Kona Process 153 DL - Review

Jun 16, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  


The Process 153 is the longest travel option in Kona's three model series, which includes the 27.5” wheeled Process 134 and the Process 111, a genre defying 29er that we reviewed earlier this year. If you hadn't guessed, the numbers correlate with the amount of travel (in millimeters) each bike has, which keeps things simple, and takes up a lot less room than spelling out something like the Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a bike that was once in the company's lineup. The Process 153 DL is the brawler of the bunch, with a slack 66.5 degree head angle and a build kit that's meant to be able to withstand a beating. Our size large bike weighed in at 32 pounds without pedals, and retails for $4999 USD. There is also a base model option available with a slightly more basic spec for $3399.



Process 153 DL Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 153mm
• Aluminum frame
• Rocker Independent Suspension
• RockShox Pike RCT3 160mm fork
• RockShox Monarch Plus shock
• Weight: 32lb (w/o pedals)
• MSRP: $4999 USD





Frame Design

The advent of dropper posts has allowed Kona to achieve an incredibly low standover height on the Process 153, which is accomplished by reducing the seat tube height and relying on the fixed portion of the dropper post itself to create the extra length necessary for a rider to get the correct amount of leg extension. This also makes it possible to create a size large frame with a seat tube length of less than 18”(450mm) and a standover of only 26.18” (665mm), impressive numbers for a bike with 6” of travel and 27.5” wheels.

The Process 153's frame is constructed entirely from butted 6061 aluminum, excluding the small carbon brace found on the rocker link that connects the seat stays to the front triangle. The back end of the bike is meant to be as stiff as possible, and everything from the use of clevis style pivots, the shape of the seat stays, and the extra-wide main pivot (made possible by using a BB92 bottom bracket shell) has been designed with that goal in mind. Other frame details include the use of internal cable routing for the front and rear derailleur housing, with the brake lines and the stealth dropper post running cleanly on top of the down tube. There's even a spot to mount a water bottle cage on the underside of the down tube, a spot that is vulnerable to getting coated in mud and whatever else the front wheel tosses up, but it's still better than nothing.


Kona Process 153 review
  Kona calls the Process' suspension design 'Rocker Independent Suspension,' which at its core is a link driven single pivot.

Rocker Independent Suspension

The Process uses a link driven single pivot suspension layout, a configuration Kona has used since their first full suspension bikes, although the latest version has seen a few changes to make it work with the bike's low top tube. Kona refers to the design used on the 153 as Rocker Independent Suspension, a configuration that has the bike's seat stays attached to an aluminum rocker that is in turn attached to a U-shaped yoke to drive the rear shock. The shock is mounted directly to this yoke without the use of a bushing or any proprietary hardware, which increases the number of available aftermarket shock options.

Designing a bike is a matter of compromise, which is why Kona ended up with a bike that has 153mm of travel, instead of the ever-popular 160 or 165mm. Where did this seemingly odd number come from? Well, rather than sitting down and saying, “Let's make a 160mm, 27.5” wheeled bike,” the bike's designers decided to prioritize geometry rather than focusing on a predetermined amount of travel. Extra short chain stays were high on the wish list, and by going with slightly less travel they were able to reduce the chain stay length down to only 425mm while still keeping the head angle, top tube length and tire clearance where they wanted. The rear rocker link's position is intended to create a leverage rate curve that plays well with modern air shocks, without any odd spikes or dives that can make shock tuning difficult.

Kona Process 153 review
  A U-shaped yoke attaches the rearmost portion of the shock to the seat stays, and at the front it is affixed to a thin but wide triangle of aluminum that's welded to the top tube.

Specifications
Price $4999
Travel 153mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160mm
Cassette SRAM XG-1070 11-36
Crankarms SRAM X9 22/36T w/ bash
Bottom Bracket SRAM Press Fit 92
Rear Derailleur SRAM X0 type 2
Front Derailleur SRAM X7 direct mount
Shifter Pods SRAM X9
Handlebar Race Face Atlas FR
Stem Kona 40mm
Grips Kona lock-on
Brakes Shimano XT, 203F, 180R
Hubs Shimano XT centerlock
Spokes Sandvik stainless
Rim WTB Frequency Team i25
Tires Maxxis Highroller II 2.3" EXO 3C
Seat WTB Volt Team
Seatpost KS Lev Integra
Kona Process 153 review



bigquotesThe Process 153 is a fiend for the downhills, with a downright devilish appetite for the gnarliest, steepest trails around, and as soon as gravity takes over Kona's geometry really starts making sense.

