Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail: Out of the Box

Feb 15, 2017
by Kona Bikes  
All too often we can get sucked into the same old habits. Same trails, same bike, same everything. Sometimes you've got to get out of the box. Live a little. Breathe. And then shred.

The Hei Hei Trail is an out of the box thinker, like many of Kona's bikes. Everyone who swings a leg over one notes that it outrides its numbers, surpassing their expectations of a trail bike's capabilities. Light and efficient with its full carbon frame and Fuse suspension design, snappy and playful on the way back down.

Views: 29,392    Faves: 236    Comments: 7


While the Fuse suspension design is shared with our race-ready Hei Hei cross-country bike, the Hei Hei Trail, with 140mm of travel and 27.5" wheels, is a completely different beast. It's the kind of bike that challenges preconceptions, and redefines what a bike in this class can do.


RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX AND UNDER OUR WORLD CUP RACER

With the Hei Hei Trail's lineage, it may have been expected of us to produce a video featuring one of our Endurance Team racers. But the reality is, this bike may just get you out of your box, thinking differently about the Hei Hei name from which this bike found its lineage, and pedaling to places you previously considered outside that box.

So, we sent World Cup downhiller Connor Fearon into British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains with the Hei Hei Trail. And what we came out with was exactly the proof we needed that this bike doesn't belong in the box, but up in the hills, getting loose. We tend to think you'll agree.

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box


Hei Hei Trail Details

All three Hei Hei Trail models feature the same Kona Race Light full carbon frame. From the top-spec Hei Hei Trail Supreme through the Hei Hei Trail DL and the Hei Hei Trail, you can expect to find wide rims, great tires, and high quality suspension components. No matter which model you choose, you can be assured it'll be ready to shred right out of the box.


Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Hei Hei Trail Supreme

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT3
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3
Crankset: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle 1x 12spd
Cockpit: RaceFace Next 35 bar and Turbine stem, ODI Ruffian MX Grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Saddle: WTB SL8 Pro


Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Hei Hei Trail DL

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano XT
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp


Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail Out of the Box

Hei Hei Trail

Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB STP i29 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Performance Float DPS
Fork: Fox Rhythm 34 Float 140mm
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano SLX
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5x2.3"
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp



Visit the feature gallery for additional high resolution images



About Kona:
At Kona, we're all about the freedom and empowerment of the bicycle. We have been since 1988. We still have the same founding owners. We're still populated by a staff of keen, active, impassioned cyclists. We're not big, nor are we that small. Just a dedicated group of cyclists making bicycles for people who love bikes - no matter if that love is new or long established.


MENTIONS: @konaworld / @C-Fearon / @retallacklodge


Must Read This Week

84 Comments

  • + 56
 'redefines what a bike in this class can do'
FINALLY!!!
;-)
  • + 15
 The advertorial speak is strong in this "article" .
  • + 36
 I bet it climbs like a goat and descends like an avalanche!
  • + 39
 look at all that space for a bottle cage though
  • + 14
 challenge your preconceptions with a few of our preconceptions!
  • + 8
 They have some preconceptions about our preconceptions.
  • + 38
 Obviously a great rider, but man he has a face of stone! Every photo where you can see his face, it's the exact same expression... concentration!
  • + 266
 That's because before each ride he sits with Mr Miyagi and says "Fearon, Fear off"
  • + 15
 He could shred a unicycle down there and still be rocking that face. Such a legend.
  • + 4
 @MrJimLahey: LOL brilliant
  • + 176
 man i was so conscious of making stupid faces without my full face so it ended up like this haha.
  • - 11
flag Mattin (Feb 15, 2017 at 4:26) (Below Threshold)
 Just so that people know, @C-Fearon is not Connor Fearon. At least not the Connor Fearon sponsored by Kona.
  • + 2
 @Mattin: How do you know that?
  • - 4
flag Mattin (Feb 15, 2017 at 6:47) (Below Threshold)
 @microfiz: look at his pics
  • + 1
 @Mattin: Hmmm.. pics from 2009. On a Cove Shocker. It's possible. LOL!

www.triridemtb.com/cove-bikes-team-2010
  • + 4
 @microfiz: You're right. Didn't notice he didn't use his Pinkbike account for years until today. I'm sorry for the false accusation!
  • + 3
 @MrJimLahey: Comment of the year! haha!!
  • + 2
 @C-Fearon: lol... but seriously, nice riding Wink
  • + 1
 @C-Fearon: Neat side effect - without the full face and goggles (or even riding glasses), it's pretty clear where your gaze is going: up and ahead. Nice reminder - you could probably make that into some sort of a tutorial and get some more mileage out of that footage.
  • + 1
 @C-Fearon: Next vid put on some sunglasses Wink
  • + 15
 Never not a good time watching Fearon ride a bike...

