If you've ever ridden a cross-country bike down a rowdy and rocky descent at your limit, you might know that it's sometimes equal parts skill and luck. That's not the story with the Hei Hei, however; it feels more like a quick-handling trail bike than a sketchy Spandex speedster.
I've ridden more bikes in this travel bracket than I can count, but I don't think any of them offered the smoothness that comes from the Hei Hei's rear suspension and that RockShox Deluxe Ultimate shock. For having just 120mm, and running 25-percent sag rather than more, the Hei Hei is remarkably forgiving over rough ground. The middle portion of the travel, which is where you spend most of your time, smooths out roots and high-frequency feedback in a way that a bike like this shouldn't be able to - the bike just takes less out of you, especially if your trails are long and rough.
With rear-suspension that turns chunky to smooth, there's no doubt in my mind that the Hei Hei would be quite the stage racing weapon. That said, it does feel a touch linear when the hits come fast and hard, but adding a volume-reducing spacer to the shock is all that's needed to sort that out. At the other end of the stroke, the supple action surely helps keep the Hei Hei from sliding around too much when traction is questionable.
While the Hei Hei's rear-suspension is quite forgiving, the handling feels quick and asks for only small inputs. Don't take that as it being nervous, though, because it's not that on-edge, pointy steering that traditional cross-country rigs suffer from. Instead, let's call it responsive. What it isn't is that new-school, short-travel shredder that you ride even though all your buddies are on 150mm bikes; I'm talking about the Tallboy and other options with a similar amount of travel. While the Tallboy is really just a trail bike, the Hei Hei still has enough cross-country in its DNA that I'd prefer it if my rides were equal parts fitness and fun.
We have a lot of saucy trails here in Squamish, trails that a 120mm-travel bike isn't best suited to, and those are the places where the Hei Hei can feel a bit overwhelmed. Add in some steepness and the new Kona requires a focused, steady pair of hands to guide it through, but not nearly as much as a full-fledged race rig. Cross-country bikes can be exactly what you need in a lot of situations, but they can also spank you so damn hard if you're on a demanding trail and not paying attention.
The new Hei Hei isn't trying to be a rough and tumble short-travel shredder but, when it comes to cross-country bikes, it offers more room for error than most. Or, if you're like me, more room to ride your cross-country bike irresponsibly.
Lmao, are there any good bike trails out in Nantucket?
XC bikes that are slightly more relaxed than a dirtroadie race bike are fun AF. Blur TR, Spark, and it sounds like the Hei Hei fit this category. I would happily ride these on my local XC loops. For days with fast long descents give me ≥150mm please.
Have been really impressed by the quality of the suspension tune. It uses 115/120mm very well.
These are BC/XC bikes, after all.
Earlier than that I think. I worked at a shop 1992-1994 and there were a handful of Hei Hei under the butts of some of the fast racers. Was succeeded in Joe Murray lineage by the Voodoo D-Jab. Both were really nice and I too wish I had one on the wall!
My super nice Kona Hot was stolen from my living room and re-purchased the following week by the owner of the pizza shop for $150! (according to my so-called friends who didn't steal it back again.)
I have 3 Kona Hots now (a 21” 1992, a 20” 1994, and a 21” 1994 — the 94’s have the rad externally fluted downtubes). They’re all built era-correct with the best parts of the era (lots of Machine Tech stuff too). I thought I’d lost that magical feeling of adrenaline + that unreal pivot-carve/2-wheel-drift feeling that I remembered from the mid 90’s. Hadn’t felt it in 15-20 years. Hopped on my freshly built 94 Hot in 2015 and felt that magic once again — that I hadn’t felt in ANY bike since the 90’s. I was hooting and hollering, utterly shredding, and dropping my buddy on his 2016 Pivot Mach 6. My Hot carved like a dual slalom / pump track bike, but had perfect lateral flex when leaned over, providing lateral suspension / flex over the bumps, unlike some new ultra-stiff carbon hardtails and even some overly-stiff carbon full suspension bikes (my old colleague / world cup DH’er / bike engineering guru Cesar Rojo engineered the Intense M16, his Unno bikes, and others, with similar optimized lateral flex...and other optimized frame flex in the main frame and rear end). On my Hot, both tires roosted every corner...unreal fun. Those bikes were, and still are, something special. New gravel bikes are essentially the same geo, and people say they’re super fun...yeah, no kidding, Kona and others used that same formula with great success in the 90’s! If you can find a Hot, buy it and go shred!
