Kona's New Operator Can Fit 29 or 27.5 Inch Wheels - Lošinj DH World Cup 2018

Apr 18, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
29 27.5
Same frame, different wheel sizes - 27.5" is on the left, and 29" on the right.

Orange and red may not be complementary colors, but one thing's for sure - it's going to be hard to miss Connor Fearon when he hits the track on his new Kona Operator. Connor actually has two bikes built up for the race, one with 27.5" wheels and the other with 29" wheels. According to team mechanic Mathieu Dupelle, "It's basically being ready for what comes at him for which track, what type of terrain, and what he feels comfortable with. I wanted him to make sure he's comfortable in all ways."

The new Operator frame makes wheel size changes easy, thanks to a flip chip on the seatstay that allows the bottom bracket height to be raised or lowered to compensate for the wheel height. There are also two chainstay positions, and a reach adjust headset for dialing in the bike's fit depending on the style of track that's being raced. Connor's two bikes are set up to feel nearly identical, although he did go down in spring rate and air pressure on the 29er.

Connor's been testing the bike since late last December, and it's still in the developmental stage, but the plan is to bring it into production later this year.


2929
The frame is carbon, except for the alloy chainstays, and has adjustable chainstay length and bottom bracket height.

29
Looking at the dropouts on the new Boxxer is the easiest way to tell what wheelsize it's for. This is the 29er..
27.5
...And this is the 27.5" version. Check out those red Code brakes.


29
Different headset cups can be used to adjust the reach, as well as the head angle.

27.5
29
Those colored headset caps help make it easier to identify which bike is which.


27.5
Mechanic Matthieu Dupelle says the plan is for Connor to take a practice lap on both bikes in order to see which bike feels best suited to the track.







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113 Comments

  • + 104
 those links just look unfinished
  • + 64
 The rocker link just looks massive and weird...
  • + 10
 @Christopop: sturdy. I was thinking it reminded me of the 50lb Kona’s of yore!
  • + 25
 Difficult to look at after seeing the new yt....
  • + 52
 what if.....they ARE? it's a prototype
  • + 4
 next version they will take some weight off of the link and call that new model and lighter
  • + 0
 @cunning-linguist: Which weren't more than a stamped plate and were prone to folding.
  • + 8
 @Christopop: massive, and weird, and kinda cool...
  • + 9
 They are made of wood
  • + 3
 I think they were trying to make it look as clean as possible, whether or not it's aesthetically pleasing is debatable. If you follow the line from the top tube down it meets pretty smoothly with the rocker. I'm personally not a fan, but I think that may have been the intention.
  • + 3
 You had me at flat pedals.
  • + 3
 @taquitos: Those rockers are also mind-bogglingly stiff laterally
  • + 2
 @Christopop: Have you seen 2018 Konas? Their rear end is actually f*cking huge. Even for trail bikes like the Process. I guess they're trying to make them stiff AF.
  • + 1
 @YoungGun13: This is true. There's a lot of material outside of the load paths, which doesn't really do much other than look pretty though.
  • + 33
 My god that orange and red looks aweful, beautiful frame but loose the red lowers
  • + 89
 *awful
*lose
  • + 5
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: knew that would get a response lol
  • + 17
 And God being a theoretical supreme being should be capitalized as well
  • + 3
 @onemind123: It does seem that God was a capitalist doesn’t it. Taking money from the poor to fix roofs of churches all the time!!!! :-) what what...
  • + 13
 @cunning-linguist: not to mention giving cancer to children so that their parents can understand an important hidden meaning to life
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: lols! He is everywhere & everything. Tsunamis, AIDS the lot. God works in mysterious ways / is a proper c*nt! :-)
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: If I had to predict how this thread would go I would have expected you to correct the spelling and grammar and @youhadmeatdrugs to pontificate on the politics of a supreme being
  • + 1
 @Sardine: So true! :-)
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 18, 2018 at 13:35) (Below Threshold)
 @Sardine: no he is a master at stimulating fajinas orally. Don’t let your GF know...
  • - 1
 @cunning-linguist: just because he's omnipotent and all knowing doesn't mean that he has to save 3.1 million children from starvation each year.
  • + 9
 For once the orange fox series would fit in...
  • + 4
 @Biguc: sorry, what was the topic again?
  • + 2
 @BenPea: Purple. You need purple to tie red and orange together. Like a sunset.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: I like yellow at the bottom, red in the middle and black on top. Looks like world on fire at night...
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: And when that happens, achtung!
  • + 2
 @BenPea: 3 men run inside a restaurant in Poland and start shouting in German. Feuer! Feuer! Schnell! Schnell! Everyone raises their hands up, walks out of the building in abiding manner and stand facing against the wall. Meanwhile a BMW with German plates burns down to the ground.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: 3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth guy ducks.
  • + 1
 Pinkbike is going to hell, but that's nothing new.
  • + 1
 @redsled137: I don't want go to hell, since if I were to believe catholic church, it's full of homosexuals. Possibly males. Never heard a street corner preacher to say that God has anything against lesbians
  • + 1
 @redsled137: l'enfer cest les autres...
  • + 34
 Does it come stock with that massive heel rub?
  • + 3
 Thought that was kind of funny. Kona couldn't supply fresh chainstays for WC debut?
  • + 1
 Looks like the 29er is his fav
  • + 16
 Im waiting for flip chips to alternate from 29 inch wheels for me, to 5 inch wheels for my pet capuchin monkey that I have taught to ride street trials.
  • + 8
 That's a real world, common problem
  • + 1
 I’m just waiting for a bike for dogs. That is the real real world problem.
  • + 17
 29'' for the front wheel, 27.5" back and you are world champion of your hometown dude !
  • + 11
 the uci does not approve of mixed wheel sizes
  • + 3
 I'd be curious to try it... Should I build a 29" front wheel?
  • + 1
 youtu.be/k8IZYhdvo04