Climbing / Fit

The reach on the size large Process 153 measures in at a sprawling 460mm, which is part of the reason why all of the bikes in the Process range come with short, 40mm stems. Kona's philosophy is that the combination of a long top tube and a shorter stem places the rider in a better position for attacking technical terrain. Otherwise, simply putting a short stem on a bike with an average top tube length shifts the rider's weight towards the back of the bike, adversely affecting handling. At 5'11” I could feasibly fit on either a medium or large, but going with a medium would have negated the supposed benefits of the long top tube and short stem that Kona is touting, and its seat tube length would have meant that the stock dropper post would need to be extended past its minimum insertion line for me to get enough leg extension, so a large it was. My first spin around the block after getting the bike built up still had me wondering about the sizing, but after sliding the seat forward a good bit further than usual I was able to find a more comfortable, better centered pedaling position. After that initial adjustment, the long reach became an afterthought, and instead of the bike feeling too long, it made every other bike I rode feel short.

When it came time to climb, even with a stubby stem and a non-travel adjust 160mm fork the Process' front end didn't ever feel like it was wandering. There's enough room that it's easy to shift your weight forward, whether by dropping your chest closer to the top tube or standing out of the saddle, and those weight shifts are enough to keep the front end firmly planted. The 785mm Race Face Atlas bars also help in this regard, providing plenty of leverage to maneuver the front wheel, whether you're lifting it over a set of stair-like roots or muscling it around a tight switchback.

Weighing in at 33 pounds (with pedals) and shod with Maxxis' grippy High Roller II tires, it's unlikely that you'll be winning a polka dot jersey aboard the Process 153, but that doesn't mean that this is a wallowy mess of a climber – far from it. Even with the Monarch Plus fully opened the rear end movement is well controlled, a testament to Kona's work to ensure that the bike's leverage curve matches that of the current air shock offerings. On long, sustained climbs I usually flipped the blue lever to the middle compression setting for more efficiency, a setting that still allowed for good traction with minimal bob, even when straining out of the saddle to maintain forward progress. Although 2x10 drivetrains are becoming somewhat of a rarity on bikes in this category, the low gearing offered by the 22x36 granny gear found on the Process is still lower that what is possible on a 1x11 setup, and it does help to ease the pain of those never-ending, soul crushing climbs.


Kona Process 153 review
  Warp speed is easy to achieve aboard the Process 153.


Descending

The Process 153 is a fiend for the downhills, with a downright devilish appetite for the gnarliest, steepest trails around, and as soon as gravity takes over Kona's geometry really starts making sense. The combination of short, 425mm chain stays and a long front center creates a bike that can straightline through the chunder without flinching, but also doesn't get bogged down too much when things get tight. The wide bars and short stem make it easy to get into an aggressive, elbows-out position over the front of the bike, ready to take on whatever tricks the trail has up its sleeve. It does take a little extra effort to navigate the 153 through really slow, tight terrain due to its length, but just like you wouldn't expect a top fuel dragster to shine on San Francisco's Lombard street, the 153 does best at higher speeds, which is exactly what it was designed for.

Even when ripping through the nastiness at maximum velocity, the Process 153 still manages to remain lively, in part due to the teamwork of the RockShox Pike fork and Monarch Plus shock. 'Mid-stroke support' seems to be the latest go-to marketing buzzword, but it is an important factor with regards to suspension performance, and both the Pike and Monarch Plus do a good job of exhibiting this trait, recovering quickly from rapid successive impacts, and resisting any undue diving that can cause awkward handling. This support makes it possible to avoid getting pulled into speed-sapping holes, and keeps a certain amount of travel available for those extra-large obstacles. It also provides a good platform to push against when pre-loading the suspension before lofting off the lip of a jump Even when airing off of large rock drops the ramp up at the end of the 153's stroke prevented any harsh bottom-outs, and there was just a smooth, controlled progression as the bike went through its travel.

As far as cornering goes, the word 'slarving', a skiing term pioneered by the late, great Shane McConkey to describe the action of simultaneously sliding and carving on snow may be the best way to put in words what it feels like to ride the Process 153 through a series of steep, S-shaped turns. The low standover height makes it east to get the bike sideways without smacking your knees on the top tube, and the stiff, compact rear triangle helps keep the bike locked into the turn, no matter how hard the bike is pushed. The low top tube is helpful in the air as well, providing a little extra room to get the bike flat without getting ending up tangled in a mess of aluminum tubing.


Kona Process 153 review
  The 153 isn't afraid of a little (or a lot) of air time.


