Kona's New Carbon Process 153 29, Big Honzo, and More - Sea Otter 2018

Apr 19, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
kona carbon process 29

Kona Sea Otter 2018
Kona Sea Otter 2018

Process 153 CR 29

The carbon 27.5” Process 153 was released last summer, and it will soon be joined by a big-wheeled carbon sibling. The Process 152 CR 29 has the exact same geometry as the alloy version, with a 66-degreee head tube angle, 425mm chainstays, and a reach of 475mm for a size large. The frame will accommodate up to a 2.4” tire, although depending on how much clearance you're comfortable with a 2.5” tire will likely fit as well.

There will be two complete models, with the DL version receiving a 160mm RockShox Lyric RC2 fork and SRAM RSC brakes.


Kona Sea Otter 2018

Operator 29

Connor Fearon is currently preparing for race day at the first round of the DH World Cup in Croatia aboard prototypes of the new Operator, but Kona had another pre-production model built up and on display.

The bike can accommodate either 27.5” or 29” wheels thanks to the flip chip on the seat stays, but the plan is to bring it to market spec'd as a 29er. In that configuration it has 195mm of trear travel, and either a 455 or 465mm reach for a size large, depending on the orientation of the headset cups. The head angle is set at 63-degrees, and the chainstay length can be adjusted by 15mm, resulting in either a 425mm or 440mm length.


Kona Sea Otter 2018

Big Honzo

There was already a Honzo, so it only made sense to create a carbon version of its plus-sized counterpart. The Big Honzo carbon has room for up to 27.5 x 3.0” tires, 430mm chainstays, and a 67.5-degree head angle with a 130mm fork. There's a mix of internal and external cable routing, with hose guides for the brake line on either side to ensure the bike works with both moto- and North American-style lever configurations.



Kona Sea Otter 2018

Hei Hei Trail Alloy

The new carbon bikes might be hogging the spotlight, but there's also a new alloy model in Kona's lineup - the Hei Hei trail. With 140mm of front and rear travel and 27.5" wheels, the Hei Hei Trail is meant to be an energetic trail bike, one that's not quite as beefy and burly as the Process, but that can still handle a good dose of the technical stuff.


Kona Sea Otter 2018

Kona Sea Otter 2018
Kona Sea Otter 2018

30th Anniversary Honzo

It's Kona's 30th anniversary, so in honor of the occasion they made 200 limited-edition steel Honzo hardtails. Each bike has a commemorative head tube badge, and the bike's number on the seat tube. One of those bikes is being auctioned off at Sea Otter, with 100% of the proceeds going to Southern California trail organizations who will use the funds to restore trails damaged by recent wildfires.


MENTIONS: @SeaOtterClassic



91 Comments

  • + 77
 Although it has nothing to do with how they will handle, the rocker links on the new Kona's are pretty hideous..
  • + 17
 Agreed, just looks unfinished.
  • + 23
 I was just thinking how much better they looked than the two metal plates that were on my old dawg.
  • - 11
flag MTBrent (Apr 19, 2018 at 17:35) (Below Threshold)
 Still better than new Transition rockers...
  • + 6
 That rocker link...is a freaking design that only its mother/father could be proud of. Good lord.
  • + 5
 guess its a good thing it works....
  • + 1
 they actually look a little phallic now that I think about it.
  • + 25
 @taletotell: dude, I think there might be something wrong with your phallus Smile
  • + 1
 That rocker link on the first batch of carbon Process looks ok, with a hole in it. But the latest batch has all used the ones showed in the photos, which is really ...not so good looking. Guess there might be a reason for that change.
  • + 9
 PM : "Hey we need a carbon linkage !"

[5 mins later]

Eng : "Done."
  • + 7
 But imagine all the sticker real estate!!!!
  • + 1
 @savagelake: I was always good at magic eye porn. . .
  • + 2
 It even looks weird on their hardtail... Wait what?
  • + 1
 I was kinda feeling that PBers were losing their edge but man, y'all have been hilarious as of late!
  • + 53
 That steel honzo is sexy
  • + 1
 Sexy AF!!!
  • + 1
 Me want
  • + 15
 30 years ago Joe Murray sold me a new bike through our new bike shop, Desert Sports in Lajitas, Texas. That big red bike in size XL had a 13-inch head tube, and the new Shimano Deore XT SIS drivetrain and U-brakes. What a time to be rigid.

