Connor Fearon's Kona Operator - Bike Check

Jul 6, 2017
by Vernon Felton  

Connor Fearon has been having a very solid 2017 season. The Kona Gravity rider is sitting comfortably in the top 10, aboard a bike (the 27.5-wheeled Operator) that he had significant design input on. Photographer, Ross Bell, caught up with the rider and got the low-down on how Fearon sets up his rig during the season.

Connor Fearon's Kona Operator Details

• Rider height: 5' 10”
• Frame size: Large
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Front/Rear Suspension: 200mm/200mm
• Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC 200mm
• Brakes: Avid Codes
• Handlebar width: 760-770mm
• Stem length: 50mm
• Wheels: Novatec Demon
• Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 DH 7spd
• Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF DH 3C 27.5×2.5″ tires
Connor Fearon

Connor Fearon Bike Check
bigquotesIn the past, I rode a Medium frame, but I was always a bit cramped on a Medium, so I stepped up to a Large this year. Now I can’t even think of going back to a smaller frame. The Large is just more stable and comfortable… My bike weighs about 17.3 kilos. I don’t know, for sure. I’m not fussy at all when it comes to bike weight. I’m running coil shocks front and back, and I’d never make it lighter if it sacrificed performance. It could be heavier than it is now and I’d still be fine.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
I can't quit you...
Connor Fearon Bike Check
old-school Avid Codes.
bigquotesI like my brakes far out, but I pull them pretty far, so the levers wind up close to the grip. Lever height is pretty neutral, I guess. Not super high or super down.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
Connor Fearon Bike Check
bigquotesMy cockpit is pretty standard. I have a 50mm stem, some 25mm rise bars… I might put some 2 or 4mm spacers under my stem for steeper tracks, like Andorra, but that’s pretty much the extent of it… The bars aren’t super wide. I reckon they're somewhere between 760 and 770 millimeters—it helps to get through the gaps a bit easier.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
bigquotesWith my suspension, I run front and rear coil shocks with pretty much the same spring weight all the time. Mainly, I'll adjust the clickers a bit for each track. I like the rear to sag a little bit more than the front because I like the handlebars to stay a bit high. With the flat pedals it’s good to stay behind the bike like that a bit, especially on steeper tracks.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
SRAM's 7-speed XO DH handles drivetrain duties. Fearon typically opts for a 36-tooth chainring.
Connor Fearon Bike Check
Fearon runs Novatec Demons, shod with Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5s.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
bigquotesI have the large size Crank Brothers Stamps with the bigger pins. My feet have been staying on the pedals really well this year. I’ve run clips for a few World Cups in the past, but I just always end up going back to flats. Seems like every off season I say to myself, “I’m going to learn to use clips,” but I just never get around to it. I can definitely see the benefits of clips, but I can never get myself to change. I just like riding flats.

Connor Fearon Bike Check
Black is the new black....


  • 104 0
 I love Fearons just go out and ride it type attitude.
  • 7 29
flag AdamOdh (Jul 6, 2017 at 14:13) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah me too but i thought the first comment will be "Looks like a new Session"
  • 25 1
 I took Connor down my secret DH trail in Adelaide Hills once. My internal dialogue was, 'pin it; don't bin it. Pin it; don't bin it...' all the way down. Never hit my trail so fast.
  • 3 0
 @AdamOdh or maybe the new session looks like the Kona. \_:/_/
  • 63 1
 why the f--k did I sell my process 153...

