Bike Check: Caleb Holonko's 27.5" Kona Process X

Sep 30, 2022
by Matt Beer  


In case you haven't heard of Caleb Holonko, the dirt jumper turned freerider from North Vancouver, BC unleashed a mind-exploding video last week that silenced MTB YouTubers. Caleb rode his Kona Operator in that edit, but on display here is a freshly built Process X. Normally, this bike is a 29er enduro bike, but with a few modifications Caleb built it up as a maneuverable, heavy-hitting freeride machine that is capable of bar spins and other shenanigans.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Caleb Holonko's Process X
Frame: Process X, size medium
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Air, 200 PSI, one token
Fork: RockShox 27.5" Zeb Ultimate 180mm, 65 PSI, 3 tokens
Wheels: ENVE M9 27.5" rims / Hope Pro 4 hubs
Tires: Maxxis Assegai Maxx Grip DD front / Minion DHR II DH casing rear, 25 / 28 PSI
Cranks: SRAM GX cranks 165mm / SRAM Eagle SL chainring 34-tooth
Pedals: HT Harrier Ae05 Pedals
Shifting: SRAM GX AXS derailleur / shifter / XX1 cassette and chain
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC w/ rainbow hardware
Cockpit: SRAM Descendant DH 35mm rise bar and 40mm length stem / ODI longneck locking grips
Saddle/Post: Chromag Overture LTD, SRAM AXS 170mm
More info: konaworld.com

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
The Process X can accept either a 29" or 27.5" rear wheel. To retain the head and seat tube angle, there is a flip-chip on the seatstay/rocker link pivot. There are also two chainstay lengths options, 435 and 450mm. For quick handling and popping jumps, the shorter of the two works best.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Caleb removed the paint and polished the stock rocker link to match the rest of the silver components. You can see the flip-chip in the seatstay/rockerlink pivot is set to the 29" position.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Even with a 27.5 ZEB fork at 180mm of travel, the smaller front wheel would steepen the head tube angle, so Caleb opts for the 29" wheel setting on the flip-chip to counteract that change.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
This version of the RockShox Super Deluxe Air has hydraulic bottom out, and has the HSC set to -2 clicks from closed. It's pumped to 200 PSI.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
A OneUp Bash chainguide is rotated forwards for minimal drag when throwing crankflips. Shorter 165mm cranks give a little more ground clearance.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
A blacked-out, wide range SRAM Eagle cassette and GX wireless shifting get him back to the top. ENVE M9 rims feature a protective strip ward off pinch flats.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Shiny raw aluminum parts and deep blue paint are a classy look. Enduro Bearing's Maxhit Stainless headset features bearings that press directly into the frame, and is guaranteed to survive a lifetime.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
The routing on the brake hoses is set up with minimal obstructions for bar spins and tail-whips. Caleb cuts his bars to 760mm.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Buttons that go bzzz help detangle the controls for barspins.
Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
This isn't a slopestyle bike, so why not have a dropper post to help you pedal up the hill?

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Blackbox labelled parts are only for special riders. This unique top cap that routes the front brake line down through the steer tube was a thoughtful finishing touch courtesy of SRAM.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
SRAM Code RSC levers are positioning way inboard on the bars and at a moderately flat angle.
Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
Slip-on ODI Longneck grips use a classic mushroom pattern and have plenty of purchase to catch.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
As for rotors, a 200 mm up front and 180 out back modulate the smaller wheels well.
Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
All the rainbow bits.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
A Chromag Overture LTD saddle is wide and short which makes it easy to pinch for no handed tricks and keeps it out of the way while moving about the bike.

Kona Process X. Photos by Dave Smith.
The "X" in the Process name comes from the idea that the frame isn't tied to any rear wheel size. Caleb proved that you can also use the geometry adjustments to run it as a dual 27.5" wheeled bike too.



