Bike Check: Graham Agassiz's Kona Operator - Black Sage FEST 2018

May 8, 2018
by Trevor Lyden  



Aggy has been a fixture of the freeride scene for nearly a decade now. Hailing from Kamloops, BC, Graham has grown up riding some of the best freeride terrain in the world.

We've watched Aggy's highs, like standing on the podium of Red Bull Rampage, and also his lows and battles with injury. He enters 2018 sore but not broken. Aggy is a firm believer that 26" ain't dead and we recently caught up with him at Black Sage to check out his custom 26" wheel Kona Operator.

Aggy is running a custom splatter-painted medium-size Kona Operator for the Fest series. Staying true to his roots, he put tan-wall Maxxis Minions on those little wheels. Up front is a Rockshox Boxxer World Cup fork, paired with a Vivid R2C shock sporting a 500-pound titanium spring.

Graham Agassiz
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 160lbs
Age: 28
Hometown: Kamloops, BC
Instagram: @grahamagassiz

Aggy was running only a rear brake on his Kore bars.
Wolf graphic, Kore cockpit, and no front brake.

Aggy on the top tube and a Ride or Die stem cap.
Custom Aggy graphic on the top tube and Ride or Die stem cap.
Aggy's Kona Operator

Frame: Kona Operator
Shock: Rockshox Vivd R2C
Fork: Rockshox Boxxer World Cup 200mm
Wheels: 26" Novatec Demon
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF (front and back)
Drivetrain: Sram XO
Brakes: Avid Code (rear only)
Cockpit: Kore
Size: Medium

bigquotesI built this bike because I believe that 26 isn't dead and I want to stay true to my roots. There's the right tool for every job, and for Fest this is the bike I want to be on.Graham Agassiz


Rockshox Boxxer Fork Novatec Demon wheels and tan wall Maxxis minions.
500 pound Ti spring on the Rockshox Vivid RC.
Rockshox Boxxer Fork, Novatec Demon wheels and tan wall Maxxis Minions, 500 pound Ti spring on the Rockshox Vivid RC shock.

26 Forever
Kore pivot saddle.
SRAM XO drivetrain, Kore pivot saddle.

Shaved off center knobs on the minion.
Shaved center knobs on the Minion DHF rear tire.



MENTIONS: @konaworld @TheFEST




114 Comments

  • + 89
 How many barspins can he do with that cable?
  • - 121
flag JanB (May 8, 2018 at 4:32) (Below Threshold)
 Try doing a barsping with a tripple clamp fork and you will look pretty stoopid Wink
  • + 143
 @JanB: Chuck Norris taught Aggy how to do barspins with a dual-crown.
  • + 64
 28.99
  • + 3
 @MTBrent: Chuck Norris spins the bars with the bike. Single or dual crowns make no difference to him!
  • + 1
 Aggy doesn't need barspins to stay true in your style "chucrute"
  • + 39
 this bike is so sick! fuck yeah
  • + 5
 Agassiz is subliminal marketing for Assegai. Except they don't come in 26.
  • + 4
 So wish Aggy could’ve ridden more events last year so we would have been able to see more shots of the rainbow trout paint job that was his 2017 bike!
  • + 1
 @armcoal: yeah but actually i wanna ride this beast Smile
  • + 24
 26 aint dead!......The wheel size is still in dirt jump and slope-style and always will be!....certain wheel sizes just don't work on certain jumps!......but i'd like to see Brandon Semenuk do a back-flip double tail whip on a 29er HAHA..
  • - 9
flag jaame (May 8, 2018 at 5:28) (Below Threshold)
 It's funny because I bought my first road bike last week, and the wheels are 622 which is 29" in mtb... but the road tyres say 28" on them
  • + 14
 @jaame: 29ers came from 700c road wheels. Just like 27.5 came from 650b road wheels
  • + 5
 also IPV4 ain't dead but but you know; progress and stuff.
  • - 1
 @spetsnaz72 it's a matter of time... that will come, for sure.
  • - 2
 @jaame: correct t me if I'm wrong, but roadie sizes are based off wheel AND tire diameter? Not just wheel like mtb?
  • + 4
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs:
mtb uses tire diameter as well, which is why on a 622mm rim, you can fit a 700c, a 28" and a 29" tire. All three sizes share the same bsd but have different outside diameters.
  • + 0
 i'd also like to see that. it would be cool.
  • + 1
 @jaame: WTF kinda tires are those? Are you sure that's not 28mm?
  • + 2
 @number44: 28 inch was the old road tire size. It's ever so slightly taller than a 700c.
  • + 2
 No I mean the etrto size says 622-25 and the imperial says 28"x1". Funny because I know 622 is 29" in mtb because they rather stupidly quote the approximate outer diameter. They are schwalbe pro 1 tyres.
  • + 1
 @jaame: I think I remembered the sizes wrong. 28in. is the newer standard, which is labeled 622x25 or 622x54 on a 29er. Ironically it's the 27inch that's bigger at 635mm bsd lol.
  • + 1
 Mtb sizes are 559=26
584=27.5
622=29
  • + 22
 I have a 26 carbon operator and have no desire to “upgrade” to a bigger wheeled bike. I’m not a racer and i ride park to have fun and love to jump it. It’s too bad the market isn’t big enough to separate park bikes from race bikes. Perhaps soon they will see the light.
  • + 4
 Ski resorts are more and more going year-round - so more and more bike parks are going to spring up. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw your dream come true, especially with the big push in getting kids on bikes now that the first couple generations of riders are getting their families into it.
  • + 6
 Couldn’t agree more man. Not everyone is just trying to get through a trail as fast as possible, some want to play around.
  • + 2
 well theres still plenty of dope single crown freeride bikes! Intense uzzi, cube fritzz etc...
  • + 6
 No need to upgrade when you have a killer bike like yours, that's for sure.
That said, I also ride 95% bike park every year, and I can tell you that moving to a 650 wheeled park bike didn't hinder my riding. You can scrub as low & get as sideways as you ever could on your 26" bike....you just get a little bump in performance when it comes to the chundery shit.
  • + 1
 Plus there are actually some brands like Commencal that have a park and a race bike. They even have a extra freeride bike.
  • + 1
 @luckynugget: yep, because not fun or playing around can happen on 27.5. Zero
  • + 1
 for real? that sucks!
  • + 19
 Now just make this wheel size available to the public again and I will buy one!
  • + 20
 Tan walls are jazzy
  • - 54
flag SnowshoeRider4Life (May 8, 2018 at 6:15) (Below Threshold)
 tan walls are stupid
  • + 9
 Frame is jizzy
  • + 17
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: You're stupid
  • - 16
flag SnowshoeRider4Life (May 8, 2018 at 12:09) (Below Threshold)
 @cdmbmw:

oooo good comeback, last time I heard that I fell off my dinosaur..
  • + 21
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Even your dinosaur rejected you.
  • + 0
 @cdmbmw: well done
  • + 4
 @cdmbmw: a titter from the peanut gallery awarded to you sir
  • + 19
 well no front brake but there is a ROTOR for it...!!
  • - 1
 maybe he didnt want a too light bike
  • + 28
 @Bibucc: its avid it probably broke
  • + 1
 No front brake is probably just for FEST...
  • + 17
 26 Forever. Period.
  • - 9
flag makripper (May 8, 2018 at 5:20) (Below Threshold)
 Before 26, 27 used to be the standard.
  • + 11
 Be a dick about it.
  • + 0
 @makripper: okay show your math. If your referring to the original mtbs they were made from beach cruisers and there was no standard. Also did you know how close 26 and 650b really are you got duped they sold you on all new stuff at a time when geometry was not yet perfected if only we could have 26ers with modern geo higher durability and lighter weight also stiffness.
  • + 0
 @loganflores: what math? Way back in the day, it was mainly 27inch rims. Yes I know how close 27.5 and 26 is.. and I like 27.5 better for dh and am. Not sure what drugs you are on
  • + 1
 @loganflores: what math? Way back in the day, it was mainly 27inch rims. Yes I know how close 27.5 and 26 is.. and I like 27.5 better for dh and am. Not sure what drugs you are on
  • + 1
 @makripper: by show your math I mean where is your proof that 27 was ever a “standard” the first standard was the 26.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: you are clearly on the internet right now. Try use it. 27 inch was the rim until the 80's. You can go away now lol
  • + 12
 I get it, sweet bike...but he couldn't wipe the jizz stains off it before the photo shoot?
  • + 3
 Dang, you caught me.
  • + 8
 Probably the first Kona since 2006 that i like as much as the ones before!!! And to see it rolling on 26" thats all there is!!! Smile
  • + 8
 OLD MAN BIKE, left over NEW 2016 frame, built for 2018. yep 26er

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15877370
  • + 2
 Nice ride man!
  • + 2
 Nice bike, I have it's twin. but you knew that
  • + 2
 Me too, I had the orange one. One of the best jumping DH bikes I've ever owned!
  • + 9
 That paint job an tan walls ♥
Reminds me of me old 89 Explosive
  • + 2
 Or a Diamondback Arrival, sweetest generic name ever.
  • + 7
 Props to Kona for the the paint work!
  • + 7
 Specialized should make the status again and keep the 26" wheels....
  • + 6
 Maybe the smaller wheels won't catch as much wind at Rampage.
  • + 6
 Short for a TOTEM fork!!!!
  • + 6
 Totem is coming back apparently, but not in 26" I bet
  • + 0
 26 wheels size is the best for jumping control and DH. It's amazing to me how people insist that 650b and 29ers are superior in this discipline--air time and DH--when all the top riders use 26ers. I wish all frame manufactures would start making bikes in 26 again.
  • + 12
 which top dh riders are racing on 26?
  • + 3
 Greg Minaar has won on 26, 27.5, 29. Ratboy is racing the new Hightower LT (29) on the EWS. I am nowhere near any of those guys. However, I have a 27.5 Devinci Wilson and can do everything bette and faster than my previous 26 DH bikes. That includes everything at Whistler including Crab Apple hits. 26 is great for DJ. As Asmodai said, name a top DH racer on 26
  • + 3
 @Asmodai: Absolutely none of them.
  • + 3
 false. in 27.5 wheeled dh bikes, the bottom bracket is below the axle height thus lower COG and improving handling.
  • - 3
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Raising the axle height doesn't necessarily lower the COG.