(not really related, but damn Kona has stepped up their game the last few years.)
  • 12 10
 Buy another! A lot are for sale (second hand)
  • 7 1
 @RedBurn: I'm selling a brand new 2016 153 Frame with a 2017 Monarch RC3 on it if you really want to build one back up. This would be a sick place to start.
  • 2 1
 Def one of the great bikes..proly would have bought one years ago but for only bright green or bright orange options...and void warranty if custom paint.
  • 13 12
 @jrocksdh: They also have press fit bottom brackets... a deal breaker for me!
  • 2 1
 @millsr4: agreed! The only niggle I can pick but totally could live with it for a Process.
Sorry I accidentally neg propped you!
  • 6 0
 Just bought my first Kona last year. process 153. Love it! Turned me into a big Kona fan.
  • 3 0
 @millsr4: only bad thing on the whole bike, used a wheels mfg thread in press fit, stopped the squeaks.
  • 4 0
 @millsr4: Shimano pf92 not a single issue on any of my Konas
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: so damn tempting. Like you have nooooo idea. Loving my Knolly Warden at the moment, can't justify two bikes that do the same thing.
  • 2 0
 @millsr4: I understand the hesitation, to be honest though - I've now had three different frames with pressfit. Maybe I'm lucky, but no issues other than breaking one when I tried to remove it with a screwdriver and hammer... (oops).
  • 2 2
 I'm sorry but simply because of where I live(PNW), and what conditions are like 75% of the year, the last thing I want on my bike is another set of bearings that is pressed into my frame. Especially in a place that is constantly having muck spattered on it from front and back! Threaded bottom brackets are much more user friendly for home mechanics, plus the tools are cheaper too. The only advantages I see are wider spacing in that area of the frame since you don't have external cups and the designers can make a stiffer bike, also its cheaper to manufacture. Due to the now "standard" boost spacing, stiffness in the bottom bracket area shouldn't be an issue for designers and the cost savings is fairly negligible that the manufacturer gets to not thread the frame since they need to bore the bearing press surfaces anyways. I'm a stickler when it comes to a threaded bottom bracket and it really is a deal breaker for me if a bike doesn't have one.
  • 1 0
 Give it a month (probably less) and you will see something pretty sweet coming from Kona. Wink
  • 1 0
 @jwillsaylor: lol, we all heard that about the carbon 153/134 bikes...3 years ago
  • 1 0
 @jrocksdh: it's for real this time.
  • 36 0
 It's amazing to watch him corner. I can only dream of hitting turns the way he does.

Also: sick bike!
  • 12 0
 Fearon's video edit is still to day my favorite video I've ever seen on PInkbike. Just so absolutely blown away by how fast he rips corners. Just incredible skill.
  • 4 0
 @ihatetomatoes: which video you talking about?
  • 6 0

I can hear the song in my head every time I hear his name
  • 2 0
 @Absent:My favourite is this one:

Such a great rider to watch
  • 28 0
 " Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC 200mm "
"With my suspension, I run front and rear coil shocks with pretty much the same spring weight all the time."

soooo... that's a Boxxer Team, isn't it?
  • 7 21
flag loaded (Jul 6, 2017 at 13:26) (Below Threshold)
 Most likely with WC internals... I did this on my old demo a while back and it was the best setup ever!
  • 9 0
 Yeah... Charger in one leg, Spring in the other
  • 14 1
 @loaded: what does that mean? The Team and WC have the same Charger damper, so just the air vs coil spring assembly is different. What other internals are different?
  • 8 1
 @gramboh: You are correct. The only difference between the team and world cup is the coil vs air sprung. So technically he is running the boxxer team. I believe Brosnan is also running it.
  • 4 2
 @gramboh: nothing, he's on a team.
  • 4 11
flag loaded (Jul 6, 2017 at 14:21) (Below Threshold)
 @gramboh: I know for a fact the team and WC had different internals on the older models.

I ordered the WC internals and fitted them to a Team fork (adds high/low speed compression)

Call Sram if you don't believe me!
  • 3 1
Team has always been with high and low speed compression and high and low speed rebound. You may changed from a rc to wc internals.
  • 7 1
 @Fufi7: I just looked at past receipts (from 2013!) and you are correct... I had an RC coil that I added the WC internals too.

Sorry, too many bikes, too many years ago
  • 2 1

Ceazy is correct. The team has always been the same as the wc, but without the air spring.
  • 2 0
 Yeah , you can see it's only got the LSC on the right stanchion and nothing on the left indicating it's a Team... ...and the fact he said he runs coils.
  • 24 0
 A bike check I can get behind.

There are so many racers out there with a grocery list of small details... then you got Fearon, "aaah it's a bike, It allows me to go fast, alright cool ttyl gonna go smash the shit out of a corner"
  • 10 0
 I'm ok with WC racers being picky and annoying the hell out of their mechanics... I just cant accept that from mediocre weekend warriors with wC racer attitude hahahahah
  • 21 0
 gotta love how workman-like his bike is. standard bars, standard stem, flat pedals, coils front & rear, Minions front & back, etc.