104 Comments

  • 109 2
 Riders "this is the bike we want!"
Bike industry "your only choice is 29er, or 29er"
  • 132 3
 LOL!!! This just happened to me with Rocky Mountain.
Me: Can I order a Large 27.5 Slayer frame?
Rocky: No, Slayer only comes in 29er size large
Me: what about the park edition?
Rocky: yes that's 27.5
Me: Can I buy a park edition frame?
Rocky: No.
  • 17 0
 @vonroder77: that made me laugh.. thanks
  • 35 0
 Bike industry: You can have any wheel size you like, as long as it’s 29 (or mullet)
  • 18 3
 @louiefriesen:
Any mullet can be a full 27.5 bike by just upping the 29er fork airshaft by 20mm.

And if you want 37mm offset 27.5 fork, add a 10mm stack crown race and use a fork with 30mm more travel.
  • 51 4
 @vonroder77: To be fair, the LG 27.5 Slayer was cancelled due to lack of sales. We made them, and not enough people, meaning distributors, shops, and riders, bought them. It did not make sense, from a commercial point of view, to keep it in the lineup. We tried, and the people were not interested.
  • 5 0
 @rich-2000: why can't they just sell the bikes like that. I'm currently running a 29er bike on 27.5 so I am aware that it's possible
  • 13 3
 Maybe if people bought long travel 27.5's over 29ers it wluld actually be what people want...
  • 3 0
 @ratherberidin:
Yea totally. When I had the OG pivot firebird I found it so frickin high up in the air. It cornered badly and on steep stuff felt like the forks were turning in under you all the time.

I chucked some 27.5 wheels on front and back and it was amazing. Rode it like that for a few years...
  • 7 0
 @kperras: Soooooo....does this mean I get to buy the frame Now?!?!?!
  • 2 2
 @rich-2000: a 29er fork with a 27.5 feels sloppy to me. But yeah I like the idea of popping bigger fork on. Only problem is when the bike has a 180mm fork you can’t really get much more axle to crown height with a dual crown.
  • 2 0
 @louiefriesen: wolf took bottom cup spacer gives you an extra 10mm.
  • 5 0
 The Process 153 and 134 are both still offered in 27.5".
  • 1 0
 - Re read post I was replying too Wink
  • 5 0
 @kperras: Interchangeable dropouts, like Banshee does. You want 24 wheels, just get this dropouts and you are a good to go.
  • 5 5
 @Bro-LanDog:
That's not the way it works. Industry decides what they want to sell and to they have decided to to ditch full 27.5 and only sell full 29 or 29/27.5.
They decide what we get and market the product accordingly. Can't be bothered supplying too many sizes even if consumers want.
  • 2 7
flag baca262 (Oct 2, 2022 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 @rstwosix: the biggest issue with modern "capitalism" is that making bona fide good stuff is "bad for business" because people will keep it instead of buying new.

and retards have to get their raises somehow.

as far it concerns me, the phasing out of 26" wheels ruined the sport for me completely. i'd get a 27.5 dh bike but that's already pushing it, i'm just too short to have any use for a 29. and what about the kids, what are they supposed to do with 29ers? it looks AND IS ridicuous.
  • 6 0
 @rstwosix: you really think companies that had 27.5 and 29 bikes in stock got of rid 27.5's because that's what they sold the most of? Get real dude.
  • 1 4
 @Bro-LanDog: why not? they simply stop making new 27,5 and it a done deed? wtf are you talking about?
  • 5 2
 @baca262: I'm talking about if that market demanded it that's what they would produce. I've ridden 27.5 bikes for years and they've always been the minority on the trails.
  • 5 1
 Listen. I know it seems like everyone on pinkbike is into 27.5, but lets get real here: if the demand for 27.5 bikes was there, they would still make them widely available and bike shops would still stock them. But the demand really isn't there, despite what you all may think based on your pb market research.

So, if you want them back, call your senator... or I mean like, just go buy one that is available; they are out there being made still.
  • 1 0
 Most machine shop’s will make an extension for your crown race too! All that’s needed is a lathe which most shops have.They’re pretty easy to make and inexpensive. I found a guy on Ebay that makes em whatever size you want shipped to yer door for under 25 bucks. And thanks to Hopetech, everybody knows that 155mm cranks are the sweet spot@ratherberidin:
  • 1 5
flag baca262 (Oct 3, 2022 at 10:30) (Below Threshold)
 @Bro-LanDog: that's bs lol
  • 51 0
 Finally, someone who likes 27.5 wheels.