Component Check

• SRAM 2x10 drivetrain: While 2x10 drivetrains may be nice on the climbs, even with a clutch derailleur they have a tendency to clank and clatter when things get rough, and I did manage to drop the chain a few times while riding through particularly chattery sections of trail. I'm sold on the benefits of a 1x10 or 1x11 drivetrain, and if the Process were my personal ride the first thing I'd do would be to convert it to an extended range 1x10 setup by ditching the front derailleur and shifter, and swapping the two chainrings for a narrow-wide ring (the X9 crankset will even accept spiderless chainrings). That would save a good chunk of weight, and with the addition of something like OneUp Components 42 tooth cassette cog it wouldn't mean sacrificing too much low end gearing. Plus, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than springing for a 1x11 setup.

• KS LEV Integra dropper post: We ran into issues with the Integra on our Process 111 test bike related to the post's reliance on housing, rather than cable tension, a design that made it act up whenever the housing was inadvertently moved. This issue has been addressed, and there wasn't any trouble with the updated post on our 153. It raised and lowered smoothly every time, and the actuation lever is one of the most ergonomic options currently available – it's easy to activate and less likely to snag on shorts or skin than some other designs.


Kona Process 153 review
  Wide bars, dropper posts, XT brakes - the Process 153's build kit has a lot going for it.


• Race Face Atlas handlebar: Finally, we don't need to complain about handlebars being too narrow. At 785mm, the Atlas bars are plenty wide, with a comfortable 8 degrees of back sweep. There are marked gradients to trim them down if need be, although I'd recommend trying them at full width for a couple of rides before busting out the hacksaw.

• WTB Frequency Team i25 wheelset: WTB's i25 rims, laced to a set of Shimano XT hubs, held up very well for the duration of our time on them. The 25mm internal width provides a good platform for running wide tires, and the 32 hole, 3 cross lacing pattern means that replacing spokes and truing the wheels is as hassle free as possible. Shimano's XT hubs are reliable and easily serviceable, although the Centerlock rotor mounting system still isn't as common as a 6 bolt set up.


Kona Process 153 review



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesKona deserves praise for their willingness to shake up traditional mountain bike geometry, pushing the concept of long top tubes and short stems as far as they can. This deviation from the accepted norms has paid off, creating one very impressive ride, and there aren't too many bikes currently on the market in this category that can match the 153's blend of stability and maneuverability at speed. Don't let yourself get locked into the numbers game either - the 153 rides like it has more travel than it actually does, and riders who pass this bike over because they're searching for something with 160 or more millimeters of rear suspension are selling themselves short. Plus, with a top end fork and shock, wide bars, a short stem, and meaty tires, the 153 is shred-ready out of the box (although we would like to see a 1x11 offering added to the lineup). The Process 153 is what we'd consider to be a true all-mountain bike, one that's manageable on the climbs, and an extremely hard charger on the descents. - Mike Kazimer


www.konaworld.com


142 Comments

  • + 48
 "...because they're searching for something with 160 or more...." Yeah. Damn that 7mm crushes me. Every time I'm about to hit a gap I pussy out, that 7mm less travel has me using this as an XC bike instead.

However, it seems to be incredibly well thought out, except for the 2 by system. Why, oh why wouldn't you slap a minimal chainguide on it and do a 1x10? I mean sure, GT always claimed that other markets "wanted" a triple ring on their AM bikes, but with a tree-felling width bar on there already, why not go for the gusto and make it completely modern?
  • + 38
 Not everyone can push a 1x up the hill, especially aboard a 160mm fully. That said, converting this rig into a 1x setup is as easy as removing chainrings, shifter and front derailleur and mounting a narrow-wide ring. The X9 crank has a removable spider too, so you can put a direct-mount chainring and call it a day.
The thing that bothers me more is the handlebar clutter because of mismatched shifter/brake levers.
  • + 15
 SileTzar, I give you the solution to your problem: problemsolversbike.com/products/mismatch_adapters
  • + 28
 I've been riding 1x10 on both my bikes for a year, and I do like it, but I miss the higher gear range. One bike has 32 x 11-36 and the other is 32 x 11-42. I spin out wide-open downhills with both bikes, and I'm not really into getting a 34 or 36 up front, I think I need the range on the low side more. Yes, I like the 1x10 gearing (god forbid I put down 1x10 on PB, I'll be burned at the stake), but honestly 2x10 makes a lot of sense for many people, and front derailleurs aren't THAT bad.
  • + 5
 I had the same issue last summer with 32x11 spinning out, I went to a 34t this summer and it has really made a difference. I don't miss that extra little bit of low gearing like I thought I would.
  • + 2
 I like 2x like you said being able to push 36 or 38 up front will give you rocket boosters on the downs... but theres no eay in hell im pushing that gear up hill......
  • + 80
 "That extra 7mm can make a big difference."