Just a plain, solid bike like a lot of us would ride.
  • 9 0
 Standard wheels that aren't even expensive or super wide. Standard tires we all run, off the shelf flat pedals, it goes to show like a lot of people know, its mostly the rider and not the bike.
  • 21 5
 nice to see a wc rider riding flats just like a good portion of most normal mountain bikers
  • 8 36
flag shittybill (Jul 6, 2017 at 14:09) (Below Threshold)
 "normal" mtn bikers who have to dab all the time. I don't understand the irrational fear of being clipped in, especially for trail riders. Climbing in skate shoes sucks. Spend a day or 2 getting used to it and enjoy all the benefits, like all the guys who smoke Connor weekly. I know this will get lots of down votes but I dont care. Its all truth.
  • 6 5
 @BaldBilly: I fall on tech climbs often due to not being able to clip out. Then I often fall on tech descents on flats because I fall off pedals eventually. No I don't but my feet get repositioned sometimes and I fkng hate it when riding down fast. So flats for local trails, clipless for DH/Park
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Recognise what you're saying. Hate it when I sometimes just fall over on a tech climb, being full force on the pedal and cannot unclip. But also like the fixation on the rough and steep downs. Ah, choices...
  • 2 0
 @BaldBilly: except it's really not... I don't dab and I rode clipless for 10 years before I converted to flats...
  • 5 0
 Flats and five tens... That's it.
  • 4 0
 I love dabs. I don't care about your pedals. The end.
  • 1 0
 @Session603: dude... Casino Royale- that's beautiful!
  • 9 4
 Riding with clipless pedals is like having sex with a condom on - it's better than nothing but it ain't the full sensation.
  • 2 1
 @iamamodel: you forgot to add: like having sex with a random stranger... well I have flat pedal herpes on my calves now...
  • 2 4
 @BaldBilly: oh you're one of those fags hey?
You can't ride flats. Sucks to be you.
  • 1 0
 @BaldBilly: it's actually cost and unreliability that I'm particularly not fond of. I have a pair of mallets that I throw on my bike when racing but they're such a damn pain when it's wet and have pretty awful reliability. When I go out for a training ride or a fun ride I don't want to deal with that shit, and neither does your average consumer. Mind you I don't think the average consumer cares about a couple dabs on the trail... the words "for fun" ring a bell in your head?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: funny how it's exactly the opposite for me
  • 11 1
 I'm a firm believer in the tall front end thing. It really helps give the confidence to ride the front wheel a little harder to keep it weighted in steeps without getting pitched over the bars.
  • 8 0
 connor, i'm banking on you to win this weekend so i can be be charging front range trails tellatubby style in some highlighter yella' troy lee gear.
  • 10 2
 Apparently he uses some form of high performance spring up front, some would say, a race only spring... #airisfortyres
  • 5 0
 The corners, the flats, the springs, the old schol codes, the I dont care about weight attitude. A WC star for dh'ers for sure.
  • 2 0
 I'm the same height as Fearon and ride a large process 153. It feels right but I haven't had the luxury of trying the medium.
I do have to have my seat forward quite a lot....
The downhill sections are sweet but the climbs I feel could be better with a medium.
Anyone else in the same boat?