I’m fine with people using and manufacturers making 29ers as long as they also make a 27.5 option, variant, or have it compatible with 27.5 wheels.

Just because 29” wheels claim to be ‘faster’, ‘confidence inspiring’, and have better rollover, doesn’t mean I want them and will sacrifice agility for those ‘benefits’.
  • 16 0
 Yea, I’m happy if we get to compromise with (truly) mullet compatible frames.

But if I am forced to to move to 29 front and rear then I won’t ever buy another bike...
  • 7 0
 @rich-2000: I think it would be a great idea to have it so you can pick the frame size and the wheel size.

Like have the frame, which you pick the size, and then the rear triangle which you pick the wheel setup (29, MX, or 27.5).

And then bikes which come stock as whatever, like 29, you can buy a different rear triangle for to switch it to a mullet or 27.5.
  • 5 2
 @louiefriesen:
Totally agree 120% The problem is the people with the experience to know the difference like you and I and most people here in the comments of PB, vital etc make up a tiny proportion of sales. Most people just buy what they read is cool or what a shop salesperson tells them is cool. And that is based on marketing/sales cycles from big corps.

My favourite brands are Transition and Hope, because they give us options...
  • 4 0
 @louiefriesen: Guerilla Gravity does this method, all their front triangles are the same and they have different rear ends you can swap out.
  • 3 0
 Brage likes 26.5 too
  • 2 1
 @rich-2000:
Yes you are so right! Manufacturers decide what to push in the market place and we just have to suck it up.
Remember when 29 was dead and 27.5 was the real deal?
Didn't take too long for an about face back to 29 as the best. But they didn't steer easy so we get a 27.5 rear wheel to solve that.
Manufacturers don't want to make too many options so set about killing 27.5.
Isn't marketing a wonderful thing!
  • 19 0
 I’m confused, do we hate this since the front brake goes through the top cap? Once the masses have spoken I will add my “established” opinion to the group as well
  • 6 0
 Thank you for your cooperation. Have a like from your overlords, the majority.
  • 8 0
 As long as you can barspin it's cool to go through the top cap.
  • 19 0
 That is one aesthetically pleasing rig! 27.5 4-life.
  • 19 0
 Before reading I figured that was a cascade rocker lol
  • 1 0
 Pairs well with the slip-ons and slacker 29" wheel setting
  • 3 0
 @ceecee: pretty sure the forum starter pack isn't complete without an ochain
  • 2 0
 @AndrewHornor: I only meant that, like a Cascade link, this bike doesn't have slip-ons--they are Longneck v2.1 lock-ons. I'm wrong about the wheel setting though; 29" lowers bb and slackens hta. Won't this setup result in excessive pedal strikes, with 27" rear and low bb--and flats? From the looks of it hasn't been ridden except the short distance from the truck to photo shoot. I was looking at putting a 27 front on an Insurgent MX or wouldn't be so keen
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: oh yeah, I noticed that too about the gripa. BB has got to be fairly low, I was looking to estimate it but none of the photos are really suitable
  • 16 0
 "A OneUp Bash chainguide is rotated forwards for minimal drag when throwing crankflips." - Uh what? I'm gonna need some explaining on this one. I don't think the OneUp chainguide causes any drag unless installed incorrectly?
  • 11 0
 Maybe they mean the bash guard is purposefully installed a bit incorrectly to introduce drag?
  • 1 0
 If I have my top guide rotated towards the back of the bike my chain will run slightly on the top guide when im shifted to my 50t.
  • 18 0
 165 cranks???
Everyone knows the sweet spot is 155. Pffft
  • 10 1
 Username does not check out
  • 1 0
 Everyone knows the sweet spot is 155. pffft
there fixed it fir ya@speed10:
  • 17 0
 This bike has no idea what it's in for...
  • 11 3
 Kinda reminds of those videos where the girl shows her drivers license in the first 5 mins, proving she's 18 yrs old.
  • 16 3
 What's with the shot at 'MTB YouTubers'? I've seen it a few times surrounding his video. Do they know they're in a fight with Caleb?
  • 34 11
 It's because many MTB Youtubers are better at marketing themselves than they are at actually riding bikes.
  • 23 1
 Presumably, it's referring to all the very impressive Tour de Gnar YouTube videos that came out of the lilly pad feature. I'm not sure what the "silencing" refers to as I know Yoann (the organizer) was very complimentary towards Caleb on Instagram and Pinkbike.