-My wife
  • + 38
 just tell her it's not about the size its all in the geometry
  • + 12
 pause. whose 7mm is she talkin about?
  • - 4
flag stever (Jun 16, 2014 at 7:48) (Below Threshold)
 I would have thought a Your Mom quote would be more appropriate/funny.
  • + 2
 Using this bike for XC would put you at the bottom of its food chain....
  • + 3
 I never use my bottom couple of gears on my 2x9 when out riding "normal" trails, but when I'm putting away a 1200m climb into the alpine it really doesn't take long for me to enlist the 22 - 34 combo.
  • + 4
 Personally I don't like the matchmakers. I can never get my controls the way I like them. So I don't use them and handlebar clutter never bothers me. Just my preference though
  • + 4
 I know this is kind of a jerk, judgemental thing to say...but here it goes... I'm thinking if you can't pedal this bike uphill with a 32t-36t 1x10 setup, then you're probably not enthusiastic enough about the sport to drop $5000 on a bike.
  • + 16
 I disagree. Someone in average shape can push a 1x10 up steep hills, but that doesn't mean it is pleasant to do on a long ride. Not everyone accesses their descents via fire road.
  • + 5
 DirtyMartini-Pedaling up a hill with a 32-36 low isn't bad in the first hour, or the second, but if you're "enthusiastic" enough to ride four hours or more, then lower gearing is nice. I am actually considering going back to a two ring setup for just this reason. Perhaps your hills are smaller-it's really all about suiting your own bike to your skills, body and the terrain you ride rather than judging people sight and location unseen for their gearing, for craps sake. I bet you're one of those people who judge riders on what they wear as well?
  • + 1
 I'm just saying with a gain ratio of 1.7, a 32-36 1x10 650b isn't an unreasonable OEM setup for the target market behind a $5000 bicycle.

What i personally climb is plenty steep and technical, yet irrelevant.

Unless you ride sans helmet, no judgement on apparel.
  • + 3
 Good to hear ninja! I'm on a 32t 1x10 also and sometimes think about a 34t...it's so disheartening when your right thumb goes looking for a lower gear only to find there's nothing left.
  • - 3
 I push a 32-32 on a 17.5 kg squishy bike. It keeps me fit. I've had a 30-34 on a 12kg hardtail and it was too easy I was looping out or up shifting. 32-36 sounds perfect for this weight and travel but, I wish we could get 9 tooth rear cogs for the downhills.
  • + 2
 I ride my 40lb bike with a 30. 34 I can do it but it sucks I could care less about being fit. I dont ride my bike for exercise.. its just a necessary evil..... 2x setups are still usefull in the right situation
  • + 3
 I was mistaken. Sounds like there's a consensus. You guys have changed my mind. That's still a place for a 2x.
  • + 3
 Now that there are chain guides for triples there is still a place for them too it's just personal preferance. I used to have a 41 lb bike with triples. It was slow but I could climb anything.
  • + 35
 Nice lookin' bike, like the review. I like where Kona is going these days.

BTW....Dear Specialized, please take note: "The shock is mounted directly to this yoke without the use of a bushing or any proprietary hardware, which increases the number of available aftermarket shock options. "
  • + 3
 HAhaha! Yes! And then the rear shocks on the demo won't wear out so easily!
  • + 3
 The shock on the Demo is mounted in the same as the one on this Kona tho Mr Cheez.
  • - 1
 Nope.
  • + 1
 Up through 2015 bikes Dingus is right. I haven't seen future unreleased Demos yet, so we can't really comment there yet.
  • + 0
 Look again and the U-shaped rocker link. On the Kona, the link is rounded where it is bolted to the shock eyelet. On the demo it is squared off, so it is flush with the bottom of the shock shaft. This, combined with the rocker link being actuated by the chainstays means that when the rear end flexes (all frames flex, if only a little) a sideways twisting force is loaded onto the shock shaft, wearing out the bushings much faster. This is why the Ohlins shock is on spherical cups in the shock mounting hardware. Whats even worse, the older of the new Demos (2011-2012, but I'm not 100% sure on that) didn't have the back eyelet rotated 90 degrees like they do now, so there was even more twisting force put on the rear shock.
  • + 2
 I don't need to look again. I've taken apart countless Demos and changed out rear dampers on them from Fox, Cane Creek, Rock Shox, and Öhlins. And since there is flex at these locations on all bikes, there should ideally be spherical bearings on all shock mounts, which is why Cane Creek did (and I believe still does) offer a spherical bearing upgrade kit.
  • + 18
 I own the lower version of this bike, and I must say, it is a terrific bike !the geometry works very well, and I fell very confident riding downhill with it !I LOOOVE it !Even more than my supreme operator !
  • + 12
 I just got the non DL version of the 153 and it's amazing. A lot of bang for your buck. Plus the bike's geo just feels right. Rides like a downhill bike.
  • - 14
flag SimonBros (Jun 16, 2014 at 6:46) (Below Threshold)
 Rides like a v10 trey?
  • + 6
 Rides better than a khs that's for sure
  • - 7
flag SimonBros (Jun 16, 2014 at 20:47) (Below Threshold)
 I don't think you have ridden one before so that's invalid
  • - 1
 yee trey Prop game strong haha
  • + 6
 Eh, you don't have to ride one to know that..
  • + 9
 I've got the lower spec model and it is hands down the best bike I've ever ridden Had mine since October is been ridden and raced all over the UK including EWS round 2 from bike parks to 50k welsh mountain epics The ks post hasn't fared well over the British winter and the rear shock seals died I converted mine to 1x10 with a 30t narrow wide got some lb carbon wheels and had a knackered DHX air rebuilt by avalanche as the lower spec monarch got overwhelmed on long rocky descents Gonna sell my DH bike as this bike is so good, the rear end is super stiff, it rails berms, I'm launching off everything these days, never been so confident on a bike. The only issue is that I've had chain loss problems, may be realated to how the suspension works also I think the rear is so stiff that the rear end components take a battering, the freehub unscrewed itself and the SRAM rear mechs needed the clutch re tightening a few times. Kona are apparently making a thicker mech hanger - they reckon the current one flexes to much, if that doesn't help I'll stick on a full guide and see how it goes. But it doesn't happen that often and it's a brilliant bike that you just wanna thrash every time you get on it !
  • + 3
 hey man,can you upload some photos of your ride? I'm very curiuos about the dhx setup Wink
  • + 3
 Ill get some pictures on my profile, Using a DHX air straight up wont work that well as the bike needs a low volume shock, so I bought a second hand rp23 air can for a few quid (lots of these about as people have upgraded to kashima) and swapped it over, you cant fit the fox volume reducers to a dhx air, I think the shaft is too big? I may actually try modifying one though as on very big landings I still feel like i want a bit more progressivity.