@bman33: I don't know all the history books by heart but did Greg Minnaar on 26" wheels beat other top riders on bigger wheels? I was under the impression that he was always pretty quick to adopt something bigger.
  • + 0
 @vinay: If the bb is lowered more below the axle height, it most certainly does lower the COG
  • + 1
 @vinay: Yip bman33's argument only holds up if Minnaar could set a time using those 3 wheel sizes faster than what every pro can do on a modern 29" dh bike. We are never going to see a 26" bike beat a 29" at pro level competition and there's a reason for that. 29" allows the pros to push the limit slightly further which results in faster times, and if you are paid to go fast, you're going to use the equipment that allows it.

For things like fest, rampage, or just general dirt jumping, yes a 29" could do it, but a 26" is going to be easier. The only way anyone is going to be able to change that is by changing the laws of physics and I cant see that happening any time soon...
  • + 1
 @rrsport: how is that? My point is people can give fasy in what they feel comfortable on. Will 29 be the go to DJ size? No. But for DH Angel to say 26 is "best for DH" is laughable. I will revert back to my other point, name one DH WC racer running 26". The answer is zero. Also many guys at Rampage And Fest riding 27.5. I don't hate on 26", my DJ and my old hardtail is 26". But the hutthurtnesd on wheel size is just getting old
  • + 0
 few spelling errors above from my mobile, oops
  • + 2
 Take that front disc off, give the drive train the single speed makken Haugen treatment, and that would be one super clean bike.
  • + 4
 c'mon guys, lets's say aggy is awesome. am i right peopl????
  • + 1
 I think he removed the front brake to get everyone on PB revved up! The rotor is still there. Only a rear brake with a cut down rear tire would be great for pulling the longest skids ever!
  • + 3
 Nevermind the 26, no front brake??
  • + 3
 Some riders' heros ride 29ers, mine ride, er fly, 26" bikes
  • + 2
 I run 27.5 because that's what came on my bike. Don't have the luxury of a custom build.
  • + 1
 Once again, novatec/factor hubs for the win!
I love that he rides a super affordable wheelset.
Those hubs/wheels are some of the most underrated in the wheel business.
  • + 1
 Noe sure how super affordable those wheels are - the high end Novatec/Factor hubs are right up there with Hope and such on price. Yep, they make lots of lower-end, very cheap ones - but that's a whole different product line. I was given a Factor rear hub as a warranty replacement after both the stock Novatec hub and its replacement crapped the bed within months on my Process. The Factor hub has held up great and performed well (and makes a nice high-end sounding angry swarm of hornets buzz...). At the time I got that, it would have cost me more than the Hope hub I was going to get if I'd had to buy my own, but not quite as much as an Industry 9.
  • + 1
 @g-42: yeah the Factor rear hubs are dope.
  • + 4
 finally 26' wheels.
  • + 0
 Note to all the 26" die hards, if you really need a new technology frame with old technology wheels, you too can put your 26" wheels in a 27.5 frame.
  • + 16
 I don't want 26 wheels cause of the wheels so much as the 415 and shorter chainstays they allow. Being stronger, lighter, faster accelerating and more agile is just a bonus.
  • + 2
 Downhill rig and dirtjumper's child.
  • + 3
 Graham "26er" Agassiz
  • + 1
 if its a custom bike and aint no joe schmuck can buy it in 26", then yes 26 is dead
  • + 1
 Me gusta que esten a favor del uso de la 26 ya que es una aro muy versatil!
  • + 1
 That 500 lb spring though! I doubt I could even get it half way through the travel.
  • + 3
 A boatload of burgers and some pizzas could help with that Wink
  • + 1
 hometown boys holding it down
  • + 1
 How do I get my hands on a pair of fresh tan wall 26" minions?
  • + 1
 Cool Eddy Van Halen paint job.
  • - 1
 Honestly if he had wheels that were 27.5 he would have a 15% smoother ride and cornering will be improved by 17%!!!
Optimized for perfect traction.
New and improved
  • + 1
 The only answer #go BIG or go home#FR
  • + 1
 hell yea!
  • + 1
 Bad ass bike tup
  • - 1
 It says his weight 160lb for 5’9” bulldog. Lol I’m willing to wager that’s not accurate
  • + 1
 Cro-gnar bike
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