In fact, the video and photos in which Caleb sends it were done Ollie Jones and Kaz Yamamura, who are on the Mahalo My Dude crew and who I would call "YouTubers".

I don't quite understand where this conflict is coming from.
  • 18 1
 @BCpov: Well, as to where it's coming from, that's easy, it comes from pinkbike. Drama equals clicks.
  • 17 4
 @BCpov: Yes... and all the "YouTube" riders that participated in Tour de Gnar are f*cking legit riders! 99% of the people commenting on this site can't even come close to riding as well that group does.

It's more down to to good old jealousy. People love to shit on others that have had great success with out of norm business models.

21 year kid that lives a few house down from me is making $10k a month streaming playing video games on twitch or whatever... respect to those having fun and making bank... even more respect to those that aren't even pro level riders, yet found a niche and enough people seem to enjoy it that they're making money doing what they love!

Being core is cool until you're 30 and still digging ditches and eating ramen in your parents basement. At least these people had an idea and enough fortitude to go and make it happen without caring what others think.


EDIT - Haha, didn't even realize I was responding to BCpov until I finished my comment. Good on ya Eric... full respect to you and Yuka... keep killing it!!
  • 6 0
 never even heard of this guy TBH.
  • 12 0
 The rear tire is not properly settled or ?
  • 2 0
 It would appear that way.
  • 1 0
 yep.
  • 2 1
 I think you are seeing the protective rim strip. "ENVE M9 rims feature a protective strip ward off pinch flats."
  • 3 0
 @Joecx: No, we're seeing the rear tire hotpatch disappear into the rim.
  • 3 0
 @seraph: I see that now in the first and third photos, not quite seated on the rim.
  • 11 0
 The people still want full 27.5”. Keep making them!!
  • 6 0
 I can’t do barspins, and yes it’d be a pain to service the front brake. But Sram should start producing the Turncoat again. With AXS it would be so satisfying to only have the rear brake line out around the cockpit. So clean
  • 4 0
 It wouldn't be any harder to service the front brake with the hose routed through the steerer unless you needed to replace the hose. Bleeding would be the exact same procedure as always.
  • 4 0
 Hey.... back to work Bryce.
  • 1 0
 @BEEner:
Get outa here Mike!! Ahahaha
  • 1 0
 @seraph: until you have to pull your fork off for any reason and it turns into a full brake bleed
  • 1 0
 @ratherberidin: with SRAM, you can usually put the hose back on with a new olive and barb and get away without a bleed.
  • 1 1
 @seraph: I don't know what world you love in, but pulling the hose immediately means you have air in the lines. Also you don't even need to change the barb or olive. I have pulled mine like 7 times without switching.

*From a guy that runs his brake through his steer
  • 11 1
 This is a sick bike. 27.5 bikes. We don't all want to race.
  • 8 1
 Was gonna buy a Transition Patrol and go mullet, decided to build up an alloy Scout instead, and I fucking love it! The small wheels front and rear are just so much fun.
  • 6 0
 For every 27.5 commenter picking scabs and scratching at their arms, here's your next hit you heathens.