Wondering why Kona didn't take advantage of the new 2021 Rockshox Sid Ultimate 120? That way us gram counters could hold on the bowel movement before hitting the scale.
I admire Kona for the things they've done over the years, I think they have missed the mark on the Hei Hei for a couple models now though.
Two bottle holders is very nice for those of us who would rather not ride with a pack or who take on all day adventures, and need a pack and extra bottles.
climbs so good und still fun on (not the rowdiest) downhills.
think the same counts for this kona
5-10+ compliments about the paint (well, powder coat) a day at NORBA Nationals on it — and not one compliment when I had a red one and a blue one the year before and after. And since no one else had a dark green M1, people would know it was me that did this or that (like jumping the whole rock garden with Chris Kovarik at Big Bear in 2000 =). Ventana repaired that M1 for me and didn’t have green options, so now it’s translucent cherry red to match a 7” cherry red 2001 Boxxer. It looks pretty darn amazing too!
If I ever do get a custom paint job on a bike, British Racing Green is definitely a candidate.
the definition of Down Country... or FUN COUNTRY
New Hei Hei looks like the love child of the 111 & Precept... with skinny legs
Santa leaves a gift entry to BCBR or ST6 in 2021 under your tree and want to get a downcountry rig instead of hauling around your 34lb, slack AF everyday trail anchor. Which bike would you choose and why?
Kona Hei Hei
Trek Top Fuel
a/ It has geometry of 69*HA, 75*SA with the Ride9 chip allowing +/- 0.5* adjustment from there. That works for me on anything but double black trails here in BC.
b/ It's stock parts spec leaves little to no room for improvement and has its weight listed at 25.4lbs.
c/ Rocky's dealer network and race support in BC are excellent, any issues resolved without delay.
d/ Two bottles, because Levy knows his stuff.
That said, I'm intrigued by the Trek and the Kona. If demo tours happen this year I'd check out those two bikes.
these have been on ebay for about 2 years now...
Recognized Brand name tax, plus there's at least two additional up charge points in the supply chain...
In a normal bicycle purchase its manufacturer facility to brand, then brand to importer/distributor, followed by distributor to dealer, and then dealer to consumer. In this case of the ebay frame its the factory itself to the ebay dealer (who is also the brand and the distributor) and then to you.
You had us in the first half, not gonna lie. At first glance of the frame on Ebay I thought it and the Kona were identical but upon closer inspection methinks not. Take a close look at the inner angle of the downtube/headtube/toptube junction. The Kona has an angled detail whereas the Ebay frame has a more smoothly rounded junction. The angular bend near the bottom of the seattube is also different, higher on the Kona and at a sharper angle.
They're from the same factory is my point... what...you don't think a factory will adjust the molds slighting for different customers ?
I am not in the know about carbon manufacturing. Is altering the finished procuct as simple as shifting a few angles, installing a bump-out, or milling/grinding relief in a mold? Or is an entirely new mold required?
edit: Never mind, $3099 for frame/shock make it $200 more!
The Ripley wins in every way.
Props to Kona for building a solid bike that fits two bottles, though--no small feat. Still seems like an awesome bike for all day epics.
For/aft position of saddle is there to get the bike to fit you, not correct for poor geometry.
1. The rider makes the bike capable, not the bike. Remind me how Nino wasn’t capable on his incapable Spark RC when you went riding with him.
2. CN has suspended the Squamish to Williams Lake trains.
I'd say some EWS stages could be a bit more pedally, not be all downhill, so that it woud force bike companies to really focus on developing allrounder bikes, instead of mini-dh rigs
EWS and enduro in general definitely seem to have evolved into DH races that you pedal to. That's cool, but it no longer represents how or what I like to ride. Then again, as I keep proving, I’m not fast enough to be a racer, so what I would want to "race" maybe isn't all that important to anyone else. Lol
Otherwise it looks really nice and I'm hoping to try one out soon.
Is this a sign of things to come?
A carbon 111 in the works?
1. Enduro bikes get 480+ Reach
2. Downcountry 480+ Reach
3. DH Bikes 480+ Reach
4. Cross Country 460 Reach
Are people who riding CC shorter?
Is that correct?
And why did your friends let you mispronounce it for so long?
Also, how's the ride compare to the previous gen Hei Hei? Kona's demo events are on hold.