Regardless it rides very well with the recommended rebound/compression settings from avalanche, feels like coil shock on the descents!
  • + 8
 I had a chance to demo one of these for a week this spring. It felt like it had WAY more suspension travel than it actually did. It was smooth, fast, stable - and if needed it actually rode uphill. The brakes, suspension and drivetrain components were spot on. Kona did a fantastic job of this bike. A true jack of all trades.
  • + 7
 I got the Base model and I couldn't be happier. Think the Base model is the best option as for the same sort of money you can upgrade and end up with a lighter better bike than the DL anyway . Mines 13.9kg but feels much lighter when riding. Especially since I switched to maxxis ardents. Love the grip of high rollers, but makes the bike feel like 16kg save them for uplifts only
  • + 7
 This bike looks so rad but I tried to order one 3 months ago and they were gone for the year. With the new Operator being carbon it's not a stretch to think there might be a carbon Process for 2015.
  • + 3
 I hope so, just so they lower the prices on the 111
  • + 4
 I've seen the carbon Process 134 in the flesh. Sexy looking bike
  • + 1
 @harrybeaumont no way! The 153 in carbon would be my perfect bike (with the new fox 36).
  • + 1
 I demo'd a 134 and it felt heavy while climbing (still not bad, but compared to my 27lb anthem and my 30lb reign). Absolutely shredded on the downhlls - loved that bike. (if I had to ballpark the weight it would be 35ish lbs)