knollybikes.com/en-ca/products/warden-168
  • 4 2
 Gross, thought they were doing away with the bent top tube
  • 4 0
 I wish this were an actual bike you could buy as it sits without monkeyf*ckery to make the lesser 27.5 process built into this bike. I see a lot of responders are as frustrated as I am & being herded to the wagon wheel option or a mullet seems is BS. I'm 5'7" ~ I hate riding 29" wheeled bikes. I hate that companies I've chosen from for the 35+ years I've ridden aren't selling to the rider. My options are slim in the $3500 to $4000 range for a 27.5 all-mountain kind of bike (even in the used market).
  • 2 0
 Specialized stumpjumpers (incl. evo) up through 2020 came in 27.5, FWIW.
  • 3 0
 Former owner of a 2019 Process 153 CR 27.5 Easily the most playful and poppy bike I've owned. Basically jumped itself and made progressing on jumps really easy for me. I moved on to a Dreadnought, which is basically the complete opposite in terms of ride characteristics. While I absolutely love the Dready, there are days that I for sure miss being on the Process when I'm at the park.
  • 3 0
 About Kona’s frame warranty: is anyone else waiting 2+ years with no communication for most of that time? Is that just a so-cal sales rep problem? I bought a new frame but think they just completely blew off warranty after the pandemic. Wouldn’t buy another Kona considering their failure rate and no warranty (despite advertising).
  • 5 0
 The bottom out gradient on the shock body is a good idea, didn't know they were doing that.
  • 2 0
 looks like a big ass wear spot from far away
  • 2 0
 I wouldn't call it a gradient so much as a "logo". The full travel line has been there a while on RS shocks, and the "gradient" logo is new since HBO got added. But those lines in the logo aren't evenly spaced, so it's not like you'll be counting lines to see exactly how much travel you used in millimeters or percents.
  • 4 0
 "A OneUp Bash chainguide is rotated forwards for minimal drag when throwing crankflips."

Doesn't that guide usually NOT touch the chain or chainring, like, at all?
  • 1 0
 Top guides can definitely touch the chain on some bikes.
  • 2 0
 they can contact crankflipping as the chain chucks up a bit from being kicked fast, especially with heavier pie plate cassettes
  • 2 0
 GT Fury Pro frame. It comes from the factory with all necessary bits for full 29/full 27.5 / mullet. For those of you with sand in your pussy or can't figure out how to configure a bike's geometry for your own needs, maybe grow a pair and buy a DH bike.

These are just bicycles. They don't need a new ECU and wiring harness just cuz you want to try a different wheel size.

A lot of bitching on here from people that are better pink bikers than mountain bikers
  • 5 0
 Oooh, a Black Box top cap …
  • 4 0
 Looks like a Rockshox Turncoat. I'd be down for them to bring it back.
  • 1 0
 right...... kinda want one of those
  • 1 0
 EEFFFFFFFF 29" and all its pushers....I run a 275 Giga, bike is piglet and ruins the earth under it. Don't forget with mullet bikes you can run 27.5 in the front with a 10mm longer travel fork than spec'd and a 10mm lower cup headset extender to maintain geo. SHAKE UP THE INDUSTRY PEOPLE
  • 4 0
 Stoked to be a part of such a cool build.
  • 2 0
 That is purpose-built machine, which also happens to look like a Spec Ops piece of kit.
  • 2 0
 Cool…ride what you feel like….there’s no geo chart or wheel size for determining FUN…..
  • 2 0
 Kona still in business. . . . . .
  • 2 0
 Slip on Odi's with lock on collars
  • 1 0
 Wouldn't mind one of those top caps for tidying up a old single speed bike I have.
  • 1 0
 That bike is dialed. Very nice
  • 1 0
 Look it’s Enve and Free, in the same sentence !
  • 2 1
 hell yeah
  • 4 4
 Take that 29” over compensation
  • 5 2
 Who hurt you?
  • 1 0
 BB gotta be LOW
  • 1 1
 Blacked out Eagle cassette? Looks like a normal NX to me?
  • 3 5
 flip chip set to 29" with a 27.5" wheel for extra rear travel?
  • 3 0
 No, for head angle and BB height.
  • 1 0
 @cypher74: ah that makes more sense
  • 1 2
 Looks like a Session
  • 3 6
 Lost me at Enve and AXS





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