Now on to my rant...

What I cant understand is why this bike? why did this all new bike design that is really only a year old get the full meal deal. Available with a crazy amount of builds and the option of carbon or alloy in its somewhat first year of life. A lot of money was invested into a bike design that hasn't really proven to be a big hit with consumers yet.

Yet the Process lineup has seen no change other than a little longer top tubes new paint jobs and dropping of certain spec models. I cant for the life of me understand why there hasn't been a shake up to this lineup. I mean hell there should have been a long / mid travel 29er 2 years ago and yet we are still waiting for them to play catch up to the rest of the market. The Process lineup pulled Kona out of the trail bike grave yard and put them back on the map and yet it has been heavily ignored by the company... bit of a shame.

By the time a new set of Kona Process bikes roll out I'm just not sure its going to capture the market like it did back in 2014 when we all got to see these bikes for the first time and they were such game changers to what we had been seeing before this.
  • + 17
 I have a Process 111 that I bought a year ago. Mine is an XL, and I bumped the fork up to 140mm. This year's 111 is basically a bit more front travel, and a slightly longer front triangle - so this year, I would have bought the L and gotten pretty much the same thing. Your point, though, is that that would be a bad thing. But having demoed the 111 vs. the Transition Smuggler and a couple other bikes - I don't think they really needed to redo that bike. They're still selling a ton of all their Process bikes here in Bellingham, to riders who demo them, on their home trails, against Transition, Evil, Santa Cruz, DeVinci, and others, all of which are available for demo right here in town. If that's indicative of anything, then to me it's that the bike is still competitive, just like Santa Cruz's Tallboy was still doing well even after the market had gone longer/lower/slacker. They don't have the buzz they had at the start - but they're probably selling solid numbers, and doing so without too much marketing expenditure (as in, the Process line is well established right now and sells itself without too much discounting).

Instead, they're throwing their marketing money (and new product development/rollout money) at the Hei Hei, both 29 and 27.5. That makes sense - they were new this year, and just like with the Process a few years ago, they took a bike that was very well received and turned it into a product line, then extended it beyond the trail bike segment into enduro (153) and freeride (167). So now they cover the trail bike segment with the Hei Hei (aggressive trail bike with an emphasis on playfulness and efficiency) on one end, and the Process (aggressive trail bike with an emphasis on burliness and ruggedness - and beyond) on the other end. That's the biggest volume segment in the market.

In the meantime, they're taking care of their owners, because if I want to sell my 111 in a couple years, it'll only be one generation behind. Santa Cruz is doing the same thing (each major model there has about a three year life span), Transition is doing the same thing, Spec is doing the same thing with their volume models (yep, every year there's all sorts of "new" stuff - but the Enduro lasted how long? And the current Stumpy is, what, in its third year?).

We all complain about bike makers constantly making our stuff obsolete with new "standards" and "innovations" that are little more than gimmicks - if there's a solid bike, I think there's nothing wrong with it going on for a few years.
  • + 5
 @g-42: We both have very different views on what we see. Gailbrath and the North shore are my riding areas and on any given day out on the trails I see very few Process bikes. Maybe I'm riding on weird days but yeah not the percentage I would assume between these two riding areas. I have actually seen more in Squamish I think.

I had a 2016 Process 111, I too had a 140mm pike on it. Great bike it took everything I could throw at it, but as my riding abilities started to increase finding the limit was happening more and more often. With no longer travel 29er coming from Kona it was time to move on. I put my Process up for sale, and well, it didn't do well on PB buy&Sell market between Bellingham and Vancouver. no part of the bike was stock and the build consisted of RSC brakes, XTR cranks KS dropper, Custom built wheels XT 11speed drivetrain and the list goes on. Not to mention I was selling it for roughly 200 bucks less than other 111s on the PB Buy&Sell. I actually ended up parting it out and sold the frame to some guy in Ontario. So I hope you have a better experience in selling yours than I did when the time comes.

