rear with a DHF front tire.Frame:
Butted aluminum tubes, Rocker-link suspension, tapered head tube,142/12mm through-axle, oversized pivot bearings, 83mm bottom bracket/ISCG-05 mounts Sizes-Sm/Med/Large, rear-wheel travel-170mm, 65-degree head angle, 16.3-inch chainstays, 13.3-inch bottom bracket height, top tube length – 21.5, 23, 24.5 inches, Color option: burnished aluminum (DL) or black.
CoilairPurpose: Trail, AM, Freeride
Weight: 34.5 pounds
Price: $3899 cdnCoilair Geo
What if you could have a downhill park bike and an AM/trailbike packed into one do-anything machine? The Coilair’s Magic Link Active Geometry cruises around the trail with 120 millimeters of efficient pedaling rear suspension travel until the unexpected drop arrives, or you simply want to pin it on a sick downhill section – at which time the Magic Link releases up to 200 millimeters of progressive, terrain-taming cushion. Best of all, it all happens automatically and seamlessly, and without the need to push buttons or levers. Add a curiously missing dropper seat post and the Coilair could be the only true ‘One Bike’ in the do-it-all class.Coilair Highlights:Components:
FSA two-by Moto X crankset (36 x 24), e*thirteen DRS chain guide, SRAM X.9 shifting with Shimano SLX F-derailleur (11 x 36 ten speed cassette), Avid Code R brakes (200mm F, 180mm R), Fox Float RP2 shock, Fox 36 TALAS R 180 fork (20mm axle), Easton Vice wheels and Maxxis Ardent tires.Frame:
Butted aluminum tubes, Tapered head tube and steerer, Magic Link Active Geometry suspension (120mm/200mm terrain-actuated rear-wheel travel), 73mm bottom bracket/ISCG-05 chain guide tabs, 14.2-inch bottom bracket height, 66-degree head angle, 73-degree seat angle, 17.5-inch chainstays (the geometry chart is wrong), sizes – 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 inches, top tube length – 22, 23, 23.5, 24, 24.5, 25, 26 inches, Color option: brushed black aluminum.
Operator DHPurpose: Downhill Competition
Travel: 200 millimeters
Weight: 40.3 pounds
Price: $3199 cdnOperator Geo
Coming into its second season, Kona’s Operator DH chassis was the first indicator that its design team had turned up the burner. The Operator’s profile is compact and clean, with shorter chainstays to make it quicker through the corners and a 64-degree head angle to take the straightest line between them. Suspension is super supple, with a coil-sprung RockShox Boxxer Race fork paired a Fox Vanilla RC shock. The Operator’s rocker-link suspension is beefed up with oversized bearings and its proven aluminum chassis and real-world component spec are designed to encourage its owner to ride every waking moment. Operator DH Highlights:Components:
Gravity Gap crankset (36T), e*thirteen SRS chain guide, SRAM X.9/X.7 shifting (11 x 28 nine-speed), Avid Code R brakes (200mm F, 180mm R), RockShox Boxxer Race fork, Fox Van R shock, Sun Rims, Maxxis High Roller rear tire and DHF front tire. Frame:
butted and manipulated frame tubes, second-gen rocker link suspension, 1.5-inch head tube, DH-standard 83 millimeter bottom bracket, 64-degree head angle, 16.8-inch chainstays, 13.8-inch bottom bracket height, low-profile head tube design, sizes – Sm, Med, Large (21.5, 23, 24.5-inch top tubes), lowest stand-over height is 29.5 inches. Color option: shot-peened matte black.
Kona 2012 Hardtails
Kona has ‘new’ chromoly hardtails for 2012. Topping the list are the Shonky dirt jumper and the single-chainring, nine-speed Steely – which is a tribute to the first North Shore freeriders. Kona has a history of crafting chromoly frames and for one reason: they love the feel of steel.