I asked the Kona rep if they were doing a carbon frame (to help with the weight) and he said it wasn't looking like it was going to happen in 2015 because they wanted to get it right from the get-go and they had a few kinks to work out. He said there were a few carbon pre-pros out and about and he preferred the aluminum version because it rolled over stuff versus pinging off rocks like lighter bikes do. I climb a lot, so I appreciate a light bike. (no shuttles for me, unfortunately).
  • + 1
 I think the 134 DL weighs in at like 32 lbs, if I remember the bible of bike mag review correctly. I agree though, anything over 30 is a bit much to be climbing on consistently. I wonder how much the actual frame weighs compared to other lighter bikes.
  • + 1
 weight is over rated. .. I was gonna elaborate but I think I s7med it up good enough.
  • + 9
 All sram except for the brakes - on all the models. Big statement from Kona there.
  • + 1
 Basically they cut costs on the drive train for the 153 range knowing that people would junk them for summat decent
  • + 5
 it's because sram brakes, while they are good, are not as good as shimano's. Smile
  • + 4
 That's my point ;-)
  • + 4
 i think that's the most pc way of saying sram brakes suck. oops
  • + 4
 For all of the shit that Sram gets for their brakes, I am on my 7th season using Sram brakes and literally have never had any issues with the 3 different models I've had over those years. My current set of XOs are from last year have over 60 days of heavy bike park use, have never seen a bleed, and are still feeling awesome. From my experience, I would for sure recommend them to someone. Having ridden the available XTR, I was honestly really disappointed in their stopping power. Zee felt far better, but still not enough for me to switch. But each to their own, run whatever works for you.
  • + 3
 was waiting for someone to get defensive about sram brakes. never fails. Wink
  • + 3
 Some one saying there sram gears and brakes have been ace is like someone who's won the lottery saying the lottery is amazing, of course it is if you win it other wise it's a waste of time and money. Iv never won the sram lottery. Gambling is for chumps
  • + 1
 I guess I'm a chump who's won it three times in 7 years... Gotta love those chump odds!
  • + 1
 no, i would congratulate you for having such a good track record with sram/avid brakes. because that's a rarity Wink
  • + 6
 I'm 0 for 3 with avid elixirs. I want to take you people with 100% positive sram brake experiences to Vegas.
  • + 2
 I'll stick with the product that gives me 9/10 performance every single day over the one that gives me 10/10 performance once a week.
  • + 5
 I absolutely LOVE the lines of this bike but don't like that huge gusset at the top tube/seat tube. My parking lot cruise had me wanting to demo one. I already chose my new frame but this was definitely in my top 3, nice job Kona!
  • + 7
 Bikes that can climb and descend seem to do it for me, kona really hit the nail on the head with this one.
  • + 2
 changed to 42 tooth on rear, 32 up after 2 rides and lots of dropped chains, they really should have spec'd with a chain guide if they insist on 2x10. 1x10/11 suits this bike perfectly. Front derailleur had very little rear tyre clearance with a 2.4 so another reason to go 1x10/11 with it. I love it.
  • + 1
 narrow wide rings are your friend.
  • + 4
 Read his comment, he was dropping chains with a 2x front gearing, narrow wide is no help with that setup.
  • + 2
 This is my bike!

I did so much research between this and the Bronson, I wrote LENGTHY forum posts here about the two bikes. No one had any riding experience yet on the bike because it hadn't come out yet. I just went with my gut and bought the bike as soon as my LBS stocked it.

It's so amazing. Very aggressive. 100% Worth It. I do want to change out the rear derailleur though. Noisy and I've had to warranty it 3 times in the 8 months I've had the bike..,.
  • + 1
 What have you had to warranty? Components, I'm guessing?
  • + 4
 I just wanna know how they made the bike stand up on its own in the first shot no seriously the bike sounds and looks damn fine
  • + 2
 someone holds the bike and the photog snaps the pic as the other lets go before it falls over Wink simple but it works.
  • + 2
 there is a green stick going to the bb you can see it in some of the images no fancy photoshopping here LOL
  • + 2
 I got a 153DL and 1x10'n it, lighter rubber and a few other upgrades. Got it to just a hair under 30lbs with pedals. I've been riding it up and down and loving every minute of it. It takes a little more effort on steep pitches, but imo totally worth it for how great it descends. It's faster than my Honzo in tight slow techy switchback type riding too. Overall I love it compared to the 29er trailbike I was on before.
  • + 1
 Since I've started working at Bow Cycle in Calgary, I've come to realize that my previous bike (that I still use occasionally) has a really shitty build, so I've gotten picky with parts. I've been eying up the Norco Sight C7.3 (for price point) reasons, took it out for a test ride. I liked it at first, but then I started second guessing myself. After looking around at other bikes and their pro-deal prices, I've tentatively settled on the 153 Deluxe or the 153. I know that the 153 Deluxe has a much better build, but the build on the 153 isn't bad either. Both pro-deal prices are in my price range (153 more affordable, of course), but I still can't decide which to go for. Any thoughts?
  • + 5
 The lack of puns around here is taking me some time to process
  • + 6
 might want to keep that on the DL
  • - 4
flag bikeorski4me (Jun 16, 2014 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, it's a little difficult to process isn't it....
  • - 4
flag bikeorski4me (Jun 16, 2014 at 11:50) (Below Threshold)
 Oh, that was soooo easy.....
  • + 1
 this looks like a great bike. it was recommended to me by my lbs of choice, but as fast as they recommended it they ripped it away saying its unavailable all sold out. well it seems like the bikes these days are selling quite nicely.
  • + 3
 Here's mine with a vivid air www.pinkbike.com/photo/11002421 I'm also selling a stock 153 size medium if anyone's interested.
  • + 1
 Wow, surprised the review took this long. Bikes been out/hyped about for a while now.
Sick bike, terrible color options, and a lil heavy but it rides exceptional w/best geo out there.
Long tt/reach + short chainstays + lowest standover.