Gmbn just tried it. Their verdict. . . Meh.
  • + 5
 @Trudeez: Yeah but that was with a plus tire in the back. Too squirmy for pros but a regular 27.5 tire might work for some
  • + 18
 You forgot to mention that it can also fit 26 wheels.
  • + 12
 Well, that's technically true, but the bottom bracket height would likely be too low.
  • + 22
 @mikekazimer: longer, lower slacker, smaller wheelier...
  • + 5
 Why stop there, put some 24's on
  • + 4
 and 700c wheels for that matter when you have a slightly rough gravel grinder the following weekend.
  • - 2
 29 doesn't suit Conners riding style.
  • + 5
 @Ritgut: because?
  • + 0
 What is 26"?
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: That may be a myth propagated by the industry. An industry that has started selling bikes with previously unheard of low BB's... My 27.5 HT works a treat with 26" wheels BTW
  • + 2
 @2bigwheels: because his riding style is cool
  • + 1
 @2bigwheels: he's known for his fast cornering and would suit the slightly quicker handling of the 275 - IMHO.
  • + 12
 WHY cant other manufacters not do this for Trail or DH bikes it is not like it is that hard to workout, some flip chips or both 27.5 or 29er but they would rather sell you two bikes!
  • + 1
 its a nice idea. but theres more than just flipping a chip to switch between the two. you'd probably want to change headset angle to maintain a similar one. swapping forks or lowers would also be relevant. one problem is lowering the bottom bracket height using a flip chip, along with increasing the fork axle to crown, will significantly slacken the head angle.
  • + 0
 @getsomesy: Only about one degree in it, but really want a slightly shorter shock stroke for 29er and slightly shorter travel on the fork will balance it up nicely
But I dont get payed to give away any more good ideas, Yes there is a lot more,but some stuff I am not allowed to talk about on hear!
But never mind?
  • + 6
 ...@bansheebikes
  • + 3
 Scott is doing it since quite a long time
  • + 3
 @aljoburr: So your good idea is to swap out wheels, use flip chips, change stroke length and change fork length? Do that a few times without a mechanic at your disposal and you'll be wishing you had just bought two bikes
  • + 1
 I used to own a Transition Gran Mal back in the day and now have a Banshee Rune, both "modular" bikes. The Gran mal i had 2 rear shocks, 2 forks and 2 wheelsets and with the frame adjusting you could really have 2 bikes in one although fork swaps really didnt happen often. After a while I came to the conclusion that all I really was changing was the rearwheel for a dh tire geometry settings and that is what i run to day with the rune. I really liked the u-turn coil Lyrics though, having a 180- 150 setting that can be run without compromise would be great. The dp-air works as climbing mode and is not really what I want. Mixing 26 and 27,5 wheels does work also.
  • + 1
 There are flip chips at the back of the linkage, just like the Session.
  • + 1
 They should be doing it on trail bikes so you can run 26" or 26+ (aka 650b).
  • + 1
 @aljoburr: need a fork lug with a large insert that can adjust a2c and offset.
  • + 7
 Shouldn't all bikes have a flip chip, companies would save a lot in manufacturing frames while giving riders more wheel size options in one frame!?