ShonkyPurpose: Dirt Jump
Suspension: RockShox Argyle fork – 80mm
Price: $1349 cad
This is as simple as a one-gear, precise-handling, chromoly framed dirt jumper gets. The Shonky has been redesigned with a steeply angled top tube for excellent frame clearance and it has an integrated chain tensioner to further enhance its already clean profile. A RockShox Argyle fork and Chainway CroMo cranks keep it real for those who go big. Shonky Highlights:Components:
RockSHox Argyle 80mm fork, Chainway ChroMo BMX crankset and Spanish bottom bracket, ProMax mechanical disc brakes (160mm rotors) and an all Kona DJ and DH cockpit.Frame
: TIG-welded butted chromoly frame (long and short), 71.5-degree seat angle, 69-degree head angle, 15.7-inch chainstays, 12.2-inch bottom bracket height, 22.8 or 23.5-inch top tube and a standard 4.5-inch head tube. Color option is matte green.
SteelyPurpose: Retro Freerider
Suspension: RockShox Tora U-Turn 85/130mm
Weight: 34 pounds
Price: $1399 cdnSteely Geo
Pioneer freeriders would have bet their lives that, armed with their flat pedals, wide riser handlebars BMX stems and sturdy steel hardtails, they could out fox any dual-suspension rider on the wet singletracks, twisted roots and ladders in the Northwestern rainforests. Of course, they were proven wrong, but who cares? Kona’s Steely is a tribute to the mud men of the fabled North Shore who built the ladders, put names to the fabled drops and boulders of North Vancouver and in doing so, launched a new chapter in the history of the mountain bike. Many core riders shred exclusively on chromoly hardtails – consider the $1399 Steely as Kona’s informal invitation to join them.Steely Highlights:Components:
Single-ring FSA Step-up crankset (34T), e*thirteen LS1 chain guide, Shimano 12 x 36 nine-speed cassette, Shimano Deore rear derailleur and Alivio shifter, RockShox Tora U-Turn 85/130mm fork, Avid Elixir brakes (180mm F, 160mm R), and Kona retro cockpit components. Frame:
butted chromoly tubes with saddle gussets in the head tube area, standard, 1.125-inch steerer tube system, 73-millimeter threaded bottom bracket with ISCG-05 chain guide tabs, Sizes – 14, 16, 18, 20 inches (22, 23, 24, 25-inch top tubes), 72.5-degree seat angle, 67-degree head angle, 16.5 inch chainstays, with a 12.1-inch bottom bracket height. Color option is raw steel.
HonzoPurpose: Gravity-Specific 29er
Suspension: RockShox Revelation RL Dual-Air 120
Weight: 35.5 pounds
Price: $1899 cdHonzo Geo
The 29er movement was as fringy as the pioneer freeriders and both cults carved their niche in the MTB world aboard steel hardtails. Kona’s Honzo welds two out-of-bounds spirits together into a 29er that kills it down technical trails. Big wheels handle the roots and rocks as if the Honzo had rear suspension – and act as a travel-multiplier for its 120-millimeter Revelation fork. Powered by a simple one-by-nine transmission and protected by an e*thirteen chain guide, the Honzo is the all-mountain minimalist.Honzo Highlights
Single-ring FSA Step-up crankset (32T), e*thirteen LS1 chain guide, Shimano 12 x 36 nine-speed cassette, Shimano Deore rear derailleur and Alivio shifter, RockShox Revelation RL Dual-Air 120 fork, Avid Elixir brakes (180mm F, 160mm R), and Kona cockpit components. Frame:
butted chromoly tubes with saddle gussets in the head tube area, single-speed convertible dropouts, standard 1.125-inch steerer tube system, 73-millimeter threaded bottom bracket with ISCG-05 chain guide tabs, Sizes – 16, 18, 20, 20-L inches (23, 24, 25, 26-inch top tubes), 74.5-degree seat angle, 68-degree head angle, 16.3 inch chainstays, with a 12.2-inch bottom bracket height. Color option is matte blue.Hope you’ve enjoyed the show. For detailed specs and a chance to view Kona’s full 2012 lineup, check out the Konaworld website and shout out if you have any thoughts on their new gravity bikes.