And to be honest I feel the reason it didn't sell well is because short travel 29ers, though they are great bikes the mass market wants 29ers in the 130-140mm travel range. I mean shit at my local shop they had the 8 2015 trek remedy 29ers in and they all sold off in a 3 month span.... and that's a shop that's roughly an hour away from any local mountain and with the closest trails being something a hardtail could easily take care of.

I'd be willing to bet if we did a Poll of how many people gave a shit about seeing the process lineup go carbon and a long travel 29er option process compared to the want to buy a Hei Hei that it would be a win for the process. At least, that's how I feel ever since watching PB comments on every post about the process lineup each year.

But hey this is all just how I see it, and really the only way to find out if they made the right move putting so much into this new line of bikes is if we start seeing more and more Hei Heis out on the trails... If that ends up being the case, I will take my foot and gently place it in my mouth and or put an egg on my face.
  • + 4
 @2bigwheels: When I was looking for a bike last year (needed to happen quickly, because mine had gotten stolen), I was tempted by the Hightower that had just come out. I couldn't demo it, though, so I passed, thinking it was going to be too much bike (since I'd ridden the Process, and the Smuggler, and the Evil, and really liked that niche). I've since then had a chance to ride that bike - and found that yes, it's too much bike for me. So it sounds like you're the the kind of rider those bikes (burly 140mm 29ers) are made for. Since we're both riding Galbraith - we may be seeing different things because we're riding different things in different groups of people. It's a big mountain, and while we have a lot of people who are using bigger bikes to their full capabilities, there's also quite a contingent riding more mainstream trail bikes. My limited experience on the North Shore makes me think if that were my bread and butter riding, I might go for a slightly bigger bike as well.

Resale on bikes is a bummer, isn't it? You'd think with everyone looking for a deal, there's be ample demand for a well-regarded bike with a wide range of use and primo parts. But it seems like people are just trying to bottom-feed. Maybe it's the lemon problem - people don't know the sellers, so they assume the worst about how bikes have been treated and are unwilling to pay good money for a used bike.
  • + 26
 @g-42: Can we agree that we both just had an adult conversation on PB and it did not lead to one of us calling the other one Satan, Trump, hitler and or any other person who is defined as a terrible person?

Nice work to the both of us, pat on the backs. Smile
  • + 11
 @2bigwheels: And since we're on opposite sides of a border, we can even sell it as an effort to increase international understanding? Sounds like a good enough excuse to celebrate by going for a ride and then having a beer. Wink

All joking aside - there's a fair bit of trolling and aggro BS going on in these comment sections, but I've also found a fair bit of interesting discussion with people just sharing opinions. Which makes PB a pretty neat resource, as long as one filters out the hyperbole.
  • + 6
 @g-42: I am actually one of them Dual Citizens! I swing both ways... aaah err I mean...

But! I would gladly take you up on that ride and a beer though!
  • + 4
 I bought a XL Hei Hei (the 29er version) last summer and it's a great bike. Maybe it's just not all what the marketers think, but other conditions as well...

For example, I'd looked at a Process but despite their apparent awesomeness, Kona makes the XL seat tube length ridiculously short, so I had to go with the Hei Hei. At 6'4" and a 37" inseam, I can't ride a 19" seat tube even with a gigantically long seatpost jammed in there.

Given this and many other factors, it's likely Kona is in a quiet period with the Process and will release an updated version (hopefully with a more reasonably sized seat tube) in the near future. They're not a big company and don't have a ton of extra resources like a Trek, Giant or Specialized.
  • + 0
 @2bigwheels: Owning a Process 153DL for the wife, and a 167 for myself... I am a big fan of Konas recently, due solely to the Process lineup. The Process pulled Kona not only out of the trailbike grave, but the grave period. With excellent parts specs and reasonable purchase prices they were a no brainer - putting the company directly into the "enduro" trailbike spotlight.