That orange on black!!! Damn!
  • 1 0
 Try a shorter stem maybe,
I have a medium 153 and I find it's a good size, but I did decide to shorten my stem length from 50mm to 31mm because I felt it was a bit of a reach. I expected that using that length (31mm) I'd be effecting how it climbed but so far it's been great.
  • 1 0
 I have a process large I got to test a medium. im 511 I didn't like it I use to ride a med demo 8i and moved up to a large couldn't be happier. the kona medium I felt my knees almost hit my hands.
  • 1 0
 @p3ryder: I'm on a 40mm stem, and feel shorter might be a problem on the climbs, but could be worth a try. Maybe riser bars?
  • 1 0
 @UKiwiRider: yer 31mm was probably overkill but I don't feel like its made climbing more difficult....
Or just get riser bars I guess haha
  • 1 0
 I have a medium 153 and am 5'10" with all stock stem etc and its fine, but I run my seat as far back as it will go so I guess its one or the other. I often wonder if the large would be better. Very happy though, sick bike.
  • 1 0
 @trakker: yeah bro. It's an awesome bike. I guess we are an awkward height. I thought it was as standard as you can be. Haha.
How awesome are they in the steep rough stuff! Love it. Had it since 2014 and haven't considered any other bike since.
  • 6 0
 The black one looks incredible.
  • 3 0
 I love his DGAF attitude. He isnt counting every little tenth of a millimeter and psi like everyone else. He knows that the majority of the run is in his hands, not his equipment.
  • 5 0
 Can that bike put Connor on the top step? i say yes and i hope it's this weekend.
  • 2 0
 Sick bike! Does anyone know on a operator, mounting the rear shock upside down make a difference? I just saw his video In The Know, his rear shock is upside down. And I remember reading somewhere, mounting the rear shock right side up on a RM Maiden will shorten the rear travel slightly.
  • 2 0
 ???? " I’m not fussy at all when it comes to bike weight. I’m running coil shocks front and back, and I’d never make it lighter if it sacrificed performance. It could be heavier than it is now and I’d still be fine." ~(^з^)-☆
  • 1 0
 Anyone noticed that there is actually another pedal attached in the last picture? This is definetly not the Crankbrothers Pedal he said he was riding all the time but this one . Most brutal pins I have ever seen :X
  • 1 0
 Are those not Josh Button's pedals?
  • 3 0
 Exactly the same how I feel about changing to clip less. Connor has so much style I always enjoy to see him ride !
  • 11 6
 Flat pedals win medals
  • 5 3
 Wonder if he felt that way after losing by a tiny margin to Gwins chainless run....
  • 1 0
 Only for one rider so far.
  • 1 0
 Curious to know why Fearon has been running the ODI bars for the past couple of years and why he chooses to run the older Code brakes
  • 1 0
 Sponsorship requirements... aaand Preference.
  • 1 0
 Appears to have the new Codes on the black bike, so I'd guess the old set up is just what he was used to - as Danny learnt if it ain't broke don't fix it!
  • 5 2
 how does he go so fast without 900mm handlebars????
  • 2 0
 Another rider more concerned with performance! What will they think of next?
  • 1 0
 Saw Connor a few weeks ago at Bromont. The guy is a beast out on the trails. Hoping for the best this weekend! He's been working hard to get on the top step Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Kona still hasn't fixed the anti rise on the Operator. Why? It's so simple.
Or does it help to have a bike that deep dives every time you use the rear brake?
  • 1 1
 That black version is gorgeous - except for those damn RockShok stickers - they make the forks look bent! Might have to get my orange process 153 re-sprayed...
  • 1 0
 Well the bike wasnt looking too planted last race but i guess everyone looked to be on over the limit or nearby.
  • 1 0
 The last photo makes it look like a bike Tony the Tiger would be proud to shred on
  • 1 0
 Hi attitude matches the brands mantra perfectly. F*^k it, lets ride bikes.
  • 1 0
 These builds are art. Always been a fearon fan. Wish there was more content of him! and bike checks..
  • 1 0
 Wish I still had my code brakes Frown
  • 3 1
 He's got Code's because he doesn't need to stop.
  • 2 1
 That bike will be on podium by weeks end.
  • 1 0
 My Fav rider! Connon hangs it out!!!!!
  • 1 0
 So are there two Connor Fearons? One's Kiwi and the other's Australian?
  • 1 0
 When is he gonna use the beastly looking black one?
  • 1 0
 Sic bike, stick with flats, don't give in to the dark side! Flats ftw!!
  • 1 0
 nice, but whats the chainguide?
  • 1 0
 This bike is not working for him..bouncing around and washing out.
  • 2 1
 Sick bikes
  • 1 0
 Freaking gorgeous bike!
  • 1 0
 sick bike
  • 1 0
 it can't be a session
  • 1 0
 Rouche it !
  • 2 3
 How much are 5' 10” converted into an understandable measurement?
  • 1 2
  • 2 0
 Sorry 178cm ????
  • 1 0
 Type to google: 5'10 in cm
or 5ft10in in cm'10+in+cm
and you get 177.8
  • 1 0
 @Goose76: @chuxxo thanks guys
  • 2 5
 connor kills it, his presence at rampage last year was awesome

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