Oh yeah, those bikes were called "Cascade" that year, then "Kona" the next.
  • + 7
 I think someone lied to you about how big 13 inches is.
  • + 3
 I sent this bike to "Kona Joe" a few years ago, because Kona was looking for some of their early bikes for display. I told him I'd pay return shipping if for some reason Kona didn't want it.

Kona Joe disappeared a couple of months later, and I have no idea what happened to my old friend, Big Red. I miss that bike. We traveled trails in Mexico that never saw a wheel before us.
  • + 1
 @Geochemistry: That's obscene.
Looks like Kona Joe did you like a kipper. I'll keep an eye out for your bigfoot-sized machine. Mag 21 up front yeah?
  • + 2
 @BenPea: Sorta. It was pre-21, designated a Mag X. The lowers were made by RockShox, but the upper was a custom from Keith Bontrager, long before he was a household name. The original forks where Koski's, another piece of lost cycling history.
  • + 2
 @Geochemistry: the era when all components were being guineapigged all of the time.
  • + 15
 I need to get around to buying a honzo.
  • + 3
 Don't be a gonzo, go buy that honzo.
  • + 14
 Is the operator's rim bent?
  • + 1
 beat me to it
  • + 3
 nah it's the new asymmetrical
  • + 4
 Bummer to see the Carbon big Honzo chainstays grow a bit over the old alloy big honzo. Think my Big Honzo had 415mm chainstays and this is 430? ;(


Kinda pointless they dropped the drive side chainstay without ending up with short stays. Kind of a waste.
  • + 1
 woah, yeah, that's a lot more clearance in front of the tire than on the alu big honzo. is this due to some shortcoming of carbon fiber?
  • + 3
 Attention all manufacturers, it's 2018, not 1998, please stop kinking the seat tube so high that at most we can fit a 150 dropper or at best a 175. 200 droppers may not be the norm now but as folks realize the benefits they will be. If somebody wants to run a 150 they still can. A straight seat tube at a steep angle will accomplish this and move it forward to allow for suspension articulation.
  • + 8
 The Honzo's not kinked!!! it's curved, like a scimitar.
  • + 2
 @Zaff: or a shamshir Razz
  • + 2
 One Up dropper post said what?
  • + 1
 If you are talking about the Honzo ST, imho the kink provides enough tire clearance for the crazy 415mm chainstay in a neat line. Not everyone likes it but it's crazy fun at the back... I mean the bike...
  • + 2
 @AlexS1: Process frame
  • + 2
 Seat tube starts and ends so low probably can get a 200 on.
  • + 2
 Meanwhile the whole DH WC circus has the seat pretty much right up their ass...
  • + 1
 @tcmtnbikr: Thumbs up. Manufacturers should move towards short STs and size bikes by length. High ST bothers me more than stand over height.
  • + 1
 @Staktup: already ordered!
  • + 4
 The process CR has insane standover/ST height. I'm 5"7 and could happily ride a large and still fit a 150mm dropper. It's probably one of, if not, the only bike I could ride a large comfortably. So, @konaworld have nailed it. If I bought a kona i'd be on a medium with a 175mm drop.
  • + 4
 The process actually has pretty competitive seatpost insertion, the post sits behind the pivot in the frame so it goes down a lot further than other bent seattube designs.
  • + 3
 The carbon hei hei relied on the flex of the carbon seatstay instead of a bearing pivot. How does the aluminum work around that? If it's relying on the aluminum flexing then I'm concerned.
  • - 2
 Giant did this with their Stance, and I would think other manufacturers have as well. I see the concern though, but I trust Kona not to sell a bike that has a weak frame.
  • + 0
 @sam130: Remember the 2003 Explosif made with Dedacciai steel? I have what's possibly the last one in existence. The others self-destructed.
  • + 0
 @sam130: remember the headtube failures? Granted everyone was putting long travel forks on short travel bikes and hucking to flat back then. . .
  • + 4
 @sam130: Funny you bring up the stance, which broke regularly on the flex stays.
  • + 3
 They made the aluminum Hei Hei 29 frame without the pivot before they made the carbon one....
  • + 3
 Specialized did this with their alloy epic. If they were willing to take the risk, it'll probably be fine.
  • + 1
 snap city
  • + 5
 Good grief, that Hei Hei Trail is ugly... just a mess of bent tubes.
  • + 5
 Kona, ditch that frumpy hump you call a top tube
  • + 5
 Still no 111.
  • + 3
 Is a shame they don't do a 120mm 29er.
  • + 4
 nice to see a whole steel Honzo for sale again
  • + 4
 That Hei Hei looks like Transitions Sentinel.....
  • + 2
 Came here to say that! Holy that paint job similarity...
  • + 3
 except uglier in every conceivable way?
  • + 2
 ‘both moto- and North American-style lever configurations’
Luckily Europeans have got someone to teach them how to set up their brakes.
  • + 1
 I'm glad they've provided both options for the frame (pretty annoying all those frames that don't). Funny 'Merican way of describing it!
  • + 1
 "The frame will accommodate up to a 2.4” tire, although depending on how much clearance you're comfortable with a 2.5” tire will likely fit as well."

NB @TransitionBikeCompany @CarbonSmuggler420
  • + 2
 2.35 Nobby Nic fits just fine in my Carbon Smuggler...never needed more back tire than that.

It's all about compromises. Watch the suspension compression vid in the Smuggler test a week or two ago. Under full compression, the seatstay bridge barely clears the seat tube. Options: curve seat tube, lengthen stays, underbuild bridge, use 2.3 max tire size. I'd choose the tire size limitation too.

Best handling bike I've ever ridden...
  • + 1
 @rollingdip: that's good to know. My rear tire of choice is the 2.4 DHR2 WT which *doesn't* fit the carbon smuggler. I had high hopes for this bike and was convinced I was going to purchase, until I saw that. You're right, its all about compromises. I'm just going to have go the aluminum smuggler route.
  • + 3
 The carbon Honzo is beautiful!
  • + 2
 Anyone else notice that the pictured 30th Anniversary Honzo is numbered "201" out of the noted 200?
  • + 1
 I have the 27.5 153cr and would trade it in a heartbeat for the 29er one... The newer operator 29 looks sweet! I'd really love to be able to ride a 29er downhill bike
  • - 7
flag mollow (Apr 19, 2018 at 20:14) (Below Threshold)
 It will suck just as much
  • + 1
 Im on a 153 29 and its brilliant, Carbon one would be nice, but would have to save a fair chunk of weight to justify the extra cost.
  • + 1
 maaan Ive always wanted a steel Honzo, those frames probably never make it over seas to germany Frown
  • + 2
 I spy with my little eye a flat spot on a rim
  • + 2
 The Hei Hei alloy is really seems like more of a Satori 27.5.
  • + 1
 exactly what i was thinking.
  • + 2
 "Linkage Plates!!!"..........not what Wade had in mind.
  • + 1
 Saved by the Honzos on this one Kona.
  • + 1
 That Steel Honzo looks awesome!
  • + 2
 So is it 152 or 153?
  • - 1
 Not sure what I was expecting, but I feel let down. Even though I shouldn't, all of these should be sick bikes.
  • + 5
 Why? I like the look of Kona bikes!
  • + 3
 That's what she said. . . Frown
  • - 1
 @connorjuliusjohnson: I don't know! I like how it looks, I like the platform... I guess I just expected something radically different, which is an unreasonable expectation given how recently the process was overhauled.
  • + 1
 Id like to ride that!
  • + 1
 Honzo 30 WANT!
  • + 0
 Tt on the 29 process looks so BH ish
  • + 0
 process looks like a slash..
  • - 1
 Colors look decent. Maybe make the next Hei Hei 29ers not so Barney-ish?
  • + 2
 You’re joking right?
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.050794
Mobile Version of Website