However, with a fairly relaxed geometry even in the shorter travel variants, the Process isn't for everyone. There are still people looking for those squared off, steeper angled bikes with shorter travel and larger wheels. It may not be for me, or you.. But it is hard to find solid reviews of long travel bikes anymore.

I kind of like their approach to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The Process is a damn good platform that I can do everything I want on.. However it isn't the perfect bike for everyone, and I think this is was prompted them to revive the Hei-Hei line.

The Hei-Hei looks great for the price, and this vid shows it can shred too (when on Minion DHF Maxxgrip tires, like in the video) hahaha
  • + 3
 @2bigwheels: Been reading the back and forth and like the good information and views from both of you. I know a lot of hte people behind Kona and have ridden many different models over the years. I have bought a Process 134 and first thing I did was get rid of the Sektor fork and rear shock. I put in a Pike 160,and DBInline on the back. I got rid of the crappy KS seatpost and put in a Reverb. I then changes the wheels to Race Face and tires as well and then threw on XT IceTech brakes. Really only kept the frame and cranks and gears. This put me in just under $5k after all of the upgrades. This bike was now awesome...or so I thought.

First thing, the pain job was crappy and the paint on the cranks and rear trialngle smudged off really quickly. There was NO room for a water bottle other than under the tube (great place to pick up bear sh*t and such). The other issue was that the seatpost was so low that I had my Reverb 125mm extended to the max to get a decent climbing position. finally, the rear triangle kept being hit by my heal and the suggestion was to ride with cleats and angle them in such a way that the back of my foot didn't hit. This wasn't going to happen as that could cause knee and all other sorts of problems. So... yes, the Process is really capable and at a good price. I sold it 2 years later complete for $1700.00 Cdn as nobody would even look at it for $2k. Resell value is next to nothing.

I now ride a Transition Scout (customized too) but have the water bottle cage, the decent seatpost height and do not strike my heals. It too has a Pike and DBAir (double canister) and I must admit, it rides much nicer for my style and I ride Galbraith, North shore and Squamish. would I recommend a Process? Definitely. Would I recommend and Scout? Definitely. If I were looking for a new ride would I look at the Hei Hei 27? Heck Yes.. Kona's a bomb-proof, reliable and capable bike built to last.

The trick is when buying a bike, look at keeping it long term as the resell value just plummets.
  • + 5
 @MMOF: I'm 6' tall, 33" inseam, and love the 134 seat post length with a 150mm dropper. The seat is totally out of my way on the descent. I actually wish would make the seat post uninterrupted by the pivot hardware so that you could put in a 170mm post, slam it in all the way and take another inch or two off the dropped seat height. It would be like having a dj.
  • + 3
 @2bigwheels: Well played, fellas.
  • + 14
 Awesome vid! Connor rips any trail apart on any bike! Incredible rider tup
  • + 11
 If there is one person I wish I could ride like...
  • + 10
 That Scandi flick at 1:31 !!!
  • + 10
 But why such a tall standover height. drop that top tube!
  • + 4
 This bike or thereabouts in a 29r would be the bees knees. Make it happen Kona! And in case I haven't told you guys lately, I love who you guys are an what you do. Stoked on my Honzo!
  • + 1
 There is a 29er version of this bike
  • + 1
 26" 27.5" 29" would be great, oh wait we don't get a full choice anymore
  • + 2
 @Imnukepf: if u get the 29" u can go 26" 27.5"...on my 29" hei hei i run 26" most of my rides
  • + 3
 @Imnukepf: well 26 would be pointless for this bike it's aimed at cross country and while 26 still has it's place for jumping and even downhill maybe even enduro and trail pretty sure it's widely acknowledged now that there is no reason to go 26" for cross country...
  • + 2
 @JMBMTB: make a racetrack with enough tight corners and accelerations and 26" might go XC again.
  • + 1
 @HenningV1: Is there? You mean the 29 Hei Hei with only 100mm of travel?? Even the Process 111 has a shorter travel rear than the Hei Hei Trail.
  • + 2
 " Out of the Box "
You can always tell a tire produced for the bike manufacturer by the MAXXIS in white lettering.
Any non factory produced tire will always have yellow MAXXIS lettering.