*ks dropper screwed me when I demo'd after trying to reposition the base, stuck in up position. (Double drop/lift). Supposedly that's fixed so the internal mech doesn't f up but some say it still does and u can't double drop.
  • + 2
 Long term reviews take months of riding to get at, so it seems pretty fitting for that. When the bike was released, they did have a preview of the range
  • + 1
 I got this bike. Ridden it twice and it rips. I got the base model. I think you can get the base model instead of the DL and drop some extra cash (maybe 500-600 dlls) to make it 4k and upgrade to XT brakes and shimano drivetrain. I personally love the bike. Mine is stock and sure does not feel that heavy.
  • + 3
 I own one. Best Bike I've ever ridden, if only the chain would stop dropping off the rear cassette into the frame because of the crappy mechhanger......
  • + 1
 they are a nice bike my son has the Process 153 and he converted it too a 1x10 with a 32t up front and a 40t in the rear , i have last years version of the Process and its a hell of a bike as well . the one thing i really like about Kona,s is their durability and maintenance free pivots and shock mounts .
  • + 5
 Ah! Seems like I've got another good article to translate!
  • + 3
 I bought the 153 a month ago to replace my pitch and my demo. Does everything the demo could do and it's more fun!
  • + 1
 The Process 153 has really piqued my interest, but how come no one makes the obvious comparison to Mondraker bikes, and their 'forward geometry'? Isn't this basically a Kona version of the same thing?
  • + 0
 Funny how this new design looks pretty similar to the old Scott Genius / LT. They used a normal shock instead of the pull one, but you can imagine that it has the space to take one behind the seat tube...
www.pinkbike.com/photo/7489438
  • + 2
 Really want to see how this compares to the Transition Covert 27.5. Similar in many ways and the Covert is becoming one of the go to bikes in the All Mountain category..
  • + 3
 I've got a 153DL and it rip! went with the N/W 42t setup... killer. I can't wait for the carbon version to come out!
  • + 2
 Thank You for the comprehensive review.
Is there going to be a review for Process 134 later? And maybe a comparison between two bikes?
  • + 1
 "We finally don't need to complain about bars being too narrow, the RF comes in at 787mm."
Who remembers the days when that length of bar was used for DH and FR, not #endubro?
  • + 0
 I ordered one at my lbs and after waiting 8 weeks I gave up and had my deposit back.had plans of fitting a raceface sl crankset and lighter wheels. Ordered a capra pro the same day. Gotta wait for that as well though haha
  • + 2
 We have them in stock here at Bespoke Bikes, call us on 01324825721 for info.
  • + 1
 My dream bike. Been a Kona rider for 8 years now owning 9 different Kona's across many disciplines XC/FR/DH/ROAD/AM Never had 1 issue love em.
  • + 1
 I had a bike test day here last we, and meeen THIS IS THE BEST BIKE I'VE EVER EVER EVER TRIED ! My next one will be this one no doubt
  • - 1
 I have the 153 DL

I have had a complete nightmare with it

The pikes had issues after 3 rides, it turned out to be the o ring seal or something like that

The rear mech seized up and stopped holding tension on the chain

Both now replaced after sending them off for 3 weeks

The KS LEV Integra is crap, very untrustworthy and tonight the cable snapped

When I converted it to tubeless, because for some reason it doesn't already come that way, I removed a 26" tube from the front and a 29" tube from the rear. Rough as f***

This bike has caused me nothing but problems
  • + 2
 Sounds to me like it is the parts and not the bike. Buy a frame and cherry pick your parts. If you settle for what is offered you just become another sheep in the herd. You cant blame Kona for bad parts. They only make the frame. Then spec it with so so parts. You can't buy cool you have to build it. Cherry pic the parts. Life is to short to ride cheep components.
  • + 1
 im torn between this bike and the devinci spartan. is there any review of the devinci spartan gonna come up?
  • + 0
 Yeti has been making bikes with long top tubes & short stems for years. SB-66 anyone? Hardly an industry "shake up".

Nice hyperbole though...
  • + 0
 also the yeti ASR5's are quite long, and came out before the sb's. 22.7" ETT for a small.
  • + 1
 Does anyone know I can buy just the rear end for process 153 I have the front triangle,thanks
  • + 1
 I just cant think how structurally sound that tiny rear shock eyelet bracket is going to hold up
  • + 11
 From the side the shock mount looks skinny get closer and you see it's a hefty plate of aluminium you'll kill the shock before you damage that but, infact the entire back end is impressively stiff
  • + 7
 Like kimbers said it's really fat actually and really strong
  • - 1
 I'm surprised it doesn't open the door for lateral play being mounted as it is, but I guess they've made the rear triangle stiff enough. Not one review complains about play on this line. Now, somebody design and make a bottle cage with an integrated mud flap for all these dumb ass product managers who assume everyone rides with a pack and just slap cage mounts in the worst possible place to tuck a water bottle.
  • + 4
 The rocker link that attaches the chainstays to the frame does the job of keeping the rear triangle stiff. The shock yoke's only job is to drive the shock. Of course no matter how stiff the rocker link and rear triangle are there will be at least a little flex, and since the shock yoke is attached to the rocker link, it will be affected by any flex as well. That's the reason the shock attaches to the yoke that way that it does, so that no side loading is transferred to the shock. A shock should never be a stressed member that contributes to a frame's rigidity as that would cause it to bind, both affecting performance and accelerating wear.
  • + 1
 Is it just me or is everything reviewed on pinkbike always good if don't remember seeing a bad review here yet.
  • + 2
 "I don't" f*cking autocorrect
  • + 3
 It's just you.
  • - 3
 And you would say that because you reviewed it.
  • + 5
 PB always does a good job of reviewing products. They almost always have a paragraph or two on any problems they ran into or things they think would help improve the product in the future...
  • + 2
 The 'reviews' are paid for, they're little more than advertising, Mtbr does exactly the same thing. True fact. I'm not talking about PB being given a free demo bike to try out, I'm talking a contractual agreement where the bike company, Kona in this instance, pays a wad of $$$ to have PB advertise their product in the guise of a 'review'. I'm not dissing PB, been reading RC's take in MBA since I was a kid, but they're a business, who exist to forward our sport and make money doing it, both of which they do well. But make no mistake, these 'reviews' are basically paid adverts, there should be no confusion about this, PB and Mtbr should be a lot more up-front about this than they are. Why do you think they 'review' some products and not others? Some gullible idiots actually think it's because few companies are willing to give PB a free sample of their product. What a joke. Also, why don't PB ever 'review' components from a company like Chris King? Everyone uses a Chris King headset, and if you don't you probably should. Why indeed, because CK don't need the advertising, everyone knows they're the best, it would be a waste of money, it's expensive to advertise, errr, I mean, have PB or Mtbr 'review' your product. I know this because I have a mate in the bike industry who told me all about it.
  • + 1
 Ye that makes sense, thanks
  • + 1
 Look, PB is a business run for profit, like any other. Therefore, I don't see a conflict of interest. The real problem is that it seems like a lot of the naive PB readership aren't aware of this. Mtbr readers should already know this, because half of their so-called BS 'reviews' are simply cut-n-pasted directly from the marketing brochure stapled to the advertising contract. At least the PB 'reviews', and other legitimate articles, are for the most part really well written.

Anyway, Bike Magazine, being a printed periodic journal with an entirely different business model, aren't paid to review, as far as I know, and they make it abundantly clear by telling their readers all the time. It's an important point of differentiation, well worth noting, as you can expect an honest, thorough, and impartial dissection. I mean, they bagged the Bronson ffs, said it was too expensive, too boutique, they're over VPP, what does that tell you? Personally, I ride a VP-Free as my trail bike; Saint cranks, X0 drivetrain, XT brakes, RC3 66's up front, Roco TST rear, love it. Interestingly, out of all the AM/trail bikes Bike Mag have ridden lately, they rate the Process 153 as the very best, their personal fav, the most fun, the most dialed, so there ya go.
  • - 1
 I just wish they'd be up front about it. Heck even the weekly polls are nothing more than thinly veiled market surveys.

"What kind of wheel size do you ride?"

C'mon... only advertisers would give 2 shits about a poll like that.
  • + 0
 Exactly... Wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds now, would we?
  • - 1
 Funny how the frame desgin resembles the old Scott Genius / LT. They used a normal shock instead of the pull one, but one can spot the place where that could fit behind the seat tube. Old vs New ?
  • + 1
 Been waiting for these to hit the used market. Might be waiting awhile.
  • - 1
 Funny how this is very similar to the old Scott Genius/LT. They used a normal shock instead of the pull one. Old vs. new?
  • + 1
 I like cats
  • - 3
 God job kona sounds like a winner.... Only down point is no wattle bottle mounts inside the triangle.... Don't like riding with a camel back on those short rides or the taste of mud.
  • + 1
 I have mine mounted on the bottom. Has yet to fall out at bike parks or crashing!
  • + 3
 guess it helps lower the centre of gravity to get super low....
  • + 2
 Exactly! Haha
  • + 4
 does it fall under #endurospecific ?
  • - 1
 nope, coz it's not 160.
  • + 3
 These dropouts are hollow.
  • - 2
 I bought a 134DL a few months ago and have ridden it on almost every type of terrain. I miss my Remedy.
  • + 1
 Can you tell us why you prefer the Remedy to the Process 134? What kind of riding do you do?
  • - 2
 'Scott Sports like's this paintjob' ;-)
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