Orange and red look terrible..
  • + 5
 There are geo compromises. Lots of them.
  • + 2
 @RoboDuck: an angleset and fork travel adjustment combinded with a flip chip address 90% of those compromises.
  • + 5
 That rocker link looks like it sat in the sun a little to long.... Kinda surprised they went with making the rocker out of Carbon while working on ideal wheel sizes and what not for the race season...milling maybe a couple slightly different rockers to be able to adjust suspension characteristics as the 29er will feel and perform differently than a 27.5 wheel size.... But I'm more of a couch engineer than anything else... lol
  • + 5
 "Different headset cups can be used to adjust the reach, as well as the head angle"

that's pretty cool
  • + 2
 Lets just wait til the results are in Boys, before pouring the scorn. This lads going to smash the course, and have a sick year riding this and its incarnations if any follow. The wager is top 10 minimum, and non of you work for an top line engineering firm or run a pro team before the dust settles Sunday. The double or nothing, Waki has posted another 10 times in an assortment of PinkBike articles in same time period.
  • + 1
 PB comment section since the wheels size debate: "f*ck this, they're trying to take our money and force stuff on us! We can never be up to date on wheel standards"
***Kona releases a DH bike that works with both major standards***
PB comment section: THAT THING IS UGLY! ORANGE???? Looks weird! HUGE rocker link is disgusting!
  • + 3
 Wait a minute, that Kona looks like another bike!! I can’t remember the name of it but it’s right on the tip of my tongue, it looks so familiar
  • + 5
 Wheel size is a sham!
  • + 1
 Wasn't there a bunch of teams that did the whole 29 DH thing last year then went back to 275? Brannigan, Hart, etc.
  • + 4
 Pff, let me know when I can run 29 for racing and 20 for the bmx park
  • + 1
 you allready can
  • + 2
 Which means it fits 26" wheels too! Everyone's psyched!! Oh wait people don't like the rockers.
  • + 3
 Is that a Minion SS on the 27.5?
  • + 2
 Relax trolls- I doubt this is production spec or color. It's a test mule for a WC racer.
  • + 1
 The tubes are so massive, they make the tires look... smaller.

Looks like a kids bike from a distance haha Razz Pretty sure they're stiff enuff tho.
  • + 2
 IT CAN FIT 26´´ WHEELS TOO AWESOME
  • - 1
 No that Trek's full floater is gone from the session what's the suspension difference between the Session, Operator, and new Scott? I'm guessing there is one even though they look the same now.
  • + 7
 The rear pivot location. The Session's pivots are around the axle, Kona's are on the seatstays, and the new Scott's are on the chainstays.
  • + 1
 Pivot location which affects rear axle path. The scott has the pivot on the chain stay which means the axle path is altered, whereas the trek uses a concentric rear axle/rear pivot and the kona's is on the seatstay essentially meaning that the kona and trek are linkeage driven single pivot designs. Specialized, canyon, yt, the new gt etc are true multi link suspension designs.
  • + 2
 Looks like a Session No water bottle mounts etc.
  • + 1
 red calipers on the 27,5?! new sram break incoming or just another fancy new color option?
  • + 1
 never mind, saw in the other posts that it‘s for the sram sponsored teams
  • + 1
 The link looks god awful, love ya kona but shave it and give it some shape.
  • + 2
 Be great if all bikes had adjustable geometry
  • + 2
 It's HORRIBLE, I can't say more. The previous model was beautiful...
  • + 2
 Tech looks cool, but looks like if tonka made bikes.
  • + 1
 Colored H'set caps.... In case they can't tell the difference between a tweener an a niner.............
  • + 1
 I really like it! Looks beefy Drool
  • + 1
 Anyone notice the red sram calipers?
  • + 1
 Looks like it was designed by LeBrons barber.
  • + 1
 I wonder how many racers are gonna run semi-slicks for the town sprint
  • + 1
 And still with all the 29er crap.....i'll never see the fascination.
  • + 1
 Doesn't look like a Trek, anymore.
  • + 2
 Nice bike.
  • + 1
 Holy Rocker linkage!
  • + 1
 Looks like 2 s*****ns...
  • + 1
 that cable routing..
  • + 1
 Playmobil bike.
  • + 1
 Minion SS, bold move.
  • - 2
 Why don't they just make all dh bikes 29?
  • + 8
 Why would they?
  • + 32
 Ever had your balls tickled by a DHR2?
  • + 26
 @arden0: Yes. My masseuse was hesitant at first to incorporate them into our weekly routine but its been a real treat.
  • + 9
 Did you mean 26?
  • + 4
 @arden0: Lol funny you mention that, that was the last straw for me on the 29er

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