Judging by the video, I cannot say these are indeed a Tomahawk, and by the yellow lettering they are definitely " out of the box "
  • + 1
 Fearon might be an excellent rider... But it is easy to make a tame bike look rowdy on heavy hitting tires.

Most of it was shot on Minion DHF's in MaxxGrip compound in what look to be a 2.4"+ rubber size

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14413303
  • + 3
 Looks like 27.5x2.50 WT size
  • + 1
 @DJR9000: You are probably correct....

for a second when watching the video this morning I thought... Wow those tires look like they hook up great.... Marketing. huh
  • + 2
 Why are there no maps of any trails in the retallack area? I know that they run guiding services and have put time and money into those trails, but as far as I know they don't own that land so why have there not been maps put up so that people can go and enjoy riding those trails without paying for a guide each time?
  • + 4
 So when I pay to ride there, which it totally worth it, you don't get in my way (sarcasm sorta). It's called a tenure. I don't know much about it other than it's a way for commercial snow/bike operations to utilize government lands in a semi-private fashion.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: yeah I guess that makes sense, but they have a land-use tenure...which does not give any ownership, just gives then exclusive COMMERCIAL use which means they are the only commercial interest allowed to use the land for that. I mean I get it that paying is worth it, just interesting that no one has put up trail maps of the area because from my understanding, anyone can use them?
  • + 3
 @ konaworld Who was behind the lense for the still photos? And if that photog is reading, what gear did you use? Great images.
  • + 8
 That's our in-house photographer and brand manager, Caleb Smith! He kills it with a Canon 5D Mark iii. We'll pass on the positive feedback!
  • + 3
 Omg, both tires are tomahawks? Why don't they just put slicks. I had it on my stock process 134, and it griped well... On dry asphalt...
  • + 2
 Video was shot on DHF's in MaxxGrip compound

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14413303
  • + 4
 Sick rider, sick bike and sick video! Hope to add a Hei Hei to my fleet one day
  • + 4
 Couldn't click quick enough
  • - 1
 Dunno, proportions looks kinda weird (and if anything, like the 27.5 giant anthem which wasn't a huge success).

First time the smaller wheel version looks all whacked compared to the 29er version.

I can see the market for the 29er hei hei, but the overlap between this and the process 134 is too big and the process is gonna be reaaaaally hard to beat.
  • + 2
 Did anyone notice the specs were wrong? The last model definitely has a FOX rhythm and not a float factory fork
  • + 3
 I'm thinking that the full production version will come with the fork that is listed.
  • + 4
 Thanks for pointing that out! The good folks at PB are correcting the fork and shock spec on the orange Hei Hei Trail to the Fox Rhythm 34 Float 140mm and Fox Performance Float DPS, just as you see in the photo.
  • + 3
 fear the ripper \m/




and ooooh boy this Landscape is amazing!
  • + 2
 Sorry not interested my 153 DL process is still too much fun to play with.
  • + 1
 btw no XL option, biggest Large with 455mm reach, 470mm seat tube lenght and 68° head angle..
  • + 2
 The XL is weirdly reserved for the 29er version only.
  • + 2
 The Hellacopters...


(nice bike and trails, awesome riding)
  • + 1
 beautiful. simple clean design.. also low center of gravity. Reminds me of older Turner frame designs. sweet.
  • + 1
 Nice lookin' bike. Clean. I'd like smaller though.
  • + 1
 If I were those corners, I would be fearon for my life!
  • + 0
 I don't care what he rides, this trail is awesome! I'll ride anything down that!
  • + 1
 I bet my spesh levo is faster out of the box.
  • + 1
 He has gotta be a clone from Kovarik
  • + 2
 no geo numbers?
  • + 7
 "no geo numbers?"

66.

That's one.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: Execute ORDER 66!
  • + 1
 Nice metal to go with that plastic.
  • + 1
 Screw the bike, I want that trail!!!!
  • + 1
 I could give two shits about the hei hei but that trail looks rad
  • + 0
 whats the deal with super fat head tubes?
  • + 1
 not saying its bad, just its seems to be a new trend.
  • + 0
 cool video...so much style...geometry looks a bit steep!
  • + 1
 Get me to BC..
  • - 1
 Looks like an anthem I mean a session
  • - 2
 Boring video
  • - 2
 great rider - unimpressive bike though. headangle